My Twinn Dolls 1993 - 2016

Apple Valley Era

 My Twinn was founded in 1993 in Agoura California by John Kurdika, an emergency room physician, and Lisa Driscoll, a former account executive for a children’s entertainment company. Dr. Kurdika learned through conversations with his young patients that they were attached to their dolls because “they looked like me” (Click on links in green!).  He developed a doll-making technique and used his custom made figures as an emotional aid for sick children under his care.  He believed that replica dolls helped to build a child’s confidence and self-esteem. With virtually no advertising the new company received more than 400 orders during the first three months of operation.

The banner image, shared by Cathi in Oregon, is a press photo dated December 13, 1994 showing one of the earliest known versions of the My Twinn doll, a 1991 dated sculpt by Pat Secrist, "Tabitha," sold by Apple Valley Doll Works, a doll kit company.  Kelly in Texas, found one of these earliest dolls in March of 2020 and kindly shared a few photos of the doll with her original box. (Photos owned by and shared courtesy of Kelly in Texas). The first dolls were made with the Apple Valley toddler body and Apple Valley Tabitha sculpt by Pat Secrist and we now know of two examples that have a My Twinn marking hand written on the foot. It is believed these dolls were used as examples to attract investors. It should be noted that Pat Secrist sculpts, including the Tabitha face sculpt of early My Twinn, are still available commercially through Apple Valley Doll Works.  What makes these My Twinn marked Tabitha sculpt dolls special is the link to the very early beginnings of the My Twinn Company.

Cathi in Oregon has a boy version of the earliest Pat Secrist "Tabitha" sculpt Apple Valley body Twinns, with the same foot marking, in his My Twinn labeled outfit. Her family named him "Rigel". (Photos owned by and shared, Courtesy of Cathi in Oregon).


Click for more information about and photos of Cathi's and Kelly's Tabitha sculpt Apple Valley Twinns.

My Twinn company began producing their own face sculpts with two sculpted by Vincent De Filippo, dated 1994, known by collectors as ‘Cookie’ and ‘Karen’, which became the size standard for My Twinn as we know them today. They had eight-piece white cloth covered stuffed bodies with vinyl appendages (bent leg) and the head was attached by a tie string. These dolls could sit and lie down but need a doll stand to stand in an upright position. These original dolls are referred to as having ‘Apple Valley’ bodies as can be seen on these Apple Valley Cookie facemold dolls also shared by Cathi in Oregon and Kelly in Texas, and have characteristic pudgy toddler like limbs very different than the more slender limbs of the later non-poseable My Twinn dolls.  They were modified by altering the hair, skin and eye colors with the option for freckles, birthmarks, pierced ears and eye glasses to resemble their owners. 

The above photo is believed to be of one of the earliest models and promo photos for public advertising for the young Denver My Twinn Company. Click to Read More!

Denver Era

 In 1995, Dr. Kurdika sold his business to the Flagship Group, Kenn Thiess and Lane Anderson, a privately held Colorado mail-order company.  They licensed the technology to make a personalised doll from Dr. Kurdika and moved the fledgling My Twinn Company from California to Englewood, Colorado. The company became The Lifelike Company, Inc, doing business as The My Twinn Company. The new owners attended an event where a noted sculpture, Karl Quilter, was speaking on basic face shapes. The owners consulted Karl Quilter who identified a series of characteristic face shapes and features exhibited by 95% of children aged 3 to 12. Karl Quilter was asked to sculpt several of the face types he classified and the face molds known by collectors as Catherine, Kelsey, Kate, Jessica, Rosemary/Caitlin and Mallory are attributed to his artistry. 

The company selected 7 facemolds initially, all with different looks, and continued the original sculpts by Vincent De Fillippo.  The new owners were excited to offer the customer a high quality keepsake doll custom-designed from a photograph, using ten facial characteristics:  face shapes (rounded, oval, pear, rectangular, thinner rectangular, thinner heart, and wider heart) selected by a trained technician; skin tone; eye color; eyelash color; eyebrow color, thickness, and shape; hair color, cut, length, and style; and birthmarks, moles, and/or freckles resulting in a one of a kind doll closely resembling the child.  U.S. Patent Nos. 6,071,171, 6,074,270, 6,099,378, and 6,244,926 assigned to The Lifelike Company were issued covering various aspects of the creation of these dolls.  By altering these characteristics the company could create tens of thousands of unique configurations. (Click for a selection of My Twinn Color Charts and especially for the seamstresses, the range in body sizes of the poseable Twinn dolls over the years).  This was a fundamentally different approach than that of American Girl where each face in the collection of 20 dolls offered by The Pleasant Company has the same basic shape, with 3 of the 20 dolls having different-shaped eyes and noses based on racial characteristics.

