Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pedigree dolls - older and newer

The Pedigree Doll Company was an English doll manufacturer that was active from the 1930's through the mid 1980's, when it eventually went bankrupt. Dolls are usually marked Pedigree Made in England.

I own three Pedigree dolls which are examples of the Pedigree company through the decades.

The first is a baby boy doll made of composition. He has side-glancing painted eyes and teeth that need a wee bit of work to straighten out. He's in need of a good cleaning, but, as he dates back to the 1930's, he's not in too bad a shape. Baby Pedigree is approximately 16 inches tall.

The next is the much sought-after hard plastic toddler doll made from the late 1940's to the late 1950's. She was a Mama doll, but her cryer is now missing. This adorable dolly was literally rescued from a trash heap. She needed to be re-strung, her torso was split and warped, and her hair was bleached to a strange colour due to being left outside in the sun; however, being the kind of woman who takes pity on old abandoned dolls, I rescued her, and with the help of my husband, we managed to repair her body. She has silicone "collars" where her legs meet her torso so that they don't get pulled in by her new stringing. Her wig is original and full, and I dyed it to help mask the strange green tint that it had, and her eyelashes are replacements. She has flirty sleep eyes that still freely flirt from side to side, even if they don't open and close well any more.


After her body was repaired and some blush restored to her face, she was given a new outfit. Her shoes are original as far as I can tell, and I am eventually going to make a new set of front teeth for her. Truly, restoring this doll has been a labour of love. Toddler Pedigree is about 20 inches tall.

The 1950's was a heyday era for Pedigree. They made toddler dolls, walker dolls, and Brighton Belle, a playpal size doll that stood around 28 inches tall. All are highly collectible and sought after, especially if their plastic hasn't faded and they don't suffer from Pedigree doll disease. Pedigree doll disease is not treatable, unlike other hard plastic doll "diseases."  Once the plastic begins to break down, you may as well throw the poor dolly away, as she will melt over time.

The third Pedigree doll dates from the late 1960's. She's Pedigree's Sindy doll - their teen doll competition to Barbie, Tammy, and other teen dolls of the era.  My Sindy has a twist waist and posable legs. I am fussy about Sindy. When Pedigree went bankrupt in the mid 1980's, Hasbro bought the rights to manufacture the doll, and they changed her look. The Sindy of the 1960's is quintessentially a British Mod doll. Anything else just doesn't feel right. Sindy is 11 inches tall and like Barbie, came with an extensive wardrobe and accessories.

Pedigree dolls are great examples of dolls that were popular in England and other Commonwealth countries in the 1940's through the 1960's. Since living in Australia, I've been introduced to these dolls and love them as much as my American dolls. 

19 comments:

  1. Hallo

    I collect dolls and I have a few number of Pedigree dolls. Next year I will have a Doll show and I will also show the Pedigree dolls.
    So I am looking for the history of this dolls and I wonder if you can help me with this.
    I like to send you a few pictures of my dolls, but I need your email adress.
    I hope you can and will help me with this

    For now I wish you a merry christmas and a happy New Year

    Betsy Janssen
    betsy@poppenwereldlandgraaf.nl

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  2. I have a Pedigree doll from the early 60's though her face looks much like your "Sindy" doll. She stands approx 22" with jointed shoulders, neck, hips and knees but what is most interesting is she has 2 sets of eyes; one pair of blue and one pair of brown. These can be changed by a push on a section of her tummy (where a crier box would usually be located). each push changes her eyes from open to closed and when opening again they'll be a different colour. Up until a short while ago this mechanism still worked — now it seems to be stuck but could likely be fixed. Anyway I can't find any reference to such a doll. Do you have any knowledge of it?
    Thx Marylou

    merrilu@cogeco.ca
    Canada

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  3. Hi Merrilu

    From what I've been able to find out, the eye-colour changing Pedigree dolls are called Pretty Peepers dolls. They were only produced for two years ('57-'59) and are fairly hard to find. I hope you can get her eye mechanism fixed - she sounds like an amazing doll!

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  4. I had my pretty peepers doll fixed by a doll doctor. To do this they need to remove the wig, cut quite a large hole in the back of the head to remove and repair the workings that make the eyes change colour etc....then all put back together. Mine works fine now and as the repair "scars" are under the wig you wouldnt know it ever happened.

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  5. budgiesplus, that is wonderful! So glad you could get her fixed up.

