Shirley Temple Doll Markings

Shirley Temple Doll Markings

Genuine Shirley Temple doll pin

One of the most frustrating things about collecting Shirley Temple dolls is the number of Shirley look-a-likes that there time I was so excited to be getting a 20" Shirley in the mail, she was a good price and seemed to be in good condition, however, when she arrived in the mail, it was readily obvious to me that she was not a Shirley Temple doll (I must give credit to the man who sold her to me however, as he did refund my money and allowed me to return the doll)...many of us "Shirley collectors" say that once you see a Shirley Temple doll, you always know the difference between the real Shirley dolls and the look-a-likes, however, it is very easy to end up making the mistake. Now for the beginning Shirley Temple collectors, if you want a Shirley Temple composition doll, I would suggest that you always get your first one with the markings (SHIRLEY TEMPLE printed on the head AND the back) on it (which will be explained a little later), that way you will be sure not to make the mistake.

History of the Shirley Temple Doll Markings

The first Shirley Temple dolls were marketed in fall of 1934, at that time, "Stand Up and Cheer" had just come out, and Shirley was just beginning to gain popularity. Because Ideal (the ONLY company licensed to sell the Shirley Temple doll) did not know how successful the dolls would be, the first dolls, the "prototype" doll, were not marked Shirley Temple, and were only marked on the inside of the head "(C) 1934 Ideal Novelty and Toy Co."(also might be marked just Ideal on the head), by my own observation, these dolls had chubbier cheeks than the Shirleys made later in production, probably because Shirley was so young, and chubby herself. These dolls are slightly more valuable that the later Shirley dolls. CLICK HERE to see a prototype Shirley Temple prototype doll.

Once Christmas of 1934 came, and Ideal saw how successful the Shirley doll would be and so they got a patent on the Shirley Temple doll. For the first year of production, the name SHIRLEY TEMPLE was stamped on the doll along with a COP, which stood for Copyright Pending. Once Ideal got the copyright, the dolls said SHIRLEY TEMPLE on their head and back. The markings came as follows:

    1.SHIRLEY TEMPLE (in the shape of a half circle)
    2.SHIRLEY TEMPLE (in the shape of a half circle) IDEAL N.&T.Co. (inside the half circle, usually written IDEAL, straight across, on one line, and N.&T.Co. on the next), this mark also came with COP (C with the O and P inside it), to stand for Copyright Pending
    3.Shirley Temple
    SHIRLEY TEMPLE (just as written)
    4.Shirley Temple with IDEAL in a diamond below it, I have also seen just the Ideal in the diamond on the back of some Shirley dolls.

Please note that many of Ideal dolls used the Shirley Temple body, and therefore just because your compo doll is marked SHIRLEY TEMPLE on her back does not mean that she is a Shirley Temple doll. Two Ideal dolls actually used the Shirley face mold as well, these were the compo Ideal Snow White doll, and the "Marama" doll, a cute doll with a brown complexion, long dark yarn hair, and painted eyes dressed in a hula skirt and leais. These two dolls are also collected by some Shirley collectors because they were made with the Shirley mold and so are slightly more valuable than they would have been had they not been made with the Shirley mold.

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