After placing an advertisement in People Magazine in 1995, My Twinn began receiving more than 2,000 orders a day for the custom doll.  Christmas 1996 was the first large production year. The My Twinn website was up and running complementing catalog sales.  My Twinn partnered with Fao Schwartz in 1996 (Click for catalog pages) and the dolls were offered through their catalog and flagship store.  In 1997 they expanded the line to include the My Twinn Boy following a multitude of customer requests.   In 1997 they also introduced the poseable dolls (click to compare with non-poseable), 23” dolls which could stand on their own and 'My Twinn Boy' dolls. They had a stuffed white fabric body with an imbedded articulated armature and vinyl limbs allowing a wide range of motion.  The early years saw a substantial increase in sales and expansion of its product line, including the Classic Treasures,   Friends based on the 23” doll, 14” Cuddlies,  Loveable Sisters/Little Sisters (catalog photos of the same set have been labeled both ways) with their 14" Cuddlies, and  20” Babies, (later renamed Toddlers) when the infant Baby Dolls were introduced), Poseable Pets, and Keepsake/ Heirloom dolls. 

The dolls were originally manufactured by the Middleton Company. The popularity of My Twinn grew and production slowly began to be moved to Asia (by Early Lite) to meet the demand.    At this time My Twinn commissioned the Asian manufacturer to sculpt more facemolds in the style of Karl Quilter based upon photographic models.  My Twinn intended to expand into international markets and created the European face molds Wilma, Sharon, Vanessa and Wendi, and Asian face molds Kim,Tamsen, Lydia and Micale (Pearl and Berkeley are joining in the photo for comparison). Additional African America and Hispanic face molds were introduced at this time as well.  It wasn't until much later, February 2012, that My Twinn began to ship globally, following increasing requests from international customers.

Adorable twin Twinns, Teresa face mold Denver non-posable dolls. Too cute!!! Photos by and shared with permission of Lisa in Texas. Thank you Lisa!!!

Collectors identify about 42 different facemolds from this period, with a few variants as certain face molds were repoured.  For example, 'Pearl' was a later version of the  'Micale' face mold.  'Pearl' does not have the prominent eye fold of the 'Micale' face mold.  Similarly, Berkeley is believed to have been a variant of the Tamsen face mold. The 'Ariel' facemold has several variants from the original including two that have been given their own names by collectors, Rose and Melissa.   The Face Mold Reference Chart for the 23" Twinns includes scalp and neck inscriptions to help distinguish facemolds and variants. A Face Mold Photo File is available with close-up photos of the 23" Twinns to help with identification.

Naming of the Face Molds

Many folks are curious how the facemold names came about.  Many of the names in general use by collectors today were assigned by early collectors primarily Deb F., with many based on the names assigned to the 'Friend' dolls for sale by My Twinn on their website pages. The Tamsen mold was originally named "Allie" by Deb F. who agreed to change the name to Tamsen (her daughter's middle name) when it was proposed by Elizabeth Aisling Flygare after naming her doll Tamsen.  My Twinn was not open with the collector community about the names and codes used internally by My Twinn for the face molds.  One rationale was that they wanted to maintain the mystique of choosing a doll to match your child, and didn't want a separate set of names to distract from the one-of-a-kind uniqueness of their dolls. The collector community continued to name, distinguish and catalog the different face molds, including cross-references to the names and codes used internally by My Twinn as they were discovered. That effort is still under way and can be seen in the Face Mold Reference Chart.  Additions  and corrections are always welcome! 

The Prototypes

It has been suggested by a retired employee that there were several face molds created during this period which were not selected for production.  At least one pre-production doll from a non-production face mold named ‘Haley’ is known to be in existence from this time period. Connie Marshall has suggested that there are a very few 'prototypes' in existence that she recalls painting or being painted by other Denver artists. In June of 2010, a second doll believed to be a non-production facemold appeared. Read on to learn more about 'Natalie'. In March 2012, two new face molds appeared for sale on the  'Vintage Friends' page, Haley (remember the prototype!) and another of the missing prototypes/ non-production dolls, named 'Carolyn' by collectors after Carolyn from KY, the first collector to share her photos and statistics with the collector community. My Twinn poured a limited number of these new face molds, as well as a limited number of several of the retired face molds. A conversation with My Twinn at the time of these "limited re-pours" is shared in the 'Twinn Times.' 

