Here’s How You Can Start Your Own Doll Collection

Doll Collection

For some people, their doll collection starts when an older person gives them their first doll as a present. For example, a mom gives her toddler a doll and she loves it so much that she wants another… and another…and another. Pretty soon, a little girl has a room full of dolls, or at least several shelves worth, right?

What are some tips for starting a doll collection

Favorite Type of Doll

 For starters, consider collecting one type of doll. You might want to start with the most popular gal: Barbie. You can decide to start buying Barbies that are on the shelves of stores like Wal-Mart right now, in 2019, and grow your collection over the years to come. Or you can decide to look for “vintage” Barbie dolls from yesteryear. You’ll want to find ones in good shape for a reasonable price– and ones you like to look at! On Gigi’s Dolls website, we have several vintage dolls to choose from, by the way.

Oftentimes, a collection starts with one doll “line,” like“all Barbie.” But then you see a different doll you like, and your collection expands. This is normal and good. Maybe you collect the entire line of Skippers. Or you branch out to Asian/Anime dolls. A lot of people collect American Girl dolls. And, if you feel like it, mix your doll collection with other collections you can proudly display in a room in your home– you can have a shelf full of dolls, a shelf full of My Little Pony, a shelf full of StarWars, etc.

Start Small and Slow

When you first start, don’t feel like you need to buy everything. Start small and slow. Buy things you enjoy looking at, such as dolls that, to borrow a Marie Kondo line, “spark joy.” Once you start accumulating a collection, take time now and then to inventory it and truly know what you have on hand. That way you won’t buy the same thing twice!


It’s a good idea to have a “focus” for your collection. What do you want to “specialize” in? Maybe it’s “vintage paper dolls” or “girls in green dresses.” Find your focus and then run with it.

Finally, when starting a collection, do your best to display it with care. Make sure your dolls and other treasures are kept safe from harm(by pets and little kids, mostly), as well as dusted occasionally, and cared for. Rather than just throwing things into a box never to be seen again, it’s better to proudly display your collection(s). Put some pride into it, and pretty soon you’ll want to show your doll collection off to visitors who will “ooh and aah” over it– nice!

Can You Believe Barbie Has Turned 60 Years Old?

Barbie's 60 Birthday

We always like to think of our societal icons in their prime. Take, for instance, Madonna. Would you rather think of her the way she looked in the 1980s or present day? If you’re like most people, you think of 80s Madonna, just like you have a specific picture in your mind for people like Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and Jackie Kennedy. Now think about the iconic doll Barbie. What comes to mind? Chances are you remember the first version of her you ever saw, most likely when you were little. For some of you, you might remember Barbie from 60 years ago! Did you know this month she turns 60? And even now, in 2019, she still looks young; she still looks good!

Where did the time go? How is it possible that our beloved Barbie is 60-years-old? Well, doll-wise, she’s always younger than that. We don’t see a doll with her name that looks 60, and that’s fine, right? Barbie looks good in all of her incarnations. She may measure less than a foot tall, but her overall impact on the world is truly larger than life!

In the toy world, most toys come and go. Very few are mainstays of toy stores for decades. Barbie is one of the toy world’s mainstays. In fact, she has dominated pop culture for six decades now– she’s officially iconic. In the world of female dolls, just try and name another one more popular or more beloved than Barbie.

Back in 1959, Barbie made her debut at the American Toy Fair in New York City. The first Barbie was dressed in a zebra swimsuit and wore stiletto heels. Created by Ruth Handler, who named the doll after her daughter,Barbie helped moms show young girls how to dress, how to be feminine, and how to be successful with boys. At least, that’s what her role was back then… today it’s a bit different as society has changed. Nowadays, Barbie dolls help young girls imagine careers their own moms and grandmas never would have even considered. And that’s a good thing.

Today’s Barbie dolls are more diverse than ever– with different skin and hair colors, as well as different body types and careers.This way, there’s a Barbie for every young girl to relate to in a “this doll is just like me (or who I’d like to be)” way.

One thing hasn’t changed: Barbie can be whatever a young girl wants her to be. Because of that, she’ll continue to connect with all sorts of people for the next 60 years and beyond! Congrats Barbie, on turning 60.

If you’re looking for vintage Barbies and vintage Barbie accessories, Gigi’s Dolls can help.

Which Vintage Barbie Dolls Fetch the Highest Market Prices?

Vintage Harley Davidson Barbie

Barbie dolls can be worth a lot of money if you have certain ones. Take, for instance, the original Barbie from 1959. The first Barbie wore a black and white swimsuit, had a side ward glance with her eyes, and had her hair in a ponytail. If you have her in her original box, and the whole package is in in mint condition, expect to fetch up to $10,000 for it! Not bad, considering you would have paid about $3 for her back in ‘59!

Valuable Vintage Barbie Dolls

Other highly prized vintage Barbie dolls include the first two black Barbies from 1967 and 1968. In 1967, a black Barbie, aka Black Francie, made her debut. Essentially, she looked just like a white version of Barbie with darker colored skin– she had the same facial features as a white woman. Black Francie today could fetch between $500 and $2,500. Meanwhile, in1968, Black Christie debuted, and this time around a new mold was created to give her a more appropriate black look (with appropriate facial features). Black Christie had a string you could pull and she would then talk! If you have a Black Christie still in the box (never removed) you could get upwards of $600for her today.

1968 saw the release of “Barbie Loves The Improvers.”Available as a blonde or redhead, this doll was part of an Inland Steel gift set promotion, and only a handful were ever made. Inland Steel made steel drum containers, and their Barbie wore a unique outfit that looked like something you’d catch Lady Gaga wearing today! If you have one of these dolls, you might make $10,000 or more selling it on eBay because it’s rare and unusual.

Finally, a more recent Barbie, 2008’s AKA Centennial Barbie, is worth about $500 today because it, too, like “Barbie Loves The Improvers,”was/is rare. AKA Centennial Barbie was created to pay homage to the AKA sorority centennial. AKA– Alpha Kappa Alpha– was the first sorority for black women and it celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2008.

Gigi’s Dolls has a section on our website for vintage Barbies; currently, we have a brunette Midge doll going for $225. Check her out here.

Finding Clothing for the Modern Barbie Doll

Think back to the beginning of 2016. Do you remember what happened that shook up the Barbie world? Back in January 2016, Mattel, the company that makes Barbie dolls, decided to release dolls in what could best be described as “more realistic” body types. So, instead of the one quite thin version, Barbie would be available in new and interesting body shapes– tall, curvy and petite, for example.Meanwhile, Mattel mixed things up with a dizzying array of eye colors, skin tones and hair colors. After all that, though, one thing Barbie didn’t get was a new and properly expanded wardrobe.

Finding the Right Barbie Clothing

Learn what you can do to find clothing options for the modern Barbie doll.

Sure, Mattel included two complete outfits with each new Barbie, but those clothes weren’t/aren’t very shareable with “other versions”since their body types are different– apart from sharing a few of the tops, most of the clothing outfits are not interchangeable, and initially Mattel decided not to produce a whole bunch of doll clothes for the different body shapes. Seems like kind of a dumb move on their part, doesn’t it?

Anyway, with the new body types available, doll collectors were eager to customize their looks with new clothing, such that people decided to make clothes on their own– everyone from the stay-at-home mom who likes to sew and knit to professional crafters started creating outfits for modern Barbie.

Many doll owners have been looking online interesting clothing for their Barbie dolls, whatever their body shape… and at Gigi’s Dolls, we have Barbie clothing. Take, for instance, the cute “Country Bound”outfit that includes a white blouse and pink coat– available here.

Then, there’s vintage Barbie wear available here. If you’ve been looking for the elegant Barbie wedding day costume, or her short silver dress, career gal costume or the pink jump into lace costume, be sure and look over all the vintage Barbie clothing Gigi’s Dolls currently offers for sale online. Of course, you could make your own, but not everyone’s handy with a thread and needle, so therefore it makes sense to buy already made pieces from Gigi’s.


The Continued Legacy of Steiff Bears

Steiff BearsIf you see the name Steiff associated with toys, and, in particular, stuffed bears, you should know about Margarete Steiff. Despite having polio and being confined to a wheelchair, she founded the company that bears her family name… and it has become the world’s premier manufacturer of high-end toys and collectibles– a luxury toy brand if you will. But here’s something even more important to know: Steiff (well, her nephew) invented the teddy bear!

The History of Steiff Bears

In 1880, the Steiff company started up, making plush toys and collectibles. Steiff believed in using the finest materials, like mohair, alpaca, cotton velvet and woven fur. Hand-sewn and hand-finished, some 16,000 different designs for various animals would come to be made from the family factory in Germany. In 1902, Margarete’s nephew Richard essentially invented the teddy bear. At first, it wasn’t popular, but thanks to President Teddy Roosevelt not wanting to shoot a bear, it became a “must-have” for little kids all across the USA in that era.

Steiff’s products are often passed down from generation to generation, becoming family heirlooms. They are long-lasting “toys” that have been extremely well-made and tested; they’re safe, beautiful, and realistic. Is it any wonder that some vintage Steiff toys have been sold at auction for more than $100,000?

Some of the teddy bears for sale found at Gigi’s include a line of popular Steiff bears such as Baloo, the SS Passat, and Winnie the Pooh. Looking for Mr. Cinnamon or the rarer black bear? Gigi’s got ‘em here.

Besides bears, Stein also makes other animals. When you’re looking for simply the best stuffed, plush animals, choose Steiff! Gigi’s currently has several Steiff animals for sale, including a walrus, a cocker spaniel, a white mohair poodle, a hedgehog from the 1960s, and a tiger also from the 1960s. Have you been looking for a classic Steiff Coca-Cola Santa? Gigi’s has that, too!

Meanwhile, if you have an older teddy bear that needs repairs, did you know Gigi’s offers teddy bear repair, restoration and replacement services? Email questions to or call 773-594-1540.


An Overview of Bisque Dolls

Bisque Dolls In the late 1860s, an innovation in doll making came into being– the development of bisque dolls. Up until that time, dolls were typically glazed porcelain. Bisque dolls were different because they allowed for more realistic skin tones, since they were unglazed porcelain.

Meant for Collectors

Because they were and are breakable (and expensive), bisque dolls were more for admiring than for playing with– and meant for collectors. Between the 1860s and the early 1900s, bisque doll heads were popular, with leather or cloth bodies. However, composition overtook bisque as the most popular material somewhere around the 1910s. That said, bisque dolls continued to be made, and still are today. In fact, they enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the 1980s as “collector dolls” became en vogue. Serious doll collectors usually include a couple bisque dolls in their collection for good measure these days.

Also Known as “Penny Dolls”

If you were to look for old bisque dolls, chances are you’d find them in all sizes, from just half an inch all the way up to life-size at five foot tall. Between the late 1800s and 1930 or so, small dolls known as “all-bisque” were made. Known as “penny dolls,” they’re sought after today precisely because they’re all-bisque.

Worldwide Following

In general, bisque dolls were produced in France first (bisque is a French word), followed by Germany, the United States, and now, like almost everything else, China.

Price Ranges

You might find a bisque doll at your local thrift shop for $5, though the most expensive ones cost tens of thousands of dollars. When looking to buy a bisque doll, the bisque should be slightly translucent and not too chalky or heavy. Eyelashes and eyebrows should be finely painted and bisque shouldn’t have too many black flecks or pin holes. Look for well-accented lips and cheek blush that’s neither heavy nor blotchy. FYI: Collectors tend to prefer bisque dolls on jointed composition bodies because this allows for more posing possibilities.

