BNPS/Burstow & Hewett; Inset: Getty
Diana Pearl
September 22, 2017 02:24 PM

Back when she was still Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen enjoyed playtime with classic toys of the era — including a Mickey and Minnie set that predates the iconic characters’ film debut.

Five of Elizabeth’s dolls, as well as 20 of her childhood outfits, were sold at auction earlier this week by the British auction house Burstow & Hewett. The collection includes several outfits the Queen wore as a child, as well as three girl dolls and the Mickey and Minnie set were included in the sale. The (slightly creepy-looking) Mickey and Minnie dolls were made by Dean’s Rag Book Company and were made in 1930 — just two years after the characters debuted in the Disney short film Steamboat Willie.

All the items come from Clara Knight, a former royal nurse and babysitter for the Queen. Knight started working for the royal family in 1926, just after the then-Princess Elizabeth was born. The items were given to Knight as a gift. Though she herself died in 1946 (the Queen, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret all attended her funeral) her family has held onto them ever since — until now.

BNPS/Burstow & Hewett

Having a piece of the Queen’s childhood in your own home, of course, cost the buyers quite a sum. The dolls were expected to sell for £300 each — or $405. Two of the girl dolls ended up going for £250 ($338), and the other for £120 ($162). The Mickey and Minnie dolls far exceeded the estimate, selling at £880 — close to $1200. 

 The collection of dresses (which includes a photo of the young Queen in one of the dresses) was expected to go for £1,500, or $2,025. The ended up selling for £1,250, or $1,691. 

BNPS/Burstow & Hewett

Though the collection spent some time on exhibition in the Bexhill Museum in East Sussex, England, for the most part, they’ve been tucked away in Knight’s family’s home.

“Clara lived and worked extremely closely with the royal family and was given these clothes and dolls from time to time which she would then send to her family,” Matt Ellin, a specialist at Burstow & Hewett, the auction house that is hosting the sale of the items, said ahead of the auction. “It’s a historic collection and we are expecting worldwide interest.”

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