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Disney Plush Toys
Disney plush is highly collected today and has evolved beyond its original role as everyday children’s toys. Steiff, Knickerbocker, and several other English companies created finely crafted Mickey, Minnie, and assorted other Disney characters as their product line. Early dolls were all made under the guidance of Charlotte Clark, a seamstress who played a huge part of Disney’s success.
Clark was the first to produce dolls for Disney characters through an agreement with Disney Studios in 1930. Her dolls soon appeared in stores throughout Los Angeles. Demand quickly exceeded her ability to produce the unique items, and Clark turned to designing sewing patterns for customers for many to make their own dolls at home. Walt and Roy Disney realized her success and rented a shop near their studio that they called the Doll House. Here, Clark and six other seamstresses began making up to 400 dolls per week for various retail stores throughout California.
Today, Disney plush collectors have a large collector base to buy from. From normal store plush to limited-edition items for collectors, the market is neverending. Charlotte Clark and other early velvet and oil cloth dolls command strong prices, especially those that Walt Disney signed and gave as gifts to clients, friends, and family.
A rare pair of Charlotte Clark 44-inch tall Mickey and Minnie Mouse store display models sold at Hake’s Americana Auction in September 2007 for $151,534, holding the record for any Disney toy or doll ever sold at auction
Charlotte Clark’s creations set a standard for Disney. As the list of characters grew for Disney, Clark produced patterns for several other companies who were licensed to produce Disney characters throughout the world
Janet Esteves holds the Guinness World Record for the largest Mickey Mouse collection, containing plush, pins, and figures from the ‘30s to the 2000s. Esteves has 6,127 items packed into her condominium in Orlando, Florida
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