Old Effanbee Dolls: Identification, Dating & Value Guide

Despite their easy availability and hard plastic designs, Effabee dolls have taken the world by storm! These simple, cotton-stuffed dolls tick all the antique checkpoints – from handmade features to brand marks and boxes – which make them a collector’s favorite!

And though the brand stopped making dolls in 2002, its hype stayed the same, with many people looking to collect them! If you are one of them, this Effanbee doll’s value guide is what you need to spot & appraise all the rare features that your doll has!

Key Takeaways

  • You can identify old Effanbee dolls with embossed material marks, slightly tight joints, handpainted facial features, and vintage Victorian or pop-culture clothes.
  • Old Effanbee dolls with walking or eye-closing machines, moving mouths, lashes, and joints cost more than fixed or stationary models.
  • Effanbee’s Patsy or Baby doll collection, worth up to $450, is the brand’s most valuable and in-demand series!
  • Different Effanbee trade stamps, mold numbers, and material marks will help you track your Effanbee doll’s year and age.

Brief History of the Effanbee Dolls & Company

Effanbee Doll Company (short for Bernard Fleischaker and Hugo Baum) was an early American company (1910 – 2008) specializing in realistic cloth and vinyl dolls.

At its peak in the 1930s, Effanbee made millions of dolls, including its famous, child-like Patsy dolls and the Dydee Baby, the first drink and wet doll. Later, it reproduced Tribune media comics – Brenda Starr, Girl Reporter & Annie as fashion dolls!

From 1975 to 1986, Effanbee produced ten historical, television, and Presidential dolls for the Effanbee Limited Edition Doll Club, a 275,000-member, limited-edition doll forum.

But in 2002, Tonner Dolls, a doll distribution company, purchased Effanbee’s assets and started reproducing Effanbee dolls as a subsidiary!

4 Factors to Identify Authentic Effanbee Dolls

You can identify OLD & REAL Effanbee dolls by their exclusive, handmade features like wire joints, material marks, painted or molded eyes, and ribbon dresses.

In contrast, the counterfeits (trust me, there are many) may have chalky or unrealistic joints, cloudy eyes, misspelled Effanbee marks, and fake mold numbers.

1. Material & Material Marks

You can identify the earliest 1920s Effanbee dolls by their fluffy but clumped excelsior or cotton stuffing and molded Angora goat mohair.

These dolls also used local resin and sawdust (composition dolls) or hard rubber bodies, while the post-World War II ones were made of vinyl and plastic.

Moreover, old Effanbee dolls also displayed material marks on their heads or necks. I’ve prepared a list of all such marks below:

Old Effanbee Doll MaterialsFeatured Marks
Composition (Resin) & Hard Rubber DollsAn embossed ‘Effanbee’ logo & mold number (7c, 27c, 24, 34, 52, 54, 56, 58, 70, 72, 74, 102, 104, 106, 108, 116, 124N, 152, 156, 303, 455 & 802)
Plastic DollsA molded ‘Effanbee’ mark with the doll’s name (Tiny Tears, Brenda Starr, Patsy, Louis Armstrong, Suzie Sunshine, etc.)
Vinyl DollsA printed label featuring the brand’s trademark, Made in USA stamp & the doll’s name (Baby Bright Eyes, Sweetie Pie, Dutch Treat Boy, Sammie, etc.)

But that’s not all! Unlike others, limited or anniversary-edition Effanbee dolls might have composite plastic and porcelain bodies with labels and tags. Today, they value up to $300 depending on their set, condition, and other factors.

2. Body Joints

The way an Effanbee doll is composed can also be an effective identifier. How? Well, AUTHENTIC vintage Effanbee dolls had handmade metal or cardboard disc limbs with hook, string, or elastic connectors.

In contrast, I’ve seen many forged Effanbee dolls in thrift stores with new sliding, ball, socket, or swivel joints.

It’s advisable to lubricate old Effanbee dolls with a food-grade silicone lubricant or talcum powder to keep them moving.

