The first time I can remember seeing the aboriginal doll, Bindi, made by Metti was in about 1968. I can even remember where I saw her, in the window of a shop called Sands & McDougall’s at Elizabeth Town Centre in South Australia. She made an impression on me because I had never seen an aboriginal doll before. I remember wondering if there was any connection to Rolf Harris who I knew had a daughter called Bindi. These days I guess we would think of Bindi Irwin!
I didn’t know until many years later that Metti was an Australian toy company. As well as the Bindi doll and her little sister Picanninny they made a range of other toys including Humphrey Bear plush and plastic toys and nightlights. Humphrey originated in South Australia too but we’ll save Humphrey for another day.
As well as Bindi these dolls were also often found dressed in tribal costumes from Papua New Guinea. It is quite interesting to read how this came about.
For further information here are a couple of links which I have found helpful. The first one is to the Museum of Victoria and the second to a fellow blogger, Vintage Cobweb http://www.vintagecobweb.com/ who has a Metti/Netta page on her blog as well as lots of other interesting collectibles. Thank you Michelle for giving me permission to use some of your photos of Metti dolls in tribal dress.
In 1976 the Metti Company closed down as many Australia toy companies were doing at that time. Two former Metti employees bought the business and renamed it Netta. They continued to make Bindi and their factory in Newton, an Adelaide suburb manufactured dolls for many years. Ten years or so ago I heard that the owners wished to retire and later that the factory had closed and production had gone offshore. I’m not sure if this is true but Netta is still operating as a company manufacturing and importing dolls. http://nettaaustralia.com.au/
Most of my Australian doll collection is Netta dolls and I find them very appealing. Some of the first dolls I bought new as a collector were Netta’s.
As well as Bindi and her friends I have some large baby and toddler dolls. These dolls can be found with both painted and rooted hair. They are anatomically correct and come in several sizes and ethnicities.
Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me what a fair price for a “Bindi” still in the box would be! I have come across 2 and want to be sure I’m paying a fair price. They are asking $80 each! Thanks for any help. Ben.
Hi Ben, I bought mine some years ago and at a very good price. I rarely buy boxed dolls. I do feel $80 seems a bit high but it probably depends on how common they are where you are and how rare the particular dolls are.Netta Bindi’s would not go for as much as the older Metti ones even though they look similar so check that out. Here’s a link to Vintage Cobweb vintagecobweb.com, this lady has a Metti collection and might be more help with values. In the end though it depends how badly you want the dolls doesn’t it. If you fear you might not see another for a while or that you may not see a better price you might be prepared to pay more or you could play the long game and just keep looking till the right doll comes along at the right price. I was living in Adelaide when I bought my Bindis and that is where they were made so I think they were probably plentiful there. I do see them come up on eBay regularly although not often still boxed. Hope this helps and please LMK how you get on.
Thank- you for your quick response! I’m looking to buy them for my indiginous daughter, to keep for when she gets older! I have just seen one on gumtree for $85, might have to start collecting. Will keep in touch with my discoveries!
Please do Ben, I wasn’t sure where you were. I imagine Bindi is a lot harder to find outside of Australia! I’m sure your daughter will love her. I think they have great faces. I think Netta may still make an indigenous baby doll. You might like to Google the company and see if they have a current catalouge.
Metti also made ‘Maori’ dolls that were marketed in New Zealand.
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True. I have seen some of these I think.
Hi. I have just come across you while trying to find out contact details for Netta dolls. Now I know why I don’t get answers to my emails and their phone is not connected. I have a number of Netta and one or two Metti dolls that I want to sell but am finding it difficult to gauge prices, especially for one large black doll that has a glued on wig that is hanging off, do I re-glue it or take it off and clean up the scalp? Did they come with wigs? Any information would be appreciated.
Would you have any contact details for Netta – where ever they are – please?
Hi Margaret, I don’t have contact details for Netta, they did have a webpage when I wrote that piece a couple of years ago as they were still manufacturing but offshore. I’ll check again and get back to you via email. None of my Nettas have wigs, they all have either rooted or painted hair. I would favour removing rather than re-glueing I think unless the wig is more on than off. If you are on Social Media there is a Facebook doll group with some very knowledgeable members I could put you in touch with. More later.
Hi. Last year I emailed you and you replied, unfortunately my laptop died and I was told that all my mail would be lost and your email was included. Recently I found that my mail wasn’t lost at all but was still there and I am now able to catch up with those I couldn’t contact. Thank you for the information you gave me, I have now photographed all my Netta and Metti dolls ready for Gumtree. Some of the dolls are very grubby others not too bad. I took the wig off the black doll but it’s left glue spots on her scalp, these I tried to remove with eucalyptus oil but it started to take out the colour. Any ideas on safe removal would be appreciated? I tried Facebook for the Dolls, bears, golliwogs and vintage toys – Australia & New Zealand but couldn’t find them. I need to sell all these dolls as I’m having a big clear out but don’t know how much to ask for them?
