"Patti Playpal" was made by the Ideal Toy Corporation from 1959 through approximately 1962. She is very large (approximately 35 inches high). Other companies made similar sized dolls during the same time period, but Patti Playpal was the most popular and of the best quality. These types of dolls are often referred to as "companion dolls" as they were meant to be approximately the same size as a three year old child and act as a playmate. Many of these dolls were also "walkers" in that if you held their hands and slightly tilted them side to side, their legs would move and actually "walk" with you.
These dolls came with many different hair colors and hair styles. The doll in the photo above has dark brown hair in a short bob cut and blue eyes. The most commom Patti hairstyle is long straight medium blond hair with bangs. Rare hair colors are platinum and bright red. Rare hairstyles are long hair with pulled back sides, a pony-tail hairstyle, and no-bangs style with side curls or small tiny spit-curls around her hairline.
The doll in the photos above is not wearing her original clothing. She is actually wearing a 1990's girls size 3 dress. Original Patti Playpal clothing was similar to girl's clothing of the late 1950's-early 1960's. In Patti doll commercials, they encouraged children to share clothing with their doll, and even showed a child dressed in Patti's dress, and Patti dressed in the child's clothing.
Patti was actually part of a whole family of dolls. She had a younger sisters Penny (2 year old size), Suzy (1 year old size) and Bonnie (3 month old size). She also had a brother Peter (3 year old - slightly taller than Patti) and a brother Johnny (3 month old to go along with sister Bonnie. There was also an 18 inch miniature version of Patti called "Pattite". She is VERY rare.
Other toy companies made dolls similar to Patti during this timeframe. Above is are photos of a doll made by the Allied Eastern Company. She is wearing a replacement doll wig and has been re-dressed. If you are in the market for a "real" Patti Playpal, pay attention to the markings on the doll. Patti should always be marked on her head and body with the Ideal Toy Corp. name. Other dolls will have other doll company markings or will be unmarked.
When Patti and the other doll are side by side, you can tell their facial features are slightly different.
To illustrate the large size of these dolls, here is Patti and the other companion doll (we have named her Christina) next to my 4 year old daugher Ashley. As you can see, these dolls are practically her size!
Its fun to dress companion dolls in holiday and seasonal themed clothing since you can easily use any standard 3 year old outfit. Here is Patti dressed in a patriotic outfit and also dressed as Snow White for Halloween.
Patti Playpal and other companion type dolls are very popular with collectors today since they really don't really make new dolls of this large size anymore. In very good condition they often sell for between $200 to $300.
I was actually not yet born when Patti Playpal was on the market. By 1965, only a few large size dolls were being produced. Above is a photo of me with a doll similar in size to Patti. I actually remember when this photo was taken(believe it or not). It was on my first birthday. I was sitting on the kitchen floor with this doll and hearing everyone laughing in the background because they thought I believed the doll was a real child. I probably did think she was real! Or it could be that I thought the adults were crazy for thinking I would think she was real! Anyway, I don't remember the doll much after my first birthday. I know I did not have her when I was a few years older. Perhaps she decided to move out on her own.
I purchased the Patti and the other companion doll shown in the photos above a little over a year ago so I could have a way to display the pretty dresses that my two daughters wore when they were younger. Since then, we have had great fun changing their clothes to match the holidays. Here they are dressed for Christmas.
These dolls take up alot of space, so if you are interested in starting a collection, I would advise you to clear out an area for them, or only collect a few that you can strategically place in corners of the room. Otherwise, you will most certainly be overwhelmed by them!
Here are links to some great reference books with information on Patti Playpal dolls.
Collectors Guide to Ideal Dolls Identification and Values : Identification & Values (2nd Ed) by Judith Izen
The Patti Playpal Family : An Unauthorized Guide to 1960s Companion Dolls by Carla Marie Cross
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