3. Facial Features

Valuable Vintage Effanbee Dolls

Observe the face of the Effanbee doll; if it’s a real one, it’ll have handpainted or set-in features (unlike other dolls of that era, like cabbage patch dolls & beanie boos) as follows:

  • Hand-painted bright blue to dark teal or glass sleep eyes (eyes that open and close with movement)
  • Molded or painted black pupils, lashes, and arched eyebrows
  • Molded mouth and dimples
  • Synthetic or mohair wigs or rooted hair
  • Button, snub, or turned-up noses

4. Vintage Effanbee Doll Clothes

Effanbee Dolls with Styled Clothes

Recently, I stumbled upon a signed Effanbee doll with a printed jumpsuit and a denim jacket at an auction. At first, I mistook it for a rare one until I checked out the brand’s brochures and realized it was FAKE!

In reality, Effanbee adorned its dolls in 1930s – 1980s outfits, scarves, and blazers. Yes, you may find some lace and sequin work here and there, but the prints would be old – from the Georgian or Victorian era.

Here are a few examples:

Old Effanbee Doll DressesFashion StylesIdentifying Features
Coquette DressesVictorian RegencyFlirty pastel dresses with milkmaid tops, tights, ruffles, ribbons, bows 
Patsy Doll DressesAmerican 60s & &70sPlaid, polka dot, or striped dresses, rompers, coats, hats, and shoes
Toni Doll DressesNew Look (1940s)Taffeta party dresses or rickrack bridal gowns, embroidered or ribbon dresses, velvet coats, slips, oil-cloth or vinyl shoes
International OutfitsGlobal FashionMimics the post-1950s regional fashion trends in Europe, Germany, America, India & Japan

How to Date Antique Effanbee Dolls (Markings & Features)

The quickest way to know if an Effanbee doll is real is to check for an Effabee trademark or Collector Series logo on its neck or back. But how does that help in dating the doll?

Well, Effanbee improvised its logo! It started with cursive logos in the early 1920s and evolved into certified trademarks with location and copyright marks, as seen in the 1970s or 1980s dolls.

I have prepared an Effanbee Doll age chart with all its brand logo variations to give you much better clarity on identification:

Effanbee Doll YearsFeatured MarksEffanbee Dolls Age
Early 1920sEarly 1920s Effanbee Doll Mark94 – 103 years
1930sEffanbee Doll Mark in the 1930s84 – 93 years
1940s – 1960s1940 - 1960s Effanbee Doll Mark64 – 83 years
1970sEffanbee Doll Mark in the 1970s44 – 53 years
1980s1980s Effanbee Doll Trademark34 – 43 years

Here are some more year-specific details:

  • 1920s – 1960s Effanbee Dolls: These 6 – 21” inch dolls feature handpainted eyes, hair, stroked brows, and flapper or baby doll dresses. Popular examples include Patsy, Bubbles, Little Girl, Mary Lee dolls, or the Ventriloquist Puppet Doll worth $700!
  • 1970s Effanbee Dolls: You can identify a 1970s Effanbee doll by its hard plastic or vinyl bodies and urban outfits – bell-bottom pants, mini-skirts, and wallets. Usually, these 1970s Effanbee dolls value up to $150 today!
  • Effanbee Dolls 1980s: An Effanbee 1980s doll like the Brenda Starr or Bright Eyes has machine-molded vinyl features with realistic dimples, freckles, and themed pop-culture or TV accessories.

Old & collectible Effanbee dolls have different mold numbers like FanB, F&B, F + B & F + B Dco (for the brand), DECO & DECO 144 for high-quality molds & ‘PATENT PENDING’ for unregistered designs.

Finding the Value of Vintage Effanbee Dolls (In 4 Steps)

Most common, average-condition Effanbee dolls are worth around $20 to $200, whereas the popular Patsy & Baby dolls can be worth $300 or even more!

Needless to say, an Effanbee doll’s value depends on different factors, out of which its type, condition, packaging, and size are the most crucial ones!

1. Assess the Condition

A Group of Antique Effanbee Dolls in a Box

The older the doll, the more wear and tear it’ll have. And while collectors don’t mind naturally yellowed or lop-sided dolls, conditional defects like cracks, chips, scratches, hair loss, and fading paint are a big no!

I’ve also observed that people pay more for working dolls with walking or eye-closing machines, moving joints, mouths, and lashes.

