Sunday, November 28, 2004

Dam Troll History

From Debra Clark’s book, “Troll – Identification & Price Guide”:
“In the late 1950’s a Danish woodcarver named Thomas Dam carved his version of a troll for his daughter’s birthday. She loved the troll and showed it to others in the village, [where a Danish toy merchant saw it]. A troll craze was born!”

“By the early 1960’s, Thomas Dam had three factories producing his trolls in Denmark, in New Zealand and in Hialeah, Florida. Mrs. Inge Dykins of Denmark introduced the trolls to the US market. An overwhelming demand for them began. As with anything popular, demand led to many manufacturers copying the design. This is the reason so many trolls are unmarked. The manufacture of unmarked trolls was a way of making a quick buck and avoiding copyright infringement lawsuits.”

“Dam Things Establishment sued Scandia House Enterprises in the 1960’s, claiming copyright infringement. The judge [however] ruled that trolls were in the ‘public domain’ and that, therefore, Scandia House did not violate any copyright laws. Eventually Dam Things and Scandia House formed a partnership, and Scandia House gained the exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute the new line of Thomas Dams trolls in the US market. Scandia House Enterprises was a division of Royalty Designs of Florida. Inge Dykins represented Scandia House Enterprises, and Thomas Dam owned Dam Things Establishment.”

“In the 1990’s, a new troll craze began and continues today. The Thomas Dam line of trolls is now manufactured exclusively by EFS Marketing Associates, based in New York, under the Norfin trademark.”


From Pat Peterson’s book, “Trolls – Identification & Values”:
“ . . . Although he was not the first or only maker of trolls, it was his creations that captured the hearts of American children in the 1960’s. It was his skill at merchandising that made him an international success story . . . When trolls returned to America in the 1980’s; their appeal was not only to children but also to adult collectors . . . Dam’s version of Nordic trolls established a standard of excellence against which all modern trolls are measured.”

“According to accepted sources, Thomas Dam carved his first wooden troll figures as playthings for his children during a period of financial distress. He was a baker [fisherman and woodcarver]; but in post World War II Denmark, the bakery was not profitable and he needed an additional source of income. His carvings and the stuffed trolls sewn by his wife and daughter were very successful. In 1959 he opened his first factory in Gjol, a small town in northern Juttland, Denmark.”

“Within a few years, three factories were turning out thousands of trolls . . . After some legal skirmishing, a Florida court ruled against Dam’s claim of copyright infringement. An accommodation was then made with Scandia House [Enterprises], and a partnership formed in 1966 . . . after the court conflict, Scandia House gained exclusive distribution and manufacturing rights for Dam trolls in the United States. SHE trolls then are actually Dams . . . No matter what their marking – Dam, Dam Things, Scandia House, Royalty Designs – a 1960’s Dam is quickly identifiable, even when unmarked as are many . . . trolls.”

“Dam Trolls returned to the United States in 1982 under a new name – Norfins. EFS Marketing Incorporated was responsible for their return and has sole rights to their import and distribution.”

“Thomas Dam continued to design new Dam creations until his death on November 12, 1989. He died only a short time before the second massive troll invasion of America began.”

“No collection is complete without one or more Dam trolls . . .”


A note from Ms. Trollophile:
Another company, manufacturing under the name of Plastech, was established in England and was also licensed to produce Dam trolls during the 1960’s and 1970’s. It also created its own line of animal trolls, under the names of “Rauls” and "The Happy Gang".

General Information on trolls can be found HERE.

22 comments:

Charles said...

I am the proud possessor of a Dam troll with Lykketroll and Made in Denmark on his foot. I received this troll as a Christmas gift in 1961 or 62 perhaps. It was bought in Charleston, S.C. but I had seen one in a store near Vero Beach, Fla.the previous summer. I was 16 years old.One look and I began to weep. what a precious creature it was. My mother did not know what to do. When I saw one again a few months later it became my favorite Christmas present. Still today, at age 64, my little guy can make me weep when I look into his beautiful brown eyes.
I would never part with him, but I am wondering if there is a way to ascertain the value of my troll. He has on his original red felt shirt and green felt pants. The shirt has a 2 little holes in it, but otherwise he is in great condition. What can you tell me about him or his potential value.

babybarnplus said...

