DAM Vintage Animal Trolls

 

    In the 1960’s along with his Troll dolls, Thomas DAM also made several different troll animals in many sizes and colors. Some DAM collectors find pleasure in collecting these unique versions and some of these DAM animals are VERY rare and highly sought after by collectors. The elusive DAM alligator trolls may be one of the most SUPER rarest of them all, supposedly they came in two different sizes. The only picture I’ve ever seen one was on the DAM Things website (click of photo of Thomas Dam above to visit the DAM website), www.DamWorld.dk– alligator trolls) on their Animal trolls page, the photo itself looks like it came from a calendar or may be a scan of some sort.

   Several of these unique DAM animal trolls can occasionally be found for sale on the secondary market, such as on e-bay or other websites which auction and re-sell items, with some of the more RARE of these DAM trolls fetching in the $500 to over $1,000 range. Unfortunately, not all the DAM troll animals are marked, but serious DAM collectors usually have the eye for recognizing the unique sculpting style of Thomas Dam. For additional info on Thomas DAM trolls check out the Evertroll website (click on hyper-link or on the Evertroll logo below).

   Although many of the DAM trolls were made in Denmark, as mentioned previously some were made in America in the 1960’s the company which was licensed to produce DAM trolls in the USA was Royalty Designs of Florida (located in Hialeah, FL).

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

  Thomas Dam (pronounced Dom), made his first troll in the 1930’s out of wood. Among his other odd jobs, his carvings were a main source of income for his poor family. Some of his earliest trolls were made of natural rubber and filled with wood shavings (these early DAM trolls are also known as SAWDUST trolls by collectors), their wigs were hand sewn together from small pieces of sheepskin and clothes were sewn directly on their bodies. The work to create these trolls was time consuming but they quickly became the family’s livelihood and main source of income, soon a factory (The Troll Company A/S) was built to accommodate the demand for these trolls. The sales for these trolls grew rapidly in the 1960’s and eventually these DAM trolls traveled from their homeland of Gjøl Denmark, into other European countries and to the U.S.A. and beyond.

    Unfortunately there were other toy companies who saw the financial possibilities of these unique trolls and they began creating cheap imitations and knock-offs. In the mid-1960’s there was the one company- Royalty Designs of Florida Inc. in Hialeah, FL which was officially licensed to make the DAM Things original trolls in the USA. These lighter hard-body troll dolls and animals are often referred to as American trolls. But issues with copyrights in the mid-late 1960’s with Scandia House Enterprises, Inc (refer to court case– Scandia House Enterprises, Inc, plaintiff v Dam Things Establishment, defendant, July 15, 1965), and the surge of imitations in the USA caused a very frustrated Thomas Dam to halt the sales of his trolls in the USA and pull back to selling his trolls in Europe exclusively where his patents and copyrights for his trolls were established and protected.

    After many years of disappearance in the USA, in the early 1980’s the E.F.S. Marketing Associates of Farmingdale NY was one of the few USA companies who were granted permission to import DAM trolls (Dam Things Aps) from Denmark back into the U.S.A. These newer DAM’s were re-sold under the registered name of “Adopt-A-Norfin.” The re-appearance of the DAM trolls was eagerly accepted by the baby-boomers from the 1960’s who remembered these trolls from their childhood. But there was still stiff competition with the knock-off trolls already being sold in the U.S.A., by various companies like Wishnik, Uneeda and Russ Berrie. Thomas Dam sadly passed away on November 12, 1989, but his family fought to maintain the copyrights to his legacy and his original creations.  In 2003, a Congressional  law in the U.S.A. allowed the Dam family to restore their original U.S. copyright and become the only official manufacturer of TROLLS again. Two other notable court cases were with: Russ Berrie (refer to court case- 290 F.3d 548 DAM THINGS FROM DENMARK, a/k/a TROLL COMPANY ApS v.RUSS BERRIE & COMPANY, INC., Appellant. No. 01-4422. United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit filed May 2002), and the other case was involved with a division of Uneeda (which made millions manufacturing troll dolls in the USA), who challenged the restoration of the copyright to the Dam family in court (refer to court case- 483 F.3d 150 TROLL COMPANY, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. UNEEDA DOLL COMPANY, Defendant-Appellant. Docket No. 05-6487-CV.United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit heard Dec 2006). But in both of these court cases, the U.S. court favored the Dam family and ruled that the DAM company was the sole owner of the TROLL dolls.

 

         Therefore, only the DAM trolls are the genuine and “original Good Luck” trolls . . .

 

 

 

  

 

 

DAM Small Troll Cows- shown at the top right are two small DAM cows with moveable heads, these gals came with either a black or red leather collar with a small brass bell (the cow with the black collar is more hard to find). Their bodies are a squishy PVC, they both have dark amber glass eyes and genuine mohair, but strangely these gals are NOT marked, most likely European DAM versions. They probably had red plastic DAM tags on their neck at one time. These cows usually can be found on the secondary market for around $100 and up. A very RARE small white spotted cow with light amber glass eyes and collar, fetched over $700 on E-bay in Oct 2011 as did another one in Jan 2012.

