Lot 306 of 340:
Rare MR. NATURAL Cloth Doll Prototype, 1 of 5 Made, 1980s  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$1,320
$600 - $900

Mr. Natural Cloth Doll, Rare Prototype Limited to Five Examples

[Crumb, Robert]

[New York]




Cloth doll, yellow shirt, red overalls, white beard, measures 16" long. Excellent condition, some discoloring to beard from age. One of five prototypes created; never put into production. Very rare.

Jeffrey Weinberg, owner of Water Row Press, explains the origins of this rare piece of Crumb merchandise:

"Back in the mid-1980s a woman in upstate New York had a company called "Martha-My-Dear" and she created hand-crafted character dolls. She made a deal with Bill Griffith to do a Zippy the Pinhead doll and I took over the distribution. The Zippy doll sold really well - Diamond carried them - so I thought that a Mr. Natural Doll would also be a good seller.

"Martha My Dear made a few prototypes. I kept one and sold three for $500 each to collectors. I sent Crumb the final doll and let him know what I wanted to do. I offered a very nice licensing deal and waited for his response. It was 1985 or 1986 (I forget the exact year). Crumb got back to me in a few weeks and said that my Mr. Natural doll made Sophie cry! She was 3-4 years old at the time, born in 1981. I doubt the doll freaked out Sophie, but Crumb needed an excuse to turn me down... Back then, he was not  interested in merchandising his characters - In the '80s, the only non-printed merch he let folks do in a serious way were T-shirts."
Jeff has graciously agreed to sell his personal example of this doll. Crumb may or may not have kept his, and the other three examples have long since vanished into private collections. This is the only example that is likely ever to surface on the open market. Jeff's plaintive request to the fortunate collector who buys Mr. Natural: "Please don't forget to feed him!"

Consignments Accepted for PBA's Next Comic Book Auction. Golden Age, Silver Age, Pre-Code, Original Art, Interesting Ephemera Sought. Contact [email protected] for details.

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