The end of an era: Tonner Doll company shuts down

I was expecting to begin the new year with happier news, but unfortunately that is not the case. Robert Tonner announced in an email that Tonner Doll shut down with the end of 2018. Of course it was to be expected, after the restructuring of his business and his focus on Phyn & Aero, which left Tonner Doll only with licensed product, which was obviously not as commercial as it should. Licensing has the fees sucking out most of the profits, and if a company deals only with such a sector, it needs to have mass production and a wide array of product to be sust, something Tonner Doll had not. I’ll always cherish the Tonner dolls I own, and hopefully will acquire some more in the future. From now own, doll collectors will follow his endeavours with his other company, Phyn & Aero. Below is his letter. 


 My Dear Friends,

I was lucky enough to start Tonner Doll at a point when it seemed that everyone was collecting, making, buying or selling dolls.  At the same time, the Far East was willing and eager to produce whatever we wanted at a price that couldn’t be beat.    High demand and inexpensive, quality production led to the golden age of collectible dolls and great success for Tonner Doll.

It’s often said that the only thing you can count on is change; I whole heartedly agree with that statement.  I could go on and on about the changes in the collectible doll industry, but in short, the business model that I used to build Tonner Doll is no longer viable or sustainable.  Therefore, Tonner Doll Company (including the Tonner Doll web site, doll hospital, phones and emails) was closed as of December 31, 2018.


“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.”
― Jenna Evans Welch, Love & Gelato

I’m very excited that Phyn & Areo will continue with a brand-new business model, one that addresses some of the changes mentioned above and we will be exploring new ways of doing business.  Through Phyn and Aero, I’ll be working directly with our favorite retailers to create unique and exclusive dolls (look for the first Ellowyne out this Spring).  I will continue to design for and attend events throughout the year (Dollology, Shaker Doll Club, Doll Circle and UFDC to name a few).  At Phyn and Aero I will also continue to develop new product; we’ll be doing small batch, design driven products.  Rayne, a new character with unique (and I mean unique) accessories will debut around Toy Fair.  In addition, I am working on design projects with other companies (I just did a huge amount of work for FAO; that was both a challenge and a delight).  I think it’s going to be a very busy, very exciting 2019!

Over these past 28 years I have had to honor to meet, work with and befriend some of the most wonderful people there are—doll collectors, doll lovers and doll retailers.  I want you to know how deeply I’ve appreciated our journey together—and here’s to a bright, exciting, shiny, new future!


P.S.  Starting today, please visit our website at or call us at 845-802-5552.  You can also reach us through


All photos courtesy of Tonner Doll.  

December to remember - a special invitation by Tonner Doll

Tonner Doll sent out today an invitation for a sale event at Best Western Plus in Kingston, NY, something they have done before. This time though they are clearing house, so they will be selling lots of prototype dolls. Full information in their text, below:


Dear Friends!

We're inviting YOU to an "Event" quite unlike anything we've ever hosted before!

Here's a bit of what's to come...
On Thursday, November 15, 2018, in just three days...we will send out an email with registration information (and a link) for signing up for this "Once in a Lifetime Opportunity."  Regonline is our hosting site for you to "sign" up as we've done for all our events in the past.  PLEASE NOTE, and READ CAREFULLY HERE, the registration will begin at 12 Noon Eastern time on Thursday, November 15, 2018th.  Once registration is complete (125 people maximum) we will conduct a lottery and assign entrance numbers to everyone.  Once you arrive and check in begins you'll receive your name badge and entry number and line up accordingly.  Ooooh, and the excitement begins!
For what you ask...

As you can see from the "snippets" below through images, we've collected quite an array of items over the years to rival even the most compulsive saver.  BUT we're turning over a new leaf and YOU get an opportunity to "peek into the Bat Cave" and take your pick from...
Never produced samples, assortments of dolls, and bodies, line products, pre-production samples, patterns, wigs, and outfits
Can you say TONS of fabric, swatch bags, trims, flowers, bits, bobs, beads, baubles and more
How about LIFE SIZE Robert Tonner Fashion Line Clothing (with a private tent for trying on)
Costumes from Conventions even, and perhaps holiday decorations
Doll furniture, props, foamboard/posters of your favorite characters, stands, bags, and books 
Puppies, kittens??  Okay, perhaps not...
Other ephemera YOU would never guess we have
When, Where? - The Event will be December 9, 2018, from 10am-2pm at the Best Western Plus in Kingston, New York. (Come on, you've been here before, join us won't you) Entrance is $25.00 AND includes a continental breakfast starting at 9am.  We will be allowing people into the room in groups of 25 for a defined period of time.

