Saturday, November 25, 2023

Extremely rare Sweetnik doll by Lada Draskovic hits eBay

It was more than 12½ years ago that I first learned of Lada Draskovic's "beatnik dolls," officially called Sweetniks, thanks to a small photograph in the 1961 Compton Yearbook.

Over time, I compiled everything I discovered about Draskovic in 2013's The Incomplete Lada Draskovic and 2018's An Addendum to "The Incomplete Lada Draskovic." It's a history tale for which I still have far more questions than answers. And the dolls themselves are rarer still; there can't be many still in existence. 

But another doll has cropped up. I have an eBay email alert for "Sweetniks," just in case it might provide a lead to learning more about Draskovic or her dolls. This newly listed doll is different than the other two I've seen color pictures of (one purple-haired, with a matching cat, and the other blonde). This one has brown hair (with maybe a hint of magenta) and is wearing an outfit that I think definitely qualifies as beatnik. It's amazing how unique each doll is.

It's listed on eBay for $1,300 by a seller in Illinois. That sounds about right, because we know that one Sweetnik was initially listed on eBay for $1,200 in 2018, and that the buyer later accepted the best offer (which was undisclosed). It, of course, only takes one collector who knows about the Sweetniks, is aware of their extreme rarity, and has the available funds in order to make a sale. So it will be interesting to see if someone snatches this one up. It's certainly a beauty.

The eBay listing doesn't tell us much that's new, stating "Vintage 'Sweetnik' doll from early 1960’s. Made in Italy by artist Lada Draskovic. These are very rare. Original made for Saks. Very few made it into the United States. Excellent condition. Hand painted. Doll is almost 15” tall."

But the photos are excellent — some of the best I've seen of these elusive dolls. I'm going to share them here for posterity; this post should be around much longer than an eBay listing, and I feel a deep obligation at this point to document everything that's known about Draskovic's Sweetniks.