Vintage Sonja Henrie Dolls
Vintage Sonja Henie dolls were children’s dolls modelled on the Olympic gold medallist ice skater and movie star, Sonja Henie.
History & Description
The first Sonja Henie doll was released in 1939 by the American toy company Madame Alexander, just a few years after Ideal had released their Shirley Temple doll. The Madame Alexander version was a composition doll with blonde curly hair and brown, sleep eyes and was available with several skiing outfits and skis.
In the 1940s, another Sonja Henie doll was released by Arranbee. At the time Arranbee did not have the license for the Henie name but the doll is almost universally referred to as a Henie doll.
Both companies released dolls in a variety of sizes, ranging from 15 to 21 inches.
Guide for collectors
The two types of Henie dolls can be distinguished due to the maker’s marks. Madame Alexander dolls are marked on the back of the head and also have the Henie name included on the tag. Arranbee have R & B marked on the dolls’ neck.
Records indicate that Madame Alexander versions achieve the highest prices at auction compared to Arranbee models. Both dolls are commonly offered by national auction houses and occasionally sold through international auctioneers. In addition, eBay also regularly advertises both Madame Alexander and Arranbee versions.
Notable auction sales
(All the following dolls were made by Madame Alexander)
On December 1st 2003 at O’Gallerie in Portland, Oregon, a 17” doll, 1939, realised a price of $1,000.
On January 28th 2012 at Frasher’s Doll Auction in Oak Grove, Missouri, a 21” doll, realised a price of $500.
On March 14th 2008 at DuMouchelles in Detroit, Michigan, an 18” doll realised a price of $225.
On November 20th 2010 at Frasher’s Doll auction, a 15” doll, circa 1939, realised a price of $200.
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