With the World Cup now under way we thought we would have a look at some of the official and unofficial collectables and memorabilia available to collect and buy. The Official FIFA Store There are quite a few interesting items here. The World Cup mascots are always fun and especially nice are the range of Limited Edition prints available. There are about 20 prints available, including prints for each host and of interest to collectors will be the Romero Britto prints. Robert Harrop Designs To celebrate the World Cup in Brazil, Robert Harrop has produced 10 special Bull Terrier footballers. The England and Brazil editions are both timed and feature Red Bull Terriers. The remaining eight are all modelled using White Bull Terriers: Germany, France, Argentina, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, USA and Australia. Coca-Cola World Cup Brazil 2014 The Coca-Cola Company has had a long-standing relationship with FIFA since 1974 and has been an official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup™ since 1978. Coca-Cola has had stadium advertising at every FIFA World Cup™ since 1950. Brazil 2014 sees one of their largest campaigns ever. Look out for special bottles, cans, and promotions which will vary from country to country. Betty Boop Something different with these Betty Boop footballer figurines. There are six different posed figures. Header, On My Knee, Striker, Goalie, Free Kick and Star Player. Panini Stickers and Panini Heritage Collection Football stickers form part of every World Cup. When I was first collected you had to lick the backs to stick them in (my first was Argentina 78). Panini have a section called Panini Heritage which includes framed prints and tee-shirts featuring the covers of all the previous World Cup sticker albums. Swarovski Silver Crystal Swarovksi’s latest limited edition Soccer Champion Mo has a World Cup feel. She is very colourful with a yellow head, green body and clear horns and bell. A football hitting the target decorate her body. All very much giving a Brazilian theme.
Marc Davis – Disney Legend by Tawnya Gilreath Marc Davis is probably the world’s most beloved unknown man. Marc’s fabulous career spans over 60 years, including 43 years at Disney. In 1988, Marc was officially designated a “Living Legend” by The Walt Disney Company which is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a Disney artist. Many of Marc’s creations such as Cinderella, Tinker Bell, Sleeping Beauty, Cruella de Vil and the beloved skunk Flower are fond memories for people throughout the world. Disney utilized Marc’s humor and storytelling abilities in many of their most popular theme park rides. His contributions to It’s A Small World, The Haunted Mansion, and The Pirates of the Caribbean have enchanted millions of visitors. His talent is timeless and future generations will surely cherish his genius as we do today. In addition to being the world’s foremost animator and theme park designer, Marc is also an adventurer and an explorer. He has created hundreds of sketches and paintings of the people and cultures he encountered during his travels. Marc was so intrigued by the art and culture of Papua New Guinea that he created over 400 works of art which capture forever the beauty and mystery of this disappearing world. Since Marc is also an avid collector, he has a special affinity for collectors and understands the difficulties in building an outstanding collection. That is why he has agreed to open his vaults to The Official Marc Davis Collectors Society. From time to time Marc will hand pick previously unavailable works of art that will be made available to members only. All works will be numbered and signed for limited distribution. The Marc Davis Collectors Society is both the key and the vehicle through which Marc Davis treasures will be made available to the public. The organization has a charter that allows only 5,000 founding members worldwide making the membership itself a collector’s item. Founding members receive a hand-signed print of the “Jolly Roger”, a pirate character which Marc and Walt Disney considered for their walk-in attraction, The Pirates of the Caribbean, before it became the ride. This rare item will never be available through normal Disney channels in any form. A one-time membership fee of $275 secures your lifetime membership into this exclusive organization. Benefits include quarterly newsletters, a membership card and certificate, and an invitation to the annual convention. Whether you are a Disney buff or a fine art collector this is the opportunity of a lifetime. To join the Marc Davis Collectors Society or to learn more about Marc’s life and works, visit The Official Marc Davis Collectors Society web site. Membership may also be procured by calling (818) 347-4837 or fax to (818) 347-4793.
