The question readers of this blog ask the most is "How do I sell my doll collection?" followed by "How can I tell how much my dolls are worth?"
If you are a doll collector, or if you are trying to work through the estate of a former doll collector, there are many challenges you will face. This list should help you get started.
1. List Your Dolls: Make a complete list of the dolls and every article of clothing and accessory. Do not get rid of anything, no matter how bad the condition.
2. Determine the Condition: Note any markings on the backside, back of the neck or bottom of the feet. Carefully and critically look for any damage: fading, hair brushed out of original set, paint chips, pinpricks, stains, loose limbs, etc. Unless the doll is pristine in the box and has never been played with, it will not be considered in "mint," "near-mint" or "great"condition. Listing a doll that has been played with on eBay as "great condition" is misrepresenting it. 3. Research the Prices: Go to your local bookstore and/or library and find books on the dolls and outfits. Look for price guides. Understand that price guides are almost always researched by contacting doll dealers and asking them to set a price for the dolls, and dealers have a vested interest in driving up the price. In addition, book value is almost always for dolls in pristine, mint condition. Price guides are always inflated.
Keep in mind that doll prices have dropped drastically since the mid 1990s and the secondary market value on dolls is almost always pennies on the dollar of what the original selling price was. There are exceptions but your book research should inform you if any of your dolls are of special value. You should expect to get around 20% to 50% of book value for a doll in good condition that has been taken out of the box and gently played with if it has all or most of its original outfit. A better way to determine value is to research eBay and local doll sales. Don't look at the asking price; look at the selling price. If your dolls are antique or otherwise very valuable, you might want to Google your city for doll appraisals. There is usually a charge to appraise a collection, but if you really think your dolls are valuable, it might be worth it. 4. Decide Where to Sell: The best places to sell dolls are eBay and other online auctions and local doll shows. Google your city for doll shows and find out how to get a table. You can also try Classified ads and local doll dealers. Each method of selling has its advantages and drawbacks that you should research.
For all these reasons, asking me how much your dolls are worth or where you should sell them will not get a response other than a link to this article because there are too many variables.
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Kathryn Darden is a mentor for a growing international team of entrepreneurs. As a journalist she writes arts & entertainment and skin care articles for several online publications including Christian Activities and Examiner. She is an Executive Consultant with Rodan + Fields Dermatologists.
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