Vintage Visitors – A Tale of Two Tammy’s

This week’s vintage visitors were a surprise to Naomi when I identified them.  In amongst the clone dolls she brought to my house there was a vintage 1960s Sindy, there was also a genuine Ideal Tammy. You saw her briefly in my last “What’s New At The Tammy House” post. She was “Out of Town Tammy”.

Naomi's Tammy comes for a visit.
Naomi’s Tammy comes for a visit.

More recently when she went to New Norfolk to rescue Shirley Temple Naomi came across a fashion doll in the same basket Shirley had been in which she assumed was a clone doll again. The doll had carrot red hair which had been cut so Naomi was not sure how it was supposed to look.  As we chatted online about her find she told me “She has a lot of writing on her back and head.” Of course I wanted to know what it said and Naomi had a look and said “It looks like Ideal Toy Corp and BS 12 ” That sounded very familiar as I had looked those marks up quite recently. “It sounds like you have got a red-haired Tammy.” I told her. I have seen carrot colour hair on Pepper in my Tammy book and have seen a lot of Pepper’s for sale with this colour but I hadn’t seen a Tammy and could not find a photo of one when I did a quick search. Perhaps they are rarer than the shades of blonde and brunette that our other Tammy’s are sporting. Apart from the bad hair cut Tammy is in fair shape so Naomi got a bargain as she only cost $5.

Ideal Tammy red head.
Tammy with bad hair cut. Photo by N. Bovill

“Why is it that I keep finding these dolls when I’m looking for clone dolls .” she asked me. I don’t know, just lucky perhaps but although she is not really a doll collector Naomi does have a good eye for something worthwhile whether it is a doll, a teddy bear or a vacuum cleaner.

Red haired Tammy came back with me after the doll show to join her vintage sister and friends. While I had her out I thought it would be interesting to do a full comparison of all the Tammy’s. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Left Tammy marked Japan on her back, Right Tammy marked Hong Kong.
Left Tammy marked Japan on her back, Right Tammy marked Hong Kong.

As you can see below these dolls are marked differently. Out of Town Tammy is marked on her back Ideal Toy Corp. BS 12 and Made in Japan. I think we’ll call her Japan Tammy for short. Red head Tammy is marked Ideal Toy Corp BS 12 on the back of her head but on her back just Made in Hong Kong.

You can probably also see that these two dolls have a different skin tone. Japan Tammy’s face is a bit faded but her body is more tanned looking than her red-headed sister who is rather pale skinned but with a pinker facial colouring. Japan Tammy was probably once high coloured but I’m not sure if Red Head Tammy ever was. My Hong Kong Tammy wasn’t and when I got my first Tammy as a collector I was surprised to see that she had such pink cheeks.

Two Tammy’s and Their Friends

At this point I decided that it would be interesting to compare all the dolls and see which one Miss Red Head most resembled. The Peppers were chased out of the room and the Tammy’s stripped off in the interest of knowledge. If you look carefully you will spot a ring-in amongst the group.

Skin Tone

Tammy comparison
Tammy comparison

It looks to me as if Miss Red Head is definitely paler than most of the others.


Each of these dolls is marked differently on her back. One is marked Ideal Toy Corp, BS-12 1 while another is BS-12 3. I think this just means they were different issues. Japan Tammy also has the Ideal Toy Corp, BS- 12, with Made in Japan printed underneath My childhood Tammy is also marked Ideal Toy Corp, BS-12 but with Hong Kong printed underneath.
Canadian Tammy is plainly marked Reliable and Made in Canada. Red Head Tammy is simply marked Hong Kong on her back, her Ideal markings are only on her head.

Here are the ring-ins, both marked Hong Kong on their backs but in different locations.

Size and Shape

I have moved the dolls around a bit but can you see that Red Head Tammy is a little shorter in the body than the other Tammy’s but very similar to the brunette doll next to her who is a Hong Kong made Sindy? However, she is nothing like my original Tammy who was also made in Hong Kong. Below you can also see Red Head Tammy with two clone dolls.


So what does all this mean?
Naomi’s red-haired Tammy certainly looks a lot like a clone doll body wise. She seems to have more in common with Sindy and the Hong Kong made  clones than her own kind. On the other hand doll marks don’t lie. That is a Tammy head for sure.

Theory 1: She is a “Frankendolly”. A genuine Tammy head on a clone body. Personally although I know it can be done I don’t really buy this idea. I don’t know how hard it is to rebody a Tammy but from the wobbly state of my own much played with Tammy’s head I think taking her head off would have damaged it. If anyone has head swapped a Tammy I’d be interested to hear about it.

Theory 2: She was made in a factory that was also producing Sindy and/or clone dolls. They could have done some Tammy’s using the same vinyl they used for the other dolls.

Theory 3: She was made near the end of the Tammy manufacturing run and, as doll manufacturers often did in the 1960’s they used up materials they had on hand. This might explain her red hair which I’ve read was used for Pepper.


We just don’t know everything there is to know about our vintage dolls but it’s fun trying to find out more. Here are the girls redressed. They took the opportunity to do a little clothes swapping.

Naomi's Tammy's
Naomi’s Tammy’s
The Tammy's
The Tammy’s


    • Good question and accordingto my Tammy book hair on the standard dolls varied from shades of blonde, light brown, reddish brown and dark brunette. Black haired Tammy was available outside the USA but no mention is made of carrot red hair so I would say that she was not sold in that shade originally or at least not in the USA. It was used on the original Pepper’s but is listed as hard to find.


  1. I just got an ideal Tammy from a jumble sale for 25p! I was so happy to see her there! I recognised her immediately from your website! She is just like the one you have in the green dress with the white shoulder warmer, she has a different skin tone on her face to her body. She is so beautiful, I have already knitted a blue jumper for her! (she was au naturel when I bought her)
    She is very happy with all my Barbies and other dolls 😉 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a blonde tammy when I was young. Not realky understanding why some straight legged dolls have longer hair than the others or why the body markings are different. All the straight leg dolls look different to me which I think is odd if they were all produced the same butwith different colour hair.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, you’d think that they would all be the same but hair lengths seem to vary perhaps depending on batch and materials available. You even see that with modern fashion dolls the same doll may have slightly longer or shorter hair. Body markings are a bit more specific, the numbers on Tammy for example I think signify different production runs.


      • I have come to think the numbers represent the factory the dolls were made at. It’s hard to know because the head molds don’t correspond to the numbers. Only someone who worked in that company would know.


    • Ideal had lots of head molds. Some of which are very rare. Some others which I think are shaped like a lightbulb are too common.


  3. I think what you have here, the carrot red head, is a very rare “mistake”. Her body is the cheap clone, and even her face and hair just don’t have the quality of a Tammy. I think she was a clone made in a factory that also made the Ideal dolls and was mistakenly stamped Ideal on her head! I can’t think of any other reason for her pink skin, cheap plastic and strange red hair!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well that’s possible, it is more like a clone body than a Tammy body. I have seen that carrot hair on Pepper although it’s not common but you did get some weird mistakes with so many dolls made in the same factories.


  4. That red head is a bootleg Tammy. I want one. There have been lots of waves of bootlegged dolls and other things throughout the years. She is cuter than the real one.

    Liked by 1 person

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