Finding the Value of Old Dolls

Category Dolls
Many people have heirloom dolls that have been handed down from mother to daughter for generations. This is a page about finding the value of old dolls.
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A lot of people write on here wondering about the value of their old dolls, so I wanted to post a small guide that may or may not prove helpful.

  1. The first step is to surrender the fantasy that your porcelain doll is worth a lot of money, unless you have a truly rare (as in, not part of a 'collector series' that some mass production enterprising doll company churned out in the 80s) or antique (as in, older than 1917). 'Vintage' dolls manufactured anywhere from 90 to 40 years ago probably do have some monetary value, but really only if they are in their boxes and in impeccable condition. And probably not as much value as you might want.

    For another view on the 'value' of porcelain dolls, especially those from collectors' series of more recent vintage (40 years old and newer), we can look to the wise words in doll reference.com:

    "Modern porcelain collector dolls sold from about the 1980s to present, were meant to appeal to adult doll collectors, not children. The theory was; buy it, keep it in the box or debox, but keep it unplayed with, after some time passes, you'll be able to sell it for more money than your original purchase and make a profit. Dolls were easily found in department stores, grocery store toy aisles, card shops, toy stores and on TV from QVC etc. The quantities sold of each collector doll could be large, it's the sheer quantity of all available porcelain collector dolls today, that is determining the current value, as they flood the market place, online and elsewhere..... Sad to say, but these dolls are now available in such large quantities they have little to no value today."

  2. Notate any and all markings, on the clothes, or on the dolls themselves. If you can find absolutely nothing on the doll itself to identify its designer, manufacturer, etc, it will be virtually impossible to learn its vintage.

    For decades, doll manufacturers used some very specific glyphs and symbols as 'signatures' that kind of look like Satanic amulet markings to identify their creations. These marks usually appear on the back of the dolls head, on the back, under arms, bottoms of the feet, but could really be anywhere.

    Some links that identify these marks are here:

    Also learn to distinguish what materials your dolls are made out of. Dolls can be made out of bisque, celluloid, china, hard plastic, cloth, composition, wax, metal, or wood. Knowing the materials can give a hint as to the doll's ages. For instance, bisque was mainly used in the 1800's, and if you have a celluloid doll you know it cannot be older than 1940, which is when the material was outlawed.

  3. Consult various websites regarding the value of your dolls. Dollreference.com is a great reference. You can find anything about materials, marks, vintages, factories, etc on this site. Dollprice.com is another great site that lets you search an extensive database of dolls, by age, materials, quality, etc.

  4. Check with eBay to see the real-time price where things are selling, and for how much. This is a great how-to from doll reference.com:

    "with the name, maker or type of doll, use the below link to; Ebay Advanced Search - Find Items - Doll Sold Listings. Fill in the details on the form on the page link, check the Completed Auctions Only box and you will see recently
    sold doll prices which are shown in green and that's as current a doll value, as you can get.

  5. Some final thoughts regarding 'value' in the marketplace:

    First of all there is the issue of actual intrinsic value to consider. Under these circumstances, most certainly any doll manufactured from the 70s and older that happens to be in impeccable condition should have some intrinsic value.

    The second issue, however, is what the marketplace will bear. Who is buying these dolls? How much are they willing to pay for them? If something theoretically is worth $1000 but nobody wants to buy it, is it really worth that? These are some of the contradictions of capitalism that have been around since the days of the tulip frenzy of the 1600s and that continue on through today with the overvalued and essentially worthless tech startups of Silicon Valley. Anybody remember the Beanie Baby craze of the 90s? Or the yearly bloodletting at Black Friday as folks mow each other down to get the newest Hatchling or whatever other commodified abomination is trending that Christmas season? Well, next time any of these 'phenoms' involves porcelain dolls, (and the commodity fetish marketplace is so fickle that, really, you never know) then all of you, dear friends, wanting to extract monetary value from your pretty dolls will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Source: Dollreference.com

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January 19, 2020

She has a soft body that appears to be filled with crushed cork and she has hard limbs and head made from an unknown material. She has sleep eyes, her head appears to be glued to the body fabric, her arms are attached together via metal, and her legs are also attached via metal.

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She is approximately 20" tall and in need of a lot of TLC.

Any information would be great. Thanks.

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January 19, 20200 found this helpful
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The doll's body parts are composition material. Giving a doll a fabric torso was made for weight reduction that a full body composition doll would have. This makes it easy for a child to carry and hold while playing with the doll and given the name of "mama dolls" even though manufacturers gave their dolls a new name. The composition doll came to existence in 1900s and ended sometime in the 1950s as a more durable and lightweight material was introduced.

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Do you have any markings: number or name on the composition body parts which can be found on back of neck, head or bottom of foot. Oftentimes, doll parts were switched with other doll manufacturers and identification of original clothing on the doll helps determine the maker's name. I was not able to learn when cork filling was used in a cloth body; perhaps the owner bought a doll kit and used an on hand ready filler or it came from another country. Notice the hands on your doll. You can find other dolls with the same hands, but painted nails and flesh coloring must match up with the particular manufacturer. The shape of the one piece shoulder/head came in lots of forms; some rounded, with-w/o a shoulder.

