Q: I was wondering if you knew how many dolls were produced for the Crissy family? I was looking at all the photos of the dolls and was curious as to how many were Manufactured. Dana
A: Dana, I don't have exact production numbers on any one doll, but from what I do have, we know that Crissy was produced more than any other family member, in four different factories around the world. That "may" be because she was issued first in 1969, before any other doll, but the demand was highest for her too. Velvet followed suit in 1970, so her production numbers are pretty high too. Crissy and Velvet were also advertised the most. I have documents meant for store buyers and retailers promising Saturday morning TV advertisements. That would prompt the retailers to buy extra inventory because lots of little boys and girls would see the commercials and ask for this spectacular doll. Have you seen the commercials? Makes ME want a new Crissy even today!
The secondary dolls, Kerry & Mia (1971) were also advertised, but they only made about 3/5 as much of these as they did Velvet and Crissy. Dina and Brandi (1972) were rarely advertised. Because of this, retailers didn't place big prelimary orders. So Ideal sort of shot themselves in the foot. Without the big orders, they didn't make so many. For every 5 Crissy dolls, there was approximately 1 Brandi produced. Same with Dina.
Tressy and Cricket are completely different as far as production numbers. Ideal only made what Sears ordered. And there is absolutely NO information about that in my possession. However, any collector can see that there are alot more Tressy dolls out there than Cricket dolls. And really, there aren't that many Tressy dolls either. These dolls also were made with inferior products, so I assume alot of dolls were thrown away cuz they wore out so fast.
Velvet's Little Sister and Cinnamon were big sellers. I venture to say those production numbers are up there with Kerry and Mia.
Tara was an experiment. Ideal wasn't sure that they could sell high numbers of this doll. It doesn't take a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon to know that Ideal also didn't make as many black Crissy and Velvet dolls. For some reason, the demand wasn't as high. So that said, they probably took that into account when they put their Tara doll order in at the factory in Asia. So again, there really aren't that many Tara dolls out there, simply because not very many of them were produced.
Q: Hi, thanks for your site. I use it to figure out what I have when I sell stuff on ebay. I'm just so disappointed though! I was trying to sell a Look Around Velvet doll, still in her box, and I didn't even get a single bid. Then I posted it again, but at a lower starting bid. I sold her but for half of my original $12 opening bid! Then, I see a few weeks later that another doll still in her box sold for more than $100!!!! I'm kind of mad that I couldn't get my boxed doll to sell for $100. What gives????
Jane, Monroe, Michigan
A: Hello Jane, thanks for your question and thanks for utilizing this site as it was meant to be used. That is very gratifying to know. Without seeing your original auction, it will be hard to comment but here are some things that I know:
1. Look Around Velvet is very common and easy to find *AND CHEAP* so to sell a doll over $100, there must have been something else very special in the box included in the auction. You didn't mention anything though.
2. What is included that can potentially drive up a price are the original head wraps, body baggie, paperwork, perhaps some extra "sold-separately" clothes (i.e., catalog exclusives, aftermarket clothing, Ideal issued outfits), or other accessories.
3. A still wrapped, and completely unplayed with doll that has never seen the light of day can take a higher bid, though usually not over $100 for an LA Velvet, because as I said, she is very common.
From personal experience, I as an advanced collector, have placed a large bid for a lot on eBay if it includes items missing from my catalog exclusives collection. Happily, I have just about everything so my days of big bids are over. Let me state here that I am not interested in the doll at all, nor the box, even though the seller may believe that is what his or her buyer is after. So you see, if you are selling a boxed doll with some great added bonuses, you might can expect to get a large realized sum at the end of the bidding. But don't expect high bids on plain common dolls. Good luck to you!
Q: Hi there Beth!
First of all, your site rocks! Thanks for all of your hard work you have put into it! I have been on it for over an hour now and my husband is threatening to put me outside in the garage w/ my lap top as I am keeping him from going to bed. LOL!
