Friday, October 30, 2009

The Excitement Has Fizzled...

...actually it fizzled a couple of days ago upon hearing disappointing reviews for Danbury Mint's Michelle Obama Inaugural Doll.  My doll arrived today.  While her appearance is not as dreadful as I had imagined, I am not happy enough with her or with the quality of her cheesecloth-like dress to keep her.  Before returning the doll, I took several photographs.  A side-by-side image of Danbury Mint's ad image with that of the actual doll is offered for comparison.

L-R Danbury Mint's prototype, presale image of the doll and the actual Michelle Obama Inaugural Doll

Click here to see a larger side-by-side comparison.

Close-up view of the doll

View of the dress from the rear; the fabric is a very thin, gauze-type material, embellished with rhinestones.

The doll's jewelry is nice--rhinestone ring, three-strand bracelet and...

...rhinestone drop earrings.

The high-heel shoes are painted on.  The bottom of her feet have two metal pegs that attach to two holes in the wooden base. 

I was expecting to receive a doll that looked exactly or as close as possible to the image shown in Danbury Mint's ad.  Unfortunately, that is not what I received.

I created a poll.  Please share your opinion about this doll.  Thanks!


Postscript: After reboxing the doll, I discovered an insert ad that includes an image of the Barack Obama Inaugural Doll. Interestingly, DM used an image of the actual Michelle Obama Inaugural Doll in this ad. Why couldn't they have done that initially? ◦


  1. Thanks for sharing your photos, Debbie.

    I don't like this doll. It's not just the size. It almost captured the First Lady's look, but somehow went off course. The doll arms look hoggy. The eyes aren't "right."

    Dress reminds me of Kleenex dotted with silver studs. Painted on shoes? For a doll that size and that much money!?!

  2. I appreciate you sharing the pictures Debbie. It's really unfortunate that you did not get what was advertised. In my opinion, they didn't even come close. This doll doesn't even look as good as the one pictured in the Barack Obama ad. Considering the result with the Michelle doll, I would be very hesitant to order the Barack doll.

  3. I would have to agree. After seeing the Danbury Mint Ad, the actual doll doesn't hold a candle to it. *Sigh* It is so disappointing when you've had your hopes up high. You expect the quality that has been advertised. I'm sure they will get a lot of returns.

    That is how I felt when I compared my actual Princess Tiana doll to the prototype. Not as cute as I had hoped but I bought Tiana anyway just for memorabilia purposes. Still disappointing though.

  4. I am so glad to have found this site. I received my doll a couple of days ago. What a disappointment. I've contacted the mint and am awaiting a response. I want them to explain to me why the bait and switch tactic?

    It is interesting that inside the box is a picture of the doll you actually receive, and don't bother about getting the president's doll when the DM decides to debut what will likely be a fake prototype looking exactly like the president; you will likely be disappointed.

    I am wondering what the DM plans to do about this. I would love to hear views from others who have received this doll.

  5. On June 1, 2009 I published a piece on this upcoming doll and my last sentence predicted exactly what has happened.
    I think the produced doll is terrible by comparison with the picture they used to get people to pre-order. I wrote to them and they did indeed confirm that it was an artist's concept in the ad and not the actual doll.
    I would definitely complain and even return the doll to the FM if I had purchased one. I could see keeping it if it were $39. but this is a shame. I wonder if Mrs. Obama has approved it or if she had to in the first place.

  6. Thanks everyone for your comments.

    Terri - I read your blog of June 1, 2009, shortly after it was published. I was very hopeful that DM's ad image was an adequate portrayal of the doll and hoped that this was not something "too good to be true." Unfortunately, it is.

    Thank you for confirming that DM has admitted using an artist's rendition of the doll in their ads. It would have been very nice for them to include that pertinent information with the ad image instead of using the bait and switch tactic to seduce collectors.

    By the time I photographed and reboxed the doll last night, their offices were closed. They will receive a phone call from me at the beginning of business on Monday to schedule the doll's return.

    This is a pitiful shame.

  7. I'm sorry the doll was not what expected Debbie. DM and all of these companies need to start using actual photos when they advertise these dolls. I don't even bother to pre order anymore until I see an actual doll!

  8. The dress is a close approximation of the the inauguration gown, however everything else completely misses the mark. It was like they just slapped this together threw Michelle's name on it and expected to make a fortune from people looking for something tangible to celebrate the first African American FLOTUS. Shame on them.

