Collector FAQ

My doll doesn't have pierced ears - can I pierce them myself?
Generally, most vinyl fashion dolls do have pierced ears; however, you cannot see them because the hole in the vinyl lobe will close without and earring post in it.  During production, the factory does pierce the doll ear lobes, but they may not be visible when you receive your doll.  You can easily open the hole by using a push pin (one for a cork bulletin board).  Vinyl is very forgiving, and just because a push pin shaft is larger than the earring post, the hole will close firmly around the earring post over time.  Heating the head is not needed, nor is it recommended (see below).  Please note that hard plastic heads (such as Tiny Betsy) cannot be pierced without cracking the hard plastic.


Can I remove my doll's head?
We do not recommend removing a doll's head for any's why: Dolls that are strung can have their heads removed by anyone who understands stringing methods in doll-making; hard plastic heads cannot be safely removed  without damage to the head.  Vinyl doll heads (on dolls that are not strung) rest on a hard plastic knob that is inserted into the neck.  In order to assemble the doll during production, the head is heated (vinyl can withstand very high temperatures - but generally heat is controlled as to not melt the highly sensitive saran hair fiber if used in a hair rooting) and then it is placed onto the neck knob.  In our Doll Hospital, we remove a doll's head by carefully applying concentrated heat to the head's base, without exposing the saran hair...and then the head is very carefully removed from the knob.  Here's where things can go terribly wrong...if the doll's head is overheated, not only is there risk of melting the saran hair, but the fine rooting along the hairline becomes very fragile...and the vinyl can easily split along the hair line when using force to remove the head.  Also...if the head has not been heated thoroughly enough, forced removal of the head will also crack the neck at its seams and tear out the neck knob.  If the neck knob has come out, it is very difficult to remove from the vinyl head.  For this, and many other reasons, we do not recommend or warrant removal of the doll's head.


How can I permanently set my doll's hair?
There are many methods employed by experienced collectors to set synthetic doll hair.  During production, hairstyles are individually set on the doll head, and in the case of saran, we use a dry heating method to set the curls.  In the case of very tight curls, the saran fiber is heat set before rooting. Because curled hair must withstand the shipping and handling, we must also use a firm-hold alcohol-free hair gel and hair net to preserve the hair style during transit.  This being said, Tonner Doll Company does not warrant the alteration or perming methods of a doll's hair style because of the various methods employed, none have truly consistent results.  There is no standard 'time' to apply heat to the doll's hair and the time varies greatly depending on the complexity of the style and the amount of hair used on each individual hair curler.  Finally, because saran (and most other synthetic hair fibers) is highly sensitive to heat, it is very easy to frizz or melt.  Therefore, we cannot recommend or warrant methods to permanently style saran or any synthetic hair fiber.


Why do some dolls change during production from the original prototypes that are first introduced?
At the Tonner Doll Company, you are dealing with a Doll Artist & a Doll Artist-Owner Company. That being said, it is first important to understand how the design process occurs. Original designs and its resulting prototype dolls are just that...prototypes. Tonner Doll Company is very thrilled that most of our produced dolls follow the prototype very closely, thereby giving an accurate representation of what both retailers and collectors can expect when they receive the doll. However, during the sampling process, Robert scrutinizes every minute detail as the doll evolves throughout the production process. If it is not up to his standards as a doll maker, he will correct it regardless of whether or not it varies from the prototype. It is Robert's goal to not release any doll into the marketplace unless it holds up to his design standards. A Tonner Doll carries the distinction of its maker being involved in every part of the process from concept to shipment.

What does 'Limited Edition', 'Open Edition' & 'Annual Edition' mean?
Several companies have their own definitions for what each of these terms mean. For the Tonner Doll Company, A 'Limited Edition' means that a product is produced only to a specific number. One of the most common misconceptions is that 'Open Editions' are always available...this is not necessarily so. Once the production run has come and gone, there may be a decision to not re-order the product under an 'Open Edition'. Despite an item's popularity, Tonner Doll may not return to an edition after its production run because of popularity achieved well after the production run is planned. 'Annual Edition' products are items produced only within a current catalog year. Please understand that open editions are produced based on INITIAL orders and may not be produced in levels to meet market demand.


Please note that some retailers do not wish the production quantity of their exclusive edition to be released.  In these instances, we honor the request and label the edition as a 'Special Edition'.

Why doesn't Tonner Doll Company include certificates of authenticity or number its editions?
Robert Tonner feels that his work is readily identifiable in the marketplace. No other company makes a doll that looks like a Robert Tonner doll. The dolls are generally marked on the head to identify the doll for authenticity purposes. These markings in combination with the doll box distinguish the doll and/or outfit/accessory as a genuine Tonner Doll Product. The numbering of dolls in mass production can be very misleading to doll collectors, as there is never a true representation of the doll's actual place in the production line. Numbering of dolls is an important feature of low-edition artist dolls. In mass production there is little certainty of actually ensuring the true number of the doll or outfit when they are produced in the thousands. Also, the numbering of dolls misrepresents the doll's quality in terms that a low number is actually better than a high number. Most often, the opposite is true. As the production matures, the doll's quality improves. Be that as it may, Tonner Doll Company wishes each and every collector to enjoy his or her doll equally, without the added confusion that doll numbering adds to the collecting equation.

Why does staining occur?
All companies face this dilemma when dealing with vinyl because vinyl is a porous material and will absorb dyes used in many fabrics based on the depth and/or darkness of the color (as more dye is used to set such a color). At the Tonner Doll Company, we use every attempt to minimize staining by lining outfits in lighter colors or by using white or pale thread (another of the worst culprits) in areas that come into contact with the body. Even in these instances, only time can tell if the attempts actually worked.


Can I use Tonner Doll Images for a non-retail collector's website?
We allow use of our copyrighted images, trademarks and text for our authorized retailers. We may allow use of our copyrighted images, trademarks and text for collectors' fan websites, PROVIDED THAT, the collector website references our trademarks and copyrights accordingly and state they are not affiliated with Tonner Doll Company.  We do not allow use on collector websites if the images are used for selling any Tonner-manufactured products without being an authorized Tonner retailer.  We do not allow use of our copyrighted images, trademarks and text for any online auctions (this includes any form of image reference, such as imbedding the image in the auction or creating a hyper link back to another web address where our image is located).


Will Tonner Doll Hospital provide service for my doll if purchased from a source other than a retailer (such as online auctions, other collectors, doll shows)?
We most certainly will! A repair or replacement may require a nominal fee, so you may be contacted for approval of the fee prior to your doll’s return to you...but never hesitate to ask the Doll Hospital for assistance.


Can I buy doll parts from Tonner?
Sorry, but we make it a policy to not sell any doll parts to retailers or collectors.


Where can I buy Tonner Dolls?
You can find a list of our participating retailers by clicking here. Although there are many resources available to collectors, we recommend you only purchase Tonner dolls through Tonner Doll authorized retailers.  Tonner authorized retailers have a direct link to the company to assist in your complete satisfaction of your purchase.