Tiny Tears Dolls – The Most Popular Vinyl Doll – Launched in a blaze of publicity in 1965, amazingly Tiny Tears dolls are still sold today – and the earliest ones are becoming exceedingly collectable. At the time, Palitoy was one of Britain’s largest toy manufacturers, and their revolutionary doll went on to win the ‘Toy of the Year’ award no less than three times. But what made this vinyl doll any different to the hundreds of others on the market at the time? Well, not only she could she shed ‘real’ tears and wet her nappy, additionally her limbs were attached with unique rotational joints, causing her to fall naturally into a floppy, babylike position when she was held. The very first, 1965, Tiny Tears doll was 16″ high with fine pale blonde hair and blue sleeping eyes. The back of her neck was marked ‘Made in England 16D’. She had delicate features, a small, pursed mouth, wore a turquoise or pink gingham romper and came with a bib, bottle and a dummy. This doll proved so popular that a year later Palitoy produced a smaller version, Teeny Tiny Tears, just 12″ high. Shortly after, Palitoy became part of the American company, General Mills Inc., who decided to keep the Palitoy name. Sometimes today collectors come across a baby doll similar to Tiny Tears but with a smiling face. This is Baby Flopsy, issued around the same time and advertised as being able to wear Teeny Tiny Tears outfits. She was sold wearing just a nappy. Five years after the initial launch, Tiny Tears was given a complete revamp which made her appear older; her delicate face was more rounded, her eyes were larger, her mouth wider and her hair was thicker. This is the face which most people remember, and it was to stay the same for the next fifteen years. She was marked ‘Palitoy’ on the back of the neck. One of her most popular outfits was a white nylon dress with blue and pink smocking on the yoke, and she was sold in this from 1973 to 1980, at a recommended retail price of œ7.99. Tiny Tears dolls came with guarantees and gift certificates, as well as instructions on how to feed the doll and make her cry. The tear mechanism was activated by ‘feeding’ the doll with water, quickly inserting a dummy to prevent the water trickling out of the mouth, and then squeezing her tummy hard. She would wet her nappy at the same time, probably due to shock! To mark the next decade, Tiny Tears was given a pretty cotton dress with a floral design in either pink or blue, and, at first, matching pants and bonnet, though soon a nappy was substituted for the pants while the bonnet was discarded.The eye-catching box read ‘She’s as cute and cuddly as a real baby. Just like a real baby she cries real tiny tears.’ The decade also heralded a new addition, the little Teeny Weeny Tiny Tears, just 9″ tall, who is now extremely popular with collectors and quite hard to find. A Tiny Tears logo was introduced, shaped like a yellow ‘sun-ray’, to decorate clothing and accessories, and in 1982, the floral outfit was updated to a white cotton dress trimmed with blue gingham. Three years later one of the prettiest versions of Tiny Tears appeared. Her ash-blonde hair was very thick and curly, her face was slimmer, and she wore a distinctive all-in-one jump-suit consisting of pink and blue spotted trousers over a white and blue striped top, with the words ‘Tiny Tears’ embroidered in blue on the trouser bib. Although the boxes of these dolls were labelled ‘Palitoy’, the actual doll bore no mark. It was around this time that General Mills withdrew from the toy scene and for a while, it seemed that Tiny Tears would disappear too. However, you can’t keep a popular doll down, and soon she was back, now produced by Tonka Toys, who introduced a brunette version as well as the standard blonde. It was Tonka who were responsible for one of the more unusual innovations when, in 1988, they gave Tiny Tears ‘flirty’ eyes, which moved from side to side. At the same time, they revamped her body, giving her realistically-curled fingers. This roving-eye doll is very collectable, but be careful, because the delicate eye mechanism is often damaged. When Tiny Tears celebrated her 25th birthday in 1990 (sold in a special anniversary presentation box) she was given a complete makeover, and reverted to the original delicate features. Tonka introduced two new dolls to the range. Timmy Tears, still a favourite today, and