Dolls seem favorite items in the antiques and collectibles world. Originally made for play, they are sought by collectors looking to relive happy childhoods, as well as by others who appreciate the beauty and workmanship that many dolls represent. Collectible dolls run the gamut from ancient to new, quality to rudimentary and rare to run-of-the-mill. If you own collectible dolls and want to sell some or all of them, you'll find the task a fun endeavor.
Gather your items so that each doll has its own clothing and accessories. If you have original tags, labels and boxes, include them. Dolls with their original accessories and packaging are often more desirable than those without. Dirty clothing should be gently hand washed. If doll faces and appendages are dirty, clean them with a damp rag if it can be done without causing damage.
Determine the identity of your dolls. Many dolls have tags and labels that identify the maker and the doll's specific name or model number. Many boxes also have identifying information. Browse through collectibles books and catalogs to find your dolls. The more information you have, the better you'll be able to find eager buyers for your specific dolls.
Gauge the approximate value of your dolls by looking at doll catalogs and price guides. You'll learn what accessories your items need to have for maximum value and what the condition requirements are. Search for your dolls in the Completed Listings section of eBay to see recent sales. Doll shows concentrate a lot of dolls -- and doll experts -- in one place. Take your dolls, and ask the experts questions about product identification and value. Doll shows can also serve as your first venue to sell your dolls; there might be dealers eager to acquire your items.
Get the word out about your dolls. One excellent way to sells dolls quickly is eBay. Craigslist will also attract consumers looking for dolls. Use the information you've gathered, and be as specific as you can when describing your items. Information about size and condition are crucial in attracting buyers. Clear, detailed pictures and unambiguous descriptions will give buyers confidence in your listings.
Answer inquiries and requests for additional pictures quickly. Don't give the customer an opportunity to go elsewhere for his purchase. Be prepared to accept offers you can live with. Counteroffer if you need to. Don't expect full, retail value from your sale. Collectors expect discounts when they are buying from non-professionals, and dealers need to make their own investments to find customers at full price.
Once you've agreed on a price, complete the deal by taking payment and transferring possession of the items to the buyer. If you are selling online, pack your items carefully so they arrive in good condition. Porcelain dolls should have their porcelain parts carefully padded and be placed in a large box with enough packing to ensure there is no movement of fragile parts inside the box.
Things You'll Need
- Doll guide books and catalogs
- Packing materials
- Be optimistic if your dolls are in pristine condition. You will be successful. There are many doll collectors out there waiting for your special treasure!
- Don't be disappointed if you don't get the price you listed. In this economy, people will try to negotiate the price down or wait until you, the buyer, relist the item at a lower price or bid.
- Do not let an antique store give you the lowest price. Make sure you have done your homework. Be calm and able to bargain, to hold firm, and to know when to fold!
Robert Lewis has been writing do-it-yourself and garden-related articles since 2000. He holds a B.A. in history from the University of Maryland and has training experience in finance, garden center retailing and teaching English as a second language. Lewis is an antiques dealer specializing in Chinese and Japanese export porcelain.