You might determine a closer time frame by learning when: open/shut eyes were used
lifelike eyelashes replaced the painted ones
when wigs were used on composition doll heads

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January 19, 20200 found this helpful
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Wow! Very cool! I am thinking she is a "marriage" doll as the arms are not in proportion to the body or head. The body also looks like it may not be correct either. I am going to do some digging on the head. When you ping the head does it make a dull sound? I am thinking the head may be a sawdust, composition mix. Trying to figure out how to describe the sound that would make...like a dull thunk.

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Let me know! Will post back with more hopefully soon.

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April 6, 2019

I have 7, unused in their original boxes, Vogue 8 inch Ginny "Far Away Lands" dolls. I would like to sell all seven. What are they worth?

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April 7, 20190 found this helpful
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They seem to be with $15-$20 each. www.etsy.com/.../vogue-8-ginny-doll-spain-1859-from...

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April 7, 20190 found this helpful
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There are a number of factors here...are they the ones from the 50s or the "newer" ones? Which countries to you have (as some are much more rare than others)?

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Look at this link from eBay SOLD and match each one that you have with the sold price and you will know today's current market value:

www.ebay.com/.../i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=far+away+lands...

If you have the older ones, you may be best to break them up and sell them off one at a time since those seem to fetch more by piece than if you have the newer ones, which fetch less overall.

These are neat dolls but there are just a lot of variables that I don't have to give you the correct value for what you have.

Happy sales!!

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I stumbled across your website and found it so interesting that I dug this doll out of a dark closet! She probably has no value, but for giggles, perhaps you can give me some info on her.

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The mark is U 39 and as far as I can tell she is made of hard plastic, the eyes open and close. Thank you for your time.

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February 21, 20180 found this helpful
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These were called "bed pillow or boudoir dolls" and were very popular in the 70-80's.

  • The dolls were mostly the same with different hair colors and hair styles but mainly the "Southern Belle" style.
  • The dolls were usually very cheap but looked very nice when dressed in their ball gowns.
  • The dresses were usually crochet but other materials and lace were also used. The skirt was always very full and would be placed on a young girl's bed or dressing table.
  • In later years, Barbie dolls were used and these are usually worth more money but there is still a chance your doll could sell for $30-50 dollars.
  • The best sites to sell dolls are eBay and Etsy but many times more money can be realized if sold on a local Craigslist as there is no shipping involved and the interested person can see the doll before buying.
  • There were also a lot of smaller dolls made in the same fashion and these are still popular.
  • you can check out some of the similar dolls presently listed on eBay.
  • www.ebay.com/.../sis.html?_nkw=Vintage%20Bed%20Pillow...
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December 2, 2019

I have a Brinn doll named Marilyn. She isn't porcelain. Her hands are plastic and her face seems to be fabric. Any idea what she is classified as? I can only find porcelain ones on eBay.

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December 2, 20191 found this helpful
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I would classify her under fabric and they are not very expensive or people are not selling them for much money at all. You will be lucky to get $10 for the doll.

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I am hoping to identify this doll from my childhood, probably circa 1975-1990. I can't find any marks on her. Her limbs are very similar to a later Baby So Real doll, but nothing I've found matches her face. She has amber eyes that sleep and a dimpled chin. The head and limbs are hollow and compressible. She had a voice box that laughed sweetly when you moved her, but that may have been added by my mother. Any suggestions are appreciated!

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I love this wood, hand carved vintage doll! But, again, I'm needing some information on her creator. Thank you for your help!

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July 23, 20191 found this helpful

This definitely looks handmade. It might be from an Amish community. I dont think it is very valuable.

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January 25, 2020

I just inherited this doll collection, but don't know anything about dolls. Are these valuable?

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January 27, 20200 found this helpful
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This one is a very difficult question to answer you. There are so many of them and the dolls vary from collectors dolls to mass produced dolls. In order to find out the value of the dolls we need to know who made each one and the markings on the back of each dolls head. I would suggest finding a doll appraiser arund you or even online to help you out in this one. There are so many variables in this that it is hard to determine what the real value of all these dolls are worth.

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I have some more fun finds. I have no idea about these beautiful ladies, but I just had to have them in my collection. Their bodies are made of hard plastic, but there are no identifiable marks. Their arm joints are stretchy rubber bands. Any information would be appreciated!

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July 23, 20190 found this helpful

These are not expensive dolls. Without more markings it will be hard to identify them.

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Anonymous
July 23, 20190 found this helpful

Thank you, Judy!

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I just bought a Boots Tyler 14 baseball player doll with a blue and white pinstripe uniform. On the back of its neck it says Boots Tyler Design 1984. Also there is a tiny engraving that says Merry Christmas Eric. Love mom, behind the ear. Does anyone know if Boots factory did engraving like this or is this repro?

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