advertised as Tiny Tears’ twin brother, had dark hair, a saucy face, and wore a white and navy dungaree suit. He had the same crying and wetting abilities as his twin. The other addition was big sister Katie, who was a triumph, and one of the prettiest dolls on the market at the time. She was dainty, with a sweet face and, at 17″ tall, an inch taller than her siblings. Her outfit consisted of a white-spotted cerise or navy dress, and though she wasn’t a crying doll, she could do something even more clever – she could grow her hair! Around her neck hung a large plastic locket containing a pull cord, which enabled the hair to be wound in or out from her head, and an additional hairpiece was included in her box. Katie was soon discontinued, and is today one of the most sought-after of the Tiny Tears collection. During this period, the who-owned-whom became complicated. A spokes-person, writing in 1998 on behalf of Playmates Toys, a more recent owner of Tiny Tears, states that General Mills was bought out by Tonka and ‘eventually Kenner Parker. The company stayed Kenner Parker up until about 5 years ago (1992), when it was bought out by Hasbro, however the company still remained with the name Kenner Parker, which became a part of […]
The 20th Century has been responsible for some of the greatest changes to the way we live our everyday lives. Fast moving technology gave us the invention of the radio at the beginning of the century to the ipod’s that we plug into today. Interior design has progressed from Formica to Ikea and ceramics from Midwinter to Moorcroft. But it is not just the products that are worthy of status, it is the talented designers that created them, without their initial vision and determination, these products would never have developed into reality and become such a huge part of the world we live in today. One of the most celebrated artists of the 20th Century was Andy Warhol. Born Andrew Warhola, in Pennsylvania USA to Czechoslovakian emigrant’s Ondrej and Julia Warhola, his date of birth still remains a bit of a mystery. Andy always claimed that his 1930s birth certificate had been forged, but we do know that he was born between 1928 and 1931. After graduating as a Batchelor of Fine Arts in 1949, Warhol shortened his name and started work as a commercial artist and illustrator for well-known publications like Vogue and Harpar’s Bazaar. Although foremost his career was as a commercial artist he was desperate to have his work taken seriously and to be seen as a “pure” artist. 1956 was a turning point in his career and already a well-established figure mixing with the elite in social circles, his fascination with fame, celebrities and youth led him into another period of his artistic life. Being obsessed with celebrities (as were most people in the 1960s) he began to paint the Hollywood screen idols. The image that is so recognisable as his work today is that of Marilyn Monroe, she was Warhol’s favourite model although he did not begin to paint her until after her death. Other Hollywood screen idols that he captured during the 1960s were Elizabeth Taylor and Elvis Presley. These paintings were so popular, celebrities endorsed them and each wanted to be painted by him. One of his most famous images is that of the Campbells Soup Tin. He saw the heavily advertised consumer images like the soup tin worthy subjects and was right to – as this particular image has become iconic, being re-produced on many products. The most well known “The Souper Dress.” Was marketed as a throwaway item. This outfit originally cost just $1.25, and featured Warhol’s soup can images which formed a huge part of the “Pop Art” culture. An extremely rare item that if you were to find one in good condition it could cost in the region of £700 to £1,200. Other commercial work produced during this period was Coke bottle tops, Brillo Soap Pads and Heinz Tomato Ketchup bottles. These commercial art images reflected the popular need for consumer mass production and Warhol’s ability to turn a mundane object into art thus ensuring his place in history as one of the founding members of the “Pop Art” culture. Over the course of his career he produced thousands of different pieces and had a team of employees who reproduced his work in his studio, which he named “The Factory”. The most common method used was silkscree n painting because his art could be