Back to the History

 In 1998 My Twinn teamed with Toys “R” Us for the holiday season to feature the doll in catalogs and in store displays in over 150 selected Toys "R" Us stores.  By 1999 My Twinn moved from the white fabric covering to a skin-toned fabric covering for the poseable body dolls. In August that year, they launched their first ‘Back-to-School’ catalog, an innovative way to get children excited about back-to-school shopping and grow sales before the holiday season.  In November 1999, the dolls appeared on ''The Oprah Winfrey Show'' and were named to her popular shopping guide ''Oprah's Favorite Things.'' The doll artist Connie Marshall, painted the first Oprah dolls. . . .  4 for her, 2 child and 2 adult. Connie has shared that Oprah loved the dolls and sent an autographed photo in thanks to the Doll Hospital Supervisor at that time, Adele.  Adele kept the photo on her desk for all to see. Connie also painted dolls for many other celebrities, including Rosie O'Donnell, Regis & Kathy Lee, Sally Jesse Raphael and Ralph Lauren, who loved the doll so much he ordered one for every member of his family. Connie's celebrity dolls were shown on several TV programs at the time.  In August 2000, Make a Wish Foundation made Jessica's wish come true, a visit to the birth place of her treasured My Twinn doll.  In Fall 2000 My Twinn continued to expand the line introducing the poseable plush dogs. By this time a wide selection of wardrobe, accessories and furniture were available.  The dolls were also available at the My Twinn outlet store in Castlerock, CO and at seasonal 'Kiosks' in local malls.

The period up through 2001 is referred to as the ‘Golden Age’ of My Twinn.  (Click the green link for a selection articles from this time). While heads were cast, and cheeks and lips were painted generically in China (without reference to the child's photo), the final insertion of eyes, facial painting enhancements (and repainting if lips and cheeks did not match the child), hairstyling and assembly was completed in Denver. The vinyl was of a very high quality and prized for its porcelain-like appearance. The depth and color of the eyes were very realistic and wigs were lush.  Dolls from this period are highly collectible. There is variation among quality of eyebrow and facial painting from this period, however.  In 1998 to reduce cost the Chinese vendor mixed the brow colors together and began painting all of the brows with the resulting greyish paint, regardless of hair color.  My Twinn stepped in, fixed the color issue and had Gayla Burnley prepare examples of generic brows, as templates for the Chinese doll artists to mimic resulting in consistent quality brows. Dolls painted by several Denver My Twinn doll production artists from this era, namely Kim Olsen and Gayla Burnley and especially the doll hospital artists Connie Marshall and Carol Ferrin, are particularly sought after by collectors. (For examples of their work click the green links).  We are always interested in adding examples of the doll artists' work, including the examples of several other My Twinn doll hospital artists including Brandon Hovet, Raul Valadez and Sue McCullough. (Please contact us if you would like to contribute photos). In 2000, however, production and cost demands caused My Twinn management to begin bringing the Chinese practices into the Denver plant. Quality of facial painting declined, repaint requests out-paced the capacity of the doll hospital artists and returns began piling up.  There is some suggestion that Denver management hid the quality issues that were mounting with the production changes from the owners until it was too late.

 China Era

Historically the holiday season accounted for about 80% of My Twinn sales.  The tragic events of September 11 had a devastating impact on holiday 2001 sales. Holiday catalogs were mailed out for delivery on September 10.  Although achieving revenues of $26.7 million in 2001, the company lost millions in anticipated revenues from the holiday season that year.  Over the next two years the My Twinn Company shifted manufacturing completely to China in a strategy to reduce production costs to help recoup the losses from the 2001 holiday season. In 2002 they opened a retail store in Denver for the holidays. The 'Classic Treasures', a series of non-poseable dolls in a numbered, limited edition of 50, were sold during this time, according to a former employee as a way to sell off the remaining stock of non-poseable bodies.  Unfortunately, with the cost cutting measures and manufacturing shift they lost control of production quality. Although many of the Asian doll artists produced beautiful work including realistically rendered eyebrows, issues arose with eye, wig, vinyl and assembly quality.  Vinyl colors and finish were not consisitent from lot to lot with some lots having a shiny appearance and/or off colors. The cost cutting measures included the reduction of face mold options available from 42 to 15, reduction of skin tone hair and eye color choices, less costly eyes and wigs, and the elimination of the expert technician choosing the face mold to match the child. This allowed My Twinn to reduce the cost of a basic Twinn by more than 50% (hand-painted features and professionally styled hair available for an additional cost), with the goal of reaching more consumers. You can see this from the pricing of the dolls for the 2003 Holiday season.  

