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Saturday, February 13, 2016

The value of secondhand dolls

Since starting this blog, I have had a lot of questions about the value of AG dolls that readers have purchased secondhand.  Buying tips for second hand dolls

Most questions I receive about the value of a doll or the age of a doll I can not really answer for a couple of reasons.  First, as far as I know, AG has never released a list of their dolls neckstamps and tag markings to enable collectors to precisely confirm a doll's age.  However, there are a lot of places on the web to research and ask questions to try and narrow this question down. Second, value is VERY relative and personal.  Let me explain:


This is my Molly doll.  She is a Pleasant Company doll.  She has a tan body, but no body tag.  I THINK she may be from the late 1980s.  I don't really know exactly.  I purchased her from a thrift store and she was VERY dirty and covered in dust.  About 2 inches of her hair has been cut, her limbs are loose, her hair has lost it's lustre, BUT, she is invaluable to me.  You see her value to me is "personal".  When I restore a doll her value to me is increased.  To a serious collector she would be a 'dime a dozen Molly' and not necessarily very valuable as a collectible doll, because her hair has been cut, but to me she is MY Molly.

This is Elle.  She is a Pleasant Company Elizabeth Cole doll.    She is possibly a pre-mattel, but I can not be certain. American Girl does not have any available records for their neckstamps and numbering.  The best anyone can do is look online and pick the brains of other AG collectors.  The AG doll community is FULL of lovely helpful doll lovers.

 Elle had some problems when I got her. She had nail polish on her nails.  She had a bit of hair near her face cut off.  She was dirty and her hair needed some restoring. She is my model for most of my care and cleaning post.  AG doll care & cleaning

I bought Elle on ebay to be a raffle doll, but the raffle never took place.  After cleaning her up and fixing her hair, Sophie and I fell in love, so she became Beth's twin sister. How Beth & Elle found each other

This is Grace.  She is Sophie's very first doll.  She was bought from AG.  After her hand was chewed by a pet we decided not to send her to the doll hospital.  A very helpful AG store employee explained that the doll hospital either replaces the whole body or the whole head, not just one limb.  Sophie and I realized that OUR Grace would be gone, so Sophie decided to keep her as she was. 
I have seen so many AG dolls that have been given 'makeovers' when their girl's were young.  Strange haircuts, lipcolor, nailpolish, etc, but most of these girls would not change a thing or send them to the doll hospital because they would not be their doll anymore.

Most of our dolls were purchased secondhand.  Almost all of them needed a little cleaning or other work.  All our dolls are priceless to us because we love them! That is why I say I am not a 'serious collector'.  I am not interested in a doll's monetary value, or how much I could sell her for.  My daughter and I judge by only one thing, does this doll bring us joy?

I guess my point is, if you want a perfect flawless AG doll buy a new doll.  Please. You will be happier.

If you want to learn about restoring and cleaning second hand dolls then by all means get a secondhand doll.  It is a joy to make a discarded doll lovely again.  I derive so much pleasure from this process that I can't imagine buying a new doll except for very special occasions, like a little girl's first trip to the AG store.  Buying a new doll is a must!

SO, enjoy your dolls however they came to you.  If you want to purchase a secondhand doll to save money, do your research and ask lots of questions of the seller.  Be prepared for any secondhand doll to have issues not visible in pictures.  That is just the price of buying secondhand, but it can be an opportunity as well!  Whichever way you add to your collection, remember, your doll's value is not relevant to anyone but YOU!

Here are a couple useful articles:

AG dolls most likely to increase in value
Collectible American Girl Dolls
AmericanGirl/AG
(This link above is a little out of date)



18 comments:

Flo said...

Very well put! I have both dolls I've purchased used and brand new and I love them all. I don't think of them in terms of monetary value either. Or how much they will be worth in the future. I used to work somewhere that sold limited edition prints and people would try and get us to say what we thought something would be worth later. Truthfully, it's like playing the stock market. A collectible is only worth what you can get someone else to pay for it. Buy it because you like it. I think of all of those people who bought Beanie Babies like crazy. They were going to retire on the money they would make or put a kid through college. Now you can't give them away, I see them in bags at thrift stores all the time.

