Effanbee Dolls were a fixture of the 20th century. Effanbee Dolls started production of their popular toys in 1912, right at the beginning of the era of composition dolls. They were well known for creating the first realistically proportioned child doll, known as Patsy. The company had great success with its composition creations, most notably Patsy and her family of dolls. The Patsy line was extensive and ranged in sizes from 6 to 30 inches. So many of these dolls were produced that they are a common sight in antique stores. Later dolls were made in hard plastic and vinyl. The Dydee Baby was the first "drink and wet" doll made of hard vinyl. The company has had a series of owners since its creation and is currently owned by Tonner Dolls.
Founders and Years of Production
Effanbee Dolls was founded by Bernard Fleischaker and Hugo Baum. Effanbee Dolls have been in nearly continuous production since 1912 through to today, although the company has had a series of owners (and has faced a few financial hurdles and bankruptcies) which caused some small gaps in doll production.
Dolls the Company Has Produced
Well-known dolls that have been produced by Effanbee Dolls include Patsy, Patsyette, Skippy, Dydee Baby, Tintair, Little Lady, Ann Shirley, American Children by Dewees Cochran, Brenda Starr and many others. Betsy McCall is being produced by Effanbee Dolls starting in 2008, as is Tiny Kitty Collier.
Effanbee dolls have ranged in size from about 6 inches (wee patsy) up to approximately 30 inches for some very large Mama Dolls and Baby Dolls.
Since Effanbee Dolls have spanned nearly 100 years, materials used to make Effanbee dolls have included composition, rubber, hard plastic, and vinyl. Composition dolls in good condition are rare and more valuable.
Prices and Secondary Market
While they were once popular with children and collectors, Effanbee Dolls are not in particular demand. Mass production means they are easy to find which also drives down prices on the secondary market. However, pre-1960 vintage Effanbee dolls in mint, original condition with original clothing are still highly sought after. Dolls such as mint, complete, original Honey dolls or mint, original early composition dolls can sell for well over 500 dollars. The vast majority of Effanbee vinyl dolls from the 1970s and 1980s sell under their original cost. The Tonner Dolls-era Effanbee Dolls generally hold their retail value and rarer items can sell at a premium.
Current Owner of the Company
Tonner Dolls purchased Effanbee Dolls out of bankruptcy in 2002 and had revitalized the company with the production of high-quality reproductions of dolls originally by Effanbee (like the Dydee Baby), a new line of Brenda Starr dolls, and even reproductions from other well-known vintage doll companies (Toni by Ideal). Tonner Dolls has also added new dolls to the Effanbee line-up, including Fancy Nancy and their own Tiny Kitty Collier.