Sometimes the doll sitting in your old room or your parents' attic could be worth more than you ever imagined. Other times what seems like a gem could actually be one of many replications with no real value. Finding out the worth of vintage dolls is something of a treasure hunt and determining value often requires meticulous work to avoid underselling. Looking through doll books and visiting antique stores and auctions are methods you can use for determining a doll's value.
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Observe the doll for scratches, chips, stains or other imperfections that would make the doll less valuable. Dolls in their original wrappings with their original accessories like hats and purses with spotless outfits and perfect or near-perfect hair are going to be worth more than dolls without these things.
Look for manufacturers' or artists' stamps, tags or other marks for indication of who made the doll. This will help you figure out what type of doll you have when conducting research about your doll.
Look for your doll in collectors' magazines and books such as Jan Foulke's Guide to Dolls: A Definitive Identification and Price Guide, or the 10th Edition of Doll Values Antique to Modern. Such books can help you determine how many of your doll were made and how widely available your doll is. Read any ads in collectors' magazines for those seeking certain types of dolls. Online resources such as This Old Doll can also be helpful.
Visit antique shops, particularly those that specialise in dolls, for further information about the doll in question. Describe your doll to the store owner or bring it in with you. The owner will likely be able to direct you to auctions or supply you with contact information of collectors.
Visit auction houses and research dolls like yours on online auctions to see how much such dolls are selling for.
Tips and warnings
- Porcelain dolls in particular are especially valuable if they are handmade by the artist as opposed to being mass produced.
- Discuss the doll with multiple antique dealers, auctioneers and collectors to avoid selling the doll for less than it's worth.
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