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The Ideal Toni Dolls Were Designed by Bernard Lipfert to be Played With...
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Designed by Bernard Lipfert, Toni made a smashing debut circa 1949. Not an inexpensive doll for that era. My doll, of course, was purchased for me by my maternal grandmother.
I can still remember picking her out in a very small toy store in Aurora, Colorado. Thrilled to death that she was MINE, but feeling a bit guilty as she cost $14.95,
Toni and I began our long journey together. I might also note that this was one of the most expensive of the line. They ranged from $9.95 upward to around $17.95.
The Ideal Toni Dolls were a promotional doll, connected with the Toni cosmetic company, she was sold with her own home permanent kit.
Everything mother had to perm your hair, the Ideal Toni Dolls had the same. A permanent solution, made of sugar and water. There were also end papers and a comb, just as in the adult home permanent kits
When the wave setting liquid ran out, mother just gave you the ingredients that were always on hand, and you were off again to concoct your own lotion, and to curl Toni's hair with her own plastic curlers.
The individual who brainstormed that idea was obviously a kind person, sympathetic to parents because if the Ideal Toni Dolls were on the market today, you would have to purchase more solution everytime you set the dolls hair.
When restoring a Ideal Toni dolls hair to a more presentable coif, I would not recommend using sugar and water, as it never worked well anyway. A mild shampoo and conditioner rinse, even a watered solution of fabric softener, tames the frizzies that Toni has acquired in storage or even long shelf display.
Try to avoid excessive water or shampoo in the area of her eyes and brows, as the brows will fade or wash away and too much water in the eyes causes the cloudiness you see on some Tonis.
eBay has a rather large set of listings of vintage Toni dolls for sale, if you are interested in a purchase, or to find values, click here (Bad eBay Link) (if looking for values, it is necessary to register with eBay).
Ideal Toni Dolls have a wig which is easily identified. The wefts of hair are folded over and stitched in a neat center part. The stitching is visible but not detracting. Created of very sturdy hard plastic, the Ideal Toni Dolls do age well...actually she doesn't age at all!
Perhaps her only malady is the occurance of that waxy mold that is accompanied by the dreaded odor resembling stinky cheese. I would not recommend purchasing a Toni or any hard plastic that strongly reeks of this odor, as it is almost impossible to expel.
You may purchase a perfect odorless doll only to discover one day that there is a hint of the "stinky cheese" starting to surround her "space".
Usually this unexpected, undesirable situation occurs when the doll is purchased through the mail from a dry geographical area and moved to a damper climate. At this stage a normal sponge bath with mild soap will remove the culprit odor and Toni will remain fresh for an extended length of time.
The Ideal Toni Dolls are an exceptionally enjoyable doll to collect as she was issued with many different dress styles. Those of you still looking to replace your childhood Toni in her original familiar clothing, have only to visit my favorite 24 hour doll show, eBay.
If you still have your Ideal Toni doll, but her dress has been lost through the years, again eBay is a great place to look. There are many original dresses listed often and usually vary in the price range of $25.00 on up to $75.00 for those which are considered hard to find.
If the price range is not in your budget, sit down prepared with a tape measure and shop through the hundreds of clothing items offered until you find an appropriate school dress or outfit that will fit your doll. These can be purchased at minimal amounts, a few dollars and shipping charges.
Or if you are an enthusiastic seamstress, many vintage doll patterns which fit Toni are also available! My personal love for Toni is due to her characteristic of being a true doll to play with. You will not break her if you freshen her clothes or her hair.
If the rubber band which strings together her parts disentegrates, she is easily restrung with a heavy circular rubber band. Just grasp the band with the metal hooks in the proper appendage openings...it takes only a few minutes to have her on her feet again.
And how far can you go with a collection of just Ideal Toni Dolls?????
Related Ideal Toni Doll items.
This photo of an Ideal Toni Doll is similar to that which was a prize won on the punchboard displayed with her.
The darling little Hopalong Cassidy lunchbox and thermos is a newer item. Limited editions from Hallmark, they are actually Christmas ornaments.