Gigi’s Dolls sells antique dolls out of Chicago, IL, and online. Gigi’s carries antique bisque dolls for sale from artists such as Judy Cuddy.

See this page for details: Should you have any questions about bisque dolls, please email or call 773-594-1540.

Gift Ideas for Doll Collectors

Gift Ideas for Doll Collectors What do you get doll collectors as gifts? Dolls? Sure! But what else?

Doll Magazines

Did you ever think about getting them a subscription to a doll magazine? There are actually several to consider, including American Girl, Antique Doll Collector, and Art Doll Quarterly. A quick Google search online will find you several options to consider. Also, if you go to antique stores or yard sales, you’re likely to find old doll collector magazines— so those make good gifts, too, because it’s neat to see what was being written about and photographed years ago. If there’s one thing doll collectors love, it’s looking at dolls and finding out information on them!

Doll Stands

Next, consider giving doll stands as gifts for collectors. After all, stands help stand dolls up for display, and that’s a good thing. It has been said a collector can never have too many stands, and that is so true. Small ones, tall ones, you name it! Also, look for cleaning supplies for doll clothes– that’s something a collector would appreciate. They probably already have plenty of clothes but, perhaps, no way to clean them.

Doll Clothes and Accessories

Depending on what the collector you know already has, consider getting them gifts for their dolls that include clothes, shoes and, of course, accessories. “One can never have too many shoes” is true in the real world and the doll world! You might even consider making a homemade custom doll outfit for your collector friend to add to his or her collection.

Doll Parts

Other gift ideas for collectors include doll parts, such as doll heads, limbs and bodies. Or you might want to get them some dollhouse items, such as miniature dishes, furniture and even realistic looking little foods and drinks– to help “set the scene” for dolls and the doll lives they lead.

Take a look around the Gigi’s Dolls website to get some ideas on what to get your collector friend or family member for their birthday and/or an upcoming holiday. Peruse the doll clothing section, doll accessories, as well as the books, too. And if you have any questions, call 773-594-1540 or email

Things to Know About American Girl Dolls

American Girl Dolls Most young girls know about American Girl. It’s a famous doll and book company that made its debut in 1986 and has been going strong ever since.


For the most part, American Girl dolls have portrayed eight- to eleven-year-old girls of a variety of ethnicities. They’ve been sold with accompanying books told from the viewpoint of the girls. In general, the stories had to do with various periods of American history, until 1995 when the line expanded to deal with characters and stories from contemporary life.

Strong Characters

In general, American Girl dolls are meant to build girls of strong character. Keywords associated with the dolls and books include “strength,” “optimism,” and “delight.” Character counts with American Girl dolls. Featuring diverse characters from long ago as well as today, the brand seeks to offer role models who’ll help young girls explore issues of life and death– covering topics like loss, love, despair and hope.  American Girl dolls and books teach lessons of kindness with an emphasis on goodness. When a young girl connects with an American Doll, it’s hoped that she’ll recognize that she, too, can be a world changer in her own special way.

Build and Characteristics

American Girl dolls are generally 18-inches, made for ages 8 and up, and feature characters and stories spanning over 200 years, from 1764 to 1974. They help tell about our country’s history, as well as the role of women and girls in shaping our country.

Ancillary Products

In the 1990s, American Girl magazine came into being, and also in the 1990s the company introduced a line of contemporary dolls that since evolved into their “Truly Me” collection– helping girls discover who they are “right now.” The “Truly Me” dolls can be made to look like the girls who purchase them, down to their eye color, eye shape, skin color, hair texture and hair length. As you could imagine, they were and are a hit!

American Girl dolls are beloved by their owners.

Where to Buy Clothing for American Dolls

Gigi’s Dolls sells clothing for American Dolls; among the clothing offered, there’s a red floral print dress, a blue floral swimsuit, pink pajamas, a coral colored dress, a pink romper, a sunflower dress, a beautiful pink gown, and a floral print nightgown.

