by Sally DeSmet Trueblood

by Sally DeSmet Trueblood

Sunday, May 30, 2010

My 1950's Doll has a flaw - or does it?


I so often get questions about irregularities in the dolls from the 1950s. The questions include whether the arms or legs are the same color, are the legs the same length, and etc. I would like to offer a different view on the subject.

As a long-time collector and seller, I have seen a lot of interesting examples! I have seen a mint in box Toni that was obviously "from the factory" with Harriet Hubbard Ayer arms, Miss Revlon dolls with the eyes completely lopsided, mint in box Shirleys with very long hair, and Shirleys with quite short hair.

The point here is that these dolls were not manufactured as collectibles, they were sold as "toys." There was no thought to collectibles, ebay, re-sell or anything close. They were simply meeting the needs of children to own a doll to play with. These dolls were factory-made and there was much variation in the color of the limbs, length of the limbs, eye color, hair length, and etc... Imagine workers in the factory putting these dolls together grabbing arms, and legs, and heads. Of course there were different dye lots, and etc. If one leg was a somewhat different color or length than the other, workers most certainly did not set about finding an exact match and frankly, children didn't care.

It is marvelous to get a mint example of any doll, and condition is obviously a factor in the value. The closer a doll is to the factory-example, the more the value. If there are irregularities in the example, well....that is part of the fifties and this is the doll that the factory produced. Perhaps the irregularities should be celebrated, instead of avoided. Look at it this way; we all avoid buying dolls in which the parts have been switched. That is messing with the originality (in my opinion). If someone were to look at a doll in which the legs are a slightly different length, or color - it is likely original to that doll. In an age where we are looking for perfection, I doubt that anyone would switch parts that are not a perfect match!

In closing, these irregularities are part of the fifties in which these dolls were precious "toys" for children. They should perhaps not be run away from, but celebrated as part of the wonderful factory that gave us these amazing memories.

3 comments:

  1. How do you find out what doll it is and how much it can be sold for?

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  2. Hi my name is Chad Brackin and recently I've had the pleasure of listening to my grandmother tell of her most cherished childhood memories. One of these most touching moments was hearing Granny's fondness of her first doll. It would mean a great deal if I could replace this lost gift to her. Please contact me @ chadbrackinfacebook@Gmail.com or 601-650-8960. Best regards, Chad B

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  3. Do you know the name and or maker of the doll pictured at the top. It looks like a doll my aunt gave me when I was a little girl.

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