Tuesday, June 26, 2018

An addendum to "The Incomplete Lada Draskovic"

Five-and-a-half years ago, I had a post titled "The Incomplete Lada Draskovic." It pulled together everything I knew at the time about Lada Draskovic and her now-obscure Sweetniks dolls in the early 1960s. The incomplete tale involves, among other things, a fair amount of World War II intrigue.

The dolls are extremely rare. On a whim, I checked eBay recently to see if any of them were listed for sale there. And it turns out that one of them sold last month (May 2018) for an undisclosed sum after initially being listed for $1,200.

Here, along with some images from that eBay listing, are some interesting details that the Tennessee-based seller included in the item description:
Super Rare! Vintage 1960's "Sweentnik" Beatnik Doll, Tagged Brevettato Italy, Made Exclusively for Saks Fifth Avenue

After much research, all I could find were two other "sweetnik" dolls and the newspaper photo ... with caption that names the creator of the doll Lada Draskovic. The newspaper mention says the dolls "selling like hot-cakes in Rome, may soon be introduced in the US" ... this doll, seems to be the proof that they did, indeed make to the US, because in addition to the "Sweetnik - Made in Italy" silver paper tag, it also has a tag that reads "Made exclusively for Saks Fifth Avenue".

My guess, after their popularity in Rome, these were made for Saks Fifth Avenue, hitting stores in 1960-1961, very likely not sold for more than 1 year or more.

I found this doll at a high-end estate sale filled with top of the line Hollywood Regency furniture, vintage designer clothing, hats, jewelry, purses and shoes. The fashionable lady of the house had 8-10 overflowing closets. The doll seemed appropriate in her surroundings. I've been buying and selling vintage and collectibles for over 25 years and I have NEVER come across this doll before. ...

This doll is in very good vintage condition, she can stand on her own, but her head and hair make her top heavy, so a stand would be preferable. See all pictures.

Specifications: Height: 15"

Materials/Techniques: Wood legs & feet, leather & felt sandals, tartan paid cloth tunic, corduroy pants, brass bracelets, bendable/pose-able wire arms, wool yarn pale yellow hair, hand painted face with exaggerated eyes.
(From what I understand, completed eBay auction listings only remain available to the public via online searches for 90 days, which is why, as a historian, I see value in preserving the item description and some of the Sweetniks photos in this post.)


  1. Hi , I'm just wondering if Lada Draskovic created any tourist dolls. I have something quite similar to the sweetnick dolls also made in Rome. I can't seem to be able to upload any photos on here.

    1. I don't know of any other dolls that Draskovic was associated with, but the information available on her is so scant. I suppose it's possible that she had other ventures that aren't noted anywhere on the internet

  2. I have one of the Beatnik dolls you are showing. I tried to email you but it is an invalid address. Perhaps I can reach you this way.