How to Collect Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls

By Jennifer Claerr

Nancy Ann Storybook dolls have been on the market since 1936. Since then, companies such as K & H have produced Nancy Ann knockoffs. Other manufacturers have made imitation dolls, such as Mayfair and Princess dolls. Early Nancy Ann dolls are all bisque, but there is a later doll made entirely of plastic. The value of Nancy Ann dolls varies significantly depending on the type, its condition and the year it was made.

Check to see whether the doll has its original box. This is one of the best indications that a Nancy Ann collectible doll is authentic. The Nancy Ann dolls produced between 1936 and 1939 have boxes with a sunburst pattern. Boxes made from 1937-1938 are accompanied by a gold label. Boxes produced from 1938-1939 have silver dots. Box designs created in 1940 have a colored background and white dots. Those made from 1941-1947 are white with colored dots.

Look at the markings on the doll's back. Nancy Ann dolls produced in 1936 read "Made in Japan." This marking may be preceded by the number "87" or "88." Dolls produced in 1937 and 1938 also read "Made in Japan" along with the numbers "1146" or "1148." In some cases, these dolls may have a marking of "America." Nancy Ann dolls produced in 1939 read "Storybook USA" or "Judy Ann USA." Dolls made in 1940 read "Story Book Doll USA."

Check for a gold sticker or tag. You can find this important sign of the authenticity of Nancy Ann Storybook dolls in different places depending on when the doll was made. There is a gold sticker attached to the dresses of dolls made from 1936-1940. You can identify dolls made after 1941 by their gold wrist tag.

Look at the doll's body type. The baby dolls made in 1936 are only 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 inches tall. Some dolls produced in 1937 and 1938 have molded hair, and others made in 1938 and 1939 have molded socks or bangs. Nancy Ann dolls from 1940 may have the "pudgy" body. These are more valuable than the "slim-strung" body type, which was produced around the same time. Both pudgy and slim-strung dolls have jointed legs. Dolls made from 1943-1947 have "frozen legs," which are immovable at the hip. Later, "frozen leg" dolls had plastic arms.

Check the condition of the doll, as flaws and damage reduce the dolls' value. Common issues include crazing, mussed hair, discoloration, torn and soiled clothing, detached limbs and missing pieces. Also, many Nancy Ann Storybook dolls came with accessories and are not worth as much without them. Broken dolls with missing parts can be worth money. Still, you shouldn't pay too much.

Refer to a current price guide to see what your doll is really worth. If buying online, get as many pictures of the doll and accessories as possible. Never make an offer or bid that's too high, especially if the doll has condition problems.

About the Author

Jennifer Claerr is a web writer who has written for online sites such as Demand Studios, NBC5i.com, Texas.com and PC.com. She has a degree in art from the University of Texas at Arlington. She writes on a variety of topics, including holidays, health and fitness, travel, computers and art.