Vintage Doll

vintage doll

Doll Collecting - How To Determine A Vintage Doll's Value

By Katharine Swan

Do you have packed away in a closet somewhere, saved from your mother's childhood or perhaps your own? If so, it's time to break them out -- they might be worth something. However, one of the worst things you can do is to buy a doll values book, look up your dolls, and take to heart whatever the book says. It is important to realize that many things go into determining the value of a doll, and yours may be worth considerably less than the doll values book indicates.

In general, three major factors go into determining a doll's value. In order to estimate what your vintage doll is worth, you will need to decide how each of these factors apply to your doll.


Regardless of what the book claims, if there is no demand for your doll you would be unlikely to get that price. High demand means that the doll would sell quite high at auction, or that a doll shop would feel comfortable putting a high price on it. Low demand means that sellers need to drop their prices in order to score a sale.

For instance, doll value books consistently value Madame Alexander International dolls at approximately $75 each. In reality, though, there is very little demand for these dolls, therefore forcing sellers to sell them for a third or less of their "value."


One of the top ways to determine if your doll is valuable is to check how rare it is. Generally, rarity triggers higher demand, because collectors always want what they can't have. A rare collectible that is in high demand will have buyers clamoring to get it first, enabling sellers to demand higher prices, and causing auction values to soar.

Again using the first example, during the late 1960s and 1970s, the Madame Alexander Doll Company produced a great many . As a result, they are abundantly available now (and not selling).


The factor that many doll owners fail to consider when estimating the value of their doll is the condition the doll is in. Even if a mint Madame Alexander Sweet Violet (a very rare doll from the 1950s) will sell for well over $1,000, a well played-with doll will frequently only get a third or less of that amount.vintage doll

Doll value books almost always list the prices for a "mint" doll. For a vintage doll to be mint, it literally needs to look just like it would have the day it rolled off the assembly line. For instance, a mint doll needs to:

• Be spotlessly clean and unplayed with

• Have every single piece of clothing or accessories that she came with

• Retain the like-new crispiness in her clothing, known as "sizing"

• Have bright face paint, especially the blush on her cheeks

• Retain the original, tightly-curled set of her hair

• Have her original box and/or hang tag whenever possible

Depending on how many of these qualities your doll has, she may be worth considerably less than the value given by your source. But don't lose heart -- even "near-mint" and those in "good" condition can be valuable. They just aren't worth the eye-popping prices that mint dolls typically command.

One of the best ways to determine what your vintage doll is worth is to research the doll on eBay. Search both current and completed listings for dolls similar to yours. To get a true estimate of what your doll is worth, you should look for dolls wearing the same outfit as yours and in approximately the same condition.

Before selling or purchasing a doll, you should always research the current market value using both print and online resources. But remember, even if that family heirloom isn't worth as much as you thought it was, to you it's priceless.

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