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But, Why ?

Frequently Asked Questions

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First of all I want to thank everyone who has visited this web site.  It is my hope that you are having an enjoyable experience and will want to come back often.  Many of you who visit have left me emails with questions about your childhood dolls, 
or just about dolls in general.

As the site traffic grows, I am afraid that I will not be able to answer your questions in a timely manner.   Since many similar questions are for general doll collection information, I decided it would be beneficial to develop this page to share the information, and perhaps answer your questions immediately.
If you have a question about Vogue Ginny dolls, it might already be answered on 
my all about Ginny FAQ's page.

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Question and Answer Index:

Q:   I was given a large doll collection recently.  I am not a doll collector but from what I see, and what my friend has told me, there may be some real treasures in the lot.  Where do I start?

A: Sounds like you are going to have your hands full with all those dolls, especially since you are not a doll collector, you are sort of starting from scratch.  My first suggestion would be to sort through the boxes and see if you can put them into categories, probably start with material they're made of, like bisque, composition, hard plastic, vinyl, etc.  Then look them over very carefully to see if you can see any kind of markings on them.  Most companies marked their dolls on the back of the neck and/or on the upper back (however their mark could be anywhere).  Once you have done this, the fun begins.  You'll need to start searching for references.  If you have a large public library you might want to try there first for the obvious reason, it's free!  Then there is always the Internet to search.  You can do searches for dolls using the major search engines.   I have several doll related links on my site that have lots of information about dolls.  Go to my main page at http://www.dollinfo.com and scroll down through the center, under the title "the Toy Box".  Some are specific to one type of doll, while others just list doll sites (i.e. Doll Universe, Doll Top50, Auntiedot.com, etc.). You can also check the on-line auctions.  EBay, being the largest, has the most variety.  I have a direct link on my main site to several of the auction sites.  Go to http://www.dollinfo.com and scroll down the right side to the "Going, Going, Gone" auction site section.  If you still need more information,  you can  purchase doll i.d. books.  There are several excellent ones that I feature on my main site at http://www.dollinfo.com/bookshelf.htm on my "Bookshelf" page.  The two that would be the most current and thorough for pricing and values are the 14th Blue Book by Jan Foulke, and Doll Values Antique to Modern by Patsy Moyer.  Both have a lot of information in them for antique and modern collectible dolls.  Unfortunately, they do not have pictures for every type of doll, so unless the doll description is very clearly marked with her identity, you may not know who she is based on just the name.  However, these books are truly valuable for giving you a range of current prices.  Remember though that these prices are for the "mintiest" dolls with all accessories and all original.  It is unrealistic to expect to get these prices for dolls that do not look like they have just come from the factory. You need to adjust the value, accordingly.   Lastly, if you just can't seem to identify a doll through this method, you can always look in your phone book to see if there is a doll hospital or "old doll shop" near you.  I am sure if you took one or two in and asked them to help you i.d. them, they would do it.  They may however, not give you a value without a fee.  It doesn't hurt to ask.  
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Q: How can I determine the value of a doll?

