Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Vinyl dolls - Furga Italy



In addition to my collection of composition and hard plastic dolls from the 1920's - 1950's, I have a few modern era, or "vinyl era" dolls as I like to refer to them. I wasn't going to collect any, but there are a few that have been irresistible for one reason or another.

The first on the list are my two Furga dolls. Furga was an Italian doll manufacturer that started up in the 1870's and is still in existence today. The earliest dolls were made of papier maché and had wax masque faces. Dolls are of a good quality, with many surviving decades. Most doll collectors are familiar with vinyl Furga dolls made in the 1960's and '70's, but Furga also made felt, hard plastic and composition dolls.

I have two Furga "Lady" dolls made circa 1968 - 1971. They have hard vinyl heads and arms, and hard plastic bodies. Both dolls are marked Furga Italy, stand about 14 inches tall and come dressed in period costumes. One doll has high button up boots molded to her feet. Both dolls have soft rooted hair. It almost feels like real hair, but is a fine synthetic. The brunette doll wears an original Furga tagged outfit, while the blonde wears a replacement. The remarkable thing about the dolls made during this period are their beautiful cupid's bow mouths, and eyes with long lashes.

One of Furga's biggest successes were their Alta Moda line of fashion dolls. These 17 inch dolls have long eyelashes, long rooted hair, come with "Mod" outfits and accessories, and usually fetch high prices in auctions. They have the typical beautiful Furga face with cupid bow mouths. [note: some of this information has been corrected.]

If you collect vinyl dolls, a Furga doll would be a great addition. Dolls still in tagged original costumes will fetch the biggest prices.

39 comments:

  1. The original Furga Alta Moda dolls (Susanna, Sylvie, Simona, and Sheila) do not have sleep eyes. They have beautiful, long eyelashes made of a floss material, not human hair. They are exceptionally beautiful dolls!

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  2. Thanks for that information, Anonymous. I got that information on Alta Moda from another doll collector - but I have no doubt you are right.

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  3. I did'nt know that my Sylvie was valuable.
    I got her in perhaps 1965. My sister got a Sheila.
    This afternoon I went cleaning the attic and I found Sylvie back. I discovered that these dolls are collector's items, what a surpise!
    My Sylvie isn't any valuable I think, because when i was little I always thought the eyelashes were too long, zo I cut them. Also the colour of her lips were too pink, so finally I guess I ruined her face.
    But still I have a lot of memories of me and my sister playing with them, and looking on the box where they all stood in really beautiful clothes.
    Greetings from Holland!
    Nora

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  4. Hello Nora!

    Thank you for visiting my blog. I am so envious that you own a Sylvie doll. They are so chic and lovely. In the United States growing up, I had never heard of them. Everything was about Barbie or Chrissie. I would have loved an Alta Moda doll, but have only discovered them as an adult. I will have to get one some day soon for my collection.

    Isn't it wonderful how so many good memories are connected to our dolls?

    All the best,
    Melanie

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  5. Ciao mi chiamo Stefania e ti scrivo dall'italia. Posso aggiungere il tuo blog al mio sito e forum?
    www.altamodafurga.it

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  6. I would say that the “S Girls” is still the most famous dolls had ever been made and up to now they are still the most in demand as almost all of the doll collectors love to have them. My mom has Simona and Slyvie, she still plays with them by changing their 18 inch dolls clothes wardrobe. Touching those makes Mom feel younger and stronger on her age. And dressing them up with doll clothes for 18 inch dolls keeps my mom updated to fashion. And to tell you the truth she looks 10 years younger, maybe playing with the dolls are one of her beauty secrets.

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  7. Chris - I like to think that dolls keep us in touch with our younger selves. One of these days, I am going to own one of the "S" dolls. :D

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  8. I have a Furga Italy anatomically correct baby boy doll #420. He is made of heavey vinyl .Brown eyes with long eyelashes,very pretty face mouth has hole for bottle or pacifier.also no hair. Looked on e-bay ect. But could not find the same exact doll, maybe you could help.
    Pam.snider@ymail.com

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  9. Hi Pam - I couldn't find an exact description of your doll, but Furga did make baby dolls throughout their existence. A quick image search in Google shows a few bald babies, but unfortunately, no years associated with them. As they are vinyl, my best guess is that they were made from the 60's until the company closed. As for value, I've seen a couple listed for between $30 - $50 US, but I'm not sure what their actual sale price is. The earlier babies have closed mouths, so I'd say yours is a more recently manufactured doll. There occasionally are dolls listed like your in Ruby Lane and Etsy, so you might want to have a browse through those sites and see if you can find one that is similar.

