|Collecting Nuns There’s something quite irresistible about nun figures, whether, they’re dolls, music boxes, or little porcelain figures with childishly angelic faces engaged in improbable activities like playing tennis or bowling.
No doubt, there is a great deal of nostalgia associated with nuns in the traditional habit of a Catholic religious order, particularly in the post-Conciliar era when it’s not so easy to pick Sister out in a crowd of business women and housewives. To some degree, we miss the mystery and reverence that traditional religious inspired.
Where to Find Them. What to Pay. Unless you’re a pack rat of a “certain age” and still have a horde of pre-Vatican II nun dolls and figures, you’ll likely augment your collection at local Catholic Church rummage sale or the occasional estate sale. You might even inquire at your local convent. But please be generous with what you pay them.
We don’t know how pricing is in your neighborhood, but here in the suburban area outside New York City, the expectations can be unrealistic, particularly if you’re hoping to snag a bargain for re-sale or even just to round out your own collection. Don’t cross eBay off your list when hunting for bargains. Prices fluctuate wildly and as you’ll see in the following pages, you can find some terrific prices.
If you’re selling, much depends on who’s looking at the moment your listing ends. Do be sure that your photos are clear without distractions in the background. And be sure that your description includes all the details you can find. One recent auction for a nun figural actually identified her as St. Francis with her rosary!
If you’re buying, there are a lot of bargains to be had if you’re patient. Of course, sometimes a rare piece comes along that you simply must have at any cost.
|The wildly swinging social pendulum of the second half of the twentieth century brought sweeping changes to the way we live our lives as Catholics – both laity and the religious. Not all of the changes were good ones. As the cultural arc swings back, we hope that the rampant secularism that nearly eradicated the culture of Catholicism will include a renewed interest in the religious life among young women. It is sad to say, but many religious communities faced with an aging population that is not replaced by new faces are likely to face extinction before long. Surveys of religious communities seem to indicate that it is only those communities embracing traditional charisms and, in most cases, traditional habits, that continue to grow — not that wearing a habit is an indicator of a better vocation or a deeper love of Christ.
Perhaps it is a frivolous observation, but the disappearance of contemporary religious nuns means that those darling little figures and dolls that we loved so well will also be gone. Most modern manufacturers turn out some terribly vulgar nun products that, despite their name, is not “fun” at all. Just mean-spirited.
Blessings, the talented creators of exquisite nun dolls is just about out of business. Their beautiful dolls, with authentic habits, are a little on the costly side, but so are American Girl and all quality dolls. If you are a nun doll collector you might still be able to find some of these beautiful dolls on eBay. Keep checking.
(And, if you are looking for an excellent Catholic business to buy, you’ll want to get in touch with the owners who are thinking of selling the business.)
Nun dolls and figurals are not only popular among nostalgic Catholics, but they played an important part in the lives of Catholic girls. Yes, we’re back to our recurring theme of “Catholic play.” The real life Sisters in habits were clearly special women who were set aside to play a special role in God’s plan. Their presence commanded respect. They were women who little Catholic girls wished to emulate and perhaps become when they grew up, serving Christ and His people on earth in a unique manner.
|Playing with nun dolls and the presence of special nun figures, with their childish appeal, reinforces the element of Catholic culture that is missing in too many Catholic homes today. When a girl plays with a Barbie or Bratz doll she learns to be a materialistic consumer, obsessed with glamour, trolling the shopping malls, and behaving badly. You can fill in the rest …
The truth is only the traditional orders that have maintained their original charism are those whose populations continue to grow. If you live in an area of the nation where traditional Sisters are still present, count yourselves blessed. And be sure to support that order in any way you are able. If you live near a modern order whose numbers are dwindling, support them, too. They need your help and prayers.
Back to our collectibles. We’ve included closing prices found on eBay and asking prices in other venues and hope you find this useful in determining what you should be paying for new additions to your nun collection. Enjoy exploring our collections by using the links at the top and bottom of the page.
What’s hot? Nun music boxes. Nun head vases. What’s not as hot as we all might think? Nun dolls. What’s not hot at all? Modern nun figures that make them look old and ridiculous.
We invite you to share your treasured
Nun Collectibles with our readers.
Some Traditional Orders
of Religious Nuns
There are still a great many traditional orders of religious Sisters in existence. Here are a few. We urge you to explore their sites, share them with your daughters, support them spiritually and materially in any way you can.
+ Discalced Carmelite Nuns – Carmel of St.
+ Dominican Nuns – Our Lady of the Rosary
Monastery, Summit, New Jersey
+ Dominican Nuns – Corpus Christi Monastery –
+ Order of Franciscan Missionaries of Christ
+ Cistertian Order of the Strict Observance
You can explore more orders here.