Introduction to Ideal Dolls:
Ideal dolls were synonymous with play for millions of American girls growing up in the Twentieth Century. A roster of Ideal dolls is familiar even to those who are not doll collectors since it includes such stars of the doll collecting world as Shirley Temple, Betsy Wetsy, Patti Playpal and Toni. Ideal combined a great understanding of licensed characters and properties and the talents of great sculptors like Bernard Lipfert to create some of the most iconic and popular dolls of its time.
Years of Production of Ideal Dolls:
Ideal dolls were produced from approximately 1907 through the early 1980s, although like most American doll companies of its era it faced steep declines in popularity and quality by the early 1970s. Ideal dolls were made from composition, hard plastic and vinyl and therefore successfully transitioned to each popular new dollmaking material as it was introduced during the Twentieth Century.
Dolls That Were Produced By Ideal Dolls:
As mentioned above, Ideal produced many of the most popular dolls throughout the early and mid-Twentieth Century--the dolls that captured the hearts and minds of little girls and their mothers. Dolls produced by Ideal included Shirley Temple, Judy Garland, Bonnie Braids, Saucy Walker, Betsy McCall, Toni, Betsy Wetsy, Miss Revlon, Thumbelina, Flatsys and many others.
As mentioned, Ideal successfully transitioned from Composition dolls in the early Twentieth Century to Hard Plastic Dolls in the mid-Twentieth Century, and finally to vinyl dolls. Few doll companies were able to do that.
Prices and Secondary Market For Ideal Dolls:
It is almost impossible to cover prices and secondary market trends for Ideal Dolls in a short, succinct manner since entire books have been written on the subject! As with most Twentieth Century play dolls, prices for played with dolls have generally declined substantially in the last decade due to the effect of eBay on the doll market. Prices for truly mint in box dolls remain high and seem to be slowly increasing.
Marks on Ideal Dolls:
Early composition dolls can be unmarked, but generally Ideal dolls are well marked on the back of the head or upper torso. Marks vary, but are often IDEAL DOLL, somtimes followed by MADE IN THE USA and often followed or preceded by a few letters and numbers to indicate the model, such as, for a 16 inch Toni doll: P-91 // Ideal Doll // Made in the U.S.A.