reproduced time after time, turning “high art” into a form of mass production. Now anything adorning Warhol’s images is highly collected. Originals command serious money but modern day collectable items are more affordable. Most of his original works of art now sit in private collections or are on display in museums around the world. In Pittsburgh, USA is The Andy Warhol Museum, the largest American Art Museum to be dedicated to one single artists work. However, sometimes items do come up for sale. A “Little Electric Chair” pink acrylic silkscreen print sold at Christies Contemporary Art Auction in 2001. Its estimate was $430,000 to $575, 000 but it actually realised $2.3 million. There is something for everyone in the Warhol collecting world and you don’t have to spend a fortune on an original piece as there are many companies producing his products under licence. Crystal Impressions have a range of laser etched crystal blocks in their “Prestige and Special Editions” range, you can choose from Marilyn Monroe or Elvis to the commercial images of the Campbell Soup tin to a Coca Cola bottle. Prices are far more affordable than an original piece of artwork as they start at as little as £39.95 to £49.95 each. The sports clothing company, Adidas, recently produced a Superstar trainer as part of their “Expressions Series” to celebrate their 35th Anniversary. The “Andy Warhol” design, produced in a limited edition of 4,000 shoes sold out instantly. If you bought a pair now on the secondary market they would cost between £70 and £90. There is even an Andy Warhol soft doll, which sells for £15, and a stunning ‘Art Opening with Andy and Edie’ Daisy doll, which is rare, and can cost £50 upwards. If this is still a little high for your pocket then you could purchase a copy of the “Velvet Underground” album for around £15 to £20, as this “Banana” cover was another famous design. Warhol would have appreciated these interpretations of his work in modern day collectables, as he was an obsessive collector himself. Well known for frequenting the flea markets looking for bargains he was also a common face in auction houses and loved buying off of local dealers. After his sudden death in 1987 when gall bladder surgery went terribly wrong he left behind a townhouse with 30 rooms. He had only been able to live in two of the rooms because the rest were crammed full of objects that he had collected. Well known for his extensive collection of cookie jars, he also had items ranging from Tiffany Glass Lamps to a Fred Flintstone watch, celebrity autographs to his 600 time capsules, which he filled with everyday materials that reflected his life. […]
Released during the Great War from 1915-1919 was an impressive set of eleven toby jugs based on the Allied Political and Military leaders by Wilkinson after designs and caricatures by Sir Francis Carruthers Gould. Each of the figures holds an item or is an item and has associated words e.g. Lloyd George holds a cannon shell with the words Shell Out on it (full list below). The set is extremely well designed, made and coloured and each molded figure was polychrome enameled and gilded. The features the retailers mark Soane & Smith, who were based in Knightsbridge. Lord Kitchener, holding a jug inscribed ‘Bitter for the KAISER’, 25cm high Admiral Beatty, holding a shell inscribed ‘Dread Nought’, 26.5cm high Field Marshall Haig, seated upon a tank, titled ‘Push and Go’ to the base, 27cm high Admiral Jellicoe, holding a jug inscribed ‘Hell Fire Jack’, 26cm high Marshall Joffre, holding a shell inscribed ’75mm Ce Que Joffre’, 25.5cm high Lord French, holding a jug inscribed ‘French Pour Les Francais’, 26cm high Lloyd George, holding a shell titled ‘Shell Out!’, 25cm high Marshall Foch holding a champagne bottle inscribed ‘Au Diable Le Kaiser’, 31.5cm high General Botha, holding a jug inscribed ‘Loyalty’, 26.5cm high Woodrow Wilson, with an aeroplane on his lap, the base inscribed ‘Welcome! Uncle Sam’, 27cm high King George V, holding a globe, the base inscribed ‘Pro Patria’, 30cm high A fabulous and rare set not often seen for sale as a full set.
From the late 19th Century through to World War 1, the German factory, Wurttembergische Mettalwaren Fabrik (more commonly known as WMF) was one of the most prolific in producing stylish, evocative and elegant designs in commercial continental pewter and silver plate metal ware.
