Ann is an extremely high quality play doll made of the
best materials. My only issue with Ann's construction is her
flange-jointed legs which make her a bit stiff to pose and hard to dress.
As noted above, 18" Ann Estelle's body was originally sculpted by Tonner
for JC Penney's Penney and Friends
dolls. The same body was reused in 2002 for the
Robert Tonner Collectibles,
Betsy-faced dolls. Most recently the body was used again for Linda
Rick's Lovee/Key to My Heart dolls which are still in production.
Ann always comes with her signature glasses and, if you
look closely, you'll notice a slight "lazy eye" where one eye points
slightly farther away from her nose, which is (reportedly) intentional and
appropriate to her character. She usually comes with a short, blonde
bob but was also produced with long blonde hair (Boating Party) and red
curls (Scottie Skirt and Saddle Shoes).
The dolls and their fashions are taken from
illustrations by Mary Engelbreit -- primarily paper dolls published in her
"Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion" magazine. The 18" fashions
have always been larger versions of outfits created first for the 10"
Ann Estelle dolls. (Tonner has also done 8" and 29" versions of Ann, but
the 10" is always the trend-setter.) Here are two of my Anns
pointing out the Classic Sailor and May Flowers outfits in a ME print
that normally hangs in my doll room:
A collector named Teri Pettite has made a wonderful set
of webpages she calls the
Mary Engelbreit Comparison Guide, showing the Ann Estelle dolls (of all sizes)
and the source of the illustration on which the doll's costume is based.
Many collectors were saddened by the decision not to
produce the 2005 dolls and to discontinue the line. The official,
company line is that "there are no plans" to make the dolls in the
future. They are expensive for and not really marketed as children's
play dolls but they are not your typical adult collector doll, so sadly
they did not sell as well as was hoped.
Here are links to the archived catalog pages on the Tonner Doll Company website (click your browser's Back button to return
to Just Magic):