In 1967 Colleen Hobgood’s son Rick Lahndorff brought her a pair of Flamenco dancers while he was in Spain on leave from Germany during the Vietnam War. Just a few months later her youngest son had two Geisha dolls shipped to her while he was also on leave during the Vietnam War. That would begin a nearly 50 year love affair with dolls!
Colleen was born on January 25, 1926 to Colvin and Edith McDonald. She married Jim Lahndorff and had three sons, Rick, Greg, and Scott Lahndorff. Colleen was a terrific bowler (she had a mean left hook in her curve ball) and in 1963 she met my Mother and Daddy, Bobby & Carla Hobgood, at Cardinal Lanes in Paducah, KY. She and my mom became instant friends and stayed that way for the next 52 years. She was with my Mother when she found out that she was pregnant with me! My granddaddy owned the bowling lanes and eventually they fell in love and in 1968 they were married. She became the only real mother my dad and Uncle (Bill Jr., aka Snooks) ever had and the only grandmother I had on that side of the family. Her nickname was Tiger and…. Well I won’t get into that but let’s just say that she lived up to that name!
It was a true pleasure being Colleen’s granddaughter, and it was a lot of fun! She was extremely smart! She watched Jeopardy every single day and woe to the person who interrupted her show! We all knew not to call during Jeopardy. When she was in her 70’s she tried out for the show and only missed one question! I think they were afraid to have her on the show because she was smarter than Alex Trebek!
Colleen truly loved dolls and because she was so intelligent she remembered everything she ever read about them. When her collection started to grow my granddaddy built her a 30X60 building and by the late 1990’s it was floor to ceiling and wall to wall with only narrow paths that ran up and down the aisles. She would tell me to go to the fourth row, 10th box down, and about 5 or 6 boxes over and bring her whatever doll she was looking for and she was ALWAYS right!!! She knew where every doll was!
In 1997 Bill passed away. I was blessed to spend nearly three weeks with Grandma and Granddaddy before he died and then 2 weeks with Grandma afterwards. We were both so sad but we were a great comfort to each other. We had lots of great conversations during that time and of course, a lot of it was about her dolls. That was when I first realized how much she truly loved each and every one of them.
I had gotten married in 1993 and my husband asked her if she would like to sell some of the dolls to make some extra money. She was reluctant but a few months later she decided that she could part with some of her action figures.
The first group I sold on eBay were the Masters of the Universe, quickly followed by Star Wars, Star Trek and MEGO WGSH. She had everything MINT IN THE BOX OR MINT ON THE CARD and we had no idea how much all of these were worth. I sold an Aquaman for nearly $4,000.00 and she had paid $2.97 for it back in the 70’s! She was beside herself with excitement! Her first words to me were, “I’m sitting on a goldmine! And you guys thought I was crazy to be buying all of these dolls!” Well she got the last laugh for sure! It was so funny to listen to the comments from the grown men buying these figures when they found out they were purchasing from a 75 year old woman!!
That was the thing with my Grandma she bought every kind of doll and action figure. From Barbie to Superman and from Strawberry Shortcake to the Dungeons and Dragons figures. She bought new and she bought old. In the box or falling apart! She loved them all! Not only did she buy them but she made them as well. She molded, fired (she had her own kiln) painted, and sewed dolls. She even sewed some of their clothes! And you should have seen her draw and paint.
When she started cataloging her dolls there were no home computers. She initially started a card catalog just like the Dewey decimal system. She would number the card, write the name of the doll or figure, where she bought it, the date, the price, the manufacturer and any pertinent information about that specific doll. Then she would attach a small tag to the wrist, box or card of the doll (sometimes she would punch out the cards and put the string through the hang tag….. oh how I wish she hadn’t done that!!) with the corresponding number and the date and name of the doll. After about 4,000 or 5,000 cards she moved to notebooks and starting keeping her records. We have stacks and stack of notebooks with over 22,000 items cataloged!!
She stopped cataloging her dolls when her arthritis in her hands got really bad. We are estimating that she had at least 10,000 that she never got written down. She had started to put her collection on the computer but it was just too painful for her to finish.
Colleen passed away in April of 2015. She left behind 4 sons, (one son preceded her in death) 17 grandchildren and numerous great grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. She also left behind over 30,000 dolls and action figures! We hope you enjoy her collection and if you buy something just know that you are getting a little piece of her heart… We love you Grandma, (Colleen, Tiger, Aunt, Friend and of course Mom) and we hope that you are happy with this website dedicated to you!!