Fashion designer wants Betty Boop bag found at area Goodwill

DAYTON — Fashion designer Kathrine Baumann couldn’t believe her eyes when she spotted our article about her jewel-encrusted Betty Boop bag on

The story, posted on July 10, centered around her signed-and-numbered beaded creation that had been donated to a local Goodwill store and was being auctioned on eBay to raise funds for the charity.

“I was looking for a cover story somebody had written on me, and saw your story,” said Baumann. “I missed it by a day or I would have bought it back!”

The collectible was a handcrafted minaudiere (small purse) – number 480 of 2,500. Covered with colorful Swarovski crystals, the design features the animated character’s signature black hair, pink cheeks and red lips. Baumann says the original retail price was over $2,000.

“It really is rare, I don’t have another one, I’m so devastated,” she said.

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“Two years ago the president of King Features (which syndicates Betty Boop) wanted to purchase the Betty Boop for his wife but I had to tell him it was sold out. It’s a collection that is very rare and not available any more. I just wish I had read your article one day before!”

The popular designer, a former Miss America runner-up, is originally from Independence, Ohio, and has created custom pieces for celebrities ranging from Madonna to Cher. According to her web site, fans include Brooke Shields, Christina Applegate, Paula Abdul, Mariah Carey, Helen Mirren, Patti LaBelle, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Aniston and even the late Princess Diana.

When we called Goodwill to find out how much the coveted Betty Boop bag had sold for we learned the sale was still up in the air. The highest bidder had fallen through, the second highest had not yet paid.

“If we don’t hear soon, we’ll put it back up for sale,” said Goodwill’s Mari Jo Sellers who said regulations prohibited her from selling the donated bag directly to Baumann.

A couple of hours later Sellers called to confirm that the bag would indeed be going back up on eBay. Baumann should be a happy camper.

Meanwhile, we asked why she couldn’t simply whip up another. Turns out she long ago dissolved her relationship with the Italian company that created the form for the character bags, and no longer has the license to produce them. Minnie Mouse was another example.

Baumann says many of her bags have become collectibles.

A limited edition Titanic bag, for example, sold for $6,000 and, according to Baumann, is now selling for $14,000 and up.

We’ll keep you posted. To see more of Baumann’s bags, check out

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2440 or

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