Collecting Dolls

Collecting dolls is both a pastime and a passion. Whether you're looking for a collectible doll that reminds you of your childhood, investing in a vintage doll for your collection, or picking out a gift for a special child, there is a large variety of collectible dolls to meet your needs and budget on eBay Australia. Start shopping for collectible dolls on eBay Australia now!

Discover the Types of Collectible Dolls

Throughout the centuries, doll makers have created dolls using everything from wood to papier-mâché to porcelain. Choosing the right collectible dolls, therefore, is largely a matter of deciding which type of material is most appealing to you.
Bisque dolls: Bisque dolls are made of tinted, unglazed porcelain. The colours are added by the doll makers before firing. However, French and German bisque dolls that are in demand often go through multiple firings so as to give the dolls a warm, rich colour.
Porcelain dolls: Fine ceramic porcelain dolls are made by firing pure clay. The translucence of the material makes for elegant dolls.
Cloth dolls: As the name suggests, cloth dolls are made out of cloth and have hand painted features on flat cloth faces, wigs made out of yarn and hand made clothing. The best known examples are the Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls.
Papier-mâché dolls: Made from a fragile mix of shredded or torn paper, glue and water, it can be hard to find papier-mâché dolls that are in good condition.
Composition dolls: Composition dolls are made up of a mixture of several compounds (such as plaster of paris, sawdust, paper and glue). Examples of composition dolls made famous by Madame Alexander include: Tiny Betty dolls and Little Betty dolls, Betty dolls, Wendy Ann dolls, and Princess Elizabeth dolls.
• Metal dolls: You can find metal dolls in a variety of metals, such as pewter, silver, brass and tin. They may be made entirely of metal, or they may just have a metal head. Starting from the mid-1880s, Germany and the United States are the largest producers of metal dolls.
Hard plastic dolls: Collectible dolls made out of flesh toned painted hard plastic was extremely popular between 1940 and 1950. Compared to composition dolls, hard plastic dolls tend to have sharper and more defined features.
Vinyl dolls: Mass produced dolls are mostly vinyl dolls made out of a soft plastic.
Wood dolls: Dating back to primitive times, intricately carved wood dolls carved from linden or basswood, exist as folk art pieces.

Select Modern Collectible Dolls

Many doll collectors have recently become interested in modern dolls in addition to collecting vintage or rare dolls. Modern dolls offer doll collectors reasonable prices, mint condition, out-of-the-box, and high availability.

• Barbie dolls: Barbie dolls have been a favourite for many generations. They have a variety of designs and themes which keep them engaging, thus making them popular with collectors.
Lee Middleton dolls: Lee Middleton offers affordable collectible dolls and are well known for their "baby dolls". Collectors seek them out for their fine workmanship and very limited production.
• Madame Alexander dolls: Vintage Madame Alexander dolls can be pricey, but modern dolls that offer such themes as The Wizard of Oz, storybook characters, or high fashion are available at a fraction of the price.
• Adora dolls: Another maker of “baby dolls", Adora dolls offer a more affordable and widely accessible range of collectible dolls that appeals to both young and mature collectors. Moreover, Adora produces dolls in all races, hair, and eye colours, appealing to a much broader audience. For the serious collectors, there is also a more expensive and limited line of dolls.
• A HREF="" TARGET="_BLANK">Vogue dolls: The Ginny doll from Vogue has been a hit with collectors ever since the 1950s. Like Barbie, Ginny has a huge wardrobe—everything from Halloween costumes to formal wear.
• Robert Tonner dolls: With several lines of popular collector dolls, including Betsy McCall dolls, Tiny Betsy McCall dolls, Tyler Wentworth dolls, Kitty Collier dolls, and Mary Englebreit dolls, among others, Robert Tonner collectible dolls run the gamut from cute children to fashionable ladies to nostalgic reproductions.

Talk About Collectible Dolls: Common Terms

Familiarise yourself with the collectible doll terminology before you start buying collectible dolls.
• Antique dolls: Dolls that were made before 1930.
• Collectible dolls: "Collectible" can be used to describe any doll that you can collect. However, the term usually applies to dolls made 25 to 75 years ago.
• Modern dolls: Dolls that are less than 25 years old are termed "modern".
• Contemporary dolls: Contemporary dolls are dolls that are still in production.
• One of a Kind (OOAK) dolls: One of a kind dolls are unique. There are no replicas and they will never be created again.
• Reproduction dolls: Copies of collectible dolls that were made earlier. Reproduction dolls are made from a mould.
• Restoration dolls: A restored collectible doll has had repairs, such as repainting of body parts, or replacement of missing clothing

Value Collectible Dolls

Once you've decided on which collectible doll or collectible doll type to buy, consider the factors that will affect its price and value. Depending on the popularity of a given doll, prices can vary greatly. However, the price is often determined by the doll’s age and overall condition.
• Antique dolls vs. new dolls: Just because a doll is antique doesn't mean that it is more expensive compared to newer dolls. The more popular in-demand collectible dolls and contemporary artist produced dolls can cost just as much or even more than some antique dolls.
• Overall condition: While dolls that have been played with may not come with their original clothing and accessories, they can still make charming additions to your doll collection. They also tend to be less expensive than dolls that are in pristine condition.
• Details: You can determine the quality of collectible dolls by looking at the details. Assess the facial expressions, hairstyle and stitching. Some dolls have lovely, carefully painted faces, while others do not.
• Damage: The resale value of a doll can by affected by imperfections such as holes or cracks. However, small abnormalities should not matter too much if you truly love the doll and am planning on keeping it for yourself. Damaged dolls usually cost less, so you may be able to pick up a treasure that would usually be out of your price range. Keep in mind that if you do buy a damaged doll with plans to restore it, you will most probably have to purchase original or period clothing for the doll, as well as eyes, wigs, or other body parts for the doll separately.
• Popularity: Remember that despite its book value, a doll is worth what any single buyer is willing to pay for it.
• Doll clothing, shoes, and accessories: Some A HREF="" TARGET="_BLANK">doll clothes are as beautiful and well made as haute couture for women. Many collectors find these items essential in a serious collection.

Do your research

Be sure to do in-depth research before buying if you are considering making a purchase with an intention to sell the doll in future. You can find specialised books for highly collected dolls that can help you to determine value. In general, the values listed in books typically only apply to well-preserved dolls. You will need to adjust the value accordingly if you are looking at dolls with more wear and tear.
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