What makes some dolls worth a couple bucks and others worth thousands? How can a person determine the price of a collectible doll?
History and Quantity
Some of the main factors in determining the price of dolls include their history, if they’re related to a popular movie, whether or not they’re in their original box, and how few (or many) were made. When there’s limited production quantity, that means there are fewer dolls “out there” for collectors– and that drives up the price over time.
When pricing a doll, research needs to be done and then comparisons are made with current market values, much like how the real estate market works.
Somewhere on the doll you own there should be some markings that can include the company who made the doll, the doll’s name, the date it was made, its patent number, and/or the country of origin. Look for this information on the doll’s back, the back of the head, the lower torso, the inner thigh or on the bottom of a foot. It could be stamped, embossed, pressed, painted or drawn on the doll. Once you have this information, go online…
With the key info you have, you should check online auction sites and see what similar dolls are “going for” right now. What are the starting bids? Besides “online,” there are published current price guides available… these are updated yearly, so get the most current one(s) and look up your doll’s value. Did you know, for instance, Barbie dolls have their own brand-specific price guides? There are “general” doll price guides as well as specific ones. You can find these guides in bookstores like Barnes & Noble.
Depending on what shape your doll is in, it could be on the “low end,” in the “middle range” or “mint.” Of course, if the doll is still in its original box and in “like new” (“mint”) condition, then it’s worth is at the top of the range presented in a guide. If it’s dirty, missing pieces/accessories, etc., then it’s toward the low end.
While most people discover their dolls’ worth on their own, some use a professional doll appraiser to do the work. That can be helpful, especially if/when the doll is likely to fetch tens of thousands of dollars if sold!
If you’re in the market for vintage dolls, check out the terrific collection at Gigi’s.