Once I identified my miniature model 500 as being a pen holder, I began keeping my eyes open for other miniature phones, pen holders and the like. Next thing I knew, I had won this dandy princess phone pen holder on eBay, complete with its original matching pen. (Is it just me, or is there something odd about eBay using the term won in regards to something purchased?) Even the cardboard box it came in appears to be original. The bottom of the box is stamped, 1206 BEIGE, while on the top is hand-written, Michigan Bell Telephone. (possibly written by the seller or a previous owner) Clearly a promotional piece released by Bell Telephone during (or before) the introduction of the princess phone, the number card features a tiara with the words “The Princess” below, and the underside bears the frequently used slogan:
The Princess phone . . .it’s little, it’s lovely, it lights!
And little it is. Proportionately smaller than my model 500 pen holder, the princess is just over four inches long…nearly an inch and a half shorter than the pen that accompanies it. Speaking of proportions, the accompanying photos show how accurate the form of the telephone really is. Though mine is light beige, I would be surprised if these pen holders weren’t also produced in the other four original Princess colors: white, pink, light blue and turquoise. Now just how and where these spiffy little phones were distributed is unknown to me, but it appears that a nearly identical miniature was given away at the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle. That version is marked across the handset in gold, Bell System Exhibit, Seattle World’s Fair, and doesn’t have any provision for pen holding. Given that so many telephone collectors/historians are former Bell employees, I would expect that a number of people could probably shed some light on these miniatures.