My Vintage Doll Collection From the 1960s and 1970s
My Childhood Dolls
A few years ago, while packing to move, I stumbled across my childhood dolls. Memories of "baby doll contests" flooded my mind. I had actually won a few ribbons. However, to look at them now, one would never believe it. Battered by years of a little girl's love, has left them with missing hair, broken limb joints, stained clothing or no clothing at all.
This is not because I was rough with them or didn't care about them. It was just the opposite. I loved my dolls and I played with them everyday. In the 1960s and 1970s, kids didn't have a whole lot. My friends and I only had a few dolls each, and we played and explored our imaginations daily. We were mothers, doctors/nurses, teachers and barbers to our dolls. When we put all of our dolls together, we had nice sized classroom. And when we cut their hair, we didn't have the proper scissors.
When we outgrew the baby dolls, we moved onto Barbies. I only had one Barbie and one Ken. Eventually, I was lucky enough to get a Skipper. I even had a Barbie camper and pool. And I thought that was so extravagant!
As I grew out of my carefree days of youth, I could not bring myself to get rid of my beloved dolls. I packed them away, and they remained hidden in a box and tucked into a dark corner of the attic. I remember moving from my parents home into my own, and thinking how ugly a few of these dolls were; yet, I was still unable to part with them. So they were transferred to a different corner in a different attic.
I feel "old" just knowing that they are now considered "Vintage". I don't think any of them are rare, and even if they are, I don't think they would reel in much money. However, I feel as if I owe them some recognition for filling my growing up years with such happy adventures and memories. So, let me introduce you to my dolls of yesterday.
1963 Horsman Dolls #BC116
"Nancy" was one of my very first dolls, and my all-time favorite. She is the doll in my intro photo. I had no luck finding much information about her on the internet. So, she was probably just an ordinary doll, not very popular, and without a name. I did find the "rare" black version of her on eBay with a starting bid of US $9.99.
However, she was not ordinary to me - and I loved her. She was under the Christmas tree in 1965, when I was just 1 1/2 years old. I named her "Nancy", but to-this-day, it is not known where I came up with that name. She was well played with, but she held up pretty well. She's just lucky she had painted-on hair (You'll understand, as you read further into my lens). She no longer has her original dress - I'm not even sure what it looked like. I did crochet a dress for her when I was 8 years old. The dress she is wearing in the photo is actually a dress that my daughter wore as an infant. I just couldn't photograph her in that pink and purple crocheted dress.
When packing to move, I also remember thinking about getting rid of the doll cradle. I'm sure glad I didn't.
When I think of my childhood dolls, Nancy pops into my mind first. OK - she's a keeper!
Do you remember your first doll?
Do you still have your first doll?
1960s Horsman Doll #87201 - 2480 - NEW 17 EYE
I don't remember exactly when I got "Annie", but she was also one of my very first dolls.
I have had no luck finding this doll on my internet searches. Only very few searches come up with her markings - but none of the dolls look like my "Annie". Although, I might not recognize a photo of her with hair. Poor thing - she was unfortunate to have visited a dreadful barber. Yes - that would be me. Luckily, I never became a hair stylist - it just wasn't my thing.
According to the few articles I found, I believe she is a "Snuggle Softee Baby Doll" from the 1960s. She has a soft cloth body. I think she would say, "Mommy" when you squeezed her belly.
She does not have her original clothes - except for her undershorts. The dress she is wearing in this photo is also a dress that my daughter wore as an infant.
Real Live Lucy
1965 Ideal Toy #FL20-E-H33
Lucy was a Christmas gift - probably when I was 2.5 or 3.5 years old. I remember opening the box. She was so beautiful. She had a pretty little white dress which was trimmed in pink, and there was a big, blue felt dog on the front of her dress. I remember when the felt dog started to peel off her dress. It actually sort of disintegrated. Anyway, the dress didn't last much longer. Lucy may have been my only doll to actually have an extra set of clothes. These are the pants and top that she is wearing in the photo (definitely a style out of the 1960s).