Some dolls from this period are slightly smaller in scale than certain of their Denver counterparts.  However, the real features distinguishing the China era dolls are the undated necks/molds, quality of the vinyl, eyes and wigs. The lack of date markings that were present on their Denver counterparts indicate they were poured from new, undated molds.  (Note a few Denver Era facemolds were never dated. For details refer to the Facemold Reference Chart).  

It was rumored that new molds were cast from the inside of the original dolls heads (due to loss of access to the original molds due to non-payment of bills) resulting in the smaller scale heads, but this is not possible as the insides of the heads lack facial details.  In actuality, the new molds would have to have been cast using a dolls head as a model (or positive) and the resulting cast (or negative space) would then be made into the new mold.  Since vinyl shrinks when it cools, all vinyl doll heads would necessarily be smaller than their original molds.  So a new mold cast from a doll head would be smaller than the original mold, and the resulting dolls heads poured from these molds would thus be smaller yet.  This is the most concise explanation to date of the smaller, undated China heads, and we can thank Frankie for the clarification... and Connie Marshall for the confirmation that this is exactly what happened!

A comment about size. Head size varies slightly even among Denver dolls of the same facemold in addition to differences between facemolds and between the different eras. We know that different recipes of vinyl shrink on cooling to different degrees so that is another factor that contributes to differences in head sizes. It is my speculation that the original Denver facemolds were a bit more petite because they were originally intended for the more petite non-poseable bodies.  Similarly there is quite a variation in body size and appendage size to the degree that certain My Twinn brand clothes and shoes will not fit certain My Twinn dolls.  What we do know is My Twinn used several different manufacturers and replaced molds as they wore out.  The result is a collector's dream... almost endless variety!

Back to the China Era story:

During this period the Lifelike Company ran into financial difficulty and began to lose vendors.  Apparently they lost access to certain molds for creating the vinyl faces due to unpaid bills. U.S. shipping companies stopped shipping due to non-payment.  My Twinn turned to China Post shipping by sea which added months to delivery times.  Dolls shipped from China were sprayed with a mildewicide and some retained an odor resulting in complaints and returns.  China's postal authority couldn't handle the order flow.  Production, shipping and order processing could not meet the demand in time for Christmas leaving orders unsatisfied. During this time the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission charged the Lifelike Company for sales of the purple satin pajamas and rosebud nightgown which did not meet the children’s sleepwear standards for flammability.  The company settled the lawsuit receiving a cease and desist order for those items but no fine or recall. This was a significant publicity blow compounding the problems the business faced with the China production and shipping issues.

In the entire 12-month period of 2002, the Denver office of the Better Business Bureau received 300 complaints about My Twinn. However, in December 2003, nearly 2,100 complaints were filed. During this time period the company lost access to the molds for creating the vinyl faces due to unpaid bills.  More than 700 complaints were filed with the Colorado Attorney General in 2003 for paid orders where dolls were never delivered. The result was the filing of involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation proceedings December, 19 2003 against the Lifelike Company, maker of the My Twinn dolls. 

 Virginia Era  

In October 2004, The Parent Company relaunched My Twinn after purchase of the assets from bankruptcy that summer for $1.06 million. The operations were moved from Colorado to the Etoys (also owned by The Parent Company) facility in Virginia thus the distinction ‘Virginia Era’. Although the vinyl doll heads were still poured and airbrushed in China, assembly and detailing including eyelashes, eyes, wigs and freckles to customize the dolls were now moved back to the U.S.  Unfortunately, the move to Virginia left the experienced doll artists back in Denver. As can be seen from the Holiday 2004 catalog order form, the new owners continued with the scaled back offerings introduced in 2003, with hand-painted features and professionally styled hair available for an additional cost.   Customers were required to select from the 15 available facemolds.  This was later reversed back to the original method of selection by a My Twinn expert technician.  Vinyl, eye and hair colors were also scaled back, Denver vendors were no longer used, and consistency of the vinyl colors from lot to lot remained an issue. Eyebrows were largely stenciled losing a further, and significant, degree of individualism.  In 2005 My Twinn continued exploring the strategy of expanding internationally, however logistics issues because of the individualized nature of each doll delayed expansion.  

