Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ideal Toni Dolls

History of Ideal's Toni.

 One of the most popular dolls of the 1950's, Toni was made by the
Ideal Doll Company from 1948 to 1956. The first dolls were
introduced by actress June Haver (Who later married actor Fred
McMurray of TV's My Three Sons fame and many movies) just in time for
the Christmas season . Toni is marked on the upper back torso. The
marks are: P-90, for the 14", P-91, for the 15" up to P-94 for the
24". The dolls were designed by Benjamin Mitchtom, one of the owners
of the Ideal Doll Company. The doll is made of hard plastic which is
either styrene, acetate, or butyrate. The sizes are 14" to 24" with
half sizes also. Toni had a five piece straight leg body. In 1954 -
1956 there were Toni's made with a walker body. When
new the cost for the 14" was $10.00 up to $18.00 for the 24".
 Mr Mitchtom of Ideal joined with The Gillette Company maker of the Toni
Home permanent to promote the doll that could be given a home
permanent. Toni had a special nylon wig for that purpose. This also
makes Toni an advertising doll. A small sized Toni Home Permanent kit
came with the doll when new as did a hand tag on the wrist. There
are other dolls in the 50's that used the P-90 - P-94 bodies. A
different vinyl head was used for each of these. Toni's head was
always hard plastic. Some of these dolls using the Toni bodies with
vinyl heads are: Sara Ann, Mary Heartline, Miss Curity, Betsy
McCall, Ruth and Harriet Hubbard Ayer. Princess Mary used the five
piece walker body.
Toni came in many hair and eye colors. The most commonly found Toni
is the P-90 14" green eyed platinum blonde. The common eye colors
are green and blue with brown being extremely rare. The hair colors
are platinum, honey and golden blonde, auburn, light and dark brown, and black, with
red very hard to find. Toni had many dress styles and lots of
different fabrics were used with cotton being the most common, but 
taffeta and nylon were also used. Her shoes had a center snap on the
ankle strap. The socks were usually white cotton, but some were made
of rayon. The slip was a half slip made of white 100% cotton with a
small white lace trim that was also matched with the panties. The
slip was sewn into the waist of the dress. The clothing tags on the
Toni are not in good condition consider replacing them with
reproduction clothing.  Save the original clothes. There are copies
of the original Toni patterns. Look at pictures of Toni's in
original clothing and pay special attention to the patterns of the
prints and plaids and color combinations. Also look carefully at the
laces and trims that were used. You can find some close matches if
you shop carefully.
Mr Mitchtom was so proud of Toni he had some of the top fashion
designers of the day design gowns for her. These are very hard to
find. I have seen pictures of some these gowns and they are
Toni also came as a bride. She wore a long white dress with a long
veil. The fabrics and style of the dresses and veils vary depending
on the year made.
Ideal also made a doll that was a forerunner of the Toni that is
sometimes called a Toni. She is not a Toni. She has the P-90, and P-92 five
piece straight leg hard plastic body. She also had a hard plastic
head and Toni face with the paler flesh color that is associated with
the earlier Toni's. The real distinction is her wig is made of
mohair and she could not be given the Toni Home Permanent and is
therefore not a Toni.  Collectors call this doll the Pre-Toni.  Only the dolls with 
the nylon wigs that could be give the permanent are considered Toni's. 

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