The Tiny Tears doll was very popular and in the 1950s made by American Character Doll Company in the US and in the UK by Palitoy (one of Britain's largest doll manufacturers) from 1965. This revolutionary doll won (three times!) the 'Toy of the Year' award. But what was the difference between this particular doll and thousands of other dolls on the market? Besides crying and shedding 'real' tears and wetting her nappy, the limbs were secured with rotational joints, causing her to fall naturally into a floppy, babylike position when she was held.

The early dolls were made with rubber bodies, the later ones were all made from vinyl. The rubber dolls are more desirable and collectible but rubber will eventually crack and break down. If you have a rubber doll, don't expose it to sunlight and keep it covered up as much as possible.

Tiny Tears doll

If children weren't carefully playing with their dolls, the heads of these dolls would actually crack if dropped or abused.

A popular feature, which was introduced in 1959, was her rock-a-bye eyes. Most 'sleep eye' dolls immediately close their eyes as soon as they are laid down, but Tiny Tears with the rock-a-bye eyes, when laid down, would keep her eyes open. When she was gently moved back and forth as if to rock to sleep, she would slowly close her eyes.

Early dolls

The first Tiny Tears doll was made in 1965 and was 16" high. She had fine pale blonde hair and blue eyes. On the back of her neck you can find it marked 'Made in England 16D'. She had delicate features, a small, pursed mouth, wore a turquoise or pink gingham romper and came with a bib, bottle and a dummy. This doll became so popular that a year later Palitoy produced Teeny Tiny Tears, with 12" a much smaller version.

Shortly after, Palitoy became part of the American company, General Mills Inc., who decided to keep the Palitoy name. Sometimes today collectors come across a baby doll similar to Tiny Tears but with a smiling face. This is Baby Flopsy, issued around the same time and advertised as being able to wear Teeny Tiny Tears outfits.

Updated: 24 October 2019

Tiny Tears forum

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1 comment
Sarah - December 13, 2014
Can any one help me I am trying to find the 1959 tiny rears doll with blond short hair and a blue and white dress, my mum had one when she was younger she left it on the bus one day and haven't seen it since and I would love to surprise her with the doll she lost all them years back.