This is a vintage photo I saw on Etsy today. This is the earliest version of the108 Series Fat Face Lenci dolls. These 15 inch fat baby dolls were made from 1919-21 and were seen in the early ads and the 108 series doll appeared in very first Lenci catalog of 1923 which included examples of the dolls and characters Lenci was selling up to that time.
The Lenci ad above is from the american toy trade Playthings magazine 1921, showing a selection of Lenci dolls for promotion on the American market that year. There are two of the early chubby baby dolls on the top row.
The article page above shows a goup of the early fat face Lenci babies from the Farago collection. The doll on the right looks like the exact same doll from the black and white photo on etsy.These early fat babies are now very rare and are rarely seen at auction or on eBay. See below a rare picture from the 1923 catalog of one of the 108 series fat face toddlers - notice the doll from the catalog that has separate fingers in contrast to earlier 108 series dolls in the photos above that have joined fingers.
The early Lenci dolls made before 1923 often have human hair and many have a metal(lead) round button tag on the body or clothing similar to the Steiff button, with the word "LENCI" in capital letters on it. These early dolls can be difficult to identify. They have coarser features than the later dolls as the process was not refined yet and they were likely molded by Lenci herself.
From about 1923 when the dolls were increasing in popularity, Lenci hired artists and one of them was assigned the task of creating the 1923 catalog which was to showcase all the types of characters and dolls they were producing going back to the early dolls like the 15 inch 108 Series Fat baby from the 1923 catalog pictured above as well as the new dolls for 1923. With new artistic input and synergy there was a rapid development of production with culminated in the beautifully refined child and lady dolls produced from the mid 20's to the early 30's.
I am looking for more picture to share on the website so if you know of any please let me know. Continue reading