Imagine how useful it would be if we had little knobs, strings or keys in our backs, enabling us to instantly lengthen our hair from a short, everyday bob to long, flowing locks which would make even Rapunzel jealous. Lots of dolls have this useful feature; they don’t need sessions at the hairdressers for fiddly hair-extensions!Probably the most famous ‘grow hair’ doll was Palitoy’s Tressy, produced under licence from the American Character Doll company. When she burst into the advertising spotlight in 1964, the slogan, ‘But HOW does Tressy’s hair grow?’ was chanted in school playgrounds. In fact, it turned out to be a clever promotional campaign because little girls who weren’t in on the secret became upset, pestering their parents until they too had a Tressy. So, how did Tressy’s hair grow? Simply by pushing a button in her tummy to release the ‘magic strand’ which could then be gently pulled until her hair lengthened. Afterwards, the strand was wound back into the head by means of a small metal key inserted into the hole in her back. Later versions had a plastic key as a permanent fixture. Tressy stood 12″ tall and was a slim, teen-type doll, with painted sideways-glancing eyes, but was afterwards updated and given forward-looking eyes, jointed wrists and gripping hands. Her younger sister, Toots, also favoured growing hair. Palitoy seemed quite taken with the grow hair mechanism, and in 1974 produced 18″ Sheena, more sophisticated than Tressy, with glamorous clothes such as a sparkly lilac outfit with flared trousers and a matching long-line tunic. Sheena’s hands were beautiful with long expressive fingers, and her slogan was ‘Just like magic her hair grows’. Instead of a key she had a dial in her back to wind the hair, though she still had the button in her tummy to release the strand when it was pulled. Yet another Palitoy doll was Goldilocks, a younger girl, rather than a teen, dating from 1968. Goldilocks wore a variety of outfits, and her hair was worked by a dial in her back, similar to Sheena’s. She was advertised as having 101 hair styles! Bradgate, a subsidiary company of Palitoy. issued Silky, a 10″ tall girl with a permanently fixed key, similar to Toots, Tressy’s sister. The American Ideal Toy Corporation produced a range of grow hair dolls, some of which were sold in Britain. Most popular was Crissy, a similar height to Sheena, who had striking large dark eyes. Crissy’s hair grew by gently easing out the main centre strand, and could be retracted by means of a pull-cord in her back. She was first made in 1968, and others in the series included Velvet, Mia, Kerry, Brandi and Cinnamon, all just as attractive. Haute Coiffure Sindy, dating from 1985, was a grow hair doll too. Made by Pedigree, she wore a beautiful pearlised strapless full-skirted dress over a lilac net petticoat, and a white fluffy jacket with three-quarter length sleeves. Sindy’s hairpiece was lengthened by carefully pulling it from a hole in the top of her head, and the idea was to style – or cut – the hair, which explains why so many of these dolls are found sheared! Replacement hair came in little plastic bags marked with the Sindy logo, and a panel in her back could be prised off, allowing the new hair to be inserted by means of a plastic ring tied to a thin string. Once the hair was fully extended it was virtually impossible to retract it, though sometimes, if you were lucky, the string attached to the plastic ring could be eased back slightly. One of the prettiest of these clever dolls was Katie, first issued in 1992 by Tonka, and made for a further couple of years by Kenner. Katie was the big sister of Tiny Tears and her blonde hair not only grew but could be changed from straight to wavy, depending on which hairpiece you chose to insert. This young girl doll was 17″ high, and her mechanism was activated by a plastic locket around her neck, attached to a pull cord. She is quite difficult to find today in perfect condition, and good examples sell for around £40. There were French versions of Katie, too, called ‘Kattie’, including a brunette version who seems to be fairly rare. Still easy to find, however, is Playskool’s cheerful Dolly Surprise, a 10″ high smiling girl dating from 1988. She was obtainable with many variations of both facial features and hair styles. Eye colours, dimples and freckles varied, and some dolls even featured TWO growing tresses. The mechanism was worked by raising the doll’s right arm, causing the hair to lengthen with a whirring sound. Twisting her left arm let the thick wavy strand retract back into the head, clicking loudly as it went. This doll came dressed in many different styles including a pretty pink and silver ballet tutu, and extra outfits were available. There was also a larger, 15″ version, a chubby faced baby, with a similar mechanism. Bride Surprise, from the Hasbro/Kenner/Tonka group, was a creative hair grow doll from the 