The Dream world of
and her posing play pal
Tuppence in original box.
Posing Penny in original box.
Most vintage fashion dolls can be easily connected to their country of origin. The Barbie doll is an all-American girl, Sindy is basically British and Licca is just so Japanese. However most collector's are unaware of two impish little fashion dolls specific to New Zealand and Australia - Little Tuppence and Posing Penny.
The New Zealand company Lincoln Industries, was founded by Lincoln Laidlaw in 1946 and was famous for producing tinplate and die cast toys. The company's slogan was 'Boy oh boy, a Lincoln Toy!' The company also produced a range of dolls and sometime in the early to mid 1960's, under the name Lincoln International, produced the cute little fashion doll - Little Tuppence. Unfortunately, it seems most of the company's records were destroyed when the company folded, which means information about Little Tuppence has to be pieced together by collectors working from NRFB examples and any advertising material that has survived. Therefore there are lots of gaps still to be filled and information still to be verified. If you have any information about these dolls, please contact me.
Little Tuppence generally stands 8" tall. She has a hard hollow plastic body but her arms and legs are a solid flexible vinyl that holds a pose. Her head is generally a soft hollow vinyl attached to the body with a joint that allows twisting as well as lateral movement. She has a blonde, bouffant hairstyle with fringe, brown and white painted side glancing eyes, coral lips and white painted teeth. She was sold wearing a white broderie englaise blouse with puff sleeves and attached lace petticoat, a red skirt hitched at one side with a floral motif, a matching red Alice band and red shoes. She was packaged in a pale blue crescent shaped box with cellophane cover, with a fashion booklet and blue Little Tuppence badge. The badge is a 'T' shape with the Little Tuppence logo in the crossbar and a likeness of the doll in the upright. The slogan on the box is 'Wonderful Dream World - Little Tuppence', while on the booklet 'The Dream World of Little Tuppence' is used. Other advertising materials use slogans such as 'The posing doll - stays put in any position' and 'To dress me in my lovely clothes is much more fun 'cos I can pose.' The logo used for Tuppence is two coins bearing the dolls likeness - two pennies making two pence or 'tuppence' - Tuppence being an endearing nickname of the time.
There many variations in Little Tuppence's world. There seems to have been many different vinyl compounds used to make these dolls and so some dolls heads and bodies stay soft and flexible, some harden, some fade to pale grey and white colours while others may develop spots. Some Tuppence dolls are slightly smaller than others, heads also vary in size (some seem slightly chubbier too) and there can be deviations in face paint. The hair can range from ashen blonde through to almost strawberry blonde and the fibre used can be soft, fine and silky, coarse, shiny or dull. Little Tuppence has no markings on the head. Bodies may be unmarked, marked 'Made in Hong Kong' or 'Made in N.Z.'
It is unclear where these dolls were actually made. It is possible that part of the doll was made in Hong Kong and shipped back to New Zealand for assembly, or some dolls may have been made entirely in New Zealand or Hong Kong. There is no mention on Little Tuppence's packaging as to where items were made.
Lincoln International soon released a friend for Little Tuppence - Posing Penny. Posing Penny shared the same body type and head mould as Tuppence and therefore variations as well. Posing Penny has reddish brown hair, styled in centre parted pig tails and fringe. She was sold wearing a red polka dot bikini, red hair ribbons and red shoes. She may also have been sold in the outfit in which she appears on her box, a pink gingham dress with lace trim and bow at neck, matching panties and head scarf and white shoes. Posing Penny has blue and white painted side glancing eyes with black pupils, brown lashes, eyebrows and freckles, pink lips and white teeth. Some have pink blush. She was sold in a two piece cardboard box with her picture on the front. Her box states ' My Posing play pal is Little Tuppence - we share everything, even our clothes.' Advertising material for Tuppence and Posing Penny tells us that 'Little Tuppence and Posing Penny are the best of friends. They share everything - even their clothes.' Some Posing Penny boxes carry stickers which read "N Z Made".
A special edition, #1083 - Little Tuppence 'Bride of the Year' doll was also produced and this doll is very hard to find now. Sold in an oval clear plastic box, advertising described this doll as 'Little Tuppence in her most exquisite outfit. Every detail in perfect miniature and all in a spectacular see-through box.' Tuppence wears a white wedding gown with train, embroidered with white and silver flowers. She has a veil held in place with 2 rows of diamantes and carries a bouquet of white and pink plastic flowers. This doll retailed for a whopping $9!
Initially Little Tuppence was given a wardrobe of 12 outfits. Like most other fashion dolls of the time, her clothing is very indicative of the sixties and includes casual, formal and career inspired outfits. All of Little Tuppence's clothing and accessories are of a very high quality and well detailed. The clothing is made from fine fabrics with in-scale prints and detailing such as tiny pockets and buttons. Her accessories include items such as a hot water bottle, transistor radio, camera, and sports gear. She even has a 'long board' surf board, so reminiscent of the 60's surf scene! Somewhat bizarre are two of the accessories from the 'Carry on Nurse' outfit, a syringe and thermometer. These items are child sized and very much out of scale to the doll!