WE hope to see you there!

Team Tonner


Tonner Doll presents its first Outlander doll for Metrdolls “A Novel Romance” luncheon

Fans of the Outlander series have been anxiously awaiting for the Tonner Doll recreations of the protagonists  Claire and Jamie dressed in their gorgeous Terry Dresbach costumes. The first doll in the series was presented as the souvenir doll in this year’s Metrodolls luncheon, appropriately named “A Novel Romance”.  


This is the Garden Encounter Claire doll. It’s from a scene in the fifth episode of the second season of the series, when Claire and Jamie attend a horse auction in Versailles with king Louis XIV of France. I am a huge fan of the series and it’s costume designer, Terry Dresbach, who keeps on producing one after another of gorgeous costumes for the series protagonists and especially Claire, portrayed by actress Caitriona Balfe. 


Terry Dresbach wrote in her blog the story of discovering the fabric:

 “What the hell was this?? What could I do with it. It was amazing, outrageous and so over the top, I wasn’t sure it could be a dress. It was an extraordinary woven fabric. But I was pretty sure I was going to buy it and figure out later what to do with it. But there was 12 yards, and we need 15.  I could pick up one of the colors and make a petticoat, but that still wasn’t quite enough. While it was spread across the table and I kept saying to Ron, “it’s incredible, right, is it too much??”, and the poor man has no way to answer, so he just agrees. A customer walks by and stops, “that is amazing fabric, have you ever seen a show called Outlander? That looks like a fabric they would use!” I said, “yes as a matter of fact, I’m the Costume Designer on Outlander.” She was somewhat flabbergasted, and then said, “Do you know the guys who runs it? He did my other favourite show, Battlestar Gallactica.” “You mean this guy?” I asked, pointing to Ron. It was too much, I thought she might faint (kidding).

I bought the fabric, obviously. I sat with it for a few weeks and finally decided that Claire would wear it. It felt like a 1940s chintz and fit into my overall scheme. Or it would be a riff on these fabrics from the mid 18th century”.


From Access Hollywood:

 "It's a great dress. I adore it. That's Caitriona's favorite gown," Dresbach said of the gorgeous costume.

"It's really spectacular. That fabric is actually woven. Those flowers are woven and that was a fabric I found at Britex Fabrics in San Francisco, my favorite store, so I always plug them. And I had no idea what I was going to do with it when I saw it because it's an outrageous, outrageous fabric. … I had that fabric before I had that idea of making Claire's costumes have a 1940s feel to them, so that then when I circled back to make this costume I knew that this fabric was perfect because it is almost -- for lack of a better description -- it almost looks like curtain fabric from the late '40s with those big flowers on it, so it was a very out-of-the-box choice, but really spectacular. I mean, she just looks amazing in this costume," Dresbach said.

Claire's outfit is given an additional pop of color with elegant gloves, which Dresbach said can be described as "a real butter yellow."

"Real butter is actually this sort of marigold color that you see a lot of in the 18th century French paintings. Every costume that I do for Claire is trying to weave in elements of both the 18th century and the 20th century so that you have a sense that she could have had that fabric, or she was standing in a dressmakers at some point going, 'I want that, and I want that, but put it together this way,' so that we end up with a kind of look that she has that's so distinctive."


First let’s talk about the doll. She does remind me of Caitriona Balfe as Claire but her jaw s a bit too pronounced, a thing that often happens with Tonner dolls. She is beautiful and has a hint of that otherworldly beauty that Balfe has. Can’t wait to see the Red Dress version.


And what about the dress? Hmmmm. Let’s start from the top. The hat colour is so wrong. The original hat is not dark brown but has a more natural sisal colouring to it. It also curves downwards and not upwards. It is also doubled with draped fabric underneath as one can see in a photograph of the outfit displayed at Saks 5th Avenue.


As much as I can see on the badly lit promo shots, the colouring and design of the dress do try to recreate the human sized costume...BUT! The pattern of the woven flowers is difficult to emulate but it’s close enough, albeit with fewer flowers than the original one, obviously for cost cutting. The pleats and draping of the skirt at the back of the doll dress leave a lot to be desired.  Not to mention the unsightly back fastening, which is also inappropriate for the period and is nowhere to be seen on the original - adult dresses of the period always fastened at the front.

