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 Toni 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
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.
had to perm your hair, the Ideal Toni Dolls had the same. A permanent
solution, made of sugar and water. There were also endpapers 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 individual plastic curlers.
The individual who brainstormed that idea was apparently 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 an
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 if looking for costs, 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 seem to age at all!
Perhaps her only
malady is the occurrence 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 regular 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 a delightful 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 real 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 disintegrates, 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.
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
Ideal Dolls by
Judith Izen. Beautiful illustrations with most in color.
Ideal Dolls by
Judith Izen, Second Edition Continues the quality of research and
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
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
On the left side, in
the box named "Display," you can select "Active Items"
to see the "Toni dolls and accessories" presently up for
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
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eBay is an excellent website for "value" information about dolls, or most anything else for that matter--however, to see what something has sold for, registration is required, so if you are looking for past sales of any particular doll, please register.
We 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 "Show
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.
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
A Doll to (almost) Die For
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