But, every little girl from the 40's-50's era had a metal lunchbox! The Lone Ranger was also available, and another Toni girl carries it to school.
If you do not have much space, one doll can have a trunk and a multitude of her original dresses. Change them as often as you like.
My personal preference, you might have guessed, is Toni as a school girl, but she was available as a bride and occasionally in a gown.
The dresses are easily identified, even without tags, as they generally have an attached white slip with matching cotton panties. Ideal did make dresses for other dolls with the attached slip.
There are some lovely books available to help you identify the original Toni dresses.
Ideal Dolls by Judith Izen. Beautiful illustrations with most in color. Ideal Dolls by Judith Izen, Second Edition Continues the quality of research and photographs
Although the two dresses shown on the right are usually associated with Betsy McCall, both were found with the blonde Toni in the center.
And of course, the Ideal Toni Dolls can have room settings.
The "kitchen" is actually a shelf in a bookcase.
Her kitchen items accumulated from treasure hunts at yard sales, flea markets, doll shows and of course my favorite all time 24 hour show...yep...you are catching on.....eBay!
Suitable and very appealing Ideal Toni Dolls clothing can be found online at auction sites,
Probably the best place to look for present "doll and accessories" value is on the Internet, primarily the auction sites--my favorite is eBay...the completed Toni Dolls section of eBay is where you can browse the past 30 days of completed auctions of Toni dolls and accessories.
On the left side, in the box named "Display", you can selsect "Active Items" to see the "Toni dolls and accessories" presently up for auction.
Also, if you have a doll or doll accessories you would like to find out about...eBay is the place to start...search the Dolls and Bears Category, just type in what you have in the search window just under "Dolls & Bears" on the left, and "Shazam", there appears a list of present, up for auction items--in the "Display" box on the left select "Completed Items", a new list will appear, displaying completed items going back for 30 days.
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Welcome to "Show and Tell" for early Toni Dolls!
all love to share. If you have photos and information pertaining to
these lovely very early Toni Dolls, please fill in the form below to
and Tell" your favorite Toni Doll. We all have interest in how they were located, the use of materials in her clothing and anything else you would like to share with other avid collectors.
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What Other Visitors Have Said
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
inherited my sister's Toni
My sister had the 19 1/2" Toni walker doll, which lived in our attic at home, then her attic for years (my sister was 18 years older than me. She …
I had my Toni (new!) in kindergarten (circa 1951-52) - as I recall she had a little plaid pinafore dress - one of my schoolmates was jealous, and put watercolor …
I received my Toni doll as a gift from my maternal grandmother on the day I was born, September of 1954. She has lived in her original box ever since …
It took me two Christmas's to get my Toni. Mother was a bargain hunter and Toni was the most expensive doll at our local 5 and dime store. The first …
My friend lost her childhood doll and I have a doll for her, but no shoes for the doll. I want to clean her up, but need help with the best way to do …
Can you help? Not sure who this lovely girl is - any ideas? I love the detail of her stockings and her earrings, her feet all ready for her high shoes …
Magazine Contest Toni Doll Story
Dear Family: A doll friend told me about a contest in a doll magazine. She encouraged me to enter with my story about my Ideal Toni doll, the doll you …
I got my Toni for my 7th birthday in March of 1950, a platinum blonde beauty. She and I were inseparable. For Christmas that year (59 years ago), …
faced fear of dolls... Not
So my birthday is this month, and my brother has a fear of dolls. But he saw one he thought I would like for my antique/vintage toy collection (it's mostly …
Toni : marking error - help Not
Sorry for the very strange title! :)I have a Toni here that I would love any information/feedback on: First off, she has the long curly platinum hair …
Happened to Sweetie? Not
Where is Sweetie The year I was 9, my mom surprised me with my Toni Doll, she came in a suitcase with dresses on hangers and underware and socks in …
Toni doll is at least 60 Not
I'm not exactly sure how old my Toni doll Yvonne is, but I had her my first day of school, when I was 5, in 1952. Why I vividly remember this is because …
My 14" P90 Tony Doll is probably 58 yrs. old or so. My family and I lived in Denison, Texas. My mother and father were very poor people and for extra …