If you have any questions about American Doll clothing, don’t hesitate to call Gigi’s Dolls at 773-594-1540 or email

An Overview of Paper Dolls

Paper Dolls You’ve probably heard of the term “paper dolls,” especially if you have young girls in your family or you, yourself, were ever a young girl. For almost two hundred years, paper dolls have been inexpensive, popular children’s toys aimed primarily at little girls who enjoy playing with them and dressing them.

What are paper dolls?

Paper dolls are made out of figures cut out of paper or thin card. Then they have clothing, which is separate from the actual doll– and this clothing is “put on” the doll using paper folding tabs. As a two-dimensional doll, they’re most likely to look like human figures, though sometimes they can be in the form of animals or objects.

The backstory of paper dolls

Ever since paper existed, people have been creating their own version of paper dolls, but without the folded tab clothing aspect added on… that came about in the 18th century. Modern day paper dolls took their form in France in the 1700s, made of jointed paper. Called “pantins,” these dolls were in human form and had fashionable paper clothing. If you were to go to certain museums, you might see these ancient, hand-painted paper dolls, as there are still some in existence.

Manufactured Paper Dolls

When was the first manufactured paper doll made? That would be in 1810, in London. The doll was known as “Little Fanny.” Then, two years later, the first American doll followed, known as “Little Henry.” Paper dolls had their heyday in the USA during the late 1920s and 1950s, when Milton Bradley, the toy company, started producing and marketing them. Little girls often received paper dolls as Christmas or birthday presents.

If you were to look for older paper dolls from the early 20th century, you’d likely find ones modeled after famous female movie stars of the day, including Claudette Colbert, Mary Martin and Judy Garland. These old paper dolls can be worth a lot of money, and, as you’d imagine, they’re quite popular with collectors. Some fetch upwards of $500.

Gigi’s has vintage paper dolls for sale, including names like Eve Arden, Mary Hartline, June Allyson, and Bette Davis. Check out what’s currently available for sale from Gigi’s.

Tips for Displaying Your Doll Collection

Displaying Dolls You’ve been collecting dolls for some time, and they’re starting to pile up in boxes in the corner of a room not often seen by company. But wait– what good are they doing there with no admirers? One of the best reasons to have and grow a doll collection is to display it for friends, family and even strangers to see!

What are some tips for displaying your doll collection?

Find the Right Space

Consider a place where it makes the most sense to display them. Typically, people utilize an unused room, such as a den or extra bedroom in their home if they have the room to do so. Then that room becomes their “doll room,” giving it purpose. It’s a smart idea to have all the doll stuff gathered together in one room, anyway– this makes it easier to find stuff rather than stuff being scattered around the house, right? Now for those who have limited space and cannot devote a whole room to their collection, how about buying a curio cabinet to display your collection in one of your main rooms, such as the living room in your apartment? It’s especially nice when you find a curio cabinet that has a light bulb (or bulbs) in it so you can light up your collection. If a cabinet is out of the question, then at least devote one shelf in your place to your collection.

Avoid Strong Lighting

When displaying dolls, you’ll want to make sure they’re out of direct sunlight as well as strong artificial lights, too. Make sure you’re not displaying your dolls in overtly hot or cold rooms, or rooms where the humidity is “out of control!” Meanwhile, you’ll want to protect them from kids who often have dirty hands and want to pick up and play with anything they can find at their level. So, typically, dolls are kept behind closed cabinet doors and/or high up on shelves in the room, out of reach of rambunctious boys and girls. Oh, and by the way, pets are just as rough with what they find near the floor as kids are– so keep your collection away from them, too.

Away From Debris

Other things to keep away from your doll collection display include cigarette smoke, dust, dirt and insects.

If you want to impress people with the way you display your dolls, then group them by size, type, and/or color, and don’t crowd them. If you really want to have that “wow factor,” then create little scenes for your dolls to be in, using things like antique furniture pieces and vintage tea sets.

If you’re looking to add to your doll collection, check all the antique, vintage, modern and paper dolls Gigi’s Dolls has available.