A plethora of these popular dolls were sold to consumers from the 1920s through the 1960s, and they turn up for sale frequently today so they’re not considered to be uncommon. What is uncommon is to find them in excellent condition, especially early composition examples. Composition dolls from that era have a tendency to craze, especially when they’re not stored at proper temperatures, and the surface layer of their “skin” will eventually crack and peel away. This damage is very detrimental to the value, especially when it occurs on the face.
Later plastic versions can oftentimes be found in better condition, but they’re not quite as valuable unless they’re wearing a hard to find outfit like a uniform advertising another brand such as Pepsi, Coca-Cola, or Phillips 66. If the clothing is in excellent condition, and oftentimes it’s not, that’s a bonus, too. Missing components such as belts, bow ties, hats or hat bands all bring down the value of a Buddy Lee doll.
The moral of this story is that condition severely impacts the value of Buddy Lee dolls and their clothing, so if yours is in less than perfect condition, you most definitely have to take that into consideration. You also need to research how much your particular version of the doll is worth based on his clothing.
For instance, when comparing two composition dolls in excellent condition, one wearing a 1930s football uniform might be worth several thousand dollars to the right collector. On the other hand, one wearing a complete cowboy outfit from the 1940s might bring several hundred in the right market. There can be a very wide delta in value depending on which clothing the doll is wearing.
The newer hard plastic Buddy Lee dolls made from the 1950s through production end can be found more affordably priced, especially through online auctions. They usually bring between $50-150 depending on the clothing and condition.
About the Examples Shown Above
This lot of two Buddy Lee dolls sold together for one price. Both have Lee pants tags and the Texaco doll has a Lee hat patch. Their bodies are hard plastic showing little wear. Overall condition is excellent for each 14” doll. The two sold for $480 (not including buyer’s premium) at Morphy Auctions in March of 2013.