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Lenci Mascotte Dolls

Lenci dolls were the creation of Elena Konig Scavini, an Italian doll designer who went by the nickname Lenci. Born in 1886 in Turin, Italy, Scavini made her first dolls in her kitchen in 1918. Her dolls were sculpted out of felt and hand painted. She applied for patents in 1919 to protect her method for producing the doll faces. Along with her husband, Scavini started her doll company and headed its production from 1919 to 1933.

Lenci dolls were manufactured in a number of styles including whimsical character dolls, boudoir dolls, googly- eyed dolls, mascotte dolls, and baby dolls. Mascotte dolls were especially popular in the United States after World War II when women became interested in collecting dolls from other countries. These dolls stand 8 or 9 inches tall with felt wigs of rooted hair, felt or cotton bodies and legs, and felt arms. The hands are mitten stitched, meaning the fingers are not separated. All of the mascotte dolls have a surprised expression on their faces.

Due to financial difficulties, Scavini was forced to partner with the Garella brothers, who invested in the company to keep it from closing. Scavini did not care for the brothers, but continued to work with them until 1940 when she left the company. The Garella brothers continued to run the Lenci company until it closed in 2001.

Quick Facts

  • The oldest Lenci dolls are marked with a metal rivet inscribed with the LENCI mark. These rivets are almost impossible to remove, so older Lenci dolls still have this mark
  • In 1946, Scavini gave four sculpted doll faces to her daughter Anili to help her start her own doll business, Anili Dolls. These dolls were first produced in celluloid, then in felt in the Lenci tradition
  • In 2007, McMasters Harris Auction Co. sold a 16-inch Lenci boy doll for $10,750

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