Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Brief History of the Italian Doll Company: Lenci Company

The Lenci Company was founded in 1919 in Turin, Italy by Enrico and Elana Konig Scavini. It is reported that the company continued making dolls into the 21st century, however, there is conflicting information about the year company was founded and exactly how long they continued making dolls.
The dolls made at Lenci during the 1920s and 1930s are particularly desired by collectors because of their superb craftsmanship, and also because they are so irresistibly adorable.
The most notable among the Lenci’s 83 years of history was the period between the two World Wars. These are said to be the most valuable and best well made of their creations.
The early highly sought after Lenci dolls have the pressed felt and oil-painted faces. They also had double felt ears that were sewn on individually. Their heads swiveled on their bodies. They had jointed shoulders and hips and some dolls had rooted hair on mohair wigs. They often had side glancing eyes and were dressed in elaborate costumes made from either felt or organdy.
Some of these early Lenci dolls can be found today carrying things such as a carved wooden animal or a broom. The later Lenci dolls are reported as being somewhat less well made and many have fabric covered cardboard torsos with felt faces that are hard and have been compared to cloth covered cardboard. The later dolls might be found dressed in clothing made from cotton, rayon, and taffeta. They are also usually less well accessorized than the earlier better made dolls.
The Lenci dolls apparently were also imitated everywhere since the year of 1927, from Turin to Florence, and then in Germany, France, and England. The imitation dolls were also said to be Read on at:

Friday, November 23, 2007

Galoob Baby Face Dolls

Mel Birnkrant is the creator of the Galoob Baby Face doll. He has been in the toy industry for many years and is a leading toy designer. Mel Birnkrant was the Creative Director for Colorforms Toys for over 20 years. While in this position he created a cornucopia of products that included the Mickey Mouse and Disney Colorforms toys. He licensed the Baby Face doll design in partnership with Kiscom Toys to the Lewis Galoob Toy Company in 1990. All the original outfits worn by the Baby Face dolls were created by Judy Albert, who also has fame for the Cabbage Patch family of dolls.
Mel and his wife, Eunice converted a three-story schoolhouse in upstate New York into a home for themselves and their unusual collection of rare comic character toys.
The first dolls’ names were:
• So Surprised Suzie• So Happy Heidi• So Sorry Sarah• So Shy Sherry• So Delightful DeeDee• So Playful Penny• So Innocent Cynthia• So Loving Laura• So Sweet Sandi• So Funny Natalie Read on at:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Vintage Doll Collecting: Tim Wilson Dolls

Tim Wilson was the first in the USA to place Zapf dolls, Lissi Dolls, Engel Puppen, Stolli, and Steiff Dolls on the American Shopping Channels to help build the awareness of the German quality. The Tim Wilson Family of Fine Dolls is recognized for innovation, quality, delivery, and value for over 18 years.
The partnership between German makers of Zapf and Steiff and Tim Wilson dissolved when the German makers each decided to merchandise in the USA with their own corporate distribution.
Tim Wilson introduced the Lissi dolls on TV and to the US retailers in the 1980’s. Lissi Batz doll makers were the smallest of the German doll makers in the area of Coburg, West Germany. Arno, Lissi, their son Manfred Batz, Tim and Susan Wilson came to an agreement to start Lissi Dolls USA. This was a new company in the US with Tim Wilson as President. As the result of this success, Tim Wilson was named “Vendor of The Year” by “Home Shopping Network.”
Tim Wilson approached the largest seller of German made dolls in the US, the Pleasant Company, in 1994 to solicit their business to change to Asian production. They agreed and as a result the quality of Asian production was up to their high standards.
The Tim Wilson Family of Fine Dolls and Cute As a Button Babies Company was established in 1997 under the umbrella of KACHA INTERNATIONAL, LTD. Tim searched for leading American artists and designers to produce the winning sculpt. The first artist developed molds from Tim Wilson’s children, Kara and Chad, who were 11 months apart in age and often referred to by friends and family as “Cute as a Button Babies.” Thus, the name of the line was trademarked, CUTEASABUTTONBABIES. The first of the many face molds sere sculpted by Donna Vernal, who is a long time designer for many leading companies.
CUTEASABUTTONBABIES (trademark) was immediately nominated for Doll of The Year in 1998, and the packaging for the products was 100% successful having the total sellout each year by Thanksgiving during the prime Christmas selling season. This discovery was definitely a successful find.
He found award winning artists to design the newest “Designer Reproduction Series,” and personally sculpted three play doll faces for the CUTEASABUTTONBABIES (trademark) series. The theory behind the DRS series is to offer award winning dolls in the vinyl medium. The molds are winners, however, consumers have not been able to obtain or afford the dolls produced in very small limited edition pieces to less than 50 pieces and some dolls are editions of only one. Now, due the DRS series, they can be offered at retails less than $100. Read on at:

Friday, November 9, 2007

Vintage Doll Collecting: Chad Valley Toys and the Palitoy Toy Company

Palitoy was the name of a British toy company that manufactured some of the most popular toys in Britain, of which some were original items and others were under license. The company, near Leicester, England, grew out of a plastics firm established by Alfred Edward Pallett in 1909 and became one of Britain’s leading toy manufacturers. Some of their most famous toys included:
• Action Man• Action Force• Tiny Tears Baby Dolls• Pippa• Tressy• Star Wars figures• Care Bears
British Xylonite bought the Cascelloid Company in 1931 and created the trademark “Palitory” in 1935 for their toy division. Alfred Edward Pallet founded the Cascelloid Company in 1909 to produce celluloid and fancy goods. They produced their first doll in 1925.
Injection molding was developed by British Xylonite in 1941 and was used for the Palitoy toy ranges.
Palitory was sold to General Mills in 1968 and became the Palitory Company in 1980 when Palitory, Denys Fisher and Chad Valley broke away from General Mills. Their business closed in 1984. Hasbro bought the factory, toy molds and copyrights from whom they had been a major licensee.
Action Man
Action Man was a doll marketed as “moveable fighting man,” and as with Hasbro’s G.I. Joe in the U.S. (of which was licensed copy) no mention was ever made of the figure being a doll. It was unseemly for boys to be playing with dolls in the 1960’s.
Action Man was originally produced and sold in the United Kingdom and Australia by Palitoy Ltd of Coalville, Leicestershire from 1966 until 1984. Action Man and accessories were originally based on the Hasbro (US) 1964 G.I. Joe. The first Action Man figures were “Action Soldier,” “Action Sailor” and “Action Pilot.” They were all available in the four original hair colors of blonde, auburn, brown and black. Their outfits depicted the participants of the Second World War. Action Man was subsequently reintroduced in 1993, based on the GI Joe Hall of Fame figure of that time.
The action figure featured changeable clothes with various uniforms to suite different purposes which eventually created global popularity for this type of toy. Read on at: