Allison Katzman Deserves More Recognition

mango blythe doll photo
Mango Blythe Doll Fake

Allison Katzman invented the Blythe Doll in 1972. I noticed she had passed away in early 2020 with very little fanfare. I remember the commercial they had for Blythe in the 70’s, but I had trouble connecting the commercial with the product. I do not remember seeing the dolls in the stores. The commercials were it was in black and white, and most home TV sets were also only black and white. Showing the eyes changing color was much less dramatic in black and white footage.

Not much is known about Allison Katzman in terms of she ever profited from Neo Blythe Dolls which were created in the early 2000s. She married Robert Katzman. I think her maiden name was listed as Wood. I don’t think she saw any profit because she likely had sold the rights to the Kenner Toy Company and did not have a contract to profit from future sales. It would have been very hard or impossible for Allison to create the dolls in the 70’s without corporate backing. Kenner was later bought by Hasbro. Hasbro licensed Blythe to Takara and Tomy. Takara and Tomy merged. Junko Wong was responsible for creating the Newer Blythe Dolls which are called Neo Blythe.

Why collect Blythe? Pros and Cons

Cost: Blythe is expensive. Collecting Blythe if you don’t live in Japan is more expensive due to shipping and other markups. There are cheaper off label dolls that can also be brought, but they are not genuine Blythe. These dolls are called fakes, clones but are usually marked and labeled as such. My first and only Blythe doll turned out to be a fake. I bought her from a friend who was trying to unload them after a recent trip overseas. She was a Mango Blythe Fake. I sold her later to someone else online. It not so much that she was fake, it was that she took up too much storage space. The description and photos from my eBay listing for my Mango Blythe Fake was appropriated by the website Worthy Point and posted online without crediting me. See the archived page here even if the original page has changed. Vintage Kenner Blythe from the 70’s is very expensive. These dolls did not have names.

Storage Issues:
Blythe takes up a lot of space due to her head size. Dozens of typical fashion dolls like Barbie can be stored in the same amount of space as just one Blythe. Blythe dolls are more fragile. Damage can occur to the heads due to improper storage. The heads needs to be packed securely for travel inside special modes and boxes. Vintage Blythe has issues with plastic aging, slits and cracks.

Blythe is customizable. The hair can be changed using removable scalps and the eyes can be changed. Blythe is more creative then Barbie for this reason. Once a large collection has been obtained there are many possible ways to create with Blythe by changing the hair, eyes, and outfits.

Supportive Community
Bond with fellow Blythe Collectors online and attend the yearly convention Blythe Con. Show off your Blythe Collection online with sites such as Instagram. I would also like to mention there is a Word Press Blog Devoted to Blythe called Blythopia which has information on named dolls. Each Takara Neo Blythe Doll is given a name a brief backstory. Disco Boogie is the name I like best since this is a 70’s blog, but Disco Boogie did not strike me as being very Disco.

Resell with Ease
If you get tired of Blythe you can sell her online to other interested parties and receive a return on your investment, as long as the Blythe Market stays strong. I found my favorite Blythe in San Francisco at meeting of a Blythe Fans. Her name is Amaryllis. Amaryllis was a limited edition Blythe with neon Green hair and she made with the older body. A new improved body was soon introduced. But the body is not important since most Blythe Fans exchange the bodies. Blythe is about customizing and changing hair, eyes and bodies and not just about collecting static unchanging dolls.

Buy now or pay more later
I wanted to buy Amaryllis Prima Dolly (play on words means Prima Donna) right away but the prices were running about $395 at the time, so I waited. I believe Amaryllis was limited to 1000 dolls total. I don’t have a photo of Amaryllis. I don’t if I did not have my digital camera with me or if I lost all the photos I took of the Blythe Doll club. I don’t remember even what year it was when I attended Blythe Club. I know I attended at least two meetings of the group which was located in downtown San Francisco. I always bring a camera to doll clubs, so why I do not have any photos is a mystery. I don’t feel right about posting someone else’s doll but if someone will donate a photo of Amaryllis I will post it here. I should have bought Amaryllis because within a few years the price had jumped to $600 and then to $800 and now she is selling for 1,500 dollars. I sold Mango because she was fake, and I never really liked her. The prices for Blythe remain strong due to many people seeking dolls for customizing. I have seen several customized Amaryllis Dolls online. Each customized Blythe has its own name. For example Lima is the name of a customized Amaryllis who has hot pink eye lids. The eye lids themselves can be painted. Further customization can include craving the doll’s face to make her more unique or adding freckles or even teeth. Some of the dolls may be Gothic or horror themed.

Blythe’s wide eyes open the door to imagination and possibilities. Where will you go with Blythe?

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