Thursday, January 21, 2016

Tonner West Coast Luncheon & Collection Preview 2016 Review

The theme of this year's event was the silver anniversary of Tonner Dolls!  
Congratulations on a great 25 years!

Robert greets collectors.  He is very friendly and ever attentive.
The venue was a bit more intimate this year.
The collection and sale room was located in an adjoining room.

There were four show exclusives this year.  A strawberry Evangeline with very natural tones on her faceup in a black and white stripes and lace gown.  A Prudence and Ellowyne with matching outfits and hair in coordinating colors of pink and blue.  They are wigged dolls and come with the colorful bobs as well as the longer blond wigs.  And they have cute tattoos on their arm!  And there is a new doll on the scene: Agatha Primrose! She is a fully articulated 11 1/2 inch doll.  Robert describes her as the unlikely fashion doll, with glasses and a bit of quirky sense of style.

Agatha Primrose

Prudence & Ellowyne

These are three of Agatha's new designs!

The food was a good as ever.  Chicken stuffed with spinach over a bed of rice and topped with a creamy sauce was served with steamed vegetables.  The desert was a fluffy chocolate mousse served in a fluted chocolate cup decorated with berries and fruit sauce.  And the coffee was excellent!  Sorry, no food shots to salivate over.

After the meal, Robert gave us a retrospective of the last 25 years of Tonner Doll Company.  A few quick facts that you probably know if you read one of the books:  Robert grew up in Indiana and went to Parsons School of Design.  After school, he was hired by Bill Blass and designed for Blassport.  His first dolls were released in porcelain.

Some of Robert's work for Blassport.

The first doll.
Another early porcelain girl

And now ------  the dolls!


Upon first arriving, I was excited to note that Patience is back!  
And she was front and center on the display table.

I have almost the entire previous collection, and I just love Patience!  Last year, I was very sad to find out that he was discontinuing the line.  I thought that he had not given the dolls enough time to catch on-- big head dolls are so very vogue in collecting right now.  And the flirty eyes are unique and very fun to play with, and these girls are super posable, too!  Robert said that since the doll were discontinued, they have been in high demand on the secondary market, so he decided to bring them back.  And he is considering more outfits, too!  Super YAY!

Springtime Patience

Super cute outfit!
What a sweet face...

Dotty Patience

Basic Patience

Wiggy for Patience

And a Basic girl with removable wig!  And a super special blond wig!
I HAVE to have this set!

And another cute bobbed sailor girl: Seaside Patience.  I will definitely be getting her to go with my other blond sailor girl.  I am such a sucker for sailor cuties!

 Seaside Patience
A Shoulder to Cry on Sad Sally

And another cute Sad Sally this year. . . 
I have not yet added one to my collection, though not for the wanting.  This may be the girl for me!

A big collection for Ellowyn is underway!

Right on White
Overhead Costs

Baffled in Brocade

Perfectly Poised Outfit

A Dream of Marigold and Cinamon

Some stunning additions to the Evangeline collection . . .

 And Miette . . .

The men of the Deja Vu series are really impressive, so detailed.

Deja Vu

Rockabilly Collection

Finally, Robert revealed a few exciting things to look forward to this year.  He confirmed that they have signed another agreement with Mary Engelbreit! At long last we will have more Ann Estelle dolls!  He will be adding more to the 10" line and some larger, older counterparts to the collection, the older versions of the kids that are depicted in Mary's work  He is also going to make ME outfits for his new line of 18" play dolls.  I asked if he would consider another 18" Ann Estelle, since they are pretty hard to get now.  He said it was a possibility!

The Downton Abbey dolls were designed and sculpted, but the license was yanked, so we won't be seeing those.  Boo!  But he will be doing more Harry Potter dolls! Professor McGonagall will be the next in line.  Yay!

Also, Robert said that there has been some hold up in receiving dolls from the factory.  Some have been in the works for a very long time, and they never receive them.  So he is beginning to work with another factory.  He expects the dolls to be of higher quality! And to be received quicker, too!

The new website is up and running now.  It fully integrates both sites and cleans up the years of buildup on the other sites.  It will take some getting used to the new format for some, but in the end he expects it to work better.  There are some beautiful pieces of furniture available now: chaise lounges for 16" dolls.  And many of the dolls pictured in this blog are already available.  Check them out at!

I'll leave you with a few parting pictures of the new girl on the scene, Agatha Primrose!

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