A: There are several factors that are considered when determining the value of a  doll.  Age, condition, outfit, and desirability are the most important points.  Any combination of these factors weigh heavily, and play upon each other, to determine the doll's value:
AGE:  Generally, the older dolls command a higher prices.  If a doll was made for a number of years then there is a pretty good chance that the older ones will be worth more.  There are exceptions to this though.   In order for a doll to be considered an antique, it must be 100 year old or more.   Less than that, the dolls are usually referred to as vintage and even "modern".  Some "modern" 50s dolls actually sell better than a lesser known doll from the 30s or 40s.  Age alone is not a determining factor in valuing a doll. 
CONDITION:  The condition of the doll is probably the number one most important factor in determining the value of a doll.    It makes sense that when comparing two dolls of the same type or age, the one that is in better condition will have a higher value.  As an example, if you have a composition doll from the 40s, with quite a bit of crazing or cracks, in  fair condition, your doll will probably not go for as much as a slightly newer hard plastic doll with excellent coloring and/or hair even though the composition is older. 
OUTFIT:  Having your doll in her original outfit, and, the more complete an outfit is (includes accessories such as hat, purse, correct shoes, parasol, if appropriate, etc.) the more value the doll will have.   Original clothing, that was sold with the doll,  will add to a doll's value as opposed to non-original or homemade outfits.  Tagged clothing, if the manufacturer added tags to their outfits, is more desirable than untagged (though many manufacturers did not tag their clothing).   If an outfit is easily documented in reference books, the missing tag will not affect the value too much.   The cleaner the outfit the better.  If a doll was sold in several outfit choices, certain outfits may be more valuable than others due to popularity or rarity.  As an example, Ginny dolls had several available outfits and naturally, some outfits are more desirable than others.  The popular styles will command a higher price than a lesser desirable outfit even though they were both made in the same year, both are in excellent condition, and with their tags.  If your doll does not have her original clothes, replacement clothing that is appropriate to the age of the doll, i.e., style, fabric, is better than a new crisp outfit that is not in character with the style of the doll.   An example being, dressing a Saucy Walker Toddler in a fancy frilly ball gown, or a Madame Alexander Cissy from the 50s, in a "disco" dress, not cool!
DESIRABILITY:  Lastly, this is a non-definable value factor that runs across each of the categories because unless the item is desirable, the other factors really do not matter as much.  Many people write to me, excited that they have found an old doll at a garage sale or were given someone's favorite doll from the past, and are curious about the worth of the doll.  They are disappointed when I tell them that even though their doll may have been  well taken care of, it just doesn't have a very high value because basically, it is not the kind of doll that many people are looking for.  As an example, Effanbee's Patsy dolls were very popular dolls in the early 30s.  Many other companies jumped on the bandwagon and produced almost identical dolls.  Today, if the dolls were side by side at a doll show, you would see a significant difference in price due to the fact collectors are looking for "real" Patsys.  Another example; the Ginny dolls produced between 1963-1965 that have a vinyl head and a hard plastic bending knee body are much less plentiful, thus are truly rarer than the PLW Ginny dolls made in the heyday of production around 1954.  Yet, they do not command a very high value because collectors just do not find them as "cute".  The Tiny Miss "Pineapple" dress is more desirable than the Whiz Kids "Lounging outfit," even though both were made the same year, in 1954.  Condition aside, desirability is the determining factor between these two outfits.
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Q:  I am not a collector and want to sell a doll that I have just inherited.  I don't know the first thing about dolls, how do I sell a doll, where do I begin?

A:  The first thing I tell people to do is, try to determine what doll you have.  Suggestions for doing this are in Q & A #1.   Then you have to decide the current value of the doll.  I hate to tell someone to purchase a doll value guide when they only have one or two dolls to sell.  Especially if  they are not collectors.  They would have no use for the book after that.  Also, a reference book quickly goes out of date (for values, not for photos) when all you are using it for is a price guide.  Additionally, prices fluctuate depending on the demand for a particular type of doll in various regions of the country.  What is getting top dollar in the New England states may be only receiving a fraction of that in, say, Arizona, for example.  One rule of thumb is that if the doll has been played with, perhaps the hair has lost its original set or the outfit is dingy from shelf dust or tattered from age, then you should calculate approximately one-fourth the book value. If you go through these Frequently Asked Questions, you will find lots of helpful information on determining a fair value for your doll.  One of the most helpful places I like to suggest is to "surf" through the on-line auctions, such as eBay.  There are so many dolls there to compare to the one you have.   Do a search for the doll you have in the completed auctions and most likely you can get a pretty good idea for what the going rate is for a doll of your type and condition.  Sometimes though on-line auction prices are driven by emotions and the frenzy of bidding.  It is best to look at several dolls of your type and take an average.  I can't stress enough how important it is to come up with a FAIR value for your doll.  There is nothing sillier to me than when someone puts a high price on an obviously played with  doll, then refers to the Book Value as the real value of that doll and that they are giving you some sort of deal because they have marked the doll slightly less.  I see this happen all the time and when you offer them what the true value of THAT doll would be, they look at you like you must be crazy to offer them so much less than their (unrealistic) asking  price.  It is important to do your homework because the reverse could also be true.  You may not price your doll high enough and will practically be giving it away (no one will bother to bring that to your attention!) 
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Q: Where can I sell my doll?