  9. Wow! The actual doll was really bad. It isn't uncommon that a prototype doll tends to look a bit better than the actual doll, but this is too much of a difference. The sculpt of the actual doll (head, arms and upper torso) lack the refinement and detail of the prototype. The proportions seem way off balance and the dress isn't very nice at all. I don't think I would have recognized this doll for what it was if you hadn't posted that it was Michelle Obama.

    I am surprised that Franklin Mint issued this doll. They have enough experience with collectors to know that this effort was simply not good enough - too many corners were cut.

  10. I ordered this doll and it is an absolute disappointment. Just received it today and will be returning it first thing tomorrow morning!

  11. Bait and switch with dolls is nothing new; back in the 1930’s the first Shirley Temple dolls were promoted with Shirley herself holding a doll dressed in the appropriate attire, but Shirley’s face was photographically superimposed on top of the doll. As soon as I saw the ad for this doll, I had a feeling (just as Terri did) that the same thing would occur—however, I also thought that the Danbury Mint had printed (albeit in small type) that the final doll may differ from their photograph. As for the painted shoes, Franklin Mint has been doing this for years with their porcelain dolls. I have to disagree with DM saying that painted on porcelain is better and able to achieve higher accuracy; Barbie, Integrity, and Gene dolls area all smaller and they come with actual shoes...the real reason is most likely due to higher costs at having to produce a separate costume item such as real shoes.

  12. Thank you for your comment. The original ad published in Parade Magazine on May 31, 2009, did not include fine print indicating the actual doll may differ from the photograph. The ad indicates, "Doll is shown smaller than actual size of 16" in height, including stand."


  13. Thanks for clearing that up. I really have to wonder what companies think when they put a misleading photo out there like that? In this day and age, when money is tight, people have even higher expectations of getting exactly what they want. I remember when I saw the ad (and realizing it HAD to be a photo of Michelle Obama's face and not really a doll) that I had a feeling there would be an awful lot of disappointed collectors out there. This is going to be a major blunder for the Danbury Mint, as this particular doll appealed not only to doll collectors but a number of non-collectors who wanted this doll because of who (and what) it represents. I have made many purchases from them over the years and never experienced this with them; I sure hope they come back with good customer service fix for this or else their reputation will continue to go down the slider.

  14. You're welcome! When I saw the initial ad, I thought they must have used a photograph of FL Michelle Obama, but as a collector, I kept hope alive that the doll would look as much as possible like the ad image. Unfortunately, reality set in after the doll arrived.

  15. Thank you for all of this information. I am sorry for the bait and switch to my doll enthusiast. I am glad I found this out before ordering. Upset is not the word..........

  16. Keep in mind DM will allow returns and pay for the return postage. They are easy to deal with. Looks like the ad was a real image photoshopped into a doll.

    Wait till you see the one from Franklin Mint. It will be stunning. Sculpted by Ralph Beinart im sure. Just look at their Marilyns etc and you can be sure the Obama doll will be a good likeness. This is pure speculation that FM will release a doll soon...but they did trademark the name "First Lady of Style."

    1. I agree with you. The ad was most definitely a real image made to look like a doll. I have not seen the Franklin Mint doll, but I can imagine it is very nice. They tend to do quality work.

  17. The Franklin Mint has released their Michelle Obama vinyl doll. It is by far the best likeness.

  18. Thank you Anonymous for the information about Franklin Mint's Michelle Obama Official White House Vinyl Portrait Doll. I added a blog entry about the doll today. I agree that their version captures First Lady Obama's likeness better than any other doll on the market thus far!


  19. Hi all, have you seen our Michelle Obama figurine? See this link:

    Its designed by Thomas Blackshear, and we think she's beautiful. Check it out.

    Collector Hub

  20. I too got caught up in the hype and made my purchase. Boy was I shocked when I opened the box. It looked like a cheap mattel barbie. I immediately repackaged and sent it back with a note telling them to stick to with what they know...COINS! I am an avid Thomas Blackshear figurine collector and am used to excellence. so you can only imagine the deep disappointment when I opned that box and saw the lack of quality of Danbury's attempt.

  21. Thanks for sharing it would be good if u can send off a photo of yourself and get a little doll made of you sent bck....



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