The sale in New York featured six rare examples which each achieved impressive six-figure results.
Mary Hartline dolls are dolls based on the popular 1950s U.S television personality Mary Hartline.
Mary Hartline was a presenter on the popular U.S family television show Super Circus, which ran from 1949 until 1956. The show, which aired live on Sunday afternoons, featured live clowns and other circus acts and was presented by Hartline and Claude Kirchner.
Regarded as one of television’s earliest sex symbols, Hartline inspired a range of merchandise which included clothes, boots, records and a baton matching the one she used in the show – along with a highly successful line of dolls which remain popular collector’s items to this day.
Guide for collectors
The Ideal Toy Company produced three types of Mary Hartline doll during the 1950s, measuring 16”, 7 ½” and 22”.
The first 16” doll was produced in 1952, using the body of an existing ‘Toni’ doll with a long blonde wig and side parting. These dolls can be identified by the marking P-91, and the use of eyeshadow. The dolls were dressed in dresses and boots, with musical notes around the edge of the skirt and a white hart with the name ‘Mary’ printed on the front. The dolls were available with red, green and blue dresses, with white tasselled boots.
The smaller 7 ½” dolls were released in 1953, and can be recognised by their white boots which are painted on to the feet. These dolls wear the same style outfits as the larger models.
The largest of the dolls were the 22”, and are the most sought-after by collectors today. These dolls also wore the same style outfits, and came complete with batons. These are marked as P-94, and were also based on the larger version of Ideal’s Toni doll.
How much are Mary Hartline dolls worth?
The 22” dolls are by far the most valuable, and can sell for up to $500 each in top condition.
Also sought after are the 16” dolls in blue and green outfits, as they are rarer than the red versions. Top condition dolls in this size can sell for up to $300 – although the most common price range for the 16” dolls is around $30 - $50 depending on condition.
The smallest, 7 ½” dolls can sell for around $10 - $30.
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