Okay, so I have a question about Velvet. I had the 80's issue myself, my older sisters had the vintage one. I am in the market to pick up a vintage one but I have noticed differences in the facial features. I hope you can shed some light on these for me. Some of the dolls seem to have a smaller face sculpt with eyes that are set closer together. These dolls with close set eyes seem to also be high color and have longer lashes. Am I mistaken or are these the Movin' Groovin' Velvets? It seemed to me that the 1st issues seem to have a lower more neutral facial screening to them.
Thanks much from a meandering doll collector who has briefly ventured away from her comfort zone in the Barbie Community! LOL!
A: Hi AG!
Thanks for enjoying my site -big grin-.
What you are seeing is partly the difference in vinyl formulation year-to-year. You probably see this in the Barbie world too. Ideal used the same head mold for each year so we can't use that as an excuse for all the variations. I have had an opportunity to sit down (and eat steak dinner!) with a noted chemist who specializes in "old" vinyl as found in dolls and toys. He helped me learn about and understand the nature of early vinyl formulations. One of the ingredients is a substance known as plasticizer. What this does is holds the pigment in place and keeps the vinyl soft. Over time though, early plasticizer can become unstable. This makes the vinyl get somewhat hard (Baby Crissy limbs can get hard), or the pigment may fade (Australian Crissy dolls fade in the face, Mego Candi fades), or the face may shrink slightly (the eyes can then appear to be set closer together or sometimes even BIGGER than other issues from other years) or it may stay "super stable" and the doll keeps her high color.
Things that effect plasticizer degradation besides time marching on, is extreme heat and exposure to UV rays.
HOWEVER.... there IS also something to note about the issues year-to-year. MG Velvet has brighter face paint. LA Velvet does too. But the Talky Velvet, the SD and the BB Velvet seems to resemble the 1970 issue more (face paint-wise).
So you've got a couple different things causing the dolls to look different year-to-year: the vinyl formulation and the variation in face paint.
Hope that helps!
Beth, I have a few questions I hope you can answer. I notice that some Crissy & family dolls came wrapped in tissue & some came in body bags. The ones I'm not sure about are both versions of Talky Crissy, Talky Velvet, MG Crissy, MG white & black Velvet. Which came in tissue or body bags & did some of them come with no wrapping at all? Also, I noticed that some of the body bags are marked IDEAL & some have no markings. Why is that?
Emailed question from Jenny.
A: After 1969 (1970 forward), Ideal started using body baggies. Not sure why. I've seen Mia wrapped in blue tissue but both of my MIB versions came in body baggies. My Kerry is in green tissue but I've seen countless MIBs in a body baggie. My first version of Talky Crissy came in a body baggie, but the second version that I have came wrapped in white tissue. Both of my MIB MG Crissy versions came in a body baggie. My Talky Velvet arrived in a body baggie. My white MG Velvet is in a body baggie but the black version is wrapped in purple tissue.
To be honest, I think Ideal just did 'whatever, whenever' after 1969. Perhaps when they ran out of tissue for an issue that was meant to be wrapped in tissue, they just pulled their generic bags out of storage and wrapped them that way. Many of their toys that were boxed were also bagged in the same type of baggie.
All later issues usually come in a baggie, but there again, I've seen one or two, here or there, wrapped in tissue.
Most dolls that Ideal sold previous to 1970 were wrapped in tissue. Seemed to be their modus operandi. I am wondering if tissue was expensive and the baggies were cheaper. I also wonder if having their logo printed on them was an unneeded expense so some bags are blank.
Remember that Ideal always had financial problems which probably accounts for why they stopped using tissue.
Thanks for your question!
Q: Good afternoon, Beth
I just have to ask... I see tons of auctions on eBay for patterns that are claimed to be in the "public domain." How does the seller know for sure and what happens if they are wrong?
