Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Bright As A Penny

My big push to stock my shop for the holiday season continues with this Penny Brite trunk set. I write all the time about my love for doll and trunk sets, especially if they have books. I had several books about dolls with trunks of clothes and accessories as a child but never had a doll and trunk set of my own. I wanted one desperately and couldn't believe it when, upon asking, I found my grandparents didn't even have an attic  to search, much less any old dolls. In the books the dolls were always up in a grandmother's attic. Either my grandmothers didn't have dolls or they didn't last. I know my dad's mother had a huge porcelain doll, probably a Bru Jumeau that appeared at least three feet tall, because of photos taken of her with it, but it was long gone by the time I came along. Trunk sets aren't the smartest business decision because you make more money if you break up lots and sell the pieces individually. However, I adore them so, and they sell well, and I always imagine them going to a thrilled child on Christmas morning even though I know they are almost certainly more often a gift from an adult collector to herself.

Penny Brite
The Penny Brite doll is an 8 inch fashion doll from the 1960s. She was definitely meant as a competitor to Tiny Betsy McCall, Pepper, and Skipper. Penny Brite was produced by both Topper Toys and Deluxe Reading and was originally made in Japan. I am not sure if the production was later moved to Hong Kong or if those were knock-offs, but you do sometimes find the clothing tagged "Hong Kong". My understanding is Penny Brite was a "grocery store" doll; a cheaper copy of a popular style doll sold at grocery stores and dime stores and some department stores. Nowadays, she has just as devoted a following as Betsy McCall and other such storied dolls; most likely these followers are one-time childhood owners of Penny Brite dolls. Penny Brite is often referred to as "Elizabeth" because her back is marked ELIZABETH NJ.

The doll's marking

Penny has the slim 8 inch body, not the chubby toddler frame possessed by Ginny or Muffie. She is a great fashion doll with bright, dark eyes and thick, smooth hair. She is jointed for posing. Penny can wear the 8 inch Betsy McCall clothes as well as some of the Ginny and Muffie fashions. Skipper and Pepper clothes sometimes fit too, although they can be too long.

The doll case
Interestingly, the doll case is marked "Topper Toys" and the doll is marked "Deluxe Reading", even though they arrived together. There are squishy plastic hangers in the case just the right size for Penny's clothes.

Penny's Underclothes
Penny has a pair of white tights, a slip, black Mary Janes, and a hair brush to wear under her clothes.

The original outfit
Penny Brite comes in her original dress and red shoes  with a vintage plastic purse and a hair ribbon.

Singin' In the Rain coat

The boots are cut open to fit.

Penny also has the raincoat from the "Singin' In The Rain" set of 1963-64 and with it she wears the scarf from the "Picnic Treat" outfit of the same period. She came with a pair of squishy boots that don't really fit. They have been cut open along the back so she can get her feet into them. These remind me of my grandpa's "overshoes". He used to have a pair of thin, floppy plastic shoes which sat on a little tray next to the back door. In the winter he would pull his overshoes (they were stretchy) over his regular shoes to protect them from the slush and salt. The first thing he did when he came in the door was sit and take off his overshoes and put them in the tray. Grandma had pale seaglass colored carpet throughout the house, including the kitchen and bathrooms, and it was more than anyone's life was worth to stain that carpet! I made a paper umbrella to go with this outfit.

Penny's winter coat
Penny came with a handmade corduroy coat trimmed in real fur. She can bundle up in this in the winter time.

Flower Girl dress
Penny also has a knock-off Hong Kong flower girl or party dress. This is the dress the slip came with I think, because the lace is the same. I gave Penny a vintage plastic floral spray she can pin in her hair or carry in her hand.

Flaws to the case

Stains inside the case

The doll has stains on one leg which are hidden by her tights.
You can find Penny Brite and many other dolls in my shops. I am working hard to add more every week. You can link to all my shops from the Atelier Mandaline web site.

The trunk set

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