Customer Service and the Doll Hospital were also moved to Virginia. Customers who had experience with the ‘Golden Era’ Denver dolls were disappointed with the quality of the facial painting, eyes, eyelashes and vinyl of the new dolls. The reservoir of ‘Friends’ dolls which retailed in the $100 to $170 range and were not returnable reportedly included returns, teaching dolls finished by trainees, and dolls with flaws. A cottage industry of independent doll artists arose to address the weaknesses in quality control and customer service. It is amazing the difference higher quality eyes and subtle enhancements to facial painting can make to bring out the beauty in these dolls.  Connie Marshall, formerly of My Twinn in the Denver Era, Rachel Bernhard and Bao are a few of the doll artists that are active today. The repaint artists Laurie Sundall and Peggy Foggio worked with the Twinns for a number of years, creating wonderful fantasy dolls and dolls with character. 

That said, 2007 was an encouraging year. The My Twinn Doll was named to Oprah’s “Favorite Things List” for the second time in Fall of 2007. The My Twinn Baby Doll received the Outstanding Products of 2007 award from iParenting.  In 2007 the company also launched a new Asian facemold 'Cai' and revived three of the previously retired facemolds, Beth, Karen, Vanessa and Helen.  

 2008 saw the introduction of ‘My Twinn My World’, a free interactive ‘playworld’ blending games and fashion and geared to tech-savvy girls aged 3-12. 

In August 2008, The Parent Company entered into a contract to utilize the FiftyOne global ecommerce solution from E4X, Inc to extend My Twinn internationally in 34 countries, including Canada and most of Europe for its 2008 holiday sales season. My Twinn teamed with Cosco, and QVC for the holiday 2008 season.  Despite all of these positives, the economic downturn of fall 2008 took its toll.  Following a dismal holiday season, The Parent Company filed for bankruptcy in December 2008.

New Virginia Era

 At the bankruptcy auction in February 2009, TPC Acquisitions LLC from Rahway, N.J., purchased My Twinn for more than $2 million.  The company moved down the road to a smaller facility in Chatham, VA and has retained the former staff and functions doing business as  The Personalized Company LLC.   The business model appears to have remained pretty much the same. In addition to the Custom Dolls and Baby Doll, the current company has a selection of ‘Friends’ and ‘Vintage Friends’ for sale on their website as well as clothing, furniture, pets and accessories.   The term 'vintage' was being used by My Twinn to distinguish dolls having a characteristic (vinyl, eyes, facemold, etc.) that is no longer available and includes dolls from the Virginia and China Eras and less frequently a Denver headed doll appears. 'Vintage' by this definition does not necessarily mean a retired facemold.  

However, in spring of 2010 the company took advantage of  the slow period for the business and posted a large number of  'Vintage Collector Friends' on the website. These were priced for the collector's market with prices as high as $329 ($369, July 2011) for what MT perceived to be the rarer dolls. My Twinn indicated that many of these were constructed from retired facemold completed heads found in the warehouse, that they completed with new bodies. Click for more information including My Twinn's definition of  the 'Vintage Friend' dolls.

Back to the History:
On June 28, 2010 there was much excitement when My Twinn alerted collectors about a rare doll posted for sale for $599 on their website. After many inquiries about this doll and much speculation by collectors, MT posted the scalp markings  ('NHE 1998') and several close-up photos on Facebook which did distinguish this doll from the known facemolds.  She was nicknamed 'Natalie' by a collector and she promptly sold.  

The toddlers and cuddlies are not currently produced although a toddler occasionally pops up on the Vintage Friends page.  These are really great play dolls for young children and you may still find a few in new condition on eBay.

My Twinn teamed with Target, and QVC for the holiday 2009 season and as of summer 2010 is experimenting with eBay sales. The jury is out on customer service and quality, however,  they appear to be making strides in the area of customer service. As of spring 2011 the word on the street is that customer service continues to improve.  Way to go MT! There is better communication with the new 'chat' feature on their website and with their Facebook page.  I was told by Customer Service that they are checking 'Friend Dolls' for obvious flaws before sale and repairing ones that slip through the review process.  Only time will tell whether the current company and these beautiful, high quality collectible dolls will survive in the current economic climate.