Sketch by Terry Dresbach for Outlander  

Sketch by Terry Dresbach for Outlander  

The seams of the sleeves cut the flower pattern, something not happening on the original outfit, where they fall precisely between the pattern. The overall shape of the dress will probably need a lot of attention and fuss to come close to its inspiration. This does not bode well for the red dress, which has an even more expansive and draped/pleated skirt. And these are not cheap dolls mind you. It’s unfortunate that they only got the yellow “dishwashing” gloves right. 


UPDATE: Tonner Doll published proper photos of the doll on their Instagram. The skirt looks a bit better regarding the pattern density but all my other observations still stand. In one of the two photo collages, you can see the shoes peeking from beneath the skirt.


That back closure is so wrong...but they seem to have fixed the curve of the hat...


...even though it looks again wrong in the close up.  


Spring Release 2016 by Tonner Doll

It seems that the merging of Tonner with One World Doll has put the company on hold, otherwise I cannot explain why the Spring 2016 release consists only of ten items, out of which only eight are dolls (one of them not even a fashion doll). Fashion doll wise there are four Deja Vu dolls, two De De Denton dolls, one Marley Wentworth outfit, one Scarlett O Hara doll and a doll carrying case. I like the De De Denton dolls but not enough to buy them, while the Scarlett doll is interesting but not a must have unless you're a completist. You can order now, some are in stock (see below) and some will be in a month, from Tonner or your favourite dealer.

De De Denton Power Play Dressed doll

  • Face includes hand-painted details
  • Fine quality vinyl and hard plastic
  • DeDe Denton head sculpt
  • 17” Athletic body
  • Bisque skin tone
  • Green painted eyes with applied black eyelashes
  • Mink rooted saran hair
  • Grey knit dress
  • Brown faux leather belt with antiqued “gold” buckle
  • Grey faux fur shawl
  • Antiqued “gold” hoop earrings
  • Natural-colored mesh pantyhose
  • Brown open-toed booties
  • Stand
  • LE300
  • $179.99 - in stock

De De Denton Producer's Lunch Dressed doll - Expected to arrive 4/1/2016

  • Face includes hand-painted details
  • Fine quality vinyl and hard plastic
  • DeDe Denton head sculpt
  • 17” Athletic body
  • Bisque skin tone
  • Blue painted eyes with applied black eyelashes
  • Strawberry rooted saran hair
  • Burgundy cowl neck knit dress with 3/4 sleeves
  • Burgundy faux leather jacket
  • Burgundy stretch knit headband
  • Burgundy hoop earrings
  • Black sunglasses with black lenses
  • Burgundy faux leather strappy heels
  • Stand
  • LE300
  • $179.99 - pre-order

Marley on the Move - Outfit Only

  • Fits 16" Chic body
  • Cream coloured cotton twill jacket with matching zipper
  • Cream coloured cotton twill skirt with matching zipper and brown faux leather skirt lacing
  • Black cotton t-shirt
  • Pink faux leather purse with gold hardware
  • Multi-coloured brocade booties
  • LE300
  • $99.99 - in stock

Deja Vu - Warrior Woman Dressed doll - Expected to arrive 4/1/16

  • Face includes hand-painted details
  • Fine quality vinyl and hard plastic
  • Déjà™ Vu female head sculpt
  • 16 ” Déjà™ Vu body
  • Cameo skin tone
  • Light blue painted eyes
  • Pale blonde rooted saran hair
  • Tan linen dress with “gold” chain maille bodice
  • Off-white crochet lace long vest with brown faux-fur and faux-leather trim
  • Tan pants
  • Brown belt
  • “Gold” helmet with white resin horn accents
  • Brown faux-suede and faux-leather boots
  • Painted brown wood spear with “gold” painted tip and thread decoration
  • Stand
  • LE500
  • $229.99 - pre-order