Come view my own personal troll collection at my blog. I update frequently so please follow me. Feel free to comment as well. Thanks!

http://justtrollingaround.blogspot.com/

Ivey said...

Charles -
As your Dam troll is from the EARLY 1960s and has the older Danish "Lykketroll" trademark imprinted on him. He is worth more than than the standard troll doll or bank of his size, but I'm not sure what that value would be.
I would try to find similar trolls, like him, on eBay and see what they sell for. This should give you a rough estimate. However, keep in mind that we are now in a recession and many people cannot afford to pay what they once could for these vintage collectibles.
It is good to hear that I am not the only one who is emotionally attached to my Dam babies . . .

Your Fellow Troll Lover,
Ms. Trollophile :D

Ivey said...

Baby Barn -
Your blog is so impressive! I had to put a link to it from this site . . .

Ms. Trollophile :D

Anonymous said...

Hello Dam fans!!

Just a little trollregard from Denmark.
I was born in Gjoel and my father was Thaomas Dam´s very best frien,
in that way, I was told a lot of troll story.
In 1985 I joined the factory, in the foundry and today I still work with the Dam trolls.
I lead the stock, sell trolls and create new models, it is a very facinated job and I love those Dam trolls, therefore I have made the website www.damworld.dk
I have worked with the annivesary troll in 3 years and this year it is real.
the anniversary model is santa claus with sleigh and reindeer, it is a reproduction of a very old model, found in an local store in Gjoel.
Thomas Dam created it for the Christmas in the early 1960´s and maybe it was the only one he made.
Look at my website and see a lot of old Dam Things.
Good luck to all Dam fans.

Trollregard from

Soeren Petersen

Ivey said...

Greetings, Soeren!
How cool is it to hear from someone born in Gjoel, Denmark, the same birthplace of the authentic Thomas Dam troll? It's even more of thrill to hear that you actually work in the original Danish factory!
Thank you for sharing . . . and a link to your on-line troll store has been added to the blog.

Fellow Troll Fanatic,
Ms. Trollophile :D

Sandy said...

I started collecting trolls in the 1970's. I still have most of them. There is something just adorable about a troll doll.
I have website with photos and some information on what trolls have sold for on Ebay.
http://www.trolldollsguide.com

Ivey said...

Welcome, Sandy!

Your website is wonderful! It has been added to the "Links" section of Those Old Dam Things. I especially agree with your suggestion that "If you are thinking of starting a troll collection, the best advice is to buy the trolls that you like."

Yes, there is something JUST ADORABLE about a troll doll!

kaj said...

Hello

we are a couple from Denmark that has accumulated on things made of th. dam. we found this site, we could use one in Danish too, since we have met several non-English. we love these trolls and their many facial expressions. we have even 1,060 different things.

birthe and kaj.

Ivey said...

It is WONDERFUL to have a Danish couple visit my site! I wish there was a Danish site for "native" collectors; but, you're always welcome here.
I drive a truck for a living and due to this, there has been little-to-no updating of "Those Old Dam Things!" Hopefully, this will change with the economy.
You might enjoy an on-line club in Yahoo Groups called "DAMTHINGS". They discuss, trade and sell trolls. It's a fun place to meet other collectors.
Your Friend and FAN,
Ms. Trollophile :D

Anonymous said...

I have a troll doll I am trying to get information on. It has a tag that reads "Ideal Toys" and it a plastic head with a cloth body. I am needing some help on this and would love to know if it can be dated. Please email me at txcharm71@yahoo.com and I can reply with a picture. Thank You

Ivey said...

The on-line group, DAMTHINGS, is probably your best bet for finding the identity and value of your troll. There are collectors on that board that specialize in the type of doll that you have.

Most (not all) of my collection are Dam trolls - with the majority of them being made prior to 1975. So what you have is something I don't know much about.

The best way to get an estimated value for your troll is to use eBay. Search for the particular troll that you have and for every doll found at auction, add it to your "watch list". When all the tagged auctions have closed, average out their selling prices. This will give a pretty accurate value for your doll.

