Introduction to doll collecting

Basic advice for those starting a doll collection, including tips on finding rare, valuable dolls, how to care for your collection, and deciding which dolls to collect.

How does a man who has spent his professional career in various fields of Engineering know anything at all about collecting dolls? Well easy - he is raised by a mother who is an avid doll collector, and then goes on to marry a girl who like-wise loves to collect dolls. In the process you start picking up a few things, until one day you find yourself hunting through e-Bay to find just the right doll for a Christmas present to a love one.

Like with any other hobby, there are a few basic things that any new collector should know about the hobby. Below I have listed several of the more important ones.

Deciding what dolls to collect:

When starting a doll collection, it is best to decide early on the type of dolls that you want to collect. While some may stress a well-balanced collection as something to shoot for, the novice collector should be mindful of his budget when deciding what dolls to collect. By identifying the types of dolls to collect early, you can establish clear collecting goals and budgets for your collection. Setting goals on what to collect can have the added bonus of helping you decide where to look and what tactics to use when buying a doll for your collection. In the beginning it's usually best to concentrate on the dolls you like that are within your budget. For example my wife began her collection by buying some of the collectible Barbie dolls found in your basic discount store. As she learned more about the hobby, she began to specialize on Barbie dolls whose dresses were created by famed designer Bob Mackie.



Having a proper hobby education:

How do you know what you should pay for a doll? How do you know which dolls are common and which dolls are rare? How can you tell an antique doll from one that is just a good reproduction? To answer these and many other questions that will surface as you begin to collect, you need to educate yourself on the hobby. There are many different publications available to collectors to help them learn the hobby. These include books and magazines on pricing, different types of collectible dolls, and many other areas of interests to collectors. Along with the publications it helps to get to know doll shop owners, and ask questions of sellers at shows. Having knowledge of the hobby can keep you from overspending on a doll.

Where to find your dolls:

There is no set answer to where you should go to buy dolls for your collections. I have found some really nice dolls to give to my wife as gifts in on-line auctions. But there are also doll shops, and shows for collectors. Bargain hunters can also try flea markets, garage sales, estate sales, and thrift shops. While shops and shows for collectors can offer some remarkable and at times rare dolls to collectors, it is rare to find a bargain there since the sellers are very knowledgeable of what they are selling. Garage sales and flea markets on the other hand can offer great deals. Sometimes these deals may include dolls that are not in great conditions. Such dolls can sometimes be taken to "doll doctors" to be refurbish. As always, be mindful of your budget as you are deciding where to look for your dolls.

Important Factors to consider when buying a doll:

Collecting dolls can quickly turn into a rather expensive hobby, and there are various factors to consider before spending your money on the doll you want. First and foremost is the condition of the doll. Is the doll still "Mint In Box," or in other words, is it still sealed up in its original box and thus in mint condition or "MIB" for short? For modern dolls this is of utmost importance. Is the box in good shape? For antique dolls not in their box, you may want to check that it has its original hair and clothing. Also, check for marks and cracks on the body of the doll. Be especially careful with your inspection of the dolls head, as this carries a heavier value than the rest of the doll.

Taking Care of your Collection:

Once a doll is purchased, there still remains the issue of taking care of your collection. There are certain basic things to remember when caring for your doll. For one, do not store the dolls were they are exposed to smoke, sunlight or intense fluorescent lighting. All of these are harmful to your dolls. Those who have wooden dolls should never wet their dolls when cleaning them. The water will leave behind stains on the doll. Remember to periodically check the dolls you have in storage, to maintain them dry as well as safe from being crushed by heavier objects. Finally, consider a glass case for displaying the more valuable dolls in your collection.

These are but a few of the basic things you need to know to get started as a doll collector. As you begin to grow your collection, you will be able to acquire more and more knowledge of the hobby. The increase knowledge will help you make wise decisions and ultimately help you enjoying your collection.

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