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October, 2006

A  Lenci Dolls Collector article--for Lenci doll collectors



Lenci 300 Series : Part 2, International Perspective


Patricia Hayes
For The Lenci Doll Collector


In the years following the Great War, with an increased awareness of geographical issues, a new interest in tourist travel began to emerge, in part prompted by the new era of peace and the possibility for travel, and no doubt influenced by romantic images of the sights of Europe, and scenes of peasants in their regional costumes, often found in the popular media of the day. Many of such images found thir way around the world on postcards from the returning troops. Colorful national and regional costumes can be found on travel posters and covers of the popular magazines of day into the 1920's and early 30's. In those days, before chain stores and mass transit, traditions in regional costume, and crafts such as lacemaking, were still in evidence as part of everday life outside of the major cities, throughout many parts of Europe. On a day trip by train from Paris to Brittany in 1919, an American officer, Robert J. Godbey wrote, in reference to postcards he collected, two of which are seen in Image 1:

"All of these costumes I have seen at one time or another, and some of them I have seen that are not shown herewith" (source)

The Lenci company of Turin, which was at the forefront of the "flapper doll" trend in the early twenties, reflected this international perspective and an appreciation of regional traditions, in a spectacular range of outfits for their very popular 300 series dolls.

Lenci dolls were much in demand in the United States from the early days at the beginning of the 1920's. The 300 series launched in 1925, found immediate success, and the company had to expand quickly to meet the increased demand. By Christmas of 1929 an entire shop window display in New Jersey presented the Lenci 300 series dolls in pairs, wearing cosumes of various countries of the world. The national costume dolls of the 300 series were presented in boy-girl couples from each country, so customers tended to buy them in pairs. In this photo essay we let the images of these dolls speak for themselves as we appreciate the meticulous detail and high level of skill unmatched by their imitators.


Images of the 20's and 30's

1. Images of Traditional dress in the 20's -30's

Regional dolls 1931

2. Pairs of 300 Series Lenci dolls in National dress seen in the 1931 Catalog


300 series Lenci dolls

3. 300 Series dolls representing Holland



4. Spanish Girl (Private Collection)

5. Morocco or Turkey (?)couple (Private collection)

7. Scotland (Private collection)

Vaquero and Se?orita

8. Mexico (Private collection)

9. Tyrol (Private collection}

10. Lapland

Eastern European Couple
11. Eastern European Couple (Private collection)i

Russia Pair
12. Russia

Matador and Se?orita
13. Matador and Se?orita

14. Bamberger's Christmas window of Dec 1929, seen in Playthings, Feb 1930 ( Source Lenci Dolls, D. Coleman )

15. Lenci Dutch dolls postcard


  • Robert J. Godbey Collection - Journal, Vol. 6
  • Lenci Company Catalogs 1925 -31
  • Coleman, Dorothy, June 1977, Lenci Dolls,  Hobby House Press Inc, Grantsville, Maryland


Patricia Hayes
For The Lenci Doll Collector

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