I hope this helps . . .

lesley howson said...

i started collecting dam trolls in the 1960's after getting my first one in 1969 from my grandad when i was just seven,i was playing in our front garden with my sister and a group of teenagers came and grab them from us and ran away, i cried myself to sleep for weeks,my sister and i had started to collect them,they cost threepence from our local toy shop. as i got older i started to collect them again.cost 25p in 1973 when i was 11,that was my weekly pocket money that went on them,which was a lot in those days.as i got older 13/14 i was told by my mother i was to old to play with toys and they went to the local childrens hospital, somthing i regret to this day. but as i got older i started to collect them again in the 1980's and been collecting ever since. from the old ones from the 1960's to the latest ones,i'll never stop collecting the dam trolls i think i have over 80 in total.i bought my mother a dam troll a few years ago,he goes everywhere with him,she's called him eric the pink.she also has a few others which i have shared with her.but eric the pink is her favourite.

Ivey said...

Sweet Lesley -

I know how you feel! There is something magical about that first troll (baby), especially if it came from a beloved grandparent. Also, older kids can be cruel, especially since many lack the empathy needed to understand a younger child's strong bond to a favorite toy. Like you, at the age of 13, my mother announced that I was too old for toys - my trolls were given to Goodwill. We share very similar experiences.

Sometimes, it's not so bad being an adult. No one can make us give our adored "Dam Things" away, and we can sue anyone who tries to take them away. (After all, they are now considered valuable collectibles.)

Tell your mom to give "Eric the Pink" a big kiss for us!

Your Friend & Fan,
Ms. Trollophile :D

U.J. G. said...

I have an eleven inch troll marked Scandinavia House Enterprises.... he is a leprechaun... brown eyes...yellow hair... yellow corduroy pant/body.. black felt jacket and shoes/feet ..green felt tied into a bow under his chin and green felt four leave clover on his shoes...the body is stuffed.His jacket is pinned together wit a orange-red larger heart and a smaller green heart...Sure would love to know more about him... I only one time saw a picture and and the value then, in the seventies , was put at 75 dollars...

Ivey said...

UJG -
Your eleven-inch Scandia House leprechaun troll was made exclusively for the American market in the 1970s at the Dam factory in Hialeah, Florida. They were issued in both male and female versions. All had vinyl heads and stuffed bodies. Although their outfits varied, most included some corduroy, some felt and strategically placed shamrocks.
I don't know what the current value of these dolls are today. However, they are not in high demand by collectors and are probably not worth any more than the $75.00 value you were quoted.
Still, the description of your troll makes me want him!

Ms_Trollophile ;-)

Anonymous said...

What does c64 on the back mean? Is it a Scandia troll or a Dam troll?

Ivey said...

The ©64 found on the back of your older troll is Thomas Dam's 1964 copyright. He copyrighted many of his unique creations, both animals and dolls, in the 1960s. Of course, it is a Dam troll!

Anonymous said...

Hello! I have an 8" troll with amber eyes, white hair (not long), yellow felt jacket and pants with one snap at waist. The head moves back and forth and his right arm moves up and down. There is no company name on his feet. The only thing on his left foot is the number 604 which looks like it is handwritten. On his upper back is just a copyright sign. Is this a fake troll? Thank you!

Ivey said...

Hello, Anonymous -

The troll you are describing is either a fairly rare Dam doll or a more modern version of a brand-name troll. Thomas Dam's creations often carried a copyright on the back and wore felt clothes. However, the moveable arm is very unusual for one of these.

You will either have to e-mail me a picture or post a photo of your doll on the Internet for a "positive ID". Good Luck on your trollish find . . .

Ms. Trollophile :D

Anonymous said...

I have a large troll doll that is marked dam things establishment 1964 on the foot and neck. I found it at a home my parents owned and rented when the tenant left without notice. When I found the doll it had no hair, or clothing, and needed some serious TLC. During this time of my life I was collecting trolls. My mother did her best to repair it, she cleaned it, and replaced the hair. Sadly some of the damage was impossible to fix. I still have it to this day, and since then this doll, has been well loved and taken care of. I was wondering with the replacement hair, and damage from its previous owner does it hold any value today.

Ivey said...

Because the troll has the "Dam Things Establishment" and is stamped 1964, it is definitely worth something. However, without a picture or more information, determining its value is impossible. Large could be anything from a troll bank to an Iggy - and the value is affected by the type of "damage" that the doll has and how skilled your mother was at replacing the hair.

In your shoes, I would just "keep on lovin' it!"

Ms_Trollophile