A: As a matter of fact, that is an excellent question and you should be at least somewhat concerned as a buyer. Why? Because anyone that enters into a purchasing deal with a person who is selling something that they do not have the right to sell is also held accountable. Very, very few patterns are actually "public domain." Here are some basics:
For all items published in the U.S. with a copyright notice (all modern patterns bear a copyright notice) --
Before 1923, in public domain
1923 - 1963, where the copyright was not renewed, in public domain
1923 - 1963, where copyright WAS renewed, NOT in public domain
1964 - 1977, copyright for 95 years after publication
1978 to March 1, 1989, 70 years after death of author, or if work of corporate authorship, 95 years from publication
From March 1, 1989 through 2002, 70 years after death of author, or if work of corporate authorship, 95 years from publication
After 2002, 70 years after death of author, or if work of corporate authorship, 95 years from publication
Why all the dates? Copyright law has come under revision quite a few times in modern history,
So as one can see, a fairly modern pattern (such as Crissy patterns) is NOT in the public domain and a copy of the pattern and even a PDF version of the pattern cannot be sold on eBay legally (yes, that means it's illegal to sell them). The buyer should be concerned since they are being engaged in the purchase. It is somewhat akin to buying a stolen TV off the back of a truck parked at a closed gas station. Theft is theft.
Happily, each Crissy and Velvet pattern is available on this site, FREE!
Hope that helps!
Q: Hi! Long time no see!
I used to be a member of your loop email group and really enjoyed receiving the "Crissy On-Line" newsletter. Do you still have that in circulation? Can I resubscribe?
Thanks so much, CB
A: Well hello again. Actually, you are there! After the book was released, there was no need for the on-line newsletter. Once the book was sold-out, I'd collected so much new and valuable information, much of which was cut from the book, I recreated the website as you see it now. There is so much information found here now, that I rarely get questions anymore! That is very satisfying to me. That means this site serves its purpose. Thanks for stopping by and good to "see" you again.
Q: Hi Beth :)
Will I ever stop bugging you? Probably not :)
Oook , this week it's re: Dina's butterfly tatoo. On the site you say , "most are missing". Does that mean Ideal spaced it out on some dolls? OR does it mean they just didn't last long on the hard plastic of the leg?
As always, no hurry! Thanks in advance.
A: WOW! Now that's a question that I've never had before! (c:
I suppose I thought everyone would know and perhaps that is why I didn't elaborate deeper.
Actually, the little sticker was included in the box, not pre-stuck onto the doll but sometimes the little one never stuck it on the doll's leg after he/she received the doll. And if it DID get put on the doll, it usually came off cuz it didn't stick that well to her leg.
You're welcome to "bug" me anytime.
LOL Cya next time!
Q: Hi and thanks for having such a wonderful site for Crissy fans like me. I have 2 unrelated questions.
1. Re: "geneology" of the various Crissy "family" dolls. I know Velvet is Crissy's cousin and Cinnamon is her little sister (Velvet's). Are the rest just friends... are any of the friends related? Is this already somewhere on the site?
2. I see a lot of Baby Crissys on ebay that have some hard, some soft limbs. Did Ideal ever make them this way or are they all "Frankencrissies?"
m.m., via email
A: Hi there!
Thanks for dropping by and I am very glad that you enjoy the site! You are correct... Crissy is an "only child" and has two cousins, Velvet and Cinnamon. Everyone else are only her friends. This is how Ideal marketed them. It's the accepted standard among Crissy family collectors to this day.
I know the site is big so you probably missed the answer to question 2. Please see the Baby Crissy Tutorial.
This link is also found in the first drop down menu, about three-quarters the way down the main page. You will find that just about EVERYTHING you need, informationally speaking, is found in that drop down menu. Grab a snack and plan to spend a few hours there! LOL
The Baby Crissy tutorial is exactly what you need in order to learn about her production characteristics, year-to-year.
Hi Beth, I don't want to tell you where because someone might try to buy it out from under me but I have the opportunity to buy a really RARE doll! She is a Crissy but she has blue eyes. Can you tell me how many Ideal made and can you give me an idea of what I might have to pay? Thank you!
