I was checking out Lisa’s photos of her new “old” Josefina this morning and remembered that long ago I had put up some photos and identifying differences between two pre-Mattel vs. Mattel versions of Samantha and Josefina on a site that I had before I started Doll Diaries. Once I looked at the information again, I decided it was time I share it again in case any of you were interested or needed help identifying an older American Girl doll.

Mattel vs Pre-Mattel (Pleasant Company) version of American Girl Samantha

Pre-Mattel and Mattel Samantha dolls retired

These photos were taken by a friend of mine in 2006 of her newer Mattel version of Samantha (on the left) and her Pleasant Company Samantha (on the right). Here are some of the differences she has noted:

  • EYES – The PM doll (on the right) has lighter brown eyes and they are a slightly different shade
  • EYELASHES – The PM doll has lighter, softer lashes
  • EYEBROWS – The PM doll has lighter eyebrows
  • SKINTONE – The PM Samantha has a different skintone, too

Mattel Samantha Pleasant Company Samantha

And a closer photo for you to note the differences too.

Mattel vs Pre-Mattel (Pleasant Company) American Girl Josefina

Mattel vs Pre Mattel American Girl Josefina

She also has a Mattel Josefina and a Pre-Mattel Josefina. Here are some of the differences she has noted in these two dolls:

  • EYES – The PM doll (on the right) has lighter brown eyes
  • EYELASHES – The PM doll has much lighter, softer lashes
  • EYEBROWS – The PM doll has darker eyebrows
  • SKINTONE – The dolls’ skintone varies a bit
  • HAIR – The PM Josefina has much thicker hair
  • DRESS COLOR – The dresses are slightly different in color – probably due to age
  • MOCCASINS – The PM ones have leather like ties where as the Mattel version have more of a shoestring type tie
  • EARRINGS – These are also a bit different

Josefina before Mattel and Mattel versions

What do you think? Do you like the “original” version of the dolls or the Mattel version better?

More tidbits:

  • American Girl dolls made before 1991 had white cloth bodies where as the newer dolls have skintone colored cloth bodies and only Kirsten, Samantha and Molly were made with the white bodies.
  • The original dolls (first made in 1986) had tags that said Made in Germany and were made by Goetz.
  • Mattel bought the Pleasant Company in 1998.
  • Even though Mattel purchased the company in 1998, dolls continued to have the Pleasant Company stamp on the back of their necks for years to come.

If anyone has a Pre-Mattel and Mattel version of the same doll and would like to do a side by side comparison, we’d love to share it!