The original twelve outfits are as follow:
#1071 - Rainy Day - raincoat and hat;
#1072 - Cutting the Ice - red ice skating dress;
#1073 - Tennis Anyone - Tennis outfit and equipment;
#1074 - Winter Sports - ski gear;
#1075 - Carry on Nurse - nurses' uniform;
#1076 - No School Today - casual pants and blouse;
#1077 - Show Jumping - riding outfit;
#1078 - Back to School - school uniform;
#1079 - Time for Bed - pink baby doll pyjamas;
#1080 - Air Hostess - hostess uniform;
#1081 - Bridesmaid - blue bridesmaid dress;
#1082 - Beach Party - red polka dot bathers and beach gear.
These Little Tuppence outfits were packaged in a large box with a picture of the doll on the front. A sticker on the end of the box gives the outfit name and product number. In addition to the original 12 Little Tuppence outfits, another range of outfits was released together with a cheaper carded range of clothes and accessories. Little Tuppence and Posing Penny outfits were now sold in a smaller box which states 'Little Tuppence and her play pal Posing Penny share 'most everything together' and 'Little Tuppence and Posing Penny Top-Fashion Clothes'. A sticker on the side of the box lists the name of the outfit. These boxes are marked 'Made in Hong Kong'. The carded outfits have no outfit name listed on the pack, it simply states 'I am Little Tuppence and I share everything with my new pal Posing Penny'.
The additional outfits are:
#1150 - What's cooking -checked frock;
#1151 - ?
#1152 - Telephone time - tartan pants and Jumper;
#1153 - Lingerie Set - bra, slip, pants and witches britches;
#1154 - Free and Easy - playsuit, pants and picnic basket;
#1155 - Jiffy Frock - pink frock, scarf and pants.
The carded clothes/accessories are:
#1200 - What's New - shirt;
#1202 - Going Shopping - dress;
#1203 - Hair Do - curler cap, shower cap, and curlers;
#1204 - I'm in the Sun - swimsuit;
#1205 - Jeans - denim jeans;
#1206 - Play Shorts - denim shorts.
There may be several other outfits and accessory packs that are not listed here. There may also be some variation in fabrics used for some outfits.
Little Tuppence owners were invited to join the 'Little Tuppence Club'. Each child received a membership card welcoming them to the club, inviting them to join in 'competitions, get togethers and lots of fun' and asking them to 'take special care of your "Little Tuppence", always.' In addition to the blue badge packaged with every doll - 'to wear so that everyone will know you are a lucky owner of Little Tuppence' - there was a silver and gold badge available as part of an incentive scheme. The silver badge was 'sent FREE when your Little Tuppence has six different outfits' and the gold when twelve outfits were purchased. This scheme seems to have operated on an honesty system, as no proof of purchase is requested!
In some documentation Little Tuppence is advertised as being 'on TV', and I have been told by some original Little Tuppence owners that the doll did have her own TV show. Details of the show are sketchy, but Posing Penny and outfits and accessories were featured on the program. This show aired in Australia around 1966. Whether this was an actual Little Tuppence show or just an extended advertisement is unclear.
It appears that Little Tuppence was available for sale only in New Zealand and Australia. It's unclear if Posing Penny was sold in Australia, although a few dolls have been found here. It's also unclear as to exactly when each doll was released. Magazine articles indicate that little Tuppence was available in Australia for Christmas 1965, but she may have been available earlier than this, especially in New Zealand. Posing Penny seems to have made her appearance around 1966. Little Tuppence was available in large department stores and toy shops and in 1965 Australia cost 25/-. Her initial wardrobe cost between 12/6 (for 'Tennis Anyone') and 29/11 ('Bridesmaid'). The average cost was 17/6. The carded outfits were considerably cheaper at only 6/- each!
Little Tuppence must have been a very popular girl as she is not too difficult to find today. Posing Penny is a little scarcer, while finding outfits complete and in good condition can be a challenge. In Australia Little Tuppence is very undervalued, while Posing Penny is completely overlooked due to lack of knowledge. It's possible to pick up Tuppence for as little as $5-$10. In New Zealand these dolls are more appreciated. Little Tuppence in original outfit may sell for $30 - $45. A boxed posing Penny has sold for as much as $235. Complete outfits may sell for as much as $50.
Many people unaware of little Tuppence often mistake her for Penny Brite. She is very similar in looks to the American doll made by Deluxe Reading in 1963, however there are a couple of very distinct differences.
Little Tuppence and Penny Brite have almost identical head moulds and facial paint, however Penny Brite tends to have more red/copper coloured hair. Penny Brite's head is marked 'Deluxe Reading Corp. © 1963' while she is marked 'Deluxe Reading Corp., Elizabeth N.J., Pat. Pending' across the back. The easiest way to differentiate between Little Tuppence and Penny Brite is the arm mould. Little Tuppence's hands face to the back while Penny Brite's hands face the side of her body.
Like most other fashion dolls of the time, there are also cheap copies or clones of both Little Tuppence and Penny Brite. These dolls are usually of inferior quality and are marked only 'Made in Hong Kong'. Some however do bear an uncanny likeness to the real thing!
Penny Brite in
With thanks to Tanya, Terry, Sue, Sal, Sue, and Debbie.
'Telephone Time' &
'Free and Easy'
'Going Shopping' (?) &
'I'm in the Sun'