Sindy‘s history is well known and there are many websites devoted to her especially in the UK where she was born. I will just give a brief overview of how she came to be and her first few years.
Pedigree Dolls and Toys introduced Sindy to the public in September 1963. The company had been making dolls for over twenty years and after seeing the success of Barbie they decided to produce a twelve inch fashion doll of their own. In fact, and I only read this for the first time today, Mattel offered Pedigree a licence to produce Barbie. However, the Pedigree company had done market research which suggested that Barbie was not popular with British buyers. I am not sure how widely available Barbie was in Britain at that time, certainly I never saw one although Tressy and Tammy were both available there.
Pedigree decided that they would base their doll on Tammy who was made by the Ideal Toy Company. With permission from Ideal Pedigree adopted the same advertising slogan for their new doll “The Doll You Love To Dress”.
When Sindy was released she had a wardrobe of clothes that any little girl would want. I know I did! I still have my Sindy Set booklet from 1965 with marks next to all the outfits I really wanted.
Sindy was soon given a boyfriend called Paul. The first issue of Paul had painted hair but the second one had rooted brown hair in a Beatle cut. In his collarless suit he looked suspiciously like Paul McCartney and it is believed he was modelled on him as this was during the height of Beatlemania.
Later Sindy got a little sister called Patch. Patch had freckles and hair that looked like she might have trimmed it herself. Patch also had a wardrobe of cute outfits.
Pedigree produced accessories too, a dog called Ringo, horses, a car and furniture. There was even a Sindy record.
Over the years Sindy was given several makeovers, a new hairstyle and new hair colours, a twist waist, poseable hands and a slimmer body. Her height varied as well and several Sindys became known as the Mini Sindys because they were so much smaller than the originals.
Sindy was sold in the USA by the Marx company in 1978 & 79. Marx made some very nice accessories too but Sindy was never as popular as Barbie.
In 1987 the Hasbro company bought the rights to Sindy and relaunched her with a new look which was so similar to Barbie that Mattel took them to court.
Photo of Hasbro Sindy taken by Smirky Becca. https://www.flickr.com/photos/smirky-becca/
In 2006 Pedigree bought the rights to Sindy back and redesigned her once again.
I got my first Sindy in early 1965 I think. I was about seven or eight. In those days many grocery stores used to give stamps which you would stick in a book and eventually redeem for goods. That’s how mum got Sindy for me. I can still remember her sticking the “Green Shield” or “Pink Shield” stamps into the book every week and how we would count up how many we had and how much longer it would be till Sindy came. I think I may have initially wanted a blonde one but I got a dark one and was just as happy. Sindy was heavily advertised on television and there were even Sindy paper dolls.
I was given Patch for Christmas that same year. I had a few Sindy fashions, mostly the cheaper ones but I did have “Emergency Ward” the nurse outfit. Over the years I lost most of the bits. Patch’s head came loose and stupidly I got rid of her but Sindy stayed.
Fast forward to 1999, my husband and I were on holidays in Tasmania. We stopped at a little town on the Midland Highway, I can’t remember now if it was Ross or Cleveland but there was a Sunday Market in a local hall. Browsing I noticed a Sindy with beautiful face paint and hair. Her legs were stained and her arms covered in white paint where her young owner had given her “gloves”. I asked the stallholder “How much?” “Four dollars” she told me so Sindy came home with me.I managed to get most of the paint off her and hid the brown stains on her legs by displaying her in “Weekenders”.
Later on I acquired another Sindy, a later one from the 1970s and then I found a Patch on a market stall for only eight dollars. Well, I was hooked then. I bought Paul on eBay so Sindy finally had her boyfriend and from then on I would look out for reasonably priced dolls and clothing. I decided that I would like to collect all the outfits from the “Sindy Set” booklet that I still owned but of course having more outfits meant I needed more Sindy’s.
My favourite dolls are still the early Pedigree ones from 1963 to 1966. I have several now and three Patches currently. I do have a small collection of 1970s Sindy’s who were bought mainly to model the outfits but I have become quite fond of them and whenever I consider moving them on to make room for more older Sindy’s I find I can’t do it. The later dolls are rather slim to wear the early Sindy fashions, as are some of the mini Sindy’s but my plan is to eventually have enough older Sindy’s to wear the 1963-66 outfits and then collect a few 70s and 80s outfits for the other girls to wear. Of course then I may need a larger space, especially if I manage to get a horse for the Sindy in “Pony Club”.
The Hasbro Sindy’s I don’t like at all and I will never have these in my collection.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this page there are some excellent Sindy sites on the internet. Here are links to some of them:
Vintage Sindy Collectors – https://vintagesindycollectors.com/