    Bottom row of pictures shows another version of the small cows with head and body sculpted together (no moving parts), they came in a dark (semi-squishy body) and a light colored with a very hard body, both versions have glass eyes and mohair, right front foot marked– DESIGN DAM and left front foot marked- © DAM THINGS EST. 1964 . Some people get these misnamed with the small horse (cow has horns & udders w/ sculpted tail), The lighter version is more commonly found on the secondary market for around $50 and up, darker version may be less common and command a slightly higher price.

All small cows measure around 2 1/4” from bottom to top of the horn.

[pictures shown are posted with permission from current owners]

 

 

Final fetching $$$ on any of the DAM troll animals shown below, depends not only on the condition, but if the troll comes with all the original accessories and how much a buyer is willing to pay for the troll.

DAM LARGE Troll Cows- shown here are the large DAM cows with moveable heads. The cows on the top row  came with black leather collar with a round brass bell, with the name “Karoline” on their collar. Their bodies are a darker color and have a squishy PVC, they both have dark amber glass eyes and genuine mohair, DAM collectors often refer to these gals as European versions. These usually can be found on the secondary market for around $75 and up. Notice these two samples are marked differently on their right rear hoof– MADE IN DENMARK DAM PATENT and the other cow is marked– MADE IN DANMARK Thomas DAM, on one the country is spelled with an “E” (ie– DENMARK) and the other with an “A” (ie– DANMARK).

    The lighter version cow had a very hard body and came with a ball-chain and rectangular bell instead of a collar. She has lighter amber eyes and a tuft of genuine mohair. Collectors commonly refer to these lighter trolls as those made in America. Marked on her right rear hoof - DESIGN DAM PATENTED. Some of these cows are unmarked (they came with a sticker on the bottom of their foot). There may be some skin-tone variations within this group a comparison photo shows a light gal next to her sister who has a more bronzed color. These versions are more commonly found on the secondary market for around $50 and up. The gal (photo in lower right corner), is a modern LE cow made in 1990’s, her body is more flexible and she has synthetic fake hair and dark brown plastic eyes, she came with a felt scarf on her neck and a “gold” limited edition tag. Only a limited number were made of the LE cows (refer to- Thomas DAM Limited Edition trolls for more info on these LE’s or click on photo of LE cow). The LE cow can be found for anywhere from $75 and up on the secondary market.

All large cows measure around 6” to 7” from bottom to top of the horn.

[pictures shown are posted with permission from current owner]

 

 

DAM LARGE Troll Elephants- shown here are some the large DAM elephants with moveable heads and neat wrinkles carved into their bodies. The top photo is of a VERY rare and hard-to-find “high-back” version. He has a very squishy PVC body, with genuine mohair and dark amber glass eyes. He might’ve had a bell and leather collar too, the one shown in the picture was added by the current owner. This guy  was made in the 1960’s. He is marked on his foot– Thomas DAM  MADE IN DENMARK. If you can find one of these on the secondary market expect to pay $800 to $1,000. He measures 6.5” high to the tip of his ear (back height is around 5.5” high).

  The DAM elephants came in different shades of brown and grey. Air brushing techniques varied on these. Shown in the middle is an example of a brown and grey version their bodies are semi-squishy. Most of these originally had a collar and bell on their neck. They have dark amber glass eyes and genuine mohair. Marked on foot– MADE IN DENMARK DAM PATENT. They can be found on the secondary market for $100 and up.

   The lower photo shows the lighter flesh-tone version with a very hard body made in America. These have a light amber glass eyes and genuine mohair and often came with a round red tag identifying them as a “Good Luck Mascot” they were marked on their right front foot– DAM and on their left front foot- © DAM THINGS EST. 1964. They can be found on the secondary market for $75 and up. These measure 5 3/4” high to the tip of their ears (back height is around 3 3/4” high).

   The picture photo in lower right corner, is a modern LE elephant made in 1990’s, the body is more flexible and he has synthetic fake hair and dark brown plastic eyes, he came with a felt scarf on his neck and a “gold” limited edition tag. Only a limited number were made of the LE elephants (refer to- Thomas DAM Limited Edition trolls for more info on these LE’s or click on photo of LE elephant). The LE elephant can be found for anywhere from $75 and up on the secondary market.

[pictures shown are posted with permission from current owner]

 

 

DAM Animal Finger Puppets– the vintage animal finger puppets from 1964 were an elephant and a donkey in a sitting position. These had very hard bodies and a small tuft of mohair with amber glass eyes. They were marked DAM with the year 1964. They measure about 3” high. It is hard to find ones that still have their original mohair. They can be found on the secondary market for $25 and up.

