Photo of doll from the Czech Republic, Wikipedia
Why collect dolls?
Why do people collect dolls? You might as well ask why people collect baseball cards or art -- the answers would be similar.
According to Wikipedia, "Dolls have been around since the dawn of human civilization, and have been fashioned from a vast array of materials, ranging from stone, clay, wood, bone, cloth and paper, to porcelain, china, rubber and plastic." With such a wide variety of dolls to chose from representing every era of human history, collectors find many reasons to chose doll collecting as a hobby.
From talking to other collectors through the years, the most common reason people collect dolls appears to be nostalgia. A lot of women gravitate to the more vintage dolls they had as children. Frequently a mother or grandmother will begin collecting dolls to have a hobby to share with a child. Men and women both enjoy historic dolls as well as dolls that represent the fashions of a particular era. Some people collect infant and newborn dolls because of their resemblance to real babies.
Some people collect celebrity dolls because of a fascination with pop culture. Dolls have been made of U.S. Presidents, supermodels, movie stars, singers, athletes and many other celebrity figures. After the death of a celebrity, any dolls with their name and likeness will usually skyrocket in price. Princess Diana dolls went for hundreds of dollars right after her death, and I saw Farrah Fawcett dolls going for between $50 and $100 on Ebay following her death in June 2009, and celebrity dolls like Elvis Presley, Princess Diana and Audrey Hepburn remain perennial favorites.
Many collectors consider dolls an investment and hope that as time passes, the value of the dolls they purchase will go up. Wikipedia states, "Nineteenth-century bisque dolls made by French manufacturers such as Bru and Jumeau may be worth almost $22,000 today."
Doll Collecting 101
I became a doll collector when I decided to try to replace my original collection of Barbie dolls, stolen from my mother's attic shortly after she died. After debating the wisdom of trying to reacquire the dolls of my youth, I plunged in and joined the frenzy that defined Barbie doll collecting in the late 1990's.
It was no simple matter of walking into a store and walking out with a vintage doll, however, as my first few attempts at buying replacements for my old dolls proved. With each foray into the Barbie collecting fray, I became more convinced that I was an uneducated novitiate, and simply not a equipped to deal with the local dealers and flee-market salesmen, not to mention the host of sellers available through the Internet, classifieds, and doll shows. After making a few purchases and later finding I had been the victim of hidden flaws or unstated problems, I knew it was time to join the ranks of the few, the proud, the educated. I needed a course in Doll Collecting 101.
If you collect dolls, feel free to share some of the reasons you collect dolls in the Comments section below. I will be passing along collecting tips in future Doll Collecting 101 articles, as well as reviewing dolls, outfits, books and events, so be sure and Subscribe so you don't miss a thing!
If you live in Nashville, you might be interested in this event to learn more about Barbie doll collecting: Barbie doll through the decades - celebrating Barbie's 50th anniversary in Nashville
For More Information:
- Doll Collecting 101: Who is Gene? Gene Marshall: fashion doll (with slideshow)
- Farrah Fawcett doll by Mego Corp - a 1977 tribute to actress Farrah Fawcett
- Elvis Presley: the 'King of Rock 'n Roll' and a real doll (with slideshow of Elvis Presley dolls)
- The Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' Barbie doll (with slideshow)
- Follow Doll Collecting Examiner on Twitter
- Become a fan of the Doll Collector Page on Facebook
- Fashion Dolls 101 Blog
- Barbie Collecting Examiner
- Subscribe to get future doll collecting news and updates