Monday, January 30, 2012

Toy Show Trollapalooza

One of our favorite toy shows takes place every January. Each year at this event I seem to find lots of one particular kind of toy, as if an unplanned theme runs through the show. For example, one year I found lots of vintage cereal premiums; the next year, it was robots; after that, old dollhouse dishes and tables. This year's show turned up loads of vintage trolls, very early ones made by Dam of Denmark in the 1960s, along with a couple of rarities. It was a veritable Trollapalooza!

The first finds were these two very early Dams, made in heavy European vinyl with glass eyes. The larger troll is the seldom-seen 5 inch size, and retains her original clothes and hair bows. Her mohair wig seems to have begun separating itself into dreadlocks.

The next finds included another 5 inch Dam, this one with short hair (which some early Dams did have), wearing a sweater lovingly knitted by his original young owner.

A troll biology tip---this one is a boy: you can tell by the pointy ears. Dam girl trolls have round ears (see above).

A particularly fine rooted hair troll.
At a nearby table the smaller 2 1/2 inch troll was spotted, a scarce rooted hair version with fabulous long locks and premium quality eyes.

What is a rooted hair troll? Well, most trolls were manufactured with swatches of mohair simply shoved and glued into their hollow head cavities. This was quick and therefore cheap, but not particularly secure. Rooted hair trolls had their hair inserted strand by strand through the vinyl, the same way a doll's hair is rooted. This made the hair very secure, but it also made the manufacturing process much longer and more expensive. Soooo...not a lot of rooted hair trolls were made, and if you find one, you should definitely scoop him (or her) up. These photos give a clearer sense of the difference between the two troll hairstyles.

My last find was an odd, rarely seen toy that was a knock-off version of the popular trolls. Itty Bitty Fings were made by Diener Industries of Sepulveda, California, in the early '60s. About 1 1/2 inches tall, the Fing is made from a rubbery substance similar to old pencil erasers. The hair is mohair, glued to the Fing's head. There were several different styles of Fings, all rather creepy looking. This one is still in his original bag...and he'll probably stay there, as he makes me a bit nervous.

An Itty Bitty Fing.


  1. I don't think any of my trolls had rooted hair. No pointy ears either.

  2. how much did the itty bitty fing cost? i think i just got one for 6 bucks ,but it is in real bad shape,some of the hair is gone and he lost an eye : ( also he is out of the bag

    1. Hmmm...not really sure, as it was a few years ago...maybe $15 or so.

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