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November, 2006

A  Lenci Dolls Collector article--for Lenci doll collectors



Featured doll: Lenci Bambina


Patricia Hayes
For The Lenci Doll Collector


This time we are privileged to present the story of an exceptional Lenci baby ( Images 1-3 ) from a reader in Germany. She is a Lenci mannequin baby made of aluminium, covered with felt and measures about 25 inches tall. This baby appeared in the 1930/31 catalog as a mannequin, and was the model for a new baby doll series to be marketed as dolls, also presented for the first time in 1931 the same catalog, which were to be made in the typical felt construction, without the aluminium foundation of the mannequin.

Her owner sent me these beautifully taken photos and the account of her background which follows :

" In 1980 the previous owner of this doll, advertised in a newspaper that she was looking for antique dolls. A professor called and offered this Baby doll. The previous owner, we will call her R, was absolutely charmed from this little girl, but she couldn´t figure out who made her. It was love on the first sight. The professor was born in 1926 and she told R, this doll belonged to her aunt. Her mother had an elder sister. She studied at the famous academy of arts in Vienna. She worked in the "Wiener Werkstätten" and designed clothes and fabrics. R assumes, she must have been very famous in her area. She married, in the twenties, an Italian Businessman from Torino, both of them lived there after that. The young women wished to work with art and she found a job in a very big toy company. They made also dolls but they were so expensive, that you almost cannot imagine that children played with them. This is what the professor told to R, but the name "Lenci" was never mentioned. The aunt always sketched when she visited her hometown, - wonderful dresses, and also doll faces, and dolls. Her niece was allowed to colour the drawings. When she visited her hometown in the thirties the aunt brought this Baby doll with her and told that this doll was made in "her" company. She told, this doll was her own doll and she were very valuable, nobody was allowed to touch her, she wasn´t a toy. Before she left, she put the doll into a box and brought her into the cellar. There she stayed about 30 years long - watched by her grandmother and later by her mother. It seems, that the aunt didn´t pick up her doll, we don´t know why. After the grandmother and mother died they sold the parents´ house. The professor discovered the doll in her box and took her with her. She put her 20 years long in her cellar. She had forgotten about her until she saw the announcement in the newspaper. .."(continued below)

Images of the 20's and 30's

1. Lenci baby doll ( Private collection, Germany )

Lenci Baby Mannequin

2. Lenci Mannequin Baby ( Private collection, Germany )

"...It was absolutely clear and obvious that this doll was a Lenci doll. And she is a rarity. Her pictures went around the world. The American doll magazine "Doll Reader" wrote about her and the Italian "Elle" as well. Nobody had seen a doll like her. She is similar to a Lenci "Bambina", but a "Bambina" is smaller and has another face and has the common body of Lenci dolls.
Last year I was looking for a nice wax doll in the internet and I stumbled upon the web site of a museum in Austria . I asked if they were having wax dolls for sale and they offered me this Lenci Baby. For me it was love on the first sight as well. I didn't even think and bought her instantly. She is so sweet and so special... She makes me smile... "

We are grateful to this reader for sharing these wonderful photos and story of the beautiful Lenci mannequin baby.


Lenci Baby Mannequin - Private collection, Germany

3. Lenci Mannequin Baby ( Private collection, Germany )


Lenci baby in 1931 catalog

4. Lenci Bambina dolls in the 1931 catalog


5. Lenci Bambina dolls in the 1931 catalog


  • Lenci Company Catalogs 1931
  • Marly Brunenberg collection, Germany
  • All photos copyright of the owners


Patricia Hayes
For The Lenci Doll Collector

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