One of the known hard plastic shelf doll manufacturers was the Duchess Doll Corporation which established its business from 1948 to the 1950’s. Its business was located in Jackson Heights, New York and they specialized in producing souvenir and dressed character dolls for display. Thus, the Duchess Dolls were commonly known as shelf dolls. The marking on its dolls was “Duchess Doll Corp 1948 / 1949”.
The mold figure on most of its dolls was of adult slender shape just like the Barbie. It typically measured 7 inches to 8 inches tall with either sleep or painted eyes. These are inexpensive dolls which were also popularly known as the travel dolls. Its head can turn, had jointed arms, low-heeled molded painted shoes but its clothing is stapled to its body. However, the company also came up with an undressed version of these dolls which were meant for sewing projects. These were usually available for sale at sewing and dime establishments.
The Duchess Dolls Corporation also had a popular series that was marketed as the “Dolls of All Nations”. Nonetheless, they made popular cartoon characters for Disney such as Cinderella, Peter Pan, and Tinkerbelle. Some of its popular dolls were:
1) Arabian / Persian Princess - The doll wore a stiff nylon organdy gown with flowers made of glitters which accented its trimmings.
2) Fairy Princess Doll (early 1950’s) – A Carmen Miranda type of doll with red hot colored gown and a head accessory made of fruit accents.
3) Scottish Lassie - This doll wore a predominantly red-colored plaid taffeta with a read had on its brunette curly shoulder-length hair.
4) Bride Doll - There were many bride dolls manufactured by the Duchess Dolls and one bride doll had a sweetheart cut neckline covered with lace accents. She had curly blonde hair with a veil on top.
5) Duchess Deluxe Doll – The doll was dress in flaming red taffeta and had a black wavy long hair.
There were still other dolls manufactured by the company and are easy to find in online auctions at present. These are inexpensive still and some of the doll names were Dale Evans, May, Miss Hollywood, Coronation doll, Miss Tastee-Freez, Dream Girl, America’s Sweetheart, Miss North American Van, Scotch Girl, and Miss Valentine of 1951.
Interested collectors of these dolls can just check auction sites online but should also look for dolls in its original box. These dolls can be easily found in good condition and still in their boxes. Nonetheless, buyers should check the condition of the dolls. Some dolls may not be in its original clothing especially those dolls in which their stapled clothing were removed and then dressed in a different one. Still these dolls may not be as valuable as their bisque and porcelain counterparts.
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