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~*~*~*~ FEATURED DOLL STUDY 2004 ~*~*~*~

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BABY BEANS
1970s
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A '70s popular, cuddly toy for all ages.

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*Mattel had a real hit with these cute and cuddly bean bag dolls in the 1970s.  They were introduced in 1970 and quickly became a hit with young and old alike.  They were very simple; filled with either nut shells, or polystyrene pellets, making them soft and squishy, and able to pose in a variety of positions.  Over the decade, several variations evolved which has created a wonderful challenge for today's collector.  Unfortunately I do not have an example of each type as of yet, but I hope this study will both help the Baby Beans collector with identification, and will inspire new collectors to discover the wonderful world of these darling floppy, ploppy dolls.  

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*As far as I know there are currently no reference books specific to these dolls.  Most of the information I have gathered, and that is limited at best,  is through general doll reference books and the Internet.  Still, I have found that there were quite a few varieties made over the years.  The earliest dolls were simple babies and came in a variety of colors.  Each doll had a name and each, a different facial expression.  Later, themes started to immerge like bare bottoms, mama's with babies, dolls with pets, and nursery rhymes to name a few.  There were even some cute little puppets.  I am not certain as to the actual years these variations were introduced.  Most dolls are marked on the back of the neck with "Mattel" and a date.  A tag was usually sewn into the body of the doll, however, Mattel was inconsistent with the labels.  Some would have the date, while others didn't.  Sometimes the doll  would be labeled with actual name of the baby, such as Booful Beans or Jeans Beans, however, this was not always the case, and the tag simply read Baby Beans.  

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*The majority of Baby Beans dolls were about 12" tall (excluding their hats or peaked bonnets).  In addition Mattel released a larger version, around 16",  called Cuddly Beans.  To the best of my knowledge she was only released in one style, in yellow pajamas.  They also introduced their "Itsy Bitsy" beans dolls, at only 8" tall. The Talking Baby Beans doll has a pull string talker that has a sweet voice just like the popular Drowsy doll.  She says things like, "Baby sleepy", "Tickle Baby", Go bye bye?", Play pat-a-cake?" and more.  Finding one of these still talking beans dolls is a real treat today.

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 *Earliest dolls had vinyl heads and hands and were entirely filled with "beans" consisting of nutshells.  I also have some early ones with body tags listing 100% polystyrene.  Later Mattel modified the look by changing the hands to cloth "mitten-like" hands and changed the contents of the stuffing.  The arms and legs were stuffed with polyester foam or fiber, and only the body cavity had "beans" but now instead of nutshells, the body might have shredded clippings or polyolefin.  These dolls are not quite as floppy as the originals.   Though there were a few other companies that made bean bag dolls during this time period, the Mattel dolls are my favorite, and that is what I have concentrated on in my collection.   Please click on the link below to take you to my web pages devoted to Mattel's Baby Beans.  There you will find larger photos, names, and groupings that are part of my collection.   As I continue my research I will update my pages.  Also, you may want to check out my store pages to see if I am currently offering any Baby Beans for sale.

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 Link to:Kaylee's Collection of MATTEL BABY BEANS more information, examples, and lots of photos!

 

   Kaylee's Doll Shoppe with 1970s Mattel Dolls For Sale Items 

References:
Collector's Guide to Dolls of the 1960s & 1970s, by Cindy Sabulis
More Twentieth Century Dolls from Bisque to Vinyl, by Johana Gast Anderton (Out of Print)
Thirty Years of Mattel Fashion Dolls by J. Michael Augustyniak
(Out of Print)


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DISCLAIMER: These web pages are meant for personal enjoyment and collector educational purposes only.  Any opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect that of the companies that are represented within these pages.   Information is presented based on personal experience or information gathered in current or out of print reference materials.  In all cases, I have tried to document references to the best of my ability.  Baby Beans is trademark of  Mattel, Inc.  This website is not owned, operated by, or affiliated with this company and Mattel makes no representations or warranties about the content of these web pages.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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