She is all vinyl, definitely not a cuddly doll, but I did love her so. Her head also bobbles, although, I do not remember the significance or the purpose of this feature.
As you can tell, she had the same barber that Annie did. There's something else I must tell you about Lucy. She underwent an identity crisis, and eventually changed her name from Lucy to Luke. Yes - my other dolls needed a big brother, so she became my boy doll.
I can also tell you that "Real Live Lucy" was a more popular doll than Nancy or Annie. I found Lucy on many internet searches - and for sale on eBay, etsy, and other online shops.
I saw that she sold for US $34.50 and higher, with the original dress. She was also on eBay in her original dress and box, with the plastic still wrapped around her hair. She was posted for a price of US $499.00.
1968 Ideal Toy Corp #BTT9-N-124
Poor little Thumbelina - that barber got a hold of her also. I think I got her for my 5th birthday. She has a pull string on her back. After pulling it and letting go, she squirms - well, she used to. I sure did love this little doll also. I let her keep her name and called her "Belina" for short. And - she is still wearing her original clothes. Although, I don't believe she had any other outfits.
I did find her on the internet. She is listed as "Vintage Sister Thumbelina Doll". I saw her on eBay at a starting bid of US $22.23. I also saw her listed for US $39.41 and $41.72. However, those dolls were fortunate to have never visited the same barber as my little Thumbelina. I wish I would have never cut her hair. WHAT was I thinking?
1969 Ideal Toy #GH-15-H-357
I'm not sure if I got Velvet for Christmas or for my birthday. I think I was in the second grade when I got her (1971/1972). My friend (Robin) and I had just heard about this doll. Both of us wanted both Velvet and Chrissy. Velvet was the blonde and Chrissy had the red hair. I remember my mother saying that I didn't need two dolls, so I needed to decide which one I wanted the most. Robin's mother had said the same thing. I don't remember how we decided who got which doll, but I got Velvet and she got Chrissy.
Both Velvet and Chrissy's hair length could be altered. Just press the button on her belly and pull the hair out of her head. To make it short again, just turn the knob on her back, and her hair slowly receded back into her head. Let me just say that Velvet was very lucky that her hair could be easily changed from long to short - that way - she did not have to visit that awful barber.
Velvet, in her photo here, is wearing her original dress. Poor thing - like the rest of my dolls, she never had any extra clothing either.
I did find Velvet (and Chrissy) dolls on eBay listed at a starting bid of US $19.99. She was also listed for $24.99 and $29.99.
Living Baby Tender Love
1970 Mattel Inc #140
Living Baby Tender Love is all soft-touch body. She has jointed limbs, so she is extremely flexible. She was one of the very first dolls that you could actually give her real water in her bottle, and then she would wet. Ohhh - it was very difficult convincing my parents to get this doll for me. But I finally got her when I was around 8 years old. My friend Robin was really jealous.
I named her Angel, and I really loved this doll. I played with her so much, that her left leg joint eventually broke. I patched her up with string and scotch tape. Well, that didn't hold for too long. My dad also tried fixing her leg by wiring it together, that held up a little longer. Still today, her leg easily falls off.
She no longer has her original dress. I really don't know what happened to all of their dresses. She does own one of my handmade crocheted outfits (pink and red). But, I just couldn't photograph her in that - so, she is also wearing a dress that belonged to my daughter.
I did find her on google searches. She was evidently popular. Mattel has an entire line of Living Baby Tender Love dolls. My doll, #140 is the only one with the jointed limbs. A few years after my wetting doll, Mattel released models that talked, kissed and hugged. Then, in 1973, Hasbro had to go one step further than Mattel, and they released Baby Alive - she could drink and eat - and go potty (#1 and #2). I never did get to see one of these dolls in action.
The 1970 Living Baby Tender Love #140 currently sells anywhere from US $54.99 to $125.00 on eBay and other sites.
Oh - by the way, I had given up my hair styling business, so Angel didn't have to suffer the humiliation.
1971 Ideal Toy #LB-12-307
I got Lazy Dazy when I was around 7 or 8 years old. It appears that Dazy may have gotten a trim before I quit the barber business.
