In the doll collecting world, there are three major eras:antique, vintage and modern. Did you know a doll’s price usually correlates with its age, such that older, antique dolls are more expensive than, say, modern dolls? It’s not always the case, but it often is.
Antique Doll Era
Antique dolls are dolls from before 1920. Centuries ago, dolls were made of wood– back in the 16th Century, wooden dolls existed, though they’re rare to find today. You might, however, be able to find a wooden or wax doll from the 1700s– they’re out there, but expect to pay top dollar to acquire one. Fast forward to the 1870s– this is when celluloid dolls came into vogue, somewhat replacing porcelain dolls which were all the rage years earlier. Following celluloid there were composition dolls and then vinyl. In the 1900s, hard plastic became the norm.
Speaking of the early 1900s, if you’re looking for antique dolls from 1900-1920, be on the lookout for “Kewpie dolls,” with their wide eyes, as well as “half dolls,” which were legless cuties meant for display with tea cozies or on dressing tables. You might also come across antique bisque dolls, porcelain dolls and/or china dolls.
Vintage Doll Era
Now if you’re looking for “vintage” dolls as opposed to“antique” ones, then you’ll probably end up looking at Barbie dolls. Barbie really took over the world of dolls, didn’t she? Arriving in stores in 1959,Barbie became THE doll most girls wanted and loved… vintage Barbies come from the 1960s and early 1970s. So, if you obtain a Barbie “born” somewhere between1959 and 1972, you’ve got yourself a vintage doll. After 1972? She’s modern.
Any doll made after 1972 is considered modern. Of course, things might change as time goes on… someday the dolls your grand kids are collecting right now off the shelves of popular stores like Target and American Girl might be… antique.
Gigi’s Dolls has quite a few antique and vintage dolls for sale. You can browse online to see what’s currently in stock for vintage dolls and for antique dolls. From there, look around the site for even more dolls and accessories from a bygone era.