Fall of 2011 saw the fun addition of the BFF Dolls, a limited selection of face molds of the 23" dolls that could be created using a fun virtual doll creator online through the My Twinn website.  We had a lot of fun playing around with the doll creator.  From the Holiday 2011 catalog:

A fun way of seeing the evolution of the My Twinn Company is through their catalog covers, which, thanks to retired Denver My Twinn doll artist Connie Marshall, you can see here by clicking the link for the particular year (or following the embedded links from year to year):  1996 to 19981999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 to 2011.

The Invasion of the Eighteen-inchers

October 3, 2013, a sad day for lovers of the 23”poseable dolls. MT made a strategic move to 18” dolls for their custom and BFF dolls. Vintage Collector and Friend dolls were available until stock ran out. 

The latest owners were the most responsive since the golden Denver days, so perhaps we should step back and take a look at the message their customers have been sending them the past couple years.

Why order a custom MT when you can find a close match on the Friends page? This was a question often asked of me, and with the generic brows, limited hair and eye colors and sale prices it was hard to advise parents to spring for a custom when there was a doll matching their child on the Friends page at a fraction of the price. Price is the top priority to most families buying for their children, price for quality.

Collectors jumped for joy when the Vintage Collector Dolls first came on the scene and were willing to open their wallets to home the retired and rare faces that were found in the MT warehouse... no matter that they were dearly and erratically priced and dressed in overstock costumes. MT made several mistakes with the Vintage Collector dolls in my estimation, however, including a pricing strategy that didn't take into account collectibility and overwhelming the market with dolls. When the collectors were filled to the brim, more dolls kept coming and MT reduced prices as much as 75% the original asking price. Dolls sat on the website, even at those fire sale prices.

Collectors asked to have retired molds brought back in popular vinyl colors. MT did an experiment re-pouring a limited number of several of the retired molds. Except for the rarest of rare faces, Collectors were not willing to pay the price asked for these limited re-pours. Lack of communication, yes. MT should have surveyed the particular molds collectors were interested in at a given price. A pre-order situation would likely have been very well received by collectors and successful for MT.

MT trained their customers to wait for sales and their customers showed them the prices they were willing to pay. So here we go... smaller doll, lower price.

A few thoughts on October 4, 2013 about the new "Eighteen-inchers":

I do think that when folks compare the new MT 18" doll faces... they should compare them with the other 18" dolls on the market...the ones at Walmart up through AG and the Kidz 'n' Cats... not to their 23"sisters.  There is a huge difference in the amount of detail that can go into the larger faces.  The new 18" Theresa on their webpage at first looked to me like an Emma.... the details in the lips were just not as obvious...and of course the photos aren't that great... but how does she compare to AG Addy?  That said, these little faces can be made to resemble real children, something I challenge anyone to do with the limited AG faces!  Here is a comparison of a 23" Catherine portrait repaint with a 18" Catherine portrait repaint:

A 23" Catherine portrait repaint:

A 18" Catherine portrait repaint:

A note for Collectors about pricing I've done the research!

In 1996 (FAO catalog), the cost of a non-poseable Twinn dressed in cotton floral print dress was $159.95, add matching child's dress $49.95 and standard shipping $19.95 for a total $229.85 in 1996 dollars… convert to 2014 dollars that becomes $348.68. Skip to 2002 (MT Holiday 2002 catalog) and do same calculation: poseable Twinn $169.96 + child's outfit $49.95 + standard shipping $21.95 = $241.85 in 2002 dollars converts to $318.98 in 2014 dollars. Same order placed in August 2002 at discounted price gives total of $211.85 in 2002 converts to $279.41 in 2014 dollars. When MT did the limited repours of the retired molds a couple years ago as requested by collectors… the collectors did not snatch them up at the $300 range price tag. Some of these dolls are still languishing on the Vintage Collector Doll page. We have a long wish list, but we must consider economic reality. Quality comes at a cost. The other reality is there are still lots of Denver Era dolls in circulation and they will always be more coveted by certain segment of collectors. At the current prices for these Denver dolls in the second hand market no wonder collectors balked at the prices of the repoured molds. Sadly, MT couldn't survive… these dolls were a specialty item trying to survive in a mass market with competing companies with the ability to advertise and keep their product line fresh.  

