Q: When my daughter was about 10, her cousin gave her some Strombecker doll furniture she no longer played with. There’s a table and chairs, living room chair and end table, playpen and bed. The pieces are unpainted, varnished natural wood. They’re too big for a dollhouse, but perfect for an 8-inch doll. What would the pieces sell for today?
A: Strombecker was the trade name used by Strombeck-Becker Manufacturing Co. of Moline, Ill. The company was incorporated in 1913 by J.F. Strombeck and R.D. Becker. At first the company made wooden handles and tent poles, but it ventured into toys in 1919 and dollhouse furniture in 1931. The company found its biggest success with wooden airplane model kits, but also made wooden blocks, trains and ‘Bill Ding’ interlocking wooden figures. When plastic started taking over many toy lines in the 1950s, Strombecker was hit hard. One of its efforts to fight back was production of larger furniture for Ginny, Betsy McCall and other dolls 8 to 10 inches tall. The furniture was too small for Barbie dolls, though, and the line was discontinued a short time before Strombecker dropped out of the toy business entirely in 1962. Strombecker doll and dollhouse furniture is well made and very collectible. Your daughter’s individual pieces would sell for $10 to $30 each.