Hi Margaret, bad luck about your laptop, I am glat you were able to get your contacts back in the end.
Twin Pines of Maine 9-1-1 is good for taking glue off but you can’t buy it here you have to get it from the USA so it depends how much you are prepared to spend. Actually to sell to a collector I probaby would have left the wig on for the new owner to sort out as some people prefer dolls original but never mind. Other than that if hot water doesn’t soften the glue maybe just leave it. I will include links to the Facebook site I told you about. Jan Wrate is probably the lady that could help you or Jennifer Burnett who I think is also on that group. You could try searching for Jan’s name if you can’t find the group.
Even if you can’t include full ID’s of your dolls if you have nice clear photos and include details of any labels or doll marks a collector will be able to make a judgement. I am sorry I can’t be of more help with prices, they vary so much, I think I suggested looking at the sold listings on eBay to see what others have paid.
Here is another group you could try.
[…] My Metti & Netta Family […]
Hi have an excellent condition Metti doll Gidget Go-Go in full outfit without original box.
Doll is unusual with brown eyes.
Is this doll of any monetary worth or just a lovely keepsake please
Hi San, I looked Gidget Go-Go up and she is a pretty doll, naturally dolls are worth more if you still have the box but as she is an Australian made doll and was not made for too long she is collectible I believe. I’m not an expert on doll values. You might like to check out this article.
Also if you are on Facebook and in Australia or NZ there is a a doll collecting group with some very knowledgeable people who could help with values.
DOLLS, BEARS, GOLLIWOGS & VINTAGE TOYS – AUSTRALIA & NZ
Hi, my name is paul. I’m selling my parents house and have come across a metti doll. Its about 650mm high in wedding dress.its still boxed and in very good condition. Details on box say…vinyl,non toxic,sleeping eyes,rooted and washable hair. She is also named Sandra. Would appreciate if you may know of a figure I could put on it for sale on gumtree. Thanks for your time.
Hi Paul, while I can’t help you with values I would say that your best bet is to look on eBay.com.au for recently sold Metti dolls and see what kind of prices they are going for. A doll which is still in its box will usually sell for more than a de-boxed one. I had a quick look and a similar sized Metti doll, not in box and not a bride was listed at $59.99 so that might be a starting point. If you do social media there are also some doll groups on Facebook, some buy and sell and some who are good for getting ID’s and values. You could try the ABC Doll Club. You may get more interest offering the doll on one of these sites for collectors than Gumtree.
Ciao, mi chiamo Anna e ti scrivo dall’Italia. Io colleziono bambole piatte, come la Metti Sebino e le Skinny Jinny e Jimmy della Durham Industries. Ma anche altre senza marca. Mi sono imbattuta in una foto dove c’era una bambola piatta con caratteristiche simili alle bambole aborigene. Mi sai dire se sono state prodotte bambole piatte simili alle tue?
Hi Anna, I have heard of Flatsy but I was not aware if Metti made dolls like this. My research suggests that they did. Of course, Metti did specialise in aboriginal type dolls for a while so it would not surprise me to find that they had made flat ones too. In the 1970s Metti dolls were made at their factory in suburban Adelaide, South Australia. In later years they outsourced the work to China I believe. I did find this post of “Planet of the Dolls” https://planetofthedolls.blogspot.com/2017/03/doll-day-2017-79skinny-jinny.html
In case any readers can help Anna with her question I’ve provided a rough translation (Google translate)
Hello, my name is Anna and I am writing to you from Italy. I collect flat dolls, like Metti Sebino and Skinny Jinny and Jimmy from Durham Industries. But also others without brand. I came across a photo where there was a flat doll with similar characteristics to Aboriginal dolls. Can you tell me if flat dolls similar to yours have been produced?
Ti ringrazio tanto per avermi risposto!!!!
Hi Anna, I have a collection of treasured dolls that I am starting to rehome before I get too old 😉 I have an original Metti “Bindi” doll that is still strapped into her original box and have had her myself for over 20 years. She would be from 1968 so what do you think she would be worth considering I can’t find any in Australia in her condition? Thanks in advance for your help!! from Ingrid
I bought my first Bindi’s around 20 years ago too . I think I paid $40 for a boxed one then. Usually the best way is to look and see what sold ones are going for on eBay. But they are not too common. I found a couple of loose ones on sale but the prices were all over the place. I would say you ought to be able to get $60 but maybe more. If you or a friend or family member do Facebook there might be a Metti/Netta collectors group who would know. I’ll have a look myself and if I find anything out I’ll let you know.