Deja-Vu Innocence - Expected to arrive 4/1/2016
  • Dressed doll
  • Face includes hand-painted details
  • Fine quality vinyl and hard plastic
  • Déjà™ Vu female head sculpt
  • 16 ” Déjà™ Vu body
  • Bisque skin tone
  • Brown painted eyes
  • Light brown rooted saran hair
  • White cotton dress with white striped accents and white lace trim
  • Natural pantyhose with white attached panties
  • Gold-colored chain necklace with gold charm
  • Gold-colored beaded earrings
  • White striped cotton headband with gold decoration
  • Purple chiffon scarf
  • White faux leather shoes
  • Stand
  • LE300
  • $179.99 - pre-order

Deja Vu Afternoon Walk Dressed doll - Expected to arrive 4/1/2016

  • Face includes hand-painted details
  • Fine quality vinyl and hard plastic
  • Déjà™ Vu female head sculpt
  • 16 ” Déjà™ Vu body
  • Cameo skin tone
  • Violet painted eyes
  • Pale blonde rooted saran hair
  • Gold chiffon dress with gold and purple lace and ribbon
  • Purple shantung coat with purple bow, multi-colored dots and gold lining
  • Natural mesh pantyhose
  • Gold-colored faux pearl earrings
  • Purple, gold and green -  feather, ribbon and flower hair decoration
  • Purple shantung shoes
  • Stand
  • LE300
  • $189.99 - pre-order

Deja Vu Penelope's Cover Up Dressed doll - Expected to arrive 4/1/2016

  • Face includes hand-painted details
  • Fine quality vinyl and hard plastic
  • Déjà™ Vu female head sculpt
  • 16 ” Déjà™ Vu body
  • Bisque skin tone
  • Blue painted eyes
  • Golden blonde rooted saran hair
  • Faux suede black sleeveless top
  • Grey flannel wool skirt
  • Cream and  burgundy knit & faux suede poncho
  • High black faux suede boots
  • Stand
  • LE300
  • $159.99 - pre-order

Gone With The Wind - The Lost Barbeque Dressed Doll

  • Face Includes Hand-Painted Details
  • Fine Quality Vinyl and Hard Plastic
  • Scarlett O'Hara/Vivien Leigh Head Sculpt
  • 16” Tyler Bending Wrist Body
  • Green Painted Eyes
  • Mink Rooted Saran Hair
  • Cameo Skin Tone
  • White Printed Dress with Forest Green Velvet Belt and Bodice Trim with Faux-Coral Decoration
  • Pantyhose
  • White Petticoat
  • White Gloves
  • Brown Ribbon Bracelet with Coral Decoration
  • Faux-Coral Earrings
  • Wide Brimmed Straw Hat with Fern Decoration and Green Satin Strap
  • Green Faux Leather Shoes
  • Stand
  • LE300
  • $214.99 - in stock

Leather Look Carrying Case
Red in color and faux crocodile in texture, this case boasts antiqued gold hardware and an ivory satin interior to safely and stylishly transport your 16” doll. 
$49.00 - in stock

Photos and information © 2016 Tonner Doll®. All Rights Reserved.

Tonner 2015 convention: Guilty Pleasures

The last weekend of May was when Tonner had their annual convention. This time it was held in Dallas, Texas, and was named "Guilty Pleasures". They presented most of their lines there, but we will of course concentrate on the fashion dolls. As was to be expected, Marley was prominently featured, so it seems the company is pushing towards having this line as the main fashion doll line for the company, which is fine by me, as long as they can make more relevant and richly accessorized outfits for these dolls. So while early on the first day (29th of May) the first dolls appearing were Ellowyne and Evangeline, dinner was the first two ladies made their appearance, matching the theme of the night: Rockabilly. Please note that prices are those at convention, the Tonner Direct prices are about $10 higher.

Estimated availability: 8th of June 2015
Limited Edition of 200, $165.00.
Available to order from Tonner Direct

Dixie is a dressed doll whose face includes hand-painted details such as green eyes. She is crafted of fine quality vinyl and hard plastic. Her Kit head sculpt and Chic body were fashioned with a bisque skin tone. Her chestnut saran hair is swept-up with a red faux flower hair decoration. Her red and white checked halter dress is adorned with black flower embroidery and a patent leather belt with silver ribbon trim. Underneath, a black tulle petticoat and nude pantyhose with attached white panties are the foundation of this garb. Black lace gauntlets, black beaded earrings, and black faux leather shoes with a racy red and white polka dot ribbon flower decoration round-out this outfit. Dixie arrives with a stand. Cute doll but nothing special for me.

