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Nancy Ann Storybook Doll Characteristics
Last Updated: 6/28/2003

This page is designed to help you determine whether your doll is a Nancy Ann Storybook doll, and, if so, what are her noteworthy characteristics.  If you already know that your doll is a Nancy Ann Storybook doll and are trying to determine her character's name, please see the Photo Album.

Due to Nancy Ann Storybook dolls' popularity, the style of the doll was often copied by competitors and may sometimes be confusing to the novice collector.  K&H dolls and Dollcraft are two that most closely resemble Nancy Anns.  Also, some people refer to any "Storybook" doll as a "Nancy Ann."  However, once you see enough of Nancy Ann's dolls, you will be able to distinguish her quality a mile away.  Don't be fooled by imitations!  The following characteristics can be noted of most Nancy Ann Storybook dolls.  Please click on the underlined links below for additional pictures and information.

  • Size:  The majority are 5-1/2" tall, but range in size from 4-1/2" to 7".
  • Body composition:  Bodies may be bisque or plastic.  Plastic dolls may have painted eyes or sleepy eyes.  This site will only focus on the bisque dolls.  Some of the later bisque dolls had plastic arms.
  • Body styles:  Bisque dolls in the 4-1/2" to 5-1/2" range may generally be described as "pudgy", "slim strung", or "frozen leg".  Both the "pudgy" and "slim strung" dolls have legs that are jointed at the hips.  Bisque dolls in the 6" plus size  will be one of three types: "socket head with jointed legs", "socket head with frozen legs" or a traditional "frozen leg."  ("Socket heads" are sometimes referred to as "wobble heads.")  All of the dolls will have arms that are jointed at the shoulders.
     
  • Markings:  Bisque dolls are typically marked on the back with one of the following marks: 
     5.5" Frozen leg dolls:
            "STORY/BOOK/DOLL/USA/11"
            "STORY/BOOK/DOLL/USA/PAT. APP. FOR"
            "NANCY/ANN/STORYBOOK/DOLL"
    Slim strung dolls:
            "STORY/BOOK/DOLL/USA/11"
    Pudgy, jointed leg dolls:
            "STORY/BOOK/DOLL/USA/11"
            "JUDY/ANN/USA"
            "STORY/BOOK/USA"
            "MADE/IN/JAPAN/1146"
            "MADE/IN/JAPAN/1148"
            "MADE IN/JAPAN" with a Fan mark above
            "AMERICA"
    It is also relatively common to find Nancy Anns (particularly the frozen leg types) that have no markings or faint markings on their back as the result of a well-used doll mold.
     
  • Shoes:  Dolls typically have black painted "slippers", although black boots and white boots are also found.  Silver slippers are found on select earlier dolls.  White and red slippers are extremely rare.  The earliest dolls have "molded socks".
     
  • Wigs:  Dolls have glued on mohair wigs, found in brown, light blonde, honey blonde, lemon yellow, auburn, and black.  Some early rare dolls have "sprayed on" painted hair.  Also, the earliest dolls will have "molded hair" underneath their wigs.
  • Headwear:  Girl dolls ALWAYS have something in their hair or on their head, such as a hat or hair ribbon.  Only the boys do not have anything on their head.
  • Dress fasteners:  Dresses were held in place at the back of the bisque dolls with either a gold or silver safety pin or a ribbon (which was used during the war years.)  A snap was used at the back of the outfits for the later plastic dolls and some bisque dolls during the transition phase to plastic.
  • Undergarments:  Dolls will typically have long, white pantaloons under their dresses.  On the earlier dolls, the pantaloons will sometimes be trimmed in lace.  Some dolls wear short white panties.  Also, the earlier dolls often have separate white half slips while later dolls may have attached slips or none at all.
  • Tags:  Gold wrist tags with the dolls' names were placed on dolls beginning in 1941.  Prior to that, a round gold "Storybook Dolls" or "Judy Ann" sticker was placed on the front of the doll's clothes.  The sticker typically corresponds to dolls that have molded socks.  Small oval stickers were also sometimes placed on the back of dolls' felt hats or other felt costume parts which say "Nancy Ann/100% Wool/Dressed Dolls."
  • Boxes:  Boxes are usually white with either pink, blue, red, or silver dots, and have a silver label on them with the dolls names and identification numbers.  Earlier boxes are colored (blue, pink, or red) with white dots, and the earliest boxes may be something such as blue with silver dots, red with gold "sunbursts", or a "marbleized look."  Boxes with Nancy Ann Storybook Doll written between the dots belong to plastic dolls.  A completely original box will come with two "cardboard restraints" that hold the doll in place at the neck and the ankles.
  • Brochures:  Each doll came packaged with a brochure that listed Nancy Ann's complete line of Storybook dolls at the time.  The earliest brochures were black and white, while the later brochures for the plastic dolls were in color.
 
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