A:  After you have determined your selling price there are several ways you can go about selling your doll.   There are the on-line auctions, posting to message boards on various doll sites, the newspaper, contacting a doll club in your area, doll hospital, or perhaps an antique store or two.  Remember though, if you offer to sell your doll to a doll dealer or antiques dealer, do not expect to be offered the market value for your doll.  A dealer is in the business of selling dolls and must be able to make a profit.  If you arebookbuysell.JPG (50204 bytes) happy with their offer, and many people are because they do not want to hassle with selling/shipping, etc., then go with it, everyone is happy.  If you decide that you would rather try to sell your doll yourself, I have found a wealth of helpful advice from a book I have featured on my "On the Bookshelf" page.   Because I think that this book is so well written on this subject, I do recommend buying this book.  It covers the details beautifully and gives many tips in a concise, easily readable, format.   Click here or on the book to read more about it.  It can be ordered directly from my site through my affiliation with Amazon.com. 
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Q: I have a doll that needs to be restored, where do I go?

A: Cleaning up a doll takes a bit of gentle patience but the rewards are great in the pleasure it will bring to you and to the increased value as a collectible doll.  However, one must decide on the ultimate goal for the doll before any work is done.  In some cases too much restoration will actually decrease the value as a collectible because generally, collectors are looking for dolls as close to original as possible.  Sometimes this means leaving some features "as is," such as minor crazing, worn eyelashes, etc.  If you decide that you just can't live with the doll in the condition that it is, then these are my suggestions.   There are several things you can do to clean up an old doll, prior to having it professionally restored.   I have several tips on cleaning dolls on my "Beauty Parlour" page.  If you feel that your doll needs more than a little sprucing up, then my recommendation is to seek help from someone who is experienced in doll repair.   To locate someone to assist you, look in the local phone book under "Dolls" or "Doll Hospitals".  If there is one listed call them and explain the problems with your doll. They may be able to advise you of what can or cannot be done but most times they will need to see your doll to "diagnose" her properly.  If it is determined that a trip to the doll hospital will be necessary, click here to review the questions you should ask them.   If you can't find a local doll hospital, call a few antique stores and ask if they know anyone who collects dolls because they may have information to lead you to a repair person. I don't know if there is a specific website that lists doll hospitals, but there is a reference book, which can be ordered, that I have featured on my "On the Bookshelf" page that lists several throughout the country.  It also has tips for selecting a doll hospital, shipping your doll, and documenting repairs.   Or, contact the United Federation of Doll Clubs website to help you find knowledgeable doll people in your area.
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Q: Where can I find some information about the doll that I just purchased, (was given, found)?

A: The first thing you probably want to know is, "Who is this doll?"  Finding information about old dolls takes a bit of research on your part. Unfortunately there are some dolls that just cannot be identified beyond perhaps the era they were made.  Sometimes there just is not enough information about a doll because they are not marked, or the manufacture did not keep detailed records (or perhaps they were lost) about their dolls.  The answer to this question is similar to the one I gave to the person who just wanted to know who their doll was so that they could sell it.  This information may be a little redundant but, you can start by searching around the Internet.  There are several doll related sites now with a wealth of information.  I have tried to include links on my main page under "the Toy Box" which have general information about all types of dolls.  Most of these are vintage dolls.  The link back to my main site is: http://www.dollinfo.com  If you go back to my site and scroll down to the bottom of the middle section of my page, there are icons of doll sites such as doll universe, auntie dot.com, DollsTop50, etc.  They will take you to  lists of doll sites too numerous for me to mention.   In addition, you will probably have to use some of the various search engines to surf around the web for sites that have information about dolls.    Often these sites have message boards where you can post your questions.   If you email someone about your doll, or when you leave information about your doll on a message board,  it would be helpful if you include the size, what it is made of, any markings on the doll such as a manufacturer's name, does it have real hair or molded, sleep eyes, etc.  The more information about it that you can describe, the easier it might be for someone to pick up on a clue.  Some of the major doll magazines, like Doll Reader have a section in their magazine where readers can submit a photo and description.  The problem with this format though, is that there is limited space to answer the many inquiries they receive, and you may not get a quick response. 
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Q:  I know who my doll is but I'd like to find out more information about her.  Where do I look?

