Many people have memories of playing with and/or collecting these ugly-faced, lovable toys known as Trolls. But many do not know the interesting history behind these dolls..
In 1959, Scandinavian man, Thomas Dam (pronounced “Dahm”), created the first troll doll for his daughter to play with. It was made of wood, and due to the popularity and admiration from his daughter and her friends, he began to make more, and eventually it turned into a business.
These Dam Trolls, considered to be in the style of the original Troll dolls from the start of the craze in the 1960s, are very rare and can be distinguished by their markings on them which will either read “Dam”, “Dam things”, “Scandia House” or “Royal Designs”.
Collector’s Tip: The rarest of Dam Trolls are the 2-headed trolls, black trolls, ones over 12 inches tall and animal trolls- especially the monkey, spotted cow, and the trolls with tails.
Although considered “vintage”, the cheap imitation trolls made in China and Korea in the 1970s-1980s are not usually high in value, as they flooded the US market at that time. Of course, the condition, size, year, and identification mark are all influencers in the price of value and could easily appreciate with time, as with the more modern troll dolls.
Modern Trolls made by Russ Trolls, Uneeda Wishnik Trolls, and Ace Novelty Treasure Trolls and are more widespread, and are considered fun to collect, but less in value. The rare modern trolls include limited holiday editions, and of course, those which are still in their original packaging or labels still attached are worth more.
The most common troll size is 3-5 inches and others are 6″, 8″, and 9″ tall, many of which are troll banks with slots for coins. Trolls larger than 12 inches are unusual to find and are usually way more valuable.
Just like with people, trolls made in different parts of the world have slightly different characteristics. They’re distinguished by their expressions, color of hair and hair length, clothing, eye color, and their markings/brand names.
The original Dam trolls have mohair for hair in a variety of colors. The “swirl”-patterned eyes is often preferred by collectors. The 8 and 9 inch trolls feature pointed ears on the males and round ears on the female trolls.
The first factory-produced trolls were made of real rubber, but European Dam trolls are made of softer plastic than American Dam trolls. The European kind are more expensive and unusual to find in the US.
Anyone who enjoys toys that are a little different and unique find these troll dolls irresistible! Whether it is given as a gift to play with or display as a part of a grand troll collection, there is undeniable charm in each one of these ugly creatures.