A: Hi, thanks for visiting the site and for your email. Hate to say it, but there won't be too many folks "jumping you" on the doll. There are no rare Crissy dolls. They are quite plentiful and easy to find on auction sites, such as eBay. And any Crissy doll that you find with blue eyes is definitely created. Pretty much anyone can put new eyes into a doll. When I purchase a doll that is otherwise in good condition, I will happily replace a broken eye. Only a little practice is required to learn this. Crissy was never sold with blue eyes. Ever. If you are still considering it, please send a message to your seller or perhaps even a phone call is in order. Before paying a high price on what are assumed to be rare dolls, please be sure first. Best of luck to you!!
I inherited a small sum of money and would like to invest in something that I love, while making some money too. I LOVE dolls! Do you think that Crissy family dolls would be a good investment?
Derrick J, Lansing, MI
A: Well, ummm, no. I hate that this is such a succinct answer. Too many times I’ve seen new collectors pay huge sums to get items into their collection. They then lose interest, try to sell on eBay and then turn no, or very little profit. Why? Well one thing that collectors tend to do is pay a bit higher than average price to get a particular item in their collection. I myself do it, especially if I’ve been searching for the item for some time. If you try to sell, you can only keep your fingers crossed that you will find a buyer that really wants to spend that kind of money like you did, to get this item.
My recommendation? If you have a sum of money that you’d like to use to make more money, contact a financial advisor. Maybe he or she can recommend a good money market account or CD. Today’s soft economy, with its high gas prices, has caused people to examine closely how they spend their “disposable income.” People also tend to pay closer to real market price for dolls these days because eBay has made “all things doll” easy to find now (even those things that once were considered “rare” or hard to find). Good luck to you! I hope you make lots of money!
Q: Hi Beth,
I love your website and your book. My daughter and I can spend an hour looking at the pictures.
I had a question though. Did Kerry ever come with white teeth? I bought a fantastic Kerry at a doll show here in NJ but when I got home, I realized she had white painted on teeth. I've since had her lips redone back to solid light pink but saw another Kerry on Ebay that is selling Mint Condition and I see she also has the white teeth.
I was hoping you could help me.
Renee G in NJ
A: Hi Renee!
VERY good question. Let's start with what we know.... Based on production records, there is NO indication in the least that Ideal intended to paint teeth between Kerry's lips. I also base what I know on the examples found in the archive. I have over 25 Kerry dolls and of those, 3 have painted-in teeth. But get this... they are ALL painted differently! Now that left me in a quandary until it dawned on me one day... someone, maybe Mom, must have thought like we do that Kerry's mouth shows just a little too much "gum" and not enough "tooth!"
Another thing that will back that up is an appreciative new collector emailed me one day to tell me about her childhood dolls. One of them was a Kerry doll. She told me how her mom took a bottle of white nail polish and painted teeth for Kerry. Huh! What do ya know!
It wouldn't surprise me though, to learn that bored factory production line workers hand-painted teeth on some Kerry dolls, but the likelihood of that is pretty slim. The very nature of a production line is to make aLOT of product FAST and that would definitely slow down the line.
Hope that helps and glad you like the site!
Q: Hello Beth, Dig the site!! I read on the net that Ideal made the black Crissy with two kinds of hair, one wooly and one smooth. Is this true? (email question)
A: Hello, I'm glad that you are enjoying the site. I wrote it for you!
The black Crissy, if an early number one or number two, can have very fine hair that has a tendency to get wooly with age, but if treated appropriately, it will remain smooth and nice. Actually a number one and two white doll can do the same thing... it can get wooly with age.
Ideal didn't intentionally make black dolls to have this characteristic... it just happened that way. That was the type of hair that their materials suppliers provided them at that time in production.
Number three and later black Crissy dolls will have nice and smooth hair (as will the white dolls of corresponding production number). But there again, if it is abused, it will get frizzy.
