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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"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Die cut letters

I love the felt letters that Scandia House used to adorn their trolls with! They typically say "ra ra, go team" type of things, or they reflect what the troll is (like "Gemini" for a horoscope troll). The letters were die cut, so they have very clean edges, and great detail for such small pieces of felt (which is near impossible to replicate with scissors). Companies and schools could even order trolls with customized names or sayings!

The letters over time sometimes fall off (probably due to rough handling), so when buying a troll with felt lettering, look and double check if any of the letters were badly glued back on (which usually leaves a yellow smudge). Not a big deal, but if you are wanting a troll as close to pristine as you can get (not easy for vintage trolls), its something to look for.

Interesting fact:
The Dam company initially only made trolls with their original outfits (jumper dresses with two straps for the girls, shorts with one strap for the boys) or nude, and used more natural colored mohair (white, blond, black, brown, gray, light peach). Inge Dykins' company Scandia House Enterprises, based in America, made them more hip and exciting by introducing wildly colorful hair and cool outfits (including the outfits with felt lettering).

(History between the two companies is interesting, and will be in another post ;-) )

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Vintage Troll Articles and Ads

I have always been fascinated by old troll ads and articles. It is always so neat to see what trolls looked like in their original condition, and what their prices were when they first came out. Plus, its fun to read anything to do with trolls ;-).

On most I was able to do a high quality scan, so you can enlarge it for better viewing and easier reading. Just click on the image to enlarge.

Here are a few:

1964-65 Dam Things Brochure

1964-65 Dam Things Brochure, back

1965 Dam Things Ad

1960's Article clipping

(sorry, not a very good scan)

1980's Norfin Ad

1980's Adopt a Norfin Ad

1980's Doll Factory, Adopt a Norfin Ad

1980's Storybook Norfin Bo Peep Ad

1966 JC Penny catalogue, Wishnik trolls
(description on the left, photos on the right)

Jan/Feb edition, 1990 National Doll World
(four pages)

Fall 1984 National Doll World Omnibook

Fall 1984 National Doll World Omnibook