A:  You can check out my reference books page "On the Bookshelf" where I feature some of my favorite books.   There may be a book written specifically about your doll or manufacturer, like Vogue Ginny, or the Madame Alexander Doll Company.  All of these books are available for purchase.  I highlight some of my favorites, plus I have a search button that will take you directly to amazon.com where they have over 3 million titles.  Some of these books are also  available at your local bookstore but the selection is not nearly as complete as at amazon.  A few antique stores or malls have a collectors' reference section of for sale books.  You could also check your local library for reference books on dolls.   Just as an FYI, by entering the amazon.com site through my website, as an affiliate, I get credit for each item purchased, whether it is doll related or not.  I only mention this because the proceeds I receive help me to pay for my server fees in order to keep my site up and running.  I  recommend buying items through amazon because I know that it is an easy, quick way to purchase books, videos, CDs, etc.  I order all the time and have never had a problem.  If you would bookmark my site and enter amazon through my link, I would be truly grateful to all who read this.
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Q: My doll needs a new wig, where can I find one?

A:  I wish I had the magic answer for this question, but I don't.  I have a real hard time putting a new wig on an old doll because the materials that they are made of now are different.  I have seen some really authentic looking Ginny wigs on eBay,  but they are not offered all the time and you sort of need to be in the right place at the right time to bid.  As an example, most of the new wigs that will fit a Ginny, usually have too much hair and are overpowering.  Also, some of the newer wigs have ash blonds that do not look right on the older 50s Ginnys.   These newly manufactured wigs are meant for new porcelain dolls and artist dolls.  Some of the antique dolls seem to be able to handle the newer wigs, especially if they are made of human hair.  There are some sites on the Internet that sell doll wigs. If you check some of the links on my page (located near bottom of main page, doll universe, DollsTop50, auntiedot.com, etc.) you might find some there. You can get there by clicking here http://www.dollinfo.com  and then scrolling down.   Also, you might want to try a doll hospital. They sometimes sell wigs separately.  Take your doll with you to try it on for fit.  Another solution, and this is the one I recommend,  would be to purchase a real fixer-up parts doll that is the same size and type and take the wig off that one and put it on yours. (This of course does not work on rooted hair.)
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Q: Why do sellers put reserves on the auctions? Why not just set an opening bid that would represent the amount of a "reserve"?

A: Sellers put a reserve on an item to protect themselves in case the bidding just doesn’t materialize. They should put a reserve to cover their costs, with maybe a slight profit, and then let the bidding take care of the rest. I think that starting it at a low starting point with a reserve is a psychological move. Bidders are reluctant to start out at say $300. Sometimes buyers need to ease into those high numbers even though they will get there eventually. Another reason that it is good for a seller to have a reserve is if they have a valuable doll to sell, there is always the possibility of the auction site crashing (though this is greatly improving) while the auction is in place.  Once it is back up, it may end on a day that may not get as good of traffic. Or, lets say that you list your item and  it is really a slow week for sales for some reason (holidays etc), the seller  just wants to protect themselves in case of any problems.  I kinda chuckle, however, at the people who list a 5.00 item at a starting bid of .99 then put a reserve of $5.00. What’s that all about? Why don’t they just start it at $4.99 and let it go?
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Q:  I'm looking for a ... (particular doll) ... how do I go about finding one?

A:  One thing I can do is post your request on my wish list page and perhaps someone out there has just what you are looking for.   Two other things you could do would be to check out the auction sites that I have links to  from my main page http://www.dollinfo.com   Scroll down the right side to "Going, Going, Gone," then click on any of the auction logos to get to the doll sections.   There are also several sites on the Internet that have message boards or guest books where you could also post your request.  My link to just a few various bulletin boards are also on my main page under "On the Chalkboard". 
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Q:  My mom recently found an old doll that she used to have as a child.  It was one that originally was purchased at a grocery store chain.  She has her dress but she is missing her shoes and an earring.  How do I go about finding these, can you help me?

