Doll Digest

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Embassy Dimmer Mei Li

Sheer Glamour

Sweet Indulgences Gift Set

Florentine Tyler

Cissy's European Holiday Trunk Set

Doug James' Baby Doe Cissy

Timeless Favorites Chatty Cathy

Little Friends Pajamas Outfit

Little Friends Jeans Outfit

Little Friends Hiking Outfit

Doll News January 29, 2002

Tonner Raises the Bar for 2002

With the New York Toy Fair less than two weeks away, the Internet is buzzing with news of exciting doll releases for 2002.

Master Collector Online will be in the Big Apple the entire week of February 9-14 to bring you all the sights, sounds and scoops from the yearís biggest toy extravaganza. Beginning Feb 10, we will be providing you with daily updates featuring info, photos and videos of the event. Make sure to check back often as we take you inside the showrooms of Mattel, Ashton Drake, Robert Tonner Doll Company, Madame Alexander and all of your favorites.

We will also be covering the Dolls Magazine Doll and Teddy Bear Artistís Showcase of NYC on Feb 8 & 9. New work by many of the worldís best doll artists will be debuted and we will be there to show you all the beauty and imagination this premier event serves up.

The Robert Tonner Doll Company has announced some sensational looking dolls and outfits for their 2002 Tyler Wentworth line. Once again, it looks like this company is going to be setting the bar for detail and design in the 16" fashion doll race. I thought last yearís crop of Robert Tonnerís dolls were the cream of the industry. The 2002 offerings are downright jaw dropping. There honestly is not a single doll I would not love to own in this collection.

If I had to choose favorites, my votes would go to the two lush gift sets: "Sweet Indulgences" and "Madison Afternoon". And there is definitely a space on my shelf for "Embassy Dinner" Mei Li, "Sheer Glamour" and "Florentine" Tyler.

Available for pre-order at Madame Alexander dealers is the incredible Cissyís European Holiday Trunk Set. This follow-up to last yearís A Day in the Life of Cissy set is even more luxurious and detailed. The set does not come with a doll, but includes fuchsia suit with blue bodice shirt, black and white linen dress with matching jacket, pearl necklace, portrait hat, ball gown with separate petticoat and natural panty hose, and stunning lingerie set featuring bra, garters, panties and stockings. A faux fur full-length stole, black purse, brooch, tiara, earrings, necklace, two wigs, three pairs of shoes complete the set - all packed in a delightful travel trunk. Now, thatís a trunk full!

Another exquisite Cissy doll that has been announced for 2002 include the Doug James designed Baby Doe Cissy. Doug has also been busy with his partner Laura Meisner getting ready to debut their own new 20" fashion doll. I will have more on this beauty coming weeks.

Not all the pre-Toy Fair news is good. Although not 100% confirmed, word raced through the online collecting community last week that Ashton Drake will be disbanding the entire "Gene Team". If this is indeed happening, many Gene fans will miss them. There are also far fewer dolls and outfits announced for 2002. The upside is that perhaps this downsizing may lead to a smaller and more focused collection and a broader attention to quality control and collector interests. A formal announcement is expected during the NY Toy Fair.

A few weeks ago I mentioned Mattelís new Timeless Favorites 14" Chatty Cathy doll as one of my favorites from 2001. It seems that these little gals have completely disappeared from toy shelves. Many dealers must have snapped them up before the holidays as they can now be seen on eBay for greatly inflated prices. Seems the African-American version was produced in far fewer numbers and only packed two in a case. My sources tell me that retailers are planning to restock sometime this spring, so your may want to hold out and take your retail chances rather than pay the eBay markup. Also, several members of the Chatty Cathy Collectors Club have reported finding them at Kmart and Meijer stores as recently as this week.

Speaking of K-Mart, last weekís news of the storeís financial troubles sent me on a local shopping spree in support of the NY City K-Marts. I discovered a line of 15" dolls, outfits and accessories they carry called "Little Friends" made by Battat. These outfits fit the 14" Chatty Cathy perfectly. They are well made and resemble the 18" American Girl, Our Generation, Girls on the Go and Collectors Lane style sets. Priced at $7.99 and $9.99, itís possible to build an entire wardrobe for your doll very reasonably. There is also a very nice wooden doll trunk that retails for $24.99. It has enough room for the doll and the entire collection.