Pedigree Toys, also referred to as Pedigree Dolls and Toys, is a toy manufacturer based in Exeter, England.
From their inception, Pedigree was instrumental in making and marketing new and exciting toys for children. Pedigree is perhaps best known for launching the pre-teen orientated Sindy Doll in 1963, a fashion doll which proved immensely popular in the United Kingdom and accounted for around 80% of the company's revenue.
They shifted their focus from generic toy production to mainly dolls in the 1930s. The company saw continued growth in products and revenue during the 1940s and 1950s.
Following the 1960s, the company saw the influence and eventual takeover of several other companies, becoming a subsidiary initially of Lines Bros, then Dunbee-Compex-Marx. Sindy was introduced to the American market in 1978, but following lacklustre sales it was removed from the US market two years later as the Dunbee-Compex-Marx company collapsed in 1980.
Pedigree was subsequently shifted to a holding company named Tamwade. After continual losses in profit, rumours spread that Hasbro would be taking over the company, although in actuality this turned out to be only a half-truth. Hasbro purchased rights to the Sindy Doll in 1986, returning the rights to Pedigree two years later when their predicted sales boom did not eventuate, but instead sales of the doll actively declined. Sindy was eventually licenced to Vivid Imaginations, who re-launched it in 1999.
Another successful product from Pedigree Toys was the Tommy Gun action figure, complete with realistic military uniforms, the authenticity of which is rumoured to stem from Pedigree's contact with the British Ministry Of Defence.
The Tommy Gun doll was produced from 1966-1968 and served as direct competition to the Action Man figurine manufactured by Palitoy, offering a similar series of accessories as its rival. Yet it's overall construction was deemed far superior by some, right down to small details over the intricacy in the details of the clothing, such as Tommy Gun dolls shoes having real laces. Pedigree went on to use the same body moulds used for Tommy Gun to fashion collectible dolls based on the characters from the television show Captain Scarlett and the Mysterons.
Value and Popularity with Collectors
Vintage Pedigree dolls are quite popular with collectors, particularly if in mint condition or in original packaging. This includes more generic items from Pedigree's back catalogue, as well as the more instantly recognizable Sindy and Tommy Gun dolls.
Tommy Gun figures in particular are now extremely rare and highly collectable, as are the subsequent Captain Scarlett figurines, and Sindy dolls, in particular the rarer finds, can also fetch a relatively high price. Many websites list methods of repairing the Sindy doll, including hair repair and cosmetic alterations such as clothing repair. A particularly popular Sindy doll is the 'Trendy Doll' from 1971-1974, regarded as a desirable item due to its vivid colours and body shape.
Notable Auction Sales
Recently a 1968 Sindy doll entitled "Miss Beautiful" reached over £400 in its original box. Rarer Sindy dolls, such as her American friend Gayle and her French friend Mitzi, can fetch up to £500. Tommy Gun figurines have also fetched several hundred pounds at auction.
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