Buddy Lee Doll


One of the biggest sort after pieces from Lee nowadays isn't even a garment, it the Buddy Lee Doll. Released in 1922 for promotional reasons, these dolls can go for as much as $2000 each.

Between 1922 -1948 the 12 1/2" dolls were made from a hard moulding composition and later raised to 13" and made from hard plastic in 1949-1960.


Dressed in denim bib-overalls and other Lee garments, the Buddy Lee doll became a mascot for the H.D. Lee Company and was even used in their television advertisements.

They had lightly painted hair, painted side glancing eyes, painted upper eyelashes, painted closed mouth, jointed only at the shoulders, black painted boots and was dressed in original Lee clothes depicting various occupations.


A hole in the left foot it possible for the doll to stand up on a shelf to show off the garments in-store, for all to see.

Through their new mascot, Lee rose to one of the biggest denim brands. Sales of the dolls became the second biggest-selling doll of its time in the United States, due to the company encouraging stores to retail them off as the displays were taken down.


In 1962 the dolls became not profitable and were then discontinued, some female versions called "Betty Lee" do pop up from time to time, but there was no official release by Lee. The female dolls were called "Carnival dolls", as many said they were actually sold as prizes at the local or travelling Carnivals.

1998 saw the return of the Buddy Lee dolls by the advertisement agency Fallon McElligott. This was aimed to promote 17 - 22-year-olds to but the "Can't Bust Em" Lee dungarees line.