In contrast, poorly kept dolls with torn or stained dresses, laces, ribbons & scarves have a lower demand and value.

I found two versions of the 1920s 19.5-inch Baby Lovums Doll on eBay; the one with chips and cracks sold for $20, while the good-condition doll fetched over $150.

Wrap your Effanbee dolls with acid-free tissue, cardboard, or microfiber cloth and place them in a closed but well-ventilated cabinet to reduce decay.

2. Look for Original Effanbee Tags & Packaging

Do you know that old Effanbee dolls can be valued at over $200 if they have their original die-cut boxes, tags, and blankets? That’s because of the original & easy-to-verify printed edition numbers, signs, and caution labels on the boxes that collectors look for!

For instance, Effanbee’s popular Patsy dolls will fetch around $450 with a box and about $350 without one, even in the best condition.

3. Identify the 8 Types of Old Effanbee Dolls

Different Types of Antique Effanbee Dolls

Old Effanbee dolls have a vast catalog of dolls, whose value ranges from $5 to $500, including all factors. But one factor that will help you sort all such different price ranges is the type!

Since the early 1930s, Effanbee has made millions of dolls with fixed features that affect their worth. For instance, Effanbee’s handpainted Patsy doll values up to $450, while the baby doll can fetch up to $600 with its moving sleep eyes and accessories!

Here’s a value guide for all eight Effanbee doll types, exclusive of their packaging:

Old Effanbee Doll’s TypeCollectible FeaturesEstimated Cost of Small (Below 15” Dolls)Estimated Cost of Large (Above 15” Dolls)
Patsy Dolls(1928 – 1946)Composition or hard-plastic dolls with side-facing eyes, rose-bud mouths, a typical romper & bonnet fashion$30 – 300$60 – 450
Fashion Dolls(1950 Onwards)Fashionista dolls with nets, tunics, bob or flowing hairstyles, fixed eyes, and painted makeup$25 – 180$60 – 300
Baby DollsNewborn or infant-themed dolls with plastic pacifiers, blankets & baby bottles$30 – 300$50 – 600
Anne Shirley Dolls (1940s)Themed Anne Shirley (Novel – Anne of Green Gables) dolls with stamped ‘F & B Anne Shirley’ marks$15 – 200$20 – 250
Sugar Dolls (1930s)Swivel head composition dolls with a wooden neck, cotton yarn hair & stuffingN.A Up to $150
Honey Dolls (1945 Onwards)Hard plastic boy & girl dolls with sleep eyes & closed mouths$15 – 120$20 – 200
Disney DollsThemed Disney princess dolls with Effanbee and Disney stickers on the base$5 – 60Up to $100
Drink & Wet Dolls (1950s)Simple, potty-training dolls with marked cotton flannel diapers and a ‘US PAT – 1857485’ or ‘PAT Pending’ mark on the base$10 – 150$25 – 250

4. Check the Size

Antique Effanbee Dolls of Different Sizes

Generally, large, 16 – 30-inch Effanbee dolls cost more than the small, 5 – 15-inch dolls of the same type. But these values change with other factors like the doll’s condition, clothes, packaging, and age.

For example, a 14” Patsy doll in good condition can be worth more than a 19-inch Patsy doll with visible defects and crazing.

Where Can I Sell My Old Effanbee Doll?

You can sell your old Effanbee dolls on online platforms like eBay, Etsy, RubyLane, Mercari, or Live Auctioneers. Or, you can even advertise in your local antiques shop or flea market for some offline attention!

As we saw, you can identify and appraise old Effanbee dolls based on their condition, packaging, type, and size. Don’t forget to note all the mold or material marks on the doll’s head or back to date them to find the best value for your vintage dolls!

Like Effanbee, vintage Annalee dolls also have a high collector’s interest nowadays. You can also refer to my list of rare antique dolls to find more collectible dolls!

Judith Miller
Judith Miller

Judith is an antique expert with nearly 20 years of experience in the field of antique identification and valuation. She has reviewed over 30 thousand vintage items and has worked with numerous antique shops. She enjoys seeing new places, attending antique shows and events, and sharing her knowledge with people! Know more about me

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