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Dawn Dolls
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by Topper Toys
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In 1970, Topper Toys (formerly Deluxe Reading) of Elizabeth, New Jersey, produced the first true 6-1/2" minature fashion doll. Half the size of Mattel's "Barbie", the doll appealed to little girls everywhere. She was less expensive than Barbie, easier to carry, and she had a wide range of glamourous fashions to choose from. Her name was Dawn, and she was the headliner for a series of dolls built around the exciting world of high fashion and modeling. Dawn was released with three friends: brunette, brown-eyed Angie; red-haired, green eyed Glori; and African-American Dale, whose eye color ran from amber to deep brown to an unusual olive green. Dawn herself was a blue-eyed blonde.
Click here to see Dawn's Fashion booklets!
Glori Glori with curly, side-part hair
Long straight blonde hair; blue eyes looking to her left.
Headmolds: A11A, H11A, K11A, P11A, and S11A are most commonly seen.
Less common are 811A and 11A.
Long straight brunette hair; brown eyes looking to her left.
Headmolds: K10 and P10 are most common. Also seen are A10, A11, A17 and 10 without a letter.
Dark black hair in a tight "afro"; may also have a side part. Eye color ranges from dark brown to hazel to olive green. Lips vary from deep pink to peach to baby pink to white.
Headmolds: always begins with "H" followed by two or three numbers.
Titian red hair in a number of styles; green eyes looking to her left.
Headmolds: A11, H11, K11 and S11. A K11A headmold is also known to exist.
Those with curly hair are always S11, as are the SHSP, SHCP and PT Glori's.
Except for the Head-to-Toe dolls, shown below, Glori was the only doll whose hairstyle had any variations. In addition to the standard straight hair with center part and bangs, there was also a side-parted Glori with curly hair, shown above, as well as a side-parted straight-haired Glori (no bangs), a center-parted straight-haired Glori (no bangs), and the elusive Ponytail, or PT Glori. This last example had part of her side hair swept up into a topknot ponytail (with bangs). The PT Glori is the hardest to find, but ironically was used on nearly all of Topper's printed and televised advertising. She is even shown in the fashion brochures which came with every outfit. I recently acquired a side-part, straight-hair Glori, and a center-part, straight hair Glori, and will post pictures soon.
Sadly, the PT Glori still eludes me and has not come into my collection at this writing. If one ever does, be assured it will be featured here.
In time, other friends joined the ranks in Dawn's World, including boyfriends, Modeling Agency and Dance Party friends, and Majorettes.
Jessica, Longlocks and the "boyfriend" dolls joined Dawn and her friends between 1971-1972.
Jessica was the only Dawn friend who was not also a model. Jessica arrived dressed as a "stewardess" with an airport scene on her box.
Longlocks more than lived up to the name, having auburn hair down her back nearly to her knees.
The Topper guys have no headmold markings.
Jessica Longlocks
Short blonde hair parted on her right side in a bob-cut. Aqua-blue eyes glance to her right.
Headmolds: 11C and H11C are most common. A11C and H47 have also been seen.
Very long auburn hair, center-parted, no bangs; blue eyes looking to her right.
Headmolds: H17 and P17 are most common. K17 is less common for Longlocks herself, but shows up on many knock-off dolls.
The two Ron dolls, above, may look the same, but you'll notice right away that one's hair (the one on the right) is almost a green color. This is because the paint used to give him blonde hair has oxidized over the years. This is fairly common.
As for the other Ron, with the sandy brown hair...well, the years have been good to him.
Dawn and two of her friends were released between 1971 and 1972 as "Head-to-Toe" dolls. The "HTT" dolls, as they're known, had short, bobbed hair and came with three hairpieces: a braid, a sausage-curled ponytail, and a long fall. The braid and ponytail hooked onto a "U"-shaped wire which fitted over the doll's head and became virtually invisible in the hair. The long fall would go all the way to the floor, and had a built-in wire headband, covered in shiny lame fabric.
Head-to-Toe Dawn
Head-to-Toe Longlocks
The Head-to-Toe dolls all have bubble-cut versions of their own hair colors; eye color, naturally, remains the same.
Headmolds: the HTT dolls used the same headmolds as their long-haired counterparts, so in theory, any headmold used for the standard doll may also have been used for the HTT version.
HTT Dawn with ponytail
HTT Longlocks and
HTT Angie with long fall
Head-to-Toe Angie
Also during the two-year span of 1971 to 1972, Topper Toys released each of the six female and three male dolls as "Dancing" versions.
The "Dancing" dolls had a gear mechanism inside which swiveled the head, waist and hips when the left arm was raised and lowered.