Brenda and Sophie said...

So true! I see those beanie babies everywhere! I knew you would feel the same as I do about your dolls. :)

dollsbetweenus said...

I came to visit from Flo's blog 😃 She is a very bad influence on me LOL.
We just had our first eBay doll buying experience... I was very nervous but my husband was gung-ho and we will have Lanie joining us soon!

Canadian Doll Notebook said...

I also love fixing up dolls, it's so rewarding! There is nothing better than finding that special doll secondhand!

Linda Reynolds said...

I couldn't have said it any better! I love all my dolls. Several are new and several are preloved. My latest Samantha was $4.20 at a thrift store. The neck strings have been replaced with a zip tie. My Kristen was my daughter's doll. She's a Pleasant Company doll. Her hair cannot be combed out. I inquired about sending her to the A G hospital for a new wig. They told me they would just replace her head. I couldn't let her go because I love her face just the way it is.

Linda Reynolds said...

Did you get my comment or did I miss sending it?

Brenda and Sophie said...

Flo is a VERY bad influence! :) There is nothing more exciting than getting a doll in the mail! Congratulations on your Lani!

Brenda and Sophie said...

Canadian dolls - Me too! I am always on the lookout for my next project doll. I told myself no more buying dolls, but, if I find a thrift store doll OK!!

Brenda and Sophie said...

@ Linda - Have you tried son of a gun and/or using a ceramic flat iron on Kirsten's hair? I'm glad that you didn't send her to the hospital. I was glad we met with that store employee who explained how the hospital works! I might do it for a newer doll that had some extreme damage, but otherwise - no.

Brenda and Sophie said...

@ Linda - Yep I got it! We were at a baseball game today so I was a little slow getting back to the blog. :)

Flo said...

What? Me? Bad influence????? NEVER! LOL!

Brenda and Sophie said...

Uh, YES, yes you are!! Just when I convince myself that my doll quiver is full YOU get a new doll and take lovely pictures of how beautiful she is!!!! hehe

Amanda Sullivan said...

I have an opportunity to buy a Rebecca Rubin doll for $50 locally, her hair has been badly chopped to what I could fix to look like a short bob but she is missing her barrett, one shoe, bloomers and black socks. Is it worth it? I love her face but I also don't want to get ripped off for a beat up doll...

Brenda and Sophie said...

Amanda - Right now ebay has Rebecca Rubin dolls for around $52 opening bid. The AG doll hospital charges $44 for a head replacement. To rewig her would stop her being a Rebecca Rubin doll. There was another Rebecca doll on ebay for $89.99 'buy it now' price. I personally would not buy this doll for $50, unless for some reason this doll has just gotten into your heart. There are Rebecca dolls out there for a little more without the haircut. Hope this helps :)

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with your post. I rescued my first "preloved" (love that expression) two years ago and was hooked. I now have 16 dolls in my collection and each one has a special place in my heart. I love them, not for their value, but for the joy they give me. My granddaughter's favorite doll from my collection is a "Playwonder" that I got at Goodwill for 99 cents. She cleaned up beautifully and has given my granddaughter hours of doll play fun. I try to pass on that fun to other little girls by giving away restored dolls at Christmas.
Fawn

Brenda and Sophie said...

Fawn - we have a lot of like minded doll lovers here! I get so much joy from restoring and giving away dolls too. My little niece just got a beautiful doll from a thrift store that looked like a Bitty Baby but was a German brand. Her hair was the same as an AG doll's! She loves that doll which makes me fell so happy. :)

Brenda and Sophie said...

@Linda AG used zip ties for a short time so the doll that has zip ties is rare. They changed back to strings cause collectors liked being able to remove heads for cleaning and tightening limbs

Canadian Doll Notebook said...

You got it Linda!