Friday, July 18, 2014

Black Petitcollin Dolls

A bathing baby by Petitcollin of France circa early 1990s

I purchased my first Petitcollin doll in December 2010.  He is a 10 in/25 cm bathing baby, circa early 1990s made by the Petitcollin company of France, item #2025705. His box is undated.    He wears a light and dark blue striped bathing suit, has a light blue terrycloth towel, and red inflatable lifesaver.  Fashioned after the original early 1900s dolls made of celluloid, he has a very dark complexion, painted brown eyes, a broad nose and full lips.  His molded curly hair is painted black.  He is jointed at the arms and legs.  His neck is not jointed.

Written in French with English translation, the back of the box reads:

Hello, my name is Petit Colin.  I am a true Petitcollin doll.  I was born in Etain, in the Lorraine region of France.

I come from a very large family of dolls.  I was made in France with a lot of care.  I was hand-decorated in the traditional manner.  My skin is soft like the skin of a real baby.  You can take a bath with me.

According to a Wikipedia entry, in 1995, Vilac acquired the company, which became known as SARL Jouets Petitcollin ( The factory has been open to the public for tours since 1998.  A video of their doll making process can be viewed below:

African Mother and baby, stock #2025741; and Father, stock #2025740 by Petitcollin of France post 1995

I recently acquired an African family of Petitcollin dolls from Linda Hayes who continues to sell her extensive black-doll collection.  This family was made post 1995 as their boxes are marked Jouets Petitcollin.   Like the bathing baby, Mother and Father are also 10 inches (25 cm).  Baby is 3-1/2 inches (9 cm).  The larger dolls use the same mold as the bathing baby.  A boubou is worn by Mother and Father.  Mother has headwrap; Father has Kofi of the same colorful fabric.  The nude baby is a miniature version of his parents. 

This close-up of African baby includes mother's cardboard hang tag, which illustrates a white Petitcollin doll.

Better known for its wide variety of white dolls, the company has made black (Hindou) versions as well as Asian dolls and those with the deepest complexion like my examples that are described by the company as genuinely black (Negri) dolls.  At the company's website, under the products link, the only black dolls are a snow globe baby and a vinyl baby doll in a couple of sizes.

History of Petitcollin Doll Company
African Petitcollin Doll (nude)




  1. Although it was short, I really enjoyed that video! I would love to see the manufacturing process in person. I enjoy big honking machines. That machine that rooted the dolls hair looked dangerous.

  2. I was also fascinated by the doll-making process and would have loved to see more. I felt the same way about the hair rooting machine. "Whoa, watch your fingers," I thought, but I know they are pros, or have learned by experience what not to do.


  3. These dolls are everything. I am in love :-)
    This 25 cm bathing baby! And the family! They are just perfect.
    I have got the tiny baby. It came with a Minouche doll last year.
    I wish Petit Collin would make some lovely 25 to 40 cm tall dark skin bathing baby again. I am looking for those with straight legs because i like dolls that can stand on there own.

    1. They are nice! The medium replicates old fashioned celluloid, but it is much thicker than the 1930s celluloid dolls that were sold in America (usually given out as carnival prizes). It would be wonderful if they made slightly taller (15- or 16-inch) straight-leg versions. Babies/dolls with bent legs do take up more space than dolls that can stand on their own.



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