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  10. Hi ! I have a Sylvie doll that I picked out of the Sears catalog for Christmas in the early 60's. Unfortunately I also cut her eyelashes, and further, I dyed her hair with Rit dye so her hair has since faded to a soft strawberry blondish color. She always reminded me of Ursula Andress, who was just becoming famous. I'm glad I kept her! But I just pulled her out of my doll hutch and her arms have discolored to horrible dark blue areas, which I will be restoring to original color soon, I hope. Still have her clothes that I hand sewed back in the day :-) from Miz June

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  11. Hi Miz June - I loved reading about your doll memories and I hope that you can get your Sylvie restored. They are such beautiful dolls!

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  12. Hi Melanie! I am trying to research info on a Furga doll that my dad gave my mom on their honeymoon in Rome in 1953. Nothing i have found online seems to help. She is 14 inches blonde ponytail with black bow, green cordouroy pants, yellow plaid shirt, black sandals blue eyes that close, closed mouth, makes noise lying down. I would love to get the history on her. Aurora

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  13. pS: this doll has a Furga 32 Italy on the back of her neck. Any help you can guve is much appreciated. I have pictures too! Happy New Year.

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  14. Hi Aurora - like you, I've had a hard time finding information on what could be your Mom's Furga doll. Furga did make baby and "little lady" dolls in the 50's as well as souvenir type dolls in regional costumes, but going by the description of your doll's outfit, I'd say it's not the souvenir kind, but is most likely one of their "little ladies." Furga also made a doll called Edy around this time, and she has the older style Furga face, but Edy has shorter bobbed hair. If you have photos, that will definitely help. You can email me at mjomodels (at) yahoo.com. :)

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  15. Hi Melanie, I just won a 20 inch Furga doll at an auction today. She has a 1969 Copyright on her neck and 780 and made in Italy on her back. I found your blog as I was researching who this doll is. She has sleepy eyes and brown hair. I really like the look of her. I don't think she is as popular as the 'S' dolls. I am learning so much about vintage dolls.

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  16. That's awesome, Anonymous. Furga dolls are just so "pretty," and I was really impressed by the quality of their synthetic hair. It feels so real on my dolls. Congratulations!

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  17. I purchased a Furga vinyl baby doll today, her name is Carolino, has painted on hair, sleepy eyes, closed mouth with red lips in the bow shape, and painted fingernails. she is wearing panties and a bib with her name on it. I have googled and can find nothing with her name associated with it. there is no date stamp on her neck. the box does have a label that says produzione fruga made in italy 2002 with her name underneath. do you think the 2002 is the date of the doll? thanks any help appreciated.

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    1. oops had the name wrong, it is a boy doll the pink lips and fingernails fooled me. his name is Carlino

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    2. Hi PJ - I did a search for Carlino dolls and they seem to have been made in the 70s. Not all the marks on the backs of the dolls indicate the year they were made. Sometimes they indicate a mold number or style number. Most of the plastic/vinyl dolls you see for sale on eBay and other sites are from the 60s and 70s, as that was the modern heyday of Furga. I tried to find a contemporary Furga doll for comparison, but had no success there.

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    3. thank you so much, when I used google search, could find nothing regarding a Carlino doll so the 2002 on the box had me thinking it could perhaps be a reproduction. I currently have the doll listed on eBay with a starting bid of $39.95, no bids as of yet. Do you think this is a fair price? I will try searching again as I like to have as much information as possible when trying to sell something on eBay.

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    4. p.s. the box he is in is also pretty cool. love the box almost as much as the doll lol

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  18. http://www.ebay.com/itm/371152343943?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2648
    here is the link, if you would like to take a look at him, hope it is ok to post it, won't do it again if not permitted thanks

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    1. Hi PJ - I am so sorry that I missed this! My notifications weren't working, or going to my Spam folder or something.... How did the sale go? What did you get for your Carlino doll? I hope it went well for you.

