|Two fifties dolls needing restoration.|
Well, as always happens, just when I think I know pretty much all there is to know about a certain subject, something comes along to turn me on my head! I had pretty much decided I knew most of the teen fashion dolls. I recognize them by their face molds with pretty good accuracy. So, when I ordered this teen fashion doll lot from the fifties I thought I knew what I was getting. I saw a Valentine ballerina and a Uneeda Dollikin face straight leg fashion doll.
When the dolls arrived, though, I saw I was mistaken. First of all, the doll I thought was a Uneeda fashion doll was jointed like a Dollikin but without joints in the wrist and upper arm. I could hardly believe my eyes. This is clearly not a Dollikin, but it is also not Twixie, a different Dollikin copy, because she is not marked as Twixie was. I began to wonder if this could be the ultra-rare Valentine Manikin, sometimes called Mannikin.
|Fifties Fashion doll, possibly Valentine's Manikin|
I could see this doll is in almost perfect condition. She needed re-stringing. I was able to re-string her arms and legs, but she is so well made that her central string, from her head to waist, is encased in a wooden tube, so until the elastic breaks there is no way to get to it to cut it. That is why her waist is still rather loose. She can pose, though, and can be displayed propped up or with a stand. The only issue I saw besides her stringing, was two very small splits starting on either side of one ankle. These were so minor you could barely notice them, but since my goal is always to get these dolls back to playable condition I went ahead and fixed the splits with epoxy (as I describe in my Cissy post) and repainted them.
|The repaired Manikin ankle|
These dolls came with an extensive wardrobe. I think maybe the clothes belonged to the doll I thought was a ballerina. When I started restringing her I found that her ankle joints would not bend. I messed with them and treated them with WD-40, but I finally felt they would break if I tried to force them and I began to wonder if they were not meant to move after all.
|This doll is the Valentine ballerina mold, but her ankle joints do not move.|
She also has an internal walker mechanism, but there is no rod connecting to her head. So her legs walk but her head doesn't turn. Valentine allowed Sears to use this mold for their Happi Time dolls, and some of those were fashion dolls with flat feet and big wardrobes, so this is possibly one of their dolls. She could also be one of Valentine's mechanical ballerinas, who originally had feet which attached to a rotating stand, allowing the doll to dance. If so then obviously she is no longer working.
Since she's such a lovely doll I decided to do a restoration. This doll needed one finger and her lips repainted, so I did that. Her hair is also still in its original set, a short curly ponytail like a bun. I decided to style her as a teenage "Bobby Sockser" all ready to attend the sock hop. I gave her a commercial vintage dress, rayon socks, and saddle shoes and tied her hair in a big bow. One sock is too small to fold over, but the other one can fold. This isn't really noticeable if you aren't trying to restore every tiny detail! Of course, she had to have that popular fad: the charm bracelet!
I gave her a faux diamond ring, so all her girl friends will wonder if she's engaged and be so jealous! As always, I had too much fun!
I decided to give the large wardrobe to the Manikin doll. Clearly, she's a talented professional ballerina with an exciting life. Each day she works out in her ballet practice clothing and her real, signed, Capezio ballet shoes.
She changes into her pink candy stripe day dress and high heels after rehearsal.
While entertaining her many friends she wears an exotic, Asian-inspired "silk" lounge suit, just like the Lotus Blossom Dollikin suit.
At night she snuggles up in her cozy red flannel pajamas and robe. This intricately-sewn Mommy-made set features very lovely and unusual vintage buttons and even sports tiny pockets.
Of course, such a lovely and talented girl wouldn't remain single for long, so she wears a tiny adjustable engagement ring made by me.
Although I gave up collecting dolls long ago, these two make me want to start again! I can hardly stand to put them in my store!