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Sunday, October 18, 2009

How can I tell if my troll is a real DAM?



There will probably come a time where you run across a troll that looks a lot like a Dam troll, but you aren't sure. When you have collected for a long time, you start to be able to tell on sight whether it is an actual Dam or not, but sometimes there may be something a bit off that makes you wonder if it is a real Dam, or a copy cat.

The Dam Stamp

One of the ways you can tell, is whether it has the Dam stamp on the bottom of the foot, the back, under the chin, or on the belly if it is an animal. Dam trolls made by Scandia House sometimes have a (c) 64 on their backs. If you see a Dam stamp that is of normal depth (if there is an extremely shallow stamp will be addressed later), than it is a Dam. But the caveat to this is:

NOT ALL DAM TROLLS HAVE A DAM STAMP

This is especially true for animal trolls. Usually a normal Dam troll will have some sort of stamp, but some Dam animals do not have a stamp at all. This does not mean they are fakes - some were just simply made without one.

The Body

If you see a troll without a stamp, there are some tell tale signs you can look for in the body to tell whether it is a real Dam.

Below is pictured a real Dam lion (to the left) and a lion troll that looks a lot like a Dam lion, but in fact is not (to the right).



1) Is the body the same as a real Dam?

Comparing trolls that you are uncertain of to trolls that are know are definitely real Dams is always a good place to start. When you get these two lions side by side, you can see that the body of the non-Dam is smaller, and shorter in length. Though this may be a little harder to do if you only have a photo, you can still look as closely as you can.

2) Is the type of mohair used typical?

With this non-Dam lion, a different type of sheep's wool was used than the usual Icelandic mohair that Dam uses.

3) Are the details shallow, or as deep as usual?
(biggest tell tale!)

Trolls have wrinkles - that is one of their charming qualities. Their Dam stamps are also either engraved, or embossed. If the wrinkles and the Dam stamp are shallow, or not as detailed as they usually might be, it might be a fake. The reason for this is due to how molds are made.

When someone wants to make a Dam look-a-like, they typically take a Dam troll, and cover it with whatever material they are going to use to create the mold (there are several options, such as rubber, clay, wax, etc.). It is practically impossible to get the material down into all the little indentions of their wrinkles and stamp (and if the material does, it most likely breaks off and stays in the wrinkle when the material is removed). Because of this, the mold will not be as finely detailed as the original troll.

For the non-Dam lion, you can definitely tell that the maker made the mold for it using a real Dam lion, for on the bottom of his back two feet (where there are not stamps), they are perfectly smooth, but his front feet have slight scraped indentions (where the maker tried to scrape the Dam stamps away in the mold). The foot pictured below is the foot where the ("Made in Denmark" in a circle with "Gjol" in the middle) stamp is usually found. If you enlarge the photo, you can see the scrapes where the maker removed the stamp, and ever so faintly, you can see the shallow impression "mark" of "Denmark" (he missed a spot). I put a black box around where you can see it, but it may be so faint that it is hard to see in the photo.


(click to enlarge)

4) Does it have weird airbrushing?

This one is only sort of helpful. There is a lot of different airbrushing out there, and different color variations of trolls (such as say, a blue elephant) that are so uncommon to pretty much have never been seen before, do turn up. But if you see a troll that has something so atypical to a Dam troll, such as red airbrushed lips, you might want to take a closer look at it and see if it has any other tale tell signs of being a copy cat.

5) Does it have an obvious seam going around the troll?

Many times fakes are not as good of workmanship. Sloppy castings cause for conspicuous seams where the two halves of the mold come together. Now, there is a small Dam troll from the early 1960's that sometimes has an obvious seam, and pencil toppers will sometimes have a seam, but the vast majority (if not all of the rest) of Dam trolls do not.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for all the great information on this topic. I have a troll doll I'm not sure what he is exactly. He is NOT an animal and roughly 8 inches tall. He has foreign patents pending stamped on his neck. He is made of hard vinyl no seams that I can see. He has felt attached clothes in the form of green one straped overalls and a yellow shirt. Nothing on the feet. I think his hair is mohair it's white and shorter. Have you seen any with that type of stamp and what advice would you have for me on this particular troll doll.

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