How to Price a Collectible Doll

By Louise Harding
Pricing a collectible doll takes a lot of research and comparison.

Dolls reach collectible status because of their history, limited production quantity, popular cinematic tie-in or simply because they are rare. Learning to a price a collectible doll requires research and comparisons with current market values. If your doll is extremely rare, pricing it is difficult without the aid of a professional doll appraiser. For the most accurate doll value, consult the doll maker’s website or company-specific price guides when you have a marked doll. As with most collectibles, though, an item is worth what a consumer is willing to pay for it.

Find any markings on your doll. Markings are generally found on the doll’s back, the back of the head, the lower torso, inner thigh, or bottom of the foot. Note the company, doll’s name, date, patent number, country of origin or any other information stamped, embossed, pressed, painted or drawn onto the doll. A marked doll can be investigated specifically. An unmarked doll must be researched by comparing photographs and details of identical or similar dolls.

Search for identical or similar dolls on online auction sites, noting the details and starting bids. For websites that allow access to archived closed auctions, note the price for which the doll sold. According to Ebay Guides, the doll’s condition, age, and popularity all play a part in the doll’s value.

Find information about your marked doll on the manufacturer’s website. You won't always find specific details about your doll, but sometimes a photo of a mint doll will be posted along with the original production date. Contact the customer service department to obtain more information if an email address or telephone number is listed.

Read current price guides for marked dolls, such as dolls from Effanbee, Arranbee, Vogue, Franklin Mint, Cabbage Patch and Mattel. Price guides are usually valid for one year because doll values change over time. Dolls such as Barbie, Ginny, the Patsy family of Effanbee dolls, Shirley Temple, and Terry Lee dolls have their own price guides because of their popularity. Write down the price for the doll or similar doll. Price guides can assist you in determining the doll’s condition and value, according to the Antique Antique website. The guides also have photographs for comparison.

Compare the prices you’ve found during your investigation. Typically, your doll will be worth more than the lowest price, but not as much as the highest price unless your doll meets "mint" criteria. It’s safe to assume that your collectible doll has a value somewhere in the middle of the prices you’ve discovered, unless you have the exact doll noted in a price guide.

Tip

Doll values in price guides are based on the doll being in "mint" condition, never removed from the box, never played with and in the original clothing with all original accessories. A doll that has been played with is worth significantly less than the price quoted in a price guide. When attempting to sell a doll, many sellers list the doll, no matter the condition, with the highest value listed in the guides. This is not the value of the doll unless the doll meets the "mint-condition" criteria. Seek the services of a professional doll appraiser if you cannot find the same or similar doll to compare to your own.

About the Author

Louise Harding holds a B.A. in English language arts and is a licensed teacher. Harding is a professional fiction writer. She is mother to four children, two adopted internationally, and has had small businesses involving sewing and crafting for children and the home. Harding's frugal domestic skills help readers save money around the home.