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Our next Toy and Model railway sale will take place on 17th and 18th February, closing date for that sale is 2nd February. Specialist Kayleigh Davies talks about one of her favourite collecting areas, Sindy Dolls.


Sindy – the doll you love to dress!


Sindy was launched by Pedigree in 1963, with the slogan ‘the doll you love to dress.’ This remains true, even 60 years on, as collectors keenly buy Sindy, her friends and their many clothes and accessories.


The British doll industry was going strong in the 1950s, with companies such as Palitoy, Rosebud and Roddy all becoming prominent. However, these dolls tended to be babies, or dressed in the fashions of children’s mothers at this time. The 1960s saw the dawn of a new youth culture, with young people wanting to enjoy and influence fashions themselves and Pedigree saw a gap in the market for a new kind of doll.


Mattel had launched Barbie in the USA in 1959, but Pedigree rejected the licence for the doll in the UK as they believed she would not be popular with British parents. They instead licensed Ideal’s fresher faced Tammy doll, and with a name change to Sindy and a brand new wardrobe by trendy young designers Foale and Tuffin she hit the market in September 1963 with a television advert in a first for a British toy.


Pedigree produced over 40,000 Sindy dolls by the end of the year, and the success would continue. She became the country’s best-selling doll and would go on to win ‘Girls Toy of the Year’ twice within the decade.


Sindy received a boyfriend, Paul, in 1965, and a little sister, Patch, in 1966. The following years would bring Sindy new friends, including Vicki, the glamorous French Mitzi and a little later June, while Patch’s new pals were Poppet and her American friend Betsy. When Pedigree’s parent company acquired the company Marx in the 1970s they had access to the American market and Sindy was launched there in 1978, along with her new friend Gayle.


Sindy also received many new outfits each year in current fashions, and assorted ‘Scenesetters’ which would include cars, scooters, horses and all the furniture and fittings you would need for her house.


The 1980s saw a general decline in the British toy industry, and by 1986 the rights to the doll were sold to American company Hasbro. With a completely new look Sindy enjoyed some success in the 1990s but ultimately could not compete with Barbie. She has been relaunched a number of times since, most recently by Kid Kreations in 2021, with a return to her traditional girl next door look and sweet side glancing eyes.


Today at auction Sindy dolls are always popular with buyers. Different variations of Sindy can be more collectable, with the 1967 doll produced in Hong Kong being particularly popular – known affectionately as Marilyn Sindy by collectors due to her platinum blonde hair and red lips. The last version of the Patch doll to be produced, known as Canterbury Patch, is also very desirable, due to her sweet hand painted face. Sindy’s friends are less commonly seen and are always in demand, often fetching hundreds of pounds. Even more so than the dolls, complete outfits are sought after by buyers - after all, Sindy is the doll you love to dress. The cheaper Mam’selle range of clothes made for Sindy, Paul and Patch can command particularly high prices.


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Posted on 6 January 2022 in: Auction life

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