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Shirley Temple Doll from Havana, Cuba circa 1934/1935

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Shirley Temple Dolls22 of 35my auction findEarly Shirley Temple doll?
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    Posted 7 years ago

    (3 items)

    Hello All. I am helping a friend with her mother’s Shirley Temple doll. I have conducted quite a lot of research but need some help determining the origin of this doll.

    This doll has brunette hair and darker skin tone than the traditional Shirley Temple dolls, so… “Was this doll fashioned specifically for the Cuban market?” Or, “Could this be one of the early prototypes?”

    Any help steering me in the right direction would be most appreciated.

    Many thanks!!!


    History of the doll according to Mrs. Cary:

    I was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. Like so many people of the Great Depression Era, my mom was an enthusiastic fan of Shirley Temple. She told the story over-and-over of how my dad bought her a Shirley Temple doll before I was born, in 1934 or 1935. The owner of The Bon Marchè department store was a friend of my dad. When news came that the store would receive six dolls to sell, he immediately let my dad know. Dad bought the first doll and brought her home. My mom was so proud of the doll that she was given a special place to sit on display for the years to come.

    Shirley Temple was my mom’s most prized valuable so she never let me play with her. It is only now that my mom is no longer with us that the Shirley Temple doll has moved to the U.S. The doll has not had any touch-ups or restoration. All is original.

    A Working Description:

    • Original Packaging: Not available
    • Markings: “Shirley Temple / COP Ideal N.& T.Co.” imprinted on the nape of the neck and “Shirley Temple” imprinted across the shoulder blades. This doll does have a visibly imprinted number either on the back or neck.
    • Height: 18-inches
    • Composition: No cracks, chips, or crazing. All fingers and toes accounted for. The condition looks brand new.
    • Facial Features: Excellent condition
    o Clear, hazel glass-like sleep eyes and real upper eyelashes
    o Painted eyebrows
    o Dimples on both cheeks
    o Open, smiling mouth with six teeth showing and painted lips
    o Two dimples
    o Painted
    • Wig: Original *brunette* mohair in ringlet curls with the original hair pins in excellent condition.
    • Dress: Her dress is fashioned like the “Baby-Take-A-Bow” dress and is pleated, powder pink batiste with light blue bows. The condition is excellent – no defects, stains, or discoloration.
    o Doll did not come with a Shirley Temple button/pin
    o Original bows on collar and right hem-line.
    o Slip and undergarments appear to be original.
    o Ivory cotton knit socks and black patent leather shoes are original.

    Unsolved Mystery

    Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.

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    1. Manikin Manikin, 7 years ago
      Hi your doll was made in USA by Ideal toy and Novelty Co. She is marked with the COP mark which dates her as the first Shirley Temple Ideal Put on market
      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 on Shirley Temple their head and back.
      Your doll is wonderful and is a sought after one . It was targeted to USA market but could have been sent to Cuba as a gift it was not made as a Cuban Doll .
      Her wig has been replaced as she would have had a blond mohair wig and her dress looks correct but she has had some work done to her , I would get correct wig and also I need a close up of face to see if she has had restoration done , her original slip had underwear attached . The slip looks like the right lace but I would need to see it better .She has replaced shoes also . She is worth putting to original state with correct wig . And from what I see of her body that there is no crazing of paint I am thinking she was restored . Could you post a closer photo of face please .
      Hope this helped you . And welcome to CW.
    2. Manikin Manikin, 7 years ago
      I will await a close up of face as that is important and will tell if she has been restored as I believe she was , That is not a bad thing if they did it well as these dolls often cracked or had crazing . They did not use synthentic wigs in in 1930's nor did they use human hair ever on her . The composition one's all had mohair and next came Vinyl ones with rooted hair .
    3. CBCubanDolls, 7 years ago
      There seems to be a limit of 4 photos on this Show & Tell outline, but I can share additional, high-res photos if you will email a request to
    4. CBCubanDolls, 7 years ago
      .... The earliest prototype was made from composition with three different wig options—red, blond, and **brunette.** ...
    5. Manikin Manikin, 7 years ago
      Those were prototypes ,yours is not . The prototype was not marked at all . Some had a piece of paper inside head with a C on it . Yours was one that was first marketed , She was never a brunette that was ruled out on prototype. They only uses mohair . Your doll has a replaced wig . This is common to find on them as the mohair on some got very thin . I did hair for museum on dolls and have done hair on antique Shirley at least 500 times . I will email you or go to my profile page by clicking on my name and read about me page it has my email also .

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