This is the first in a series of posts about some vintage visitors who are staying with me at present. They are Naomi’s collection of vintage fashion dolls and she generously offered to let me share them with you.
Update October 2016: A reader, Blaspheria, wrote to say that she thinks that the four dolls with the indented feet are made by Linda Regd. You can read her description of them at the end of this post and I have added a link to a page showing some examples from the petradolls website.
Update July 2020: Thanks very much to reader “C” who sent me a link to an identical MIB doll on eBay. She is Liza Jane and this is her original outfit minus knee high white boots. She came in a plastic “baggie” If you search for “Liza Jane” fashion dolls you will see several examples similar to this one made in the 60’s and 70’s. They also made a bubblecut version. I have seen some of these pictured as “dress me” type dolls in underwear. They are more or less the same as the two bubblecuts which were identified as being from Linda. No surprise, most of these dolls were made from the same molds probably in the same factories. I’d love to show you a photo of the bagged doll but none of the ones I found online were licenced to be re-used and I do try not to infringe copyright.
As I may have mentioned Naomi has an eclectic collection of items ranging from teddy bears to typewriters but toys are probably the biggest part of it and of course that means dolls too.
The vintage gang used to be displayed in a cabinet at her house but currently the room where they lived is in need of renovation so the dolls have been packed away for a while. Naomi asked me if I would label them with their ID’s.
I’ve seen some of the dolls before of course but it’s been nearly two years since I’ve been to Naomi’s house so I haven’t really examined them in detail in a long time.
Like me Naomi tends to collect the dolls from our childhood era and also modern era fashion dolls, which in her case means primarily male fashion dolls although she does have some very nice Barbies from the eighties and nineties as well. The box contains some vintage Barbie friends, Tressy, Sindy and some others of the same era including several clone dolls.
Naomi’s childhood fashion dolls were largely clone dolls which, although she liked them, annoyed her very much. Her friends had Barbie and Skipper, so did our cousin and I had a lot of the brand name fashion dolls. However, presumably because she was younger Naomi was nearly always given clone dolls. She did eventually get a genuine Penny Brite.
As an adult collector Naomi bought dolls here and there, toy fairs, eBay and sometimes at the markets in Adelaide and soon ended up with a small collection of vintage fashion dolls. As she bought many of them for a couple of dollars each she thought that most of them were clone dolls. As it turned out a couple of them weren’t but more on that later.
There are a tremendous number of fashion dolls from the 1960’s and 70’s, some made by or for well known companies others by less well known ones. Many of them came from Hong Kong which was a British Crown Colony then. Some were quite attractive, some were downright ugly and some were blatant copies of Barbie, Sindy or Tammy even down to the illustrations on the boxes. Click here to see an example. All were considerably cheaper than the originals.
Clone dolls can be very hard to identify unless they have a maker’s name on them. A lot do but a lot just say “Made in Hong Kong”. For this post I have been looking at a group of Sindy/Tammy clones and trying to ID them. At best I have only been able to guess even after looking at a lot of online information.
If anyone can positively identify any of the dolls in this post we would be delighted. Even the Doll Reference site when referring to Hong Kong made clone dolls says that there are too many of them to mention them all.
Naomi has five Sindy/Tammy clones. Four of them look to me as if they were made by the same company. They are all marked Hong Kong on their backs. All of them have two raised dots on their backs too but I’ve not been able to find reference to this anywhere which is a shame because I thought it would be a good identifier.
They all have indentations in their feet which look like they are for a sandal strap. Again I have not seen this mentioned anywhere. These dolls could not wear Tammy’s kitten heeled shoes, as they were too large.
Two of the dolls have bubblecuts while the other two have long straight hair. All have small breasts. They are made of a light plastic, no bendable limbs and their heads are attached with a neck knob and pop off easily.
To me the two bubblecuts look like either “Randy” by Fab Lu of Hong Kong or “Wendy” by WF Toys, also from Hong Kong. Randy was known as “Mary Lou” in the UK where in the early sixties you would not name a little girls doll Randy. However, another possibility is a doll called “Liza Jane”. Naomi sent me a photo of a bagged one she’d found on eBay which looks like them too. She even has the right type of sandal to fit those foot indentations. If anyone knows for sure please let me know.
The two long-haired dolls are very similar to the bubblecuts except for their hair and that makes me think they are by the same company and possibly Wendy dolls. They look a little bit like Sindy after Pedigree changed her hairstyle around 1968. I believe that the brunette doll is wearing her original dress and panties. The panties look vintage and the dress appears to be sewn on as I can’t find any fastenings.
The other doll is also marked Hong Kong but she appears to be more well made than the other four although her hair is a little sparse compared to a genuine Sindy or Tammy. Unlike the other dolls she has the less mature body seen on Sindy and Tammy. She does look like the dolls made by Camay but then she should have the Camay doll mark on her back and she doesn’t. Again I don’t really know who she is but I think she is rather pretty.
I have found a lot of photos of clone dolls, Pinterest is really good for that. What I have not found a lot of is information. Some companies like Fab Lu are well documented because of their links to well known companies like Ideal, Marx or Chad Valley in the UK but many of the others are not. I will be doing more posts on Hong Kong manufacturers in the future and hopefully Naomi and I will be able to learn a bit more about them.
Naomi has a box of home-made vintage clothing and one of these days we will try to arrange a fashion show with it but as she didn’t bring it on Saturday dolls who arrived in their birthday suits are borrowing some of my spare fashion doll clothing to be photographed in. Some are Sindy outfits and some are not tagged.
http://kenbarbieclones1960s-1990s.weebly.com/ – This is an excellent site all about clone dolls.
http://www.babiafi.co.uk/2015/06/fab-lu-randy-and-mary-lou.html – A blog with pictures of the Fab Lu dolls.
http://www.oursindymuseum.com/anarticlebybillyboy.htm – An interesting article about doll manufacturers in the sixties and seventies.