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  6. I am looking for a pedigree doll from 1960..it was purchased in Sydney..brunette hair...vynil/rubber..it had baby legs and the joints twisted into place..I have a picture of my sisters doll which was the blonde version..its hair was rooted,had a fringe and curly hair that was long enough to tie in a ponytail..my sister (family reasons) will not tell me if it has any markings..can anyone help me please..

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    1. Hi Anonymous - Do you have any other descriptive info about the doll? About how tall is she? Does she have an open or closed mouth? If she has baby legs that swivel, I would say she is probably one of Pedigree's walker dolls, but it's hard to say without more information.

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    2. maybe a rubber pedigree if the arms screwed into place.

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  7. Closed mouth..she didn't have legs straight enough to stand up..had small dimples in the knees and elbows I think..Ive looked at the grumpy dolls and she was a bit like that..the hair was like nylon but it didn't knot up..like I said..I have a picture of my sisters doll but cant see where to post it on here..I also think she was taller than 12 inches..thanks very much for your replies..

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  8. Hi, I am in Australia and am hoping to sell a pedigree doll but I have no information on her. I know she was owned by my mother. who is now in her late 70s, but not sure how old she was when she got her.
    She is a very hard shiny plastic and has elastic and wire joints, her back has "Pedigree Made in England" on it. She has a crack on the side of her torso, and looks like she had hair at some stage that was glued on, but it is gone now. She has slightly open mouth and two visible teeth. I can send photos if you can me an email address.
    I assume the best way to sell her is on Ebay.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mel (another Mel! :) Sounds like you have a cute little toddler doll. Have you thought of getting her restored before you sell her? It sounds like, with some minimal work (fixing the crack and getting her a new wig), you might be able to make a better sale. Just be sure to disclose the fixes in your listing. Of course, you can always sell her "as is" as there are plenty of people who like restoring these old girls.If you can get someone to sell her at a doll show, you will probably get more money than if you sell on eBay (as the bargain hunters tend to shop there). Best of luck! Let me know how you go.

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  9. Hi, I am in Australia and am hoping to sell a pedigree doll but I have no information on her. I know she was owned by my mother. who is now in her late 70s, but not sure how old she was when she got her.
    She is a very hard shiny plastic and has elastic and wire joints, her back has "Pedigree Made in England" on it. She has a crack on the side of her torso, and looks like she had hair at some stage that was glued on, but it is gone now. She has slightly open mouth and two visible teeth. I can send photos if you can me an email address.
    I assume the best way to sell her is on Ebay.

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  10. I have a flirty eyes 16" walkie talkie. I'd like her voice box, her eyelashes and her 2 front teeth restored/repaired. I'm in Adelaide, Australia. Is there a doll repairer here that does this sort of work?

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    1. Hi Cedesings - sorry for the delay in answering your question. I found out that there is a doll hospital in Adelaide in Melrose Park. I had no idea - it's the oldest doll hospital in Australia! Here's some more information on it: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/adelaide-arcades-doll-hospital-moves-to-new-home-at-melrose-park-after-more-than-130-years/story-fnii5yv7-1226780510268 From the photo in this article, looks like they repair the Pedigree dolls. :) Hope it works out for you!

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  11. Hi Mel, I love what you have been able to do with your dolls. I notice you said the rescued Pedigree had a non working crier. Have you replaced it and if so how would you go about it. Many thanks for your informative blog on vintage dolls. Regards from Ronda

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    1. Hi Ronda - I have seen the criers for sale at doll shows, and also have seen them on eBay. The trick is to find one the right size for the opening in the Pedigree dolls' back. I've managed to "make" things fit using silicone, so that might be in my toddler girl's future. :)

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  12. I have a pedigree boxed 16" toddler doll with blue hair. Think 1950's/60's I cannot find any information at all about a blue haired pedigree doll. Help please

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  13. Hi Mel, I have a Pedigree doll. It is mine that I have had since I was a child. I think it is a toddler doll. Its only about 10inches high. Its used to have hair glued on but now its gone. I love her dearly, would never part with her. I was born in the year 1950 so I guess she is a little younger than me. She has very sweet pale blue eyes a deep pink rosebud mouth and rosey cheeks. I called her Rose. I came across your post while looking for patterns to knit her some clothes as she has no original clothes. I would also llike to get her restored with new hair. I live in Australia. I am looking for somewhere they do that. I love your dolls, My Rose does look a lot like your toddler doll.
    Cheers form Lorraine

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  14. I have the hard plastic walkie talkie doll 2 front teeth missing use to say mama when tipped no longer does arms not connected properly no hair or clothes but will not part with her are there any wigs and clothes to make her look better

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