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Finding the Value of Old Dolls

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.

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  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 18, 2021

I have three plastic dolls with flat shoes. One comes off but the other are part of the doll. Their eyes close and open.

Their arms move but not their legs. One can move her head. They are in old fashioned clothes.

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January 18, 20210 found this helpful
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How tall are they?

You said the eyes open and close? Can you show them laying down with the eyes closed? Most sleepy dolls the lashes go down, but these look painted--can you confirm?

Are the dolls plastic or celluloid? Plastic is harder, celluloid is brittle.

Can you tell if the hair is real (or mohair) or is it synthetic?

Do any of them have AE on the back--whichis Allied Eastern?

There are a lot of possibilities of who they are depending on the answers.

They look a lot like what are called Grocery Store dolls, but those are usually 18 inches and up. These look smaller, which may mean they are carnival dolls.

Value will depend on who they are.

Can you tell if the clothes are handmade? They look handmade--the lace on the one that is read looks like 60s lace, as does the funky fabric.

Hoping I can give you more info with more details! Thanks for sharing!! They are fun!!

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I found this antique doll in the trash. I have been searching for weeks trying to identify it but to no avail. It is a 16-inch, bisque head/arms and legs, a cloth body, painted hair, and obviously the clothes.

There are no markings, except inside the head and one of the legs is an "etched" letter 'B'. There are no tags on the clothing. Can anyone please help me find what this is?

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October 12, 20200 found this helpful
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Thanks for the additional photos and the photo of the scale. The scale is very cool! They sell in the 20-30 range online! That was an especially nice find.

I doubt the doll and the scale are related by year.

I believe the doll is a kit doll also. Which one is a challenge because many of them had no markings or were marked like yours with a single letter.

The snaps on the clothing do appear to be older than the doll--maybe 1960s snaps so perhaps the owner used a real child outfit on the kit doll made at a later time--maybe for that child's child in the 1980s or 1990s.

Kit dolls like these gained huge popularity from the 1970 through the 1990s and even in to the early 2000s. I would place yours 1980s ish.

Why I believe it to be a "newer" kit doll is for a number of reasons... the head/neck is very cleanly crafted--a true antique doll head is (usually) very roughly made and the neck has wear. Also many of the very old dolls had rooted hair (usually real or mohair).

The body also looks very new (and clean), machine made.

The stuffing is also newer. Old dolls were often stuffed with a sawdust mixture or straw or rags.


I belong to a number of Facebook groups where there are gals and guys who have specialties and someone may be able to pinpoint the maker or give you more info. You cannot ask value there, but I can help with value if they can give you more specifics. I can give you lots of general info.

The group is called Porcelain doll collector's + accessories buy and sell. You have to ask to join and then you can upload all of your photos and ask if anyone can confirm the maker.

Looking forward to learning more. Post back what you learn and thanks again for the additional photos. Good luck with the scale also!

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I've had this doll for a while and I know nothing about it. There are no marking except for a tag the says PA-3915 (TH), Made in China.


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October 2, 20200 found this helpful
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When my granddaughter was very small she received a lot of these types of dolls to play with. The doll you have is a no-name doll that was designed for small children to play with and give a name to the doll. They are not a big seller and normally you could pick one of these dolls up in the market for around $10 or so during the holidays or other times of the year. If you are interested in selling this doll you may get around $1 for the doll because it was mass-produced in China as a child's toy to play with. The reason I am saying this is because of the hair on the doll and the way it sits. A lot of these types of dolls were bought to sit on a child's bed in their room and the child could also play with the doll.

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August 28, 2020

This was my mother's doll when she was 5, in 1941. I'm trying to find out if it's actually worth anything? It's in pretty bad shape and I cannot distinguish any markings to identify it. The head, legs, and arms are a ceramic type material the body is soft. The eyes are sleepy eyes with actual lashes. Any help would be useful.
Thanks.

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August 28, 20200 found this helpful
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Wow, that's vintage! After searching and finding similar 1940's dolls, I am surprise to learn that the age does not give good value to such vintage construction. These dolls are priced like so many online for $10 to $40. It may be that it will only truly be valuable when it is 100 years of age. Here is some info on 1940's dolls - www.etsy.com/search?q=1940%27s%20dolls&ref=auto1 - also a link to value/pricing - www.thesprucecrafts.com/antique-doll-price-guide-4080262

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August 28, 20200 found this helpful
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Can you tell me how long she is? Also can you show the body?

She resembbles a very valuable 1940s Arranbee Dream Baby, but I believe the dream baby is only 12 inches and this one apepars to be bigger.

I think the head is composition, not ceramic. Composition is like glue and sawdust mixed and it gets that weird discoloration that I see on yours.

The doll can be restored by a professional and many people do this kind of work and will pay a lot for the doll to fix or use for parts.

Maybe with more info I can confirm who she is and if these are her original clothes, which I doubt because they look to new...but you never know.

I would like to know more about the clothes also--if they are handmade (hand stitched) or machine and how the seams are finished.

Hopefully with more info, I can get you better values and details! Thanks for sharing!

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My mum gave me these dolls. I don't know anything about them and they have any markings from what I can see. It would be a shame to just give them away, if any was worth anything.

It would be great if anyone had any knowledge.

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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.

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.

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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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)?

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.

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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