Robertson's Golly

Robertson is a Scottish company known worldwide for their range of high quality marmalades and jams.   According to Wikipedia, John Robinson, the founder's son, was touring the United Stated of America, just before the first World War.   While on a visit to the backwoods, he noticed many children playing with black rag dolls, made made from their mothers' discarded black skirts, with with white eyes made from scraps of old white blouses.  The children referred to their dollies as "Gollys".

John Robinson thought the Golly would make an ideal trade mark for the company, and Golly was introduced as a company mascot in 1910.   By the 1920's, he was popularised as a range of high quality enamelled brooches, depicting the Golly engaged in a variety of sporting activities, including Golf and Cricket; Footballers were produced in a range of team colours. Golly later went on to be reproduced as dolls, china ornaments, and even as Golly games for children.  

Robertson's officially "retired" Golly in 2002.   To quote from Wikipedia :   Virginia C "Ginny" Knox, then brand director at Robertson's commented:"We are retiring Golly because we found families with kids no longer necessarily knew about him. We are not bowing to political correctness, but like with any great brand we have to move with the times".   However, Golly's popularity with adult collectors continues even today, and the enamelled brooches are still highly sought after.

Golly is included here because, whatever the views of the collector, he was part of the history of the House of Nisbet.   We ask only that you view him as a soft toy, who though he may have had commercial connections, did not have any political motives.   He was a product of a more innocent age, and has been much loved by children everywhere for over 90 years.

The original Robertson's Golly was introduced as Catalogue number 5502, in 1979, and stood 19 inches tall.   At that time, he sold for £6.75   We believe the Robertson's Golly was last produced up until 1981, or possibly 1983.   

In 1984, the Nisbet Golly was introduced, and was remarkably similar to the Robertson's version - He even shared the same catalogue number (5022).   On his introduction, he sold for £12.95

In 1988, Golly shrunk from 19 inches to 18 inches tall.

In 1989, the small Nisbet Golly, 11 inches tall, came into production, and was priced at £9.95.   Our records show that both Gollies continued in production until 1990

(In that year, when Dakin assumed ownership of the House of Nisbet, the Nisbet (19") Golly was given a new number - 85-0220, while the small 11" Nisbet Golly was re-numbered as 85-0230.   Neither Golly appeared in catalogues after 1990, though Diane Jones International did continue making an almost identical (small) Golly)


31st October 2015

New updates added - We have added a new page on the Isle of Wight dolls, which were produced for the Liliput doll Museum, on the Isle of Wight.   These dolls have mystified us for some time, but an opportunity to do some research through the archives, an email from Graham Munday, (owner of the Lilliput Doll Museum), and an email chat with author and Shallowpool Dolls expert sue Brewer, have allowed a partial reconstruction of their fascinating story.   There are still some gaps in our knowledge, so if you can fill in any of the missing details for us, please do get in touch!

19th September 2015

New updates added - Our thanks to correspondent David H, who has sent us two interesting pictures - The first is of a very rare Nisbet First Doll.   This is the doll that started Peggy Nisbet's dollmaking career, and you can read all about her on this page : dolls/special-collectors-sets-limited-and-signature-editions/SCE-P1953 Replica Edition of the First Nisbet Doll.  David's picture of his original first Nisbet is shown below the article on the replica doll, and below that, is shown a unique 18" porcelain doll that also shows the Queen in Coronation robes, and was used in displays and exhibitions.   This doll is also shown in the book, "The Peggy Nisbet Story".  Other updates added today are the BOAC and BEA dolls, Madam Tussaud Dolls, Wax Dolls, and a Porcelain statuette issued as a tribute to Peter Bull, which is shown under Dolls/Porcelain Dolls/Irish Dresden - Tribute to the Late Peter Bull

12th September 2015

New updates added - Apologies to all our visitors for the long delay in adding some updates and new information - we hope that the items listed below will be of interest!   Many kind thanks to numerous correspondents, for their kind offers of pictues and other information, to fill in the gaps in various galleries :  To Barbara T, for her stunning pictures of H/214 - Queen Elizabeth I, wearing a rubber crown.   Pictures appear in Historical Gallery 1, and in "Know your Nisbets/Headgear/Crowns".   Frank T sent two excellent pictures of Vera Evelyn Samuel, and you can see the pictures and read all about her here - "Porcelain Dolls/Doulton Nisbet".   Penny D has sent in some pictures of her magnificent early P/618 - Robbie Burns - See him in Portrait Dolls Gallery 1.   We have used another of Keith P's pictures in a new gallery just added - "Know your Nisbet/Body shape and pose".   Finally, we have added a new page on Walt Disney dolls, which may come as something of a surprise to many collectors, as the dolls are not typically Nisbet in appearance!


3rd January 2015


Exciting New updates added for 2015 - Correspondent Michael A contacted us last year to ask about his mother's "Beatles" Nisbet dolls - Collectors of long standing may have heard of this almost legendary set of dolls - Thanks to Michael, you can now learn all about them here : /dolls/the-dolls-that-never-were/the-beatles/   

A recent contact from author Ian Price, who writes for the "Fashion Dolls Quarterly" magazine, (, enquired about Nisbet's Christmas themed dolls - We were delighted to assist his researches in compiling this article on Peggy Nisbet's "Legends of Christmas" dolls.   Ian has very kindly allowed us to make a copy of this article available for download - Please go to the Downloads/Miscellaneous/ page, and click on the link to "Styling Santa", by Ian Price, to see the article.



Thank you for stopping by to browse, or for making contact with us - We hope the website will prove to be of use and interest to you!