Shirley Temple Dolls: An Introduction:
These doll has made it so far into our popular culture that even people who could not identify any other vintage mid-20th century doll can easily identify a Shirley Temple doll--and, also tell you that it can be worth lots of money. Shirley Temple dolls have been made in many variations, but the most popular and lasting version has been as a composition doll, first made when Shirley Temple was a star.
Materials Used To Make Shirley Temple Dolls:
The first Shirley Temple dolls were made in Composition by Ideal Toy Corporation starting in the mid 1930s through the 1940s. The doll has also been made in vinyl versions by Ideal and then in several porcelain collectible versions in the 1990s. Shirley Temple has also been a paper doll many, many times.
Years of Production of Shirley Temple Dolls:
The dolls have been produced from the 1930s through today, with several gaps in production in the 1960s and 1970s.
Sizes of Shirley Temple Dolls:
You can find Shirley dolls as small as 11 inches in composition and 12 inches in vinyl, and as large as 27 inches in composition and 36 inches in vinyl. Many sizes in between have also been made.
Companies That Have Produced Shirley Temple Dolls:
The best known company that has produced Shirley Temple dolls has been the Ideal Toy Corporation. Ideal produced the dolls from the 1930s until the company went out of business in the early 1970s. Danbury Mint has created most of the collectible porcelain versions of the doll.
Shirley Temple Dolls and the Cult of Celebrity:
The twentieth century and its multimedia created the current culture and cult of celebrity, in which we still live today. Shirley Temple is an early example of this cult--made world famous by her movies, she was a merchandising dream. Considering that TV wasn't available to promote mass market dolls when the doll was released, it was phenomenal how many of these dolls were sold.
More About Shirley Temple Dolls: Market and Pricing:
Although Shirley Temple dolls are widely available and were mass produced, the doll is very popular with collectors and therefore mint and complete 1930s composition Shirley Temple dolls, as well as dolls in rarer outfits can sell for many hundreds of dollars. Very, very mint dolls in their original boxes can easily top $1,000, as can rarer varieties like the Baby Shirley dolls. The 1957 vinyl Shirley Temple dolls sell for much more than the later early 1970s Shirley dolls. The 1982 re-release Shirley Temple vinyl dolls generally sell for less than $50, even mint in box.