Annalee dolls have been delighting people since the mid 1950s. You may know most of the collectible dolls as cute mouse figures on a metal frame.
Barbara Annalee Davies is the lady responsible for the making of these adorable creatures. She began making the dolls as a child and after she was married decided to try it as her own business.
The first catalog of dolls was released in 1954 and in 1964 the first factory producing the dolls was begun. The mouse, her signature doll, was first created in 1965.
Holiday themed dolls are the second most popular types of dolls in her collection from Independence Day to St. Patrick’s Day to Christmas and more the soft cloth figures can be found.
In 1983 a collector’s society was formed and specific dolls were made just for them. Many people today eagerly search for her early collector society dolls.
The earliest dolls made do fetch the most money and it is not rare to see an unusual one sell for thousands of dollars.
The rarest one produced is known as “Fashion Woman” and sold for over $6,000. Only 12 were made.
At a show I met a person who said she once worked for Annalee. On a special occasion (a birthday perhaps) Davies herself made this woman a one of a kind doll. I can only imagine what that doll is worth to collectors.
Dating your dolls may be harder than you think. Most dolls have a tag with a date on them. That date, however, is when the first one of its kind was made. It is not necessarily the date the doll in your hand was made.
At an auction I bought a bag full of Annalee dolls (12 maybe) for $30. Most were Thanksgiving and Christmas. The dates were old, but I could not be sure of the real dates each was made. The condition on a few was poor with rips, stains and missing parts. I sold most of them for about $30 each and a few went for only $5 each. Their condition was just too poor for a real collector.
If you are collecting, keep them in display cases and out of sunlight. Right now, their value has decreased due to the economy, but this is one of those collectibles I expect to rise in the coming years.
A quick look on eBay showed a number of sellers asking close to $500 for some rare dolls like Merlin the Magician and Tom the Turkey.
If you want to collect these adorable figures, start off with some low priced ones on eBay and you will be surprised what you find. Tag sales and flea markets will soon seem to attract you.
Be sure to also check out www.annalee.com for all the latest news on these endearing creations.