1990s, a 14″ beauty whose hair cascaded down to her toes when her arm was raised. Amazingly, as it erupted, it turned from blonde to vivid pink! She had plenty of other unusual features, including a dress which turned from short to long by means of attached ribbons, a bag which changed into a bouquet and a secret gift hidden inside a rose fixed to her hair. Other grow-hair dolls which surface from time to time include a winsome-faced soft-bodied girl from Gotz, mini-sized ‘Kim’ dolls from Uneeda (with the mechanism worked by a cord in the foot), various Barbies, a range of ‘Haircut Magic’ Cabbage Patch dolls, Pedigree ‘Cut and Grow’ girl dolls with yarn hair and ‘Pert and Pretty’ by Horsman. There are many others. However, the prize for the most unusual of these dolls must surely go to Kenner’s 9″ tall Hair-Do Dolly. […]
Sun Records, located at 706 Union Ave., was a record label based in Memphis, Tennessee starting operations on March 27 1952. Founded by Sam Phillips, Sun Records was known for giving notable musicians such as Elvis Presley (whose recording contract was sold by Sun Records to RCA Victor Records for $35,000 in 1956 to relieve financial difficulties they were going through), Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and Johnny Cash their first recording contracts and helping to launch their careers. Pictured right: Sun Studio Memphis – image used under the Creative Commons 3.0 license. Before those days Sun Records had mainly been noted for recording African-American artists, as Phillips loved Rhythm and Blues and wanted to get black music recorded for a white audience. It was Sun record producer and engineer, Jack Clement, who discovered and recorded Jerry Lee Lewis, while owner Sam Phillips was away on a trip to Florida. The original Sun Records logo was designed by John Gale Parker, Jr., a resident of Memphis and high school classmate of Phillips. Pictured left: Elvis Presley ‘That’s All Right’ record on the Sun label. The music of many Sun Records musicians helped lay part of the foundation of late 20th century popular music and rock and roll, plus it influenced many younger musicians, particularly the Beatles. In 2001, Paul McCartney appeared on a tribute compilation album titled Good Rockin’ Tonight: The Legacy Of Sun Records. In 1969, Mercury Records label producer Shelby Singleton; noted for producing the Ray Stevens’ hit “Ahab The Arab” in 1962, and later Jeannie C. Riley’s 1968 hit single “Harper Valley PTA” on his Nashville based Plantation Records label; purchased the Sun label from Phillips. Singleton merged his operations into Sun International Corporation, which re-released and re-packaged compilations of Sun’s early artists in the early 1970s. It would later introduce rockabilly tribute singer Jimmy Ellis in 1980 as Orion taking on the persona of Elvis Presley. Pictured: Jerry Lewis Great Balls of Fire Sun Label. The company remains in business today as Sun Entertainment Corporation, which currently licenses its brand and classic hit recordings (many of which have appeared in CD boxed sets and other compilations) to independent reissue labels. Sun Entertainment also includes SSS International Records, Plantation Records, Amazon Records, Red Bird Records, Blue Cat Records among other labels the company acquired over the years. Its website sells collectible items as well as compact discs bearing the original 1950s Sun logo. Sun Label: Record Collecting Guide Text: Copyright (C) 2000,2001,2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed. Related Elvis Presley Memorabilia Rock and Pop Collecting Overview
January 1940 – Britain was at war with Germany. War had actually been declared in September of the previous year, but it was during the 1940s that the effects were to hit home, changing many people’s lives forever. Food rationing began on January 8th, with meat, sugar and butter the first foods to be affected, but as the war took hold more and more shortages became apparent. 1940 saw people restricted to 4oz bacon, 2 oz butter, 2 oz tea, a shilling’s worth of meat (a pork chop and a couple of sausages), 8 oz sugar, 2 oz jam and 1 oz of cheese. People were encouraged to ‘Dig For Victory’ by transforming their flower gardens into vegetable patches, and recipes appeared which used non-rationed products in so-called appetising dishes. Women were urged to ‘Make Do And Mend’ by unravelling woollens and re-knitting them, cutting-down adult garments for youngsters and transforming pillowcases and sheets into underwear. Parachute silk was sometimes obtainable, and in 1941 a Utility Mark, which looked like a pie with a slice taken out of it, appeared on products to indicate they passed government regulations regarding quality and restrictions. No unnecessary trims and embroidery were permitted, even on baby clothing. As items such as stockings became unavailable, young women resorted to staining their legs with gravy browning