Souvenir doll
Estimated availability: 8th of June 2015
Limited Edition of 200, $165.00.
Available to order from Tonner Direct

Maxine is a dressed doll whose face includes hand-painted details such as her blue eyes. Bisque skin tone is the colour of her fine quality vinyl and hard plastic CW-1 head sculpt and Chic body. Her raven rooted saran hair is styled in a kitschy retro do with a modern twist. Her red beaded earrings match her polka dot pleated chiffon bodice while her black ribbon choker and gauntlets do the same for her black dress. Black lace thigh-highs atop nude pantyhose complete this attire. Her black faux suede shoes come with a bow decoration. Maxine arrives with a stand. She looks great, probably the best looking doll of the convention.

Saturday again started with other lines (Patsy etc) while the ladies below were featured at dinner - the theme was Manhattan Sleek. The dolls do not look like New Yorkers to me but I guess everyone has a different image of what a New Yorker is in their mind. 

Marley Grand Entrance
Estimated availability: 8th of June 2015
Limited Edition of 150, $199.00.
Available to order from Tonner Direct

Marley’s Grand Entrance is a dressed doll with a face that includes hand-painted details such as light blue painted eyes with applied black eyelashes atop her bisque skin tone. She is crafted of fine quality vinyl and hard plastic with a Marley Wentworth™ head sculpt and a 16" Chic body. She has mink rooted saran hair. Her wine and gold lace dress with satin trim and faux flower decoration shares the same design roots as her wine and gold lace hat also with faux flower decoration and veil. Her matching beaded earrings, gloves and satin shoes tie the ensemble together. Nude pantyhose and panties finish off the ensemble. Marley’s Grand Entrance arrives with a stand. I do not like her lip colour - not with this riot of fuchsia in the dress. The hat is a disaster.

Marley Mad for Accessories Gift Set
Souvenir doll
Estimated availability: 8th of June 2015
Limited Edition of 250, $275.00.
Available to order from Tonner Direct

Marley’s Mad for Accessories Gift Set includes the glamorous Marley Wentworth™ head sculpt with the 16" Chic body with graceful hands. The gift set also includes two other sets of hands: Déjà vu hands and holding hands. She is crafted of fine quality vinyl and hard plastic with a bisque skin tone. Her face has hand-painted details such as searing blue eyes with applied eyelashes. Her two wigs have different colours. The 1st wig is flame coloured blended with chestnut. The 2nd wig is platinum. She comes adorned in a daring black satin coat dress, with rhinestone charm decorations, a black satin belt with a rhinestone buckle, black skirt with ruffle trim, black tights, and black satin pumps. Her additional outfit components include a red satin dress, blue satin pumps, a black lace bodysuit, black sunglasses and a fuchsia pink satin purse with rhinestone decoration. The gift set comes with a stand. I'm guessing she is trying to channel a youthful Anna Wintour. The doll looks great but the outfit is not what I'd like to see on her. Completely mismatched accessories are ok but not special as should be the case for such a giftset and at this price. Great idea to have two wigs although I'd ditch the underwear and have a third, raven wig added instead.

The breakfast on the 31st brought everyone together for the last time in the convention and was dedicated to the Déjà vu line.

Déjà vu Dame de Loisirs
Convention doll (?)
Estimated availability: 8th of June 2015
Limited Edition of 200, $175.00.
Available to order from Tonner Direct

Dame de Loisirs (Lady of Leisure) is a dressed doll with a face that includes hand-painted details such as blue eyes with applied black eyelashes. Her Déjà vu™ head sculpt and 16" Déjà vu™ body are crafted from fine quality vinyl and hard plastic in a cameo skin tone. Her red rooted saran hair is accentuated with pink faux flowers and feather hair decoration. Her light blue dress is highlighted with pink bows and an attached petticoat. Her pink tights bring out the blue in the matching taffeta shoes with bow accent. Dame de Loisirs arrives with a stand. Lovely hair. For the era represented, this outfit is undergarments actually.

She also came on a new Tonner furniture piece, a chaise, styled appropriately for her era. I thin we have not seen furniture from Tonner since the Tyler heyday. It was sold out soon after appearing on the Tonner Direct on-line store. It was priced at $100.

As Tonner does not have a club like Integrity, there were no informative emails about the convention and the dolls, so all my info and photos are from their Facebook page and website. 

© 2015 All photos and information Tonner® Doll Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.