So the answer to your question is yes... and no. Yes, there were two types of hair on the black doll *and the white doll* but no, all of the dolls, white AND black, had smooth hair. The finer hair wasn't supposed to represent characteristic wooly hair on the black version of the Crissy doll. Originally, it WAS smooth when the doll was produced. When they came out of the box, they ALL had smooth hair.
Thanks for stopping by!
Q: I love Ideal's Harmony. Is she part of the Crissy family? Do you know how many outfits that were sold for her? (From G.G., Georgia)
A: I love Harmony too! Actually, no, she was never marketed to be part of the Crissy family and in fact, came along later during Crissy's production. By the end of Crissy's last production run in 1974, Harmony was already sold-out and out of production. Her production year was 1972 but old stock would have been sold in 1973. Many people incorrectly assume and list Harmony on eBay as a "Crissy family doll." She naturally would remind one of Crissy due to her "Seventies Era" look.
Her three outfits were named Bikini Beat, Rehearsal Rags, and Meadow Music. Her sandals were oftentimes shown in store catalogs and on the clothing packages as being red, yellow or black, but they never were sold that way. They were only sold *on* Harmony's feet and they were a nice brownish-burgundy. I do however, have a pair of "prototype" white sandals in my archive that were never sold by Ideal.
Q: I see alot of dolls on ebay with weird color eyes. The seller says they are rare. Are they? (From J.K., Minnesota)
A: NO! I am betting that you are seeing alot of Velvet dolls with gray, green or pink eyes. Please let me assure you that these are not rare. They are damaged dolls. Velvet's eyes are very prone to oxidation. They also will fade if subjected to a sunny window. Save yourself some money. If you really want a Velvet with faded green eyes, just stand her up in a sunny place. And what is all of this nonsense about Ideal putting one pink eye in the doll's head to create "rarities???" Please.... Their Quality Control department would have considered THAT a reject and thrown the doll out.
Additionally, Kerry's green eyes oxidize to hazel. This actually is quite pretty but should not be construed as a rarity.
And finally, dolls that came with blue eyes, Mia, Tressy, and the Blue-Eyed Cricket can oxidize to green or different shades of aqua rather easily. Personally, if I was paying MORE for a BE Cricket (as you probably already know you will) I would prefer that she not be damaged.
Q: I have a Crissy from when I was a child & I also have two that were given to me--the only thing is--they smell bad! I need to know how to remove a musty smell from a doll. I think it's mostly coming from the hair. I've washed the doll and the hair. I've even soaked the doll's hair for several hours, and in time it goes back to smelling like it did before I cleaned it. Any suggestions? (From S.S. No state given.)
A: Hmmmm, I hate stinky dolls... so hard to get un-stinky. You can try putting her in a bag of charcoal (like charcoal BBQ briquettes). It absorbs odors and will take about a month. But if you have washed her inside and out, it is probably absorbed into the plasticizer of the vinyl.... and therefore permanent. (sigh) Another thing you might consider, is changing some of her parts out. The arms especially will retain odors. I sell parts along with instructions on how to make the change. JLMK if I can help!
Q: I think there are two issues (of the porcelain Crissy)? Beth is that right?? (From J.B., Australia)
A: DollsPart (a company that sold eyes, wigs, joints, etc for doll making) sold a Crissy reissue in the early 80's. She is HUGE and UGLY. I have one in the archive.
Danbury Mint sold their smaller and prettier version in 2003. They sold very well and most of the advanced collectors snapped them right up. However, many were returned as they didn't work very well (they have an operational growing hair mechanism). These were destroyed. Danbury quit making them after this so they are very limited in number.