   Shown also are the more recent “Norfin’s ARK” animals made in China in 1989. I’m not sure but I think they were meant to be finger (or pencil?) pals. There were a series of six (two pigs, two elephants, a monkey with sculpted hat and a mouse). The two pigs and elephants have different poses/sculpting. Made of a soft squishy PVC they are marked on the bottom- © DAM 1989 MADE IN CHINA. They measure 2.5” to 3” high. They can re-sell on the secondary market for $10 and up, more money will be obtained for those who still have their original packaging.

   [picture of donkey finger puppet posted with permission from current owner]

DAM Small Troll Horses-    Top pictures are of an adorable little horse with moveable head, shown are two versions both have a darker body that is a squishy PVC, they have dark amber eyes with genuine mohair on head and tail. They came in either a printed baggie or with a red plastic tag on their neck (for example, see tag on small cow). These horses are marked on left front foot– DAM MADE IN DENMARK. They can be found on the secondary market for $100 and up, horse measures 2 3/4” high (from hoof to top of ear).

     There are also smaller horses with NO moving parts. There is a light version (made in the USA) body is VERY hard, this horse is fairly common to find on the secondary market for around $50 and up, stands about 2 1/4” high to tip of ear. He has a light amber glass eyes and comes in various mohair colors for mane & tail, the original version came with a small felt saddle which is glued to the stomach, he is marked on left rear hoof- © DAM THINGS EST 1964. The mohair can be very long and full or just a small poof. There is also a darker skin version which has a semi-squishy body & dark amber glass eyes with mohair on head and tail. He stands about 2.5” high (but some horses with natural colored mohair are about 1/16” shorter ). He is marked on left rear hoof- © DAM THINGS EST 1964 and is also marked on the stomach-DESIGN DAM. He may’ve originally been sold with a small felt saddle like his lighter brother, and this darker version may go for slightly higher than the lighter version. Some get these misnamed with the small cow (body style is similar), horses have short ears (not horns) and “mohair” tails (not sculpted tails like the cow).

[pictures shown are posted with permission from current owners]

 

 

DAM Small Troll Reindeer - shown at the bottom are two small DAM reindeers with moveable heads, these came with a red leather collar with a small brass bell. Their bodies are a squishy brown PVC (can be light or dark in coloring), they both have dark amber glass eyes and genuine mohair. The brown reindeer can have either white or brown air brushing on the horns, as well as light or dark hair. Also made was the VERY rare white (or cream) reindeer. Marked on rear right hoof– DAM THINGS EST. 1965 and on front right hoof– DAM MADE IN DENMARK. The brown reindeer can usually can be found on the secondary market for around $700 and up, the white reindeer is more rare and will sell for much higher. Reindeer measure about 2 3/4” high (to tallest antler). Originally sold in a colorful box, or with a red plastic tag on their neck.

    [pictures shown are posted with permission from current owners]

 

 

DAM Monkey Troll– the monkey (aka– gorilla) trolls are very unique and are almost as popular with collectors as the tailed trolls. The LARGE monkey came in a boy as well as a girl version. Shown at the right is a large boy with his original one-piece blue stretchy outfit and matching cloth (cotton?) hat with red pom-pom. He is made of a very squishy vinyl and measures 6.5” to the tip of his ear. He has dark amber glass eyes & genuine mohair with long side-burns. Head and both upper arms are moveable, he has “carved” finger and toe nails. The girl comes with a one-piece red stretchy knit outfit (similar to the boy) and a little white pleated skirt. She has longer mohair than the boy and dark amber glass eyes. The large BOY monkey shown in the photo is marked on the back– Thomas DAM made in Denmark, some are also marked on their foot– © DAM THINGS 1965. It should be mentioned that some of these monkey trolls (boys or girls) are NOT marked at all, but others are. For example– the girl monkey shown at the right still in her original bag, has no body markings but the bag is clearly marked– DAM. These monkey trolls can usually be found on the secondary market for around $400 and up (but can be found at a lower price if no original clothing is available).

      The SMALL monkey shown at the right has his original red plastic DAM tag. Although the outfit is dirty he has his original white felt hat and blue felt shorts. Very squishy PVC,  NO moveable parts, dark amber glass eyes and genuine mohair. Stands 2.5” high to top of his brow. Marked on right foot- © DAM THINGS 1965 and on left foot– DESIGN DAM PATENT. Depending on condition & if they have their original clothing, this little guy can be found on the secondary market for around $300 and up.

    [pictures shown are posted with permission from current owner]

 

 

DAM Mice Trolls – the vintage mice trolls from the mid-1960’s came in at least three known facial versions. These facials can be identified as: sad with open mouth, happy with a comical grin & excited with wide open smile mouth. The bodies and placement of tails are different on each of them (see photos). These mice have hard bodies with some give to them and short cropped mohair with curly whiskers and black glass eyes. Heads are stationary. They are stamped- TH DAM Design © 1967, unfortunately the stamp is very hard to read. These mice measure about 5” high to tip of ear.

   It is hard to find mice that still have their original whiskers intact & original clothing. The mice are dressed in a classic vintage style felt jumpers/dresses. They can be found on the secondary market for $100 and up depending on condition.

      [picture of mice posted with permission from current owner]