Filed under: Article with tags: beginner's guide
I occasionally take for granted the fact that not everyone who reads BlytheLife is a seasoned dolly enthusiast, but no longer! For those new to Blythe, this is for you – as well as future “Beginner’s Guide” posts.
Blythe dolls come in various sizes, and also from various manufacturers. The three official manufacturers of Blythe include: Kenner (1972), Ashton-Drake Galleries (2005-2008), Hasbro (2010-Present) and Takara (2001-Present). The only companies still making Blythe dolls are Hasbro and Takara, but if you are shopping online, you can find the dolls produced by other companies. Hasbro and Takara also make drastically different types of Blythe dolls.
Full-Sized: KBs, ADGs and Neo’s
Full-sized Blythes have been produced by Kenner, Ashton-Drake Galleries and Takara.
Blythes produced by Kenner are often referred to as “Kenner” or “Kenner Blythe” – they are the original Blythe doll, otherwise known as ‘vintage Blythe’, and can be difficult to find in mint condition. The prices can vary quite a bit depending on the condition of the doll, if anything is missing (e.g. a limb, hair, clothes), and what damage has been done to the doll. Even partially limbless with missing hair, Kenner Blythe still goes for a few hundred dollars in online auctions. Mint-condition, or even Kenners never removed from the box, can pop up online at times, but the prices may be set at unattainable prices.
Ashton-Drake Galleries’ Blythes were produced to be reproductions of the original 1972 Kenner Blythes, down to the style of the box, hair, and clothing. Ashton-Drake Galleries Blythes (or ADG, as they are referred to by hobbyists) were often overlooked by collectors due to the ‘greenish’ tinge that the plastic had in earlier productions. The later produced dolls by ADG lost this tinge, but they never gained much popularity with collectors. There are some people who do collect the ADG Blythe fashions though, as they are very close reproductions of the vintage clothing (which typically costs a lot more).
Takara is often considered the reason why the new wave of Blythe took off. Partnered with Cross-World Connections, the Blythes that they produce are often seen being referred to as Neo Blythe, as they are the ‘new Blythe’ around. They are very reminiscent of the vintage dolls that came before them. Since 2001, there have been a number of mold changes, and the dolls are often sold and listed with a reference to the type of mold that they are from. These molds are: BL, EBL, SBL, RBL, FBL, and RBL+. As BL is often seen as referring to ‘Blythe’, the E, S, R, and F refer to: Excellence, Superior, Radiance, and Fairest. Currently, the only mold-types still being produced are RBL, FBL, and RBL+ (called Radiance +).
Middie-sized Blythes have only been produced by Takara. Like Skipper was to Barbie, Middie is the ‘middle’ sister (hence her very creative name!). In existence since 2010, Middie has only one set of eyes that only moves side-to-side. Luckily for her, she has a head that also moves around to create adorable and cute looks. Sized considerably different from her older sister counterpart, Middie often doesn’t share many clothing or shoes with her big sister. Notably, some boots will fit both Middie and Neo, and some Neo-sized tops work as tunics or dresses for Middie.
Petite-sized Blythes have been produced by Hasbro and Takara. Takara has been making Petites since 2002. The Takara-made Petites have ‘sleep eyes’ in the traditional sense that dolls have sleep eyes (lay the doll down, eyes close; sit/stand the doll up, eyes open). Hasbro has made a facsimile of the Takara Petite since 2010, with eyes that remain static, but recently changed the look of their Petite to better match the appearance of Blythe Baxter, the human character from the television show, Littlest Pet Shop. Hasbro-made Petites are often referred to as LPS Petites (LPS for Littlest Pet Shop).
A Beginner’s Guide is a feature on BlytheLife.com that is all about going back to the basics of collecting Blythe, and being a reference tool for new and experienced collectors alike. If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in A Beginner’s Guide, send me your suggestions!