Q: Please recommend some inexpensive cleaning products. (From B.D., California)
A: Good for you! There really is no point in spending huge amounts of money to clean these ladies up. Here is what I use when I spend the afternoon on a cleaning frenzy of new arrivals: Resolve Carpet Cleaner and a toothbrush to get basic grime off easily, a damp washcloth to wipe it off, a toothpick to chip off eye mold, a bottle of rubbing alcohol and an eye dropper to put a drop of alcohol in the eye to kill the mold, basic liquid dishsoap to wash hair (Crissy hair will NOT absorb the ingredients in expensive shampoo and the residues from the shampoo's ingredients only attracts dust and dirt to stick to the hair), Snuggle or Downy to condition her hair, and Oxy 10 (yep, the zit cream) to remove spots.
Q: Oxy 10?! How does that work? (From B.D., California)
A: Use a small amount on the stain. Place a small square of cellophane over the top of it. This keeps it from drying too fast. Change the product every day for about 2 weeks. It takes awhile but it works! And it's cheap!
Q: I was just wondering if you have ever come across a Crissy that had earrings. I purchased a doll on e-bay, and she has wire posts just below her earlobes and I can only assume these were meant for earrings. (K.T., Canada)
A: Actually no Crissy issue and none of her family were meant to have earrings. You can look on any Mint in the Box example with her hair wrappings in place and see that none of them are wearing earrings, nor do they have pre-drilled holes in their ears to accommodate them.
My own mother used to put straight-pins and earrings with posts into my dolls' ears so it's not unheard of for someone to do this to a vintage "play-doll." The idea of having a fashion doll is to dress them up in their fashions, and adding jewelry would just be the icing on the cake! Very good question! Thank you for asking!
Q: I bought four pairs of boots off of Ebay and I cannot get them to fit on the dolls. I am pretty sure these are for Crissy dolls. How do I get them to fit properly? (From Ana via email)
A: Without seeing them in person I can't be sure that you received genuine Crissy boots. There were two styles, the square toed boot is for Velvet and the smaller dolls (which "are" hard to get onto a Crissy doll's foot since they are smaller). The pointed toe boot is for the larger dolls. To make them go on and off with ease, dust the inside with corn starch. NOTHING ELSE.
If you grease them up with Vaseline, the petroleum compounds will degrade the boot and cause it to break down. Corn starch (available in the baking aisle) will make them slide on and off with ease and cause no damage to the vintage material.
Q: Hi Beth. I have an opportunity to buy a brown-haired Crissy. Would this be a real Crissy do you know or a fault of some sort? I thought if anyone knew, you would. I love checking your site for any info, but couldn't see anything about this here.
Hope you can help!
Christine from Australia
A: Hi Christine, Thank you! I'm happy that you enjoy the information found on this site. And thank you for your question. The so-called brown-haired Crissy, or brownette Crissy, is actually an American number two Crissy doll (in the orange lace dress, with her hair to her bum). There has been alot of discussion about why this doll exists. She truly isn't a brunette, nor is she sporting auburn hair, and she isn't considered rare. Her hair is sort of a cross between the auburn and brown. Here is a pic for you (found in my book Crissy and her Friends: Guide for Collectors):
From this picture, you can see what I mean about her not being one or the other. It still has an auburn cast to it, but it also has a light brown tint to it.
Why does she exist? Well it's well-known in the doll world that there is variation from production period to production period, especially with popular dolls that sold well and for a long period of time. Sometimes this is due to the fact that a supplier, such as the supplier for Crissy's hair, can send whatever is in their inventory once the order is placed. More than likely, it was just a fluke that Ideal received this quantity of hair in this color and they just used it, not realizing that it was a bit different from what they WERE using. As a matter of fact, the number one doll (hair to her feet) can have variations in their hair texture (some have wooly base hair OR a wooly 'tail, OR vice versa, OR they can have all wooly hair OR all non-wooly hair). So it really isn't an unusual thing for the number two doll to have hair variations either. There were already variations in the dolls' hair since her very earliest production. It was just a happenstance in those years and a nice curiosity to have in one's collection. If you acquire the doll, please enjoy her!
© Beth-Ellen Colvin