Blythe is a fashion doll with an oversized head and large eyes that change color with a pull of a string. Sold originally during 1972-73, Blythe dolls experienced resurgence in 2000 and since then have achieved a cult status among adult collectors.
Created in 1972 and initially sold for one year only in the USA by toy company Kenner, the Blythe doll rose to new prominence in 2000 following media exposure by New York TV producer Gina Garan and a photo book by her, This is Blythe (2000). In 2001 Japanese toy company Takara, under a licence issued by Hasbro (the Trademark and License owner), began producing new editions of the dolls called Neo Blythe. After notable success in Japan, Hasbro issued a license to Ashton-Drake Galleries in 2004 to sell Blythe replica dolls in the United States. There the doll became a niche product in a marginal market, selling largely to adults, supported by a network of hobbyists who create clothing and shoes for the Blythe dolls, building their collection but also customizing them for resale. Many enthusiasts share also stylized photographs of their work on the Internet.
The dolls range in retail price from around US$60 for the Ashton Drake versions to upwards of several thousand dollars for an original Kenner doll in the collector’s market.