End of the 23" Twinns,  end of My Twinn

It was October of 2013 when My Twinn retired custom 23" dolls in favor of the new 18" line.  April 18, 2015,  My Twinn announces on their Facebook page that the last of the 23" "Friend" dolls have been made and are for sale on their Friend Doll and Vintage Collector Doll website pages.  Late-Fall 2015 saw the first time ever that My Twinn offered component parts for sale as a way of clearing out the remaining components for the 23" dolls. December 2015 through January 2016 saw unprecedented "Close Out" sale prices of up to 95% off. For several weeks the doll pages were empty, with no dolls for sale. My Twinn removed their Facebook page. Staff was reduced to a couple employees, online chat and telephone customer service hours reduced. A note indicated on the Friends page that exciting new dolls would be coming January 2016, however the new Friend dolls that were listed for sale in January were merely continuation of the liquidation of current stock. Sadly, My Twinn closed for good, January 31, 2016.  My Twinn reported that the face molds to pour the 23" faces were destroyed. The 18" dolls, hoped to be the much needed boost to business, had many quality issues during the two years of existence, most notably eyes that degraded quickly (reported in all color eyes, not just the colors indicated in the above letter from My Twinn), poor quality wigs, lopsided bodies and in some instances face paint that wiped off with the stroke of the hand.  

October 2016: Make sure you know what you are buying! The China manufacturer has located several of the older molds and has begun selling newly poured heads (of some long-retired and rare faces) and body parts for My Twinn 23" dolls through the Facebook Group "My Twinn Doll Parts For Sale".  There is a collector in the US that is coordinating these sales. While this is good news for some collectors, it is also the opportunity for unscrupulous sellers to pass off dolls that are not what they are represented to be. So please ask questions of sellers if you see rare faces come up for sale.  Check the quality of the face painting and eyes in the dolls as these newly poured heads are being sold as blanks.  It would be sad if poor quality work on these newly poured heads and unscrupulous sellers scare people away from collecting these gorgeous dolls.  

June 2018: While the "post My Twinn closing" China re-pour "blank" heads are no longer being made/sold, many were, including many pieces of the rare faces that were formerly only made during the Denver Era. This has complicated the collectible market. Be educated and know what you are buying. The "My Twinn History" is here to help you learn. That said, there are a few new artists working with the Twinns that are creating lovely dolls with the new heads, so if a doll appeals to you, go ahead and enjoy! NOTE that the FACEMOLD REFERENCE CHART does not tabulate the "Post My Twinn Closing" China re-pour blank heads that were poured and you can assume that there are such re-pours in circulation even of the rare Denver faces. The only mold that we know was not re-poured was the prototype "Natalie".

A Few Thoughts on Collecting

My Twinn dolls from the Denver Golden Age remain highly collectible.  They are dated by the date of their body tag, not the date on the back of the neck that some face molds have. The very early non-poseable bodies may not have a body tag. The imprinted neck date helps to identify the mold, but not the Era or type of vinyl used.  Rarity of the facemold, artistry of the facial painting, rarity of the vinyl and eye color, body type, age (as measured by the body date) and condition contribute to the value of the doll as well as whether the doll was modeled after a real child. The bodies of these dolls are fairly easily changed and it is not an uncommon practice for collectors to swap out a non-Denver Era body on a Denver-headed doll to a Denver Era dated body. Wig and eye changes are common as well.

So what is the value of one of the all Denver dolls with a rare retired face mold?  Many collectors will respond ‘priceless’, however a peek at the auctions will give you a real world idea.  In January 2010, a 2001 Bernetta in excellent condition sold on eBay for $698.88, in a buyers market.  In April 2010 a new auction record was set with an eBay sale of a 1999 Josie for $1,226, exceeding the mid-1990's auction record  believed to be $899 for an Asian Twinn, a Kim or Tamsen (my source doesn't recall which).  Josies and Bernettas have historically sold in the $700-800 range.  Prices in the $500 and up range are common for the rare retired facemolds even in the current market.  Even hybrid dolls with the rarer facemolds (expected to be Denver vinyl) but with new bodies (not Denver), were being snapped up from the Vintage Friends page of the current website as soon as they are listed, at prices as high as $325, eventhough they often have the lesser quality eyes and generic faceups.  The auction market has changed quite a bit with 'Vintage Collector Dolls' sales beginning in 2010 as discussed above.  With many pages of these retired Denver hybrids offered, at prices from $89-$369 depending on facemold, the prices of many facemolds at auction have been in decline.  MT reduced prices for the remaining Friend dolls even further during liquidation. With the closing of the company, it would be expected that prices will rebound in time. 