Lazy Dazy was - well, how do I say it - she was just lazy. She just couldn't sit up and stay awake. Her body is separated into two sections. The lower half is a hard, cup-like piece that holds sand. It is slightly angled on the bottom. The upper part is basically soft, hollow and floppy. You turn Dazy upside-down and gently pat her bottom until all the sand fills up the hollow cavity. Then just sit her upright and watch. As the sand slowly empties back into the bottom part of her body, she leans to the side and eventually lies down on her side and closes her eyes.
It appears that my Lazy Dazy also has a lazy eye.
I found a few of these dolls on eBay, listed around an average of US $15.30.
What About You
Do you still have your childhood dolls?
Barbie and Friends
As I said in my introduction, I outgrew my baby dolls, and they were replaced with Barbies and other action figure dolls. I remember my first Barbie - well actually - she was the first and only Barbie I owned. I eventually got a Ken doll and a Skipper doll - so now my collection was complete. I still marvel at the number of Barbie dolls that girls today own.
I always thought my Barbie family was rich. They owned a dressing case, a few extra outfits, a camper and a POOL!!!
That camper has been through a lot. I was the first of my friends to own the camper, eventually, one or two of my other friends also got a camper. We would get together outside and pack all of our Barbies in the campers, and drive them through dirt, grass, and up & down hills. Sometimes, our brothers would join us with their GI-Joe dolls. That always ended in them wanting to start a fight between GI-Joe and Ken. Yes - we definitely played with our toys. We never thought once about keeping them safe in a box somewhere so we could make a profit off of them one day by selling them on eBay, etc.
I have looked on eBay at the campers - there are a few in decent condition, but most of them are well played with like mine. They have been posted anywhere from US $48.00 to $98,00.
And here is Barbie's 1973 Pool Set. And - Yes - I still have the box. I was the only one of my friends to own the pool. My friends and I had so much fun having "cookouts" and swimming parties. That was until the boys would crash our party with their GI-Joes.
Between my friends and I, we owned the pool, camper, car, kitchen set, the cardboard dream house, and the airplane (which was really like a carrying case that opened up into half a plane). I am sure I am forgetting a few things, but we thought we had it all.
I'v seen the Barbie Pool sell anywhere from US $15.00 to $35.00
Dawn dolls were small 6.5 inch plastic dolls produced by Topper between 1970 and 1973. Apparently, Dawn doll sales surpassed Barbie sales for a brief period of time. However, these cute little dolls were discontinued when Topper went out of business in 1973.
These are the three I own. I pretended they were Barbie's children. I still have the plastic stands to keep them upright. My little Dawn dolls had several different outfits and accessories, little hangers, the model busts to keep their clothes on, etc.
Dawn Dolls and accessories can be found on eBay in a large range of prices (from US $.99 to $135.00). I just had to laugh when I was looking at what eBay had to offer - someone was selling 12 pairs of Dawn doll underwear for $5.50. That is just a little too weird for me!
From the Johnny West Series
In 1965, Marx Toys came out with a line of action figures called the "Johnny West Series", in effort to compete with Hasbro's GI-Joe series. Josie West was introduced in 1967, although, I did not own one until the early 1970s. She was the daughter of Johnny West. My brothers had Johnny West, Thunderbolt (Johnny's horse) and Chief Cherokee, amongst other accessories. Josie quickly became friends with my Barbie family, even though she was quite different.
Hasbro eventually expanded their line with "The Best of the West" collection. My brothers collected these. They had Fort Apache - of course, I also enjoyed playing with the fort and the new action figures.
So - what do you think of my collection? I know they are old and beat-up, but I don't know if I will ever part with them. They hold so many memories of an innocent and carefree childhood from so long ago.
I would love to hear about your favorite dolls, if you owned any of the same dolls I did, if you still have your dolls, or if you just want to say hello!
Doll Reference Website
- American Character Dolls 1919-1968
This is a great doll reference website. You can find a host of different vintage dolls and lots of information including: Doll Auctions | Doll Books | Dolls For Sale | Forum | Doll Glossary | Doll Marks | Doll Values