Some of the Dancing Dawn and Dancing Angie dolls had heads which were slightly smaller, and made of a harder plastic than usual. These "hard-headed" dolls often have more pronounced face-paint, such as brighter cheeks, lips and eye shadow.
The Modeling Agency girls were introduced during 1972, and came with gorgeous gowns, jewelry and photo portfolios. Each box had a scene depicting the photo shoot at which the Model was working.
Dark brunette hair pulled back into a loose ponytail; brown eyes look straight ahead.
Headmolds: 11C and A11C; H11C is also known to exist.
Titian redhead with upswept sausage curls; green eyes look to her left.
Headmolds: H11A and K11A.
Pale- to platinum blonde hair plaited into two braids; pale blue eyes look straight ahead.
Headmolds: 10 and K10 are most common; also seen are A10 and P10.
Blonde hair pulled up into a bun; blue eyes look almost straight ahead, slightly to her right.
Headmolds: 11C and H11C.
Dark black hair pulled back into a ponytail; dark brown eyes look to her right.
Headmolds: 11A and A11A; H11A is less common.
As 1972 waned, so did the financial prospects of Topper Toys. This didn't prevent them, however, from releasing the Dawn Dance Party Stage with two new, exclusive dolls: Fancy Feet and Kevin. In addition, Dawn was packaged as a Majorette, and sold with two new friends, Connie and Kip.
Fancy Feet
Platinum blonde hair, straight and center-parted, no bangs; blue eyes look to her left.
Headmolds: H11C is most common; less common is 11C.
Kevin is often confused with Ron, or sometimes called a "blonde Gary". Kevin's hair parts on his left side; Ron's parts on his right.
No headmold: he's a guy, remember?
Short curly medium brown hair parted on her left side; blue eyes glance to her right.
Headmolds: K10; a simple 10 has also been seen.
Often confused for HTT Longlocks or HTT Angie, Kip is neither.
Dark black hair center-parted and bubble-cut; brown eyes look to her left.
Headmolds:  H17; also known to exist is H11C.
Fancy Feet and Kevin were only available by purchasing their respective Dance Stages. These Stages could be butted together, side-by-side, for double the dancing fun. Both Kevin and Fancy Feet have rigid, hard plastic legs that do not bend, and Fancy Feet's body has a one-piece torso with no twist-n-turn waist. Her arms tend to be VERY loose in their sockets, and swing quite freely.
I have to say quite honestly, that Kevin is my favorite of all the male dolls. There's just something about him that I like very much.
Connie was originally supposed to be "April", and indeed, some dolls were packaged with "April" on the box. But the final version shipped to the distributors was Connie, a brown-haired, blue-eyed girl-next-door. Even among the boxes labeled "April" you might find a doll that looks like Connie, or one that looks like Kip.
Kip herself is often confused with a Head-to-Toe Longlocks or Head-to-Toe Angie. She has the same dark brown, almost black hair that Angie has, and the same brown eyes. But Kip used the H17 headmold often used for Longlocks, and therein lies the confusion. The Majorette dolls had a much different body style than the standard dolls with their slanted waists. The right arm ended in a cupped hand for holding the center post of the baton, and the left arm was fixed in opposition to the right. Kip also has brown eyes looking to her left, while Longlocks has blue eyes looking to her right.
By 1973, Topper Toys was in deep financial trouble. Talk of embezzlement and fraud ripplied through the industry. On paper Topper seemed to be a solvent company, but while they claimed to have shipped their product, those items never made it to the toy store shelves. Topper Corporation was investigated by the federal government and ordered into liquidation and bankruptcy. Anything already made but not shipped had to be sold off to other toy manufacturers both in America and abroad in Europe. This resulted in many secondary-market Dawn dolls and fashions showing up after 1973. Many prototype fashions ended up in fashion packs under other dolls' names. Recent research has proved them to have been meant for Dawn all along.

Dawn still shows up at flea markets, doll shows and on-line auction sites. At the doll shows she may be mixed in with the larger fashion dolls. Dealers who sell Barbie, Francie and other 11-1/2" fashion dolls very often buy them up in lots from estate sales or local auctions. When they find Dawn-sized dolls and fashions, they may let them go for less than you'd expect, because they're not what they collect and sell.

If you look for Dawn on-line at auction sites, be prepared to try to outbid collectors who know what they're after. The harder-to-find fashions and dolls go for a premium price. But there's still a lot of Dawn out there to go around. She's still beautiful, even after almost forty years. Once you begin collecting Dawn, you're hooked!