A:  Finding missing pieces to those types of dolls that were made for grocery store chains is a challenge. They are not as popular as say, Ginny dolls, or Barbies, so there are not a lot of accessories floating around for them. You might want to try visiting the link I have on my page called "Fashionable Ladies-Glamour Dolls" if you haven't already tried. Click on http://www.dollinfo.com and scroll down the center links that will take you to that site. The lady who runs that site specializes in all types of glamour dolls and I know she has a section on Deluxe Reading. She seems to know a lot about them and might possibly be able to give you some leads. A lot of people list miscellaneous items on the auction sites because they know that there are people out there that are looking for lots of things to make their dolls complete.  I can always add the request to my Wish List.  You may also want to check in your area to see if there are any doll hospitals or some doll shows & sales where lots of doll items are in one place. Your mom can bring the doll with her and "try things on". It may be that your mom will have to find some replacement items that are not authentic but will look o.k. Just the fact that she found the doll that she remembers "loving" is special, in and of itself!
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Q: I would like to attend a local doll show & sale.  How do I go about finding one in my local area?

A: There are a couple of ways you can go about finding a local doll show in your area.  You might want to check at your local antique shops to see if they carry any advertising newspapers that deal specifically with the antiques trade.  Many of these are published monthly and are usually "give-aways" because they are loaded with advertisements of local shops,  swap meets, and a calendar of events in town.  Some of them actually have a doll and teddy bear section where doll shows generally can be found.  They usually have information from local events to national conventions.  Another suggestion is to look in the phone book under "dolls" and contact a few of the doll shops or doll hospitals and ask if they know of any upcoming events.  Generally doll shows are put on by local doll clubs.  Many times the proprietors of the shops are also members of local doll clubs, or know members of the clubs and are happy to share event information.  Once you are at a doll show, you will usually see a table near the entrance/exit, that has several flyers advertising other upcoming doll shows.     Many of them have mailing lists and would be happy to add your name.  You may not have any doll shops near you, so to find a club in your area, you can check out the United Federation of Doll Clubs website.  They can probably point you in the right direction.  Going to a local doll show is definitely a fun experience, and, a little addicting!  It is always an adventure because you never know just what you'll find!
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Q: I am looking for any information on how to order  the MyTwin dolls. These are the dolls that are made special to look like you or your child.  I can't find them on the Internet. Do you know where I can get information on these dolls?

A:  The web address for the My Twinn dolls (they use two "n"s) is http://www.mytwinn.com There you will find information and can order a catalog.
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Q:  I am 21 years old and have every doll I ever owned.  Could you let me know what will be a collector's item one day?  I would hate to give them away when they may be worth something.

A:  First off, I have to say that it is probably impossible to answer that question;  especially when you are talking about newer dolls.  Much depends on the desirability and novelty of a particular doll.  It usually takes a good 20 years or more before dolls start to become collectible,  and even then, not all will be.  If it was easy to predict which dolls would become collectible, we would all be out there stocking up on them.  Thus, there would be too many, in too pristine of condition, to develop any kind of demand.
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Q:  Do you sell any of the dolls on your site?  

A: Yes, there are some dolls on my site that are for sale, however, most of the dolls you see in the "decades of dolls" section are from my personal collection and are not for sale.    I have opened a "store" section of my site as "Kaylee's Korner Doll Shoppe".  In this section I do offer dolls, clothes, books, and miscellaneous doll related items for sale.   It is my goal to keep adding inventory to this section.  Even if you are not interested in purchasing anything it is fun to cruise around the shoppe as it has a lot of nostalgia within it as well as the rest of my site.  Click on the above link to check it out!
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I hope that one of these general FAQ's answered your question about doll collecting.  As I mentioned before, due to the increased traffic on my site, I am unable to answer every question.  Some questions are relatively easy to answer, while others take hours of researching reference materials.  Since I am not an expert, nor have I been trained as an appraiser, I am unable to, nor am I comfortable with, giving a specific value for a visitor's particular doll.  I have tried to provide you with the tools necessary to find this information on your own.  If you still have a question about your doll, please email me and I will try to help you the best I can.
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