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  19. Hi, Melanie! I live in the US but was born and raised in Italy. Last year, my husband surprised me with a Susanna Furga identical to the one I found under the Christmas tree when I was 4 years old. I thought that those dolls were just an Italian thing, but I am amazed to see that they 'travelled' all over the world and that there are still so many of us who love them. Thank you for your blog!

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    1. You're welcome, Anonymous! Apologies for the delay in this response, but my notifications weren't working. I hope you are enjoying your Susanna doll.

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  20. Melanie, I had the Christina toddler doll that was sold by Sears in the 1960's and I am looking for more information on her and possibly sources to buy her. I have looked on and off at antique stores for years and have not been able to find her. Any ideas on resources that you may have would be appreciated.

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    1. Hi Anonymous - I found this link to the doll. Is this the doll that you remember? http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1968toys.html

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  21. I have the 20" riding Furga doll in period costume. I bought her for my daughter 40 years ago and she is in excellent condition but needs some new accessories such as a riding hat and whip. I've looked everywhere for doll clothing and accessories and am about to give up. I want to give her to my granddaughter who is 4 years old. Can you help me locate vintage Furga doll period costumes and accessories? REally appreciate your help. thanks,

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    1. Hi Anonymous - apologies for the delayed response. My email notifications weren't working - so I missed this! I think finding those accessories might be a challenge. Your best bets are eBay, Ruby Lane or Etsy, but don't count out getting someone to make some custom accessories for your doll. Some of my Madame Alexanders and my Toni doll have newer accessories, and they work very well. As you are giving the doll to your granddaughter to play with, I am sure she will be thrilled. :)

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  22. Hi! We have a Furga doll Cici Otta 16" long black hair sleepy eyes sweet lips had a light blue dress with cici otta on it underwear that ties on the side also long eyelashes

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    1. Your doll sounds beautiful! Did you want to share a photo?

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  23. I have a vinyl Furga doll with rooted red had and one of the most unusual bodies I have every seen. Face, neck, hand and legs all black with splotches of white color as if she had vitiligo. Her head is marked Furga Italy and her backside between her shoulder blades is also marked "Furga Italy. I will add is white and not splotchy. Her eyes open and close but she is missing most of her lashes. Have you ever seen a doll like this? Wish I could send a photo.

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    1. Hi Anonymous - I have to say, I have not heard of this. I am wondering if the doll was exposed to some kind of chemical, or if she got sunburn at some point. It sounds like the pigment in the vinyl may be unstable. I don't believe Furga intentionally made a doll like this, although anything is possible! :)

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    2. I have this same doll. I was doing research on Google and found your information about your doll. Yes, loss of pigment. She is vinyl with red rooted hair. Being that you have one also I can only assume that it was made intentionally. I am going to try to find out more info. Have you done any more research?

      Sylvia

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    3. Is there a way to post a picture of this doll?

      Sylvia

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    4. Hi Sylvia - I looked and sadly there is no way to add images to the comments here, although, if you can upload the image to another site like Fotobucket, Instagram, or the like, you can add the link to the photo in your comments.

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  24. I have a 13" Furga doll from the early to mid 60's. She is in great condition - but I can not find any information about her. She is 14", has a cry box, with wavy brunette hair, bright green eyes and her mouth is open, showing 2 front teeth. Would you know how I can find the value?

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    1. Hi Anonymous - she sounds like a pretty Furga "Lady" doll, similar to my dolls above, but with the two front teeth, which I think makes them look adorable! A little like a young Brigitte Bardot. I have seen these for auction before on eBay, but of course, values go up and down all the time, depending on demand. One way to see what she would go for is to find a couple of similar dolls for auction and "watch" the auctions to see what those dolls sell for. If she has her original tagged clothing, she will go for a lot more than if she has replacement clothing. A doll with replacement clothing seems to be going for about $30, while one in original tagged clothing can go for $40-$50, but so much depends on the doll's condition, clothing, condition of clothing, etc. I would keep my eye on some auctions to see what people are willing to pay.

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