Denver dolls aren't the only dolls sought by collectors.  A My Twinn doll from any of the eras in pristine condition which has beautiful facial painting or a unique look will be valued.  China Era dolls, while dismissed by some collectors, are collected by others for their petite faces, unique, wide-eyed look and brow artistry. With eye and wig upgrades these become beautiful dolls with a unique look because of the slightly smaller mold sizes. Some faces were poured in lovely vinyl, while some were not.  Likewise, the Virginia Era dolls have their own unique look and eye upgrades and facial painting go far in enhancing their beauty. There are avid collectors of the 18" Twinns, 20" Toddlers, and Cuddly dolls as well.

As of December 2009, the following face molds are thought to be retired Kelsey, Wilma, Sharon, Beatriz, Mallory, Michelle, Kim, Lydia, Nora, Jessica, Micale, Tamsen, Lois, Bernetta, Clementine, Josie, Madalene, Whitney, and the Ariel varients Melissa and Rose.  As of October 2013, the 23" doll line was retired, and January 31, 2016 the company closed for good following liquidation.

Meet and Share Your Interest with Other Twinns Collectors!

There are several ways to meet and share your love of the Twinns with other collectors and continue to learn about these lovely dolls. Facebook has several active groups, and Yahoo Groups, though less active than Facebook, has groups where you can share your enjoyment of these dolls with other collectors.  You can find the groups on Facebook and Yahoo Groups by searching My Twinn. These groups are "private" so send a request to the moderators explaining your interest in the dolls.  The groups share photos and information about the dolls and some have buy and sell options. Just be cautious of your interactions as you would on any social media site, but you may find that over the years you develop delightful friendships with folks with a common interest. Enjoy!

A Few Thoughts on Purchasing a Play Doll

These dolls are fantastic play dolls.  They are beautiful, durable and with the exceptional poseability they can get into all kinds of  'trouble'.  My daughter received her first My Twinn doll in 1999 and that doll saw alot of play.  Last year my daughter cleaned her up (she was covered with fingernail polish and grime from her active play life) and she is good as new.  Hard to believe after ten years but then again these dolls are made to become keepsakes.  Her doll spent much time in the My Twinn wheel chair with her arm and leg in casts or bandaged with supplies from the home first aid kit. Equal time was spent dressed to the nines in full make-up.  Children may find many of the My Twinn brand clothing difficult to dress their dolls in alone and the velcro closures can easily pull the fabric bodies... so there is an excuse for mom to play.  Tugging on arms to remove tight clothing may disconnect the vinyl arm from the armature so care should be taken.  

If you have an older child who is interested in design these dolls make the perfect  model.  The soft body makes it easy to drape and pin their designs and with a few scraps of fabric or a pile of out grown clothing they can easily test out their own designs before they attempt to sew them to wear themself.  Older children will enjoy making photo and video stories as well with their dolls.

So what should you look for when shopping for a play doll?  A doll that you find appealing, whether or not it is a look-alike doll.  If you are purchasing a new doll from My Twinn, you may wish to have the eyes replaced and facial painting enhanced after-market to achieve the life-like quality of the Denver Era dolls.  If you are purchasing a used doll, buy from a reputable doll restorer or look for a doll with a body tag date 2002 or earlier which guarantees Denver quality. There are Denver quality dolls from 2003 but there are also 'China dolls' from this period with the poor quality vinyl and eyes. You are likely to be unhappy with your purchase unless you know what to look for in the 2003 and later dolls.  Look for a doll with a sound body and beware of dolls from smokey environments as the smokey smell is difficult to remove.  Used dolls may be thoroughly cleaned and wigs are easily replaced if the hair is beyond salvaging. Eye changes are more challenging, especially with the China Era vinyl. The cloth bodies may be machine washed (although temporary decapitation is required ...Ouch!)  It is important that the arm, leg and ankle attachments are sound as they can require involved repairs which may be better dealt with by replacing the body at a not insignificant cost. A few tutorials for sprucing up your dolls are available in the "links" section of this website. Whether new or previously loved, we're sure you will enjoy your My Twinn doll.