and getting a friend to draw a seam line down the back with an eyebrow pencil. They prayed that not only would the friend have a steady hand, they would not get caught in the rain. The British faced grim times – huddling in an air-raid shelter while bombs rained down was no joke – while London Underground stations were also pressed into service with many people spending their nights there, safe if uncomfortable. However, it wasn’t all gloom and doom, and a great cameraderie developed, especially amongst Londoners who bore much of the brunt of the onslaught. The younger people, especially, deemed it a great adventure, and would think nothing of racing along the streets while shrapnel rained down, dodging from one doorway to another. My mother and aunts seemed to be out dancing every night, partying with the soldiers on leave – perhaps a release from the horrors they witnessed and uncertainty they faced. No-one ever knew if their brother or boyfriend was going to be the next soldier killed, or if their family would be eradicated by a direct hit from a bomb on the house. In 1944 the terrifying Doodlebugs droned overhead; when the buzzing stopped, there was fifteen seconds to escape before they exploded. Many premises were taken over for munitions work, including doll factories such as Pedigree and Palitoy, and young women would be employed to make aircraft parts or guns; all women under sixty were required to undertake some form of war work. Sometimes, their skin turned yellow with the chemicals they came in contact with, and they were encouraged to use make-up to form a barrier on the skin. Headscarves became fashionable – they were a necessity in the factories to pro tect hair from machinery – as did wedge-heeled shoes with cork soles; leather was scarce, but the cork proved durable. Skirts were worn shorter as fabric was rationed, but hair was often kept long with plenty of curls, as women strove to retain their femininity. Thousands of ‘Land Girls’ worked on farms, and for the first time wore trousers, a freedom which women were reluctant to relinquish after the War. Of course, countless women joined the services and worked alongside their male counterparts in the war zones. Although Britons had to adapt to a more frugal way of life, they were still able to visit the cinema or theatre, and music played a vital part in keeping up morale. Dance halls throbbed to swing music; the American Glenn Miller band was a huge hit with numbers such as ‘In The Mood’, and a crazy dance called the Jitterbug literally swept girls off their feet. Forties’s films and shows included Oklahoma, Casablanca, Bambi, Dumbo, Pinocchio, Easter Parade, The Red Shoes and Brief Encounter. ‘Gone With the Wind’, released the year before, won eight Academy Awards in 1940. Radio programmes such as ‘ITMA’ and ‘Music While You Work’ kept the people in Britain entertained, while in Russia, Prokofiev’s stunning new ballet, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, was premiered. As so many factories had been requisitioned, dolls were not particularly easy to find, and those which were available tended to be of composition or pottery, often cheaply made and with homely faces. Nevertheless, these were the dolls which comforted children through the air-raids, and went with them when they were evacuated. Dolls were also made from cloth, or knitted from old garments, while Norah Wellings made mascot dolls, donating a percentage of the proceeds to servicemen’s organisations. After the War, plastics began to be used by toy companies, and by the late 1940s were becoming increasingly popular. Pioneering developments were made at this time by companies such as Palitoy, Rosebud, Roddy and Pedigree, while Mormit produced a innovative soft plastic doll with detachable limbs for easy drying. Although composition dolls were still manufactured, it was obvious that plastics was the medium which people wanted; these new dolls were lightweight, washable, virtually unbreakable, warmer to hold, and pretty, as the modelling was finer. Other developments included ‘Beauty Skin’, a kapok-filled rubbery plastic patented by Pedigree. After the war, people became a little resentful when goods and clothing were exported rather than being sold ‘off ration’. Christian Dior introduced his ‘New Look, with longer skirts, as there was now no need to conserve fabric, but in Britain, clothes and fabric were still rationed, and would be till the end of the decade. Britain in the late 1940s was feeling a bit jaded, and something new was needed. It came in the 1950s, with a new queen, a futuristic exhibition and a phenomenon known as a ‘teenager’.
They have a variety of names – pincushion dolls, tea-cosie dolls and dresser dolls… and there are those also known as ‘tops’, ‘pin heads’ or ‘whisk-broom’ dolls. Generally they are referred to as Half Dolls… but whatever name may be dubbed, they all have one thing in common.