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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Elephant Trolls

"Elephant Family"

Elephant trolls are incredibly lovable, with their sweet upturned trunks, and wrinkle covered skins. The elephants from the 1960s came in two different sizes: the larger 6 inch size, and the smaller 3 inch sitting elephant.

6 Inch Vintage Elephants
The larger sized elephant primarily came in two different colors: gray and yellow(/flesh color). They stand approximately 6 inches tall, but I have found that the yellow color of elephant not only is of a harder vinyl than the gray elephant, but it also tends to be a bit smaller. Only their head is articulated. The gray elephant often has a collar, and sometimes still has its bell attached.

(in the middle is a Rauls Elephant Troll)

Though gray and yellow are the most common colors of larger elephant, they can be found in a wide variety of those two colors (especially the gray), plus a few very unique colors. The rare, and out of the ordinary colors (such the blue and white elephants below in Adam's fantastic elephant parade photos, and I have also heard of a pink elephant) tend to come from oversea markets, such as New Zealand and Australia, and also tend to be banks.

(used with permission)

(used with permission)

Unusual airbrushing: Notice the red toes of the second to last gray elephant? It is very unusual to find an elephant with toes of a different color. The middle gray elephant with blue scarf also has unusual airbrushing: gray elephants do not usually have blushed cheeks like the yellow elephants.

(used with permission)

3 Inch Vintage Elephant

The little 3 inch elephant is posed in a darling sitting position, with hind legs crossed, and front feet pressed together. He looks up at you beguilingly with a sweet smile. They remind me quite a bit of Dam's infants and newborns . They were made in only one color, yellow, and have a hole on the bottom so you can play with them like a finger puppet.

NEAT little plastic charm of the little sitting elephant:

I had never seen this before! It is only an inch tall, and made out of clear plastic. An extremely kind friend gifted this to me (along with a sitting donkey charm), and even though it probably originally had the humble beginnings in a gumball machine, I think it is a little treasure :-).

Rare High Backed Baby Elephant

This is one of my troll loves: the rare high backed baby elephant. The Dam company only made a very limited number for a very short time, and then for some reason stopped making them in favor of the regular elephant. They are larger, about 7 inches tall, and have a higher, more straight back (compared to the round, slopping back of the regular elephant) with a more pronounced spine ridge. Their front feet are round in shape like the regular elephants, but their back feet are more oval (more like that of a non-animal troll). They also have longer legs than the regular elephant troll, causing their body to be further off the ground, and a larger head. They are made out of the squishier variety of vinyl.

I have seen them in this color, and in a darker, more gray color.

Compared to a regular elephant troll:

Neat tag on a very old string:

(click to enlarge)

Vintage Elephants' Dam Engravings

(click to enlarge)

Limited Edition Elephant

In the 90's re-released 4 larger animal trolls in limited supply, and the elephant was one of them. He is gray, with darker airbrushing along the spine, white airbrushing on his trunk and ears, darker toes, light pink fun fur hair, and a felt scarf.

(L.E. Elephant on the right, with Elephant bank from New Zealand, and High backed Elephant)
(Used with permission)

Elephant Banks
Norfin's Ark Elephants

(used with permission)

In the 1980's, Norfin made animal troll banks, and a line of little animal trolls called "Norfin's Ark." The discontinued animal banks have now been reissued by the Dam company and are being sold today (though I think they look ever so slightly different than their older counter parts...). The banks are in a sitting position, with their front legs held out in (what I think of as) the hug position, and have white airbrushing on their bellies, the undersides of their trunks, insides of their ears, and on the "palms" of their front feet. The purple airbrushing of the second elephant bank in the photo above is very unusual.

The names of the two elephants from the Norfin's Ark series are "Judy" and "Rudy." (You can see them in Adam's photo above). One is in the hug position with their hind feet sticking out, and looks off to the left, and the other has their front feet sticking straight out in front of them, with their hind feet planted on the ground. Underneath, they have a hole (a bit too big for a pencil, and a bit too small for a finger). "DAM 1989 MADE IN CHINA" is embossed around the hole, and "DAM" is engraved under one foot. Since Norfin was American based, overseas, they packaged the little elephants like the photo below:

Rauls Elephant Trolls

(used with permission)

Rauls has an adorable little elephant troll, that stands about 3 inches tall, and has rabbit fur hair. Like other Rauls animal trolls, he has a string from which he can hang. They have an articulated head, and are made of a thinner, more flexible vinyl. They only come in gray.

Lovable Uglies Elephant

(photo coming soon)

Lovable Uglies were knock offs that came from Hong Kong. The elephants are blue-ish in color, with black rabbit fur hair, and tend to have red lips. They were made out of thin plastic, and have an articulated head. They came with a red, heart shaped tag that said:
"The Lovable


with Movable Heads
Hong Kong"


  1. Great blog! I stumbled upon it while researching one of my favourite toys from childhood, a Dam Things elephant (the 6" size) that I received as a Christmas gift in the mid 1960s, when I was 4 or 5. I called him Tuuk (rhymes with "kook"). He's a light tan colour (I think it's the colour you call yellow here) and has black hair, which is grey at the hairline. Although his tag was lost early on, the string that attached it is still around his neck. (I used to think of it as his necktie.) My mum used to tell me bedtime stories in which Tuuk was a magical elephant who would come to life at night and take me on journeys to places like the Taj Mahal, the African savannah, and even the moon.

    I'm wondering if you can give me an idea of how much an elephant like Tuuk would cost today. I have no intention of selling him, but after seeing the photos on your blog — especially Adam Caulfield's elephant parade pics — I'm thinking I might like to acquire some companions for him, perhaps with other hair and/or body colours. Can you recommend websites or other sources where I might be able to find some?

    Thanks for putting together such a great blog. It's obviously a labour of love, and I learned heaps about Tuuk and some of the other Dam Things trolls my sister and I had as children. (She still has her Iggy Normous, with his original outfit — the overalls and patchwork shirt pictured elsewhere on your blog.) My mum threw out my giraffe years ago because it had completely lost its hair. :-( I seem to recall that (unlike the ones pictured on your blog) its body was solid coloured rather than spotted.

    Great blast from my past!

  2. What a great story! I love that your mother made up stories about your Tuuk :-D.

    Right now prices for trolls waver quite a bit, due to the economy. An elephant might be anywhere from $60 - $150 or so, depending on how hot the auction gets. The best place to find trolls at the moment is eBay, though once I found an elephant troll on Craigslist (if you are in the States), but that tends to be kind of rare. Definitely check out both USA's and England's eBays - they tend to have the most selection.

    There is also the Yahoo group Damthings. Members sell trolls to each other all the time. You can always ask if anyone has an elephant they are looking to sell (but you have to become a member before posting - it doesn't cost anything, its just a great group of fellow collectors :-) ). Its also a gem mine of information.

    Hope that helps, and good luck!

  3. Oh, I just noticed I forgot to mention the prices above are in USD :-).

  4. I came across your blog while researching the Thomas Dam animals. A friend wanted me to sell them for her and I had to figure out a price range for them. If you don't mind, I'll post the link here, in case anyone is interested in purchasing 1960's Thomas Dam dolls, namely the Giraffe, Lion, and Elephant.

  5. Your Norfin Elephants are gorgeous!

  6. Great info. Have you ever seen the DAM elephants that appear to be painted grey over a flesh tone vinyl? I'm thinking this isn't factory original? Most of the grey elephants I have are made of a vinyl? that is solid grey ( not painted over flesh tone). But occasionally I see the grey elephants surface on ebay that have rub marks that reveal the flesh tone underneath the paint. Any ideas on these?