The Effanbee company is identified with high quality dolls ranging from baby dolls to dolls depicting popular celebrities. Effanbee dolls are constructed of several different materials including vinyl, cloth, rubber, composition and hard plastic. Doll-collecting enthusiasts seek out the best examples of original Effanbee dolls. However, the marketplace is also flooded with Effanbee examples from the 1970s and '80s that hold little value.
The Effanbee Doll Company began in 1912 in New York City. The rubber Dy-Dee Baby was one of the first dolls manufactured. Some examples of this doll now sell for $150 or more. World War II created a major dip in sales for the doll manufacturer. The company was sold to the Noma Electric Company in 1946. Effanbee is now owned by the Tonner Doll company. Tonner purchased the assets of the bankrupt company in 2002. Despite the company's up-and-down history, Effanbee dolls are considered collectible and many retain or greatly exceed their original value.
The Patsy doll is perhaps the most well-known Effanbee doll. Patsy saw a number of incarnations ranging from the cloth-bodied Patsy Mae to the all plastic Patsy Ruth. A Patsy doll with molded hair may sell for up to $175. Even reproductions of classic Effanbee Patsy dolls can demand prices ranging anywhere from $60 to $180 or more.
Reproductions of vintage Effanbee dolls are currently available in limited editions. Dolls in the Effanbee Classic Collection sell for between $30 and $160 and feature such dolls as Janet Lennon, Little Red Riding Hood, Alice in Wonderland, Dy-Dee Baby, Goldilocks, Brenda Starr, Tiny Betsey McCall, Patsy and Patsyette.
Effanbee is also known for its celebrity dolls. A Mae West doll issued in the early 1980s might sell for over $100 today. A complete John Wayne doll dressed in cavalry uniform or in familiar western garb is worth over $200. Other sought-after celebrity dolls that sell for $100 or more include Judy Garland, Groucho Marx, W. C. Fields and Babe Ruth.
Dolls that still have their all of their original clothes, accessories and box will demand top dollar. If original tags are attached, the doll's value can skyrocket. Effanbee dolls that were made before 1960 tend to be the most collectible and therefore demand higher prices. Composition dolls in mint condition with original clothing and accessories can bring prices of $500 or more.
The quality of a doll will obviously have a huge impact on its value. To draw the best price, the doll should be clean and the plastic should have no stains. However, if a previous owner was not careful in cleaning the doll, damage to the original plastic might be present. Look for scratches or roughness in the plastic or an absence of color on the face. The condition of the hair is another consideration. Some early Effanbee dolls had human hair wigs. Damaged hair or hair that has been restyled through cutting, washing or brushing will mean that the doll is worth less.