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Introduction to Doll Collecting: How to Value Your Doll

Thursday, July 16, 2009 @ 01:07 PM Karen Hood

If you know which doll you have, here is how to find out what the doll is worth.

What You Need:

  • doll
  • price books
  • specialized doll books
  • computer
  • internet connection


  1. Determine the condition of your doll.
  2. The 16th Blue Book of Dolls by Jan Foulke and Doll Values by Patsy Moyer are good starting places to determine “book value” of your doll.
  3. If you have a Barbie, Madame Alexander, composition doll or another doll from a popular category, you can also consult specialized books to determine book value.
  4. Most book values are for dolls in excellent condition. If your doll is less than excellent, your doll is worth much less. Many post-1960s dolls are often quoted for NRFB (never removed from box) or MIB (mint in box) prices–if you doll does not have the box, deduct 50% at minimum.
  5. Book values are useful but won’t tell you the actual market value of your doll. For market value, search online auctions such as eBay or a price guide that reports actual selling prices, such as the Official Price Guide to Dolls by Denise Van Patten.
  6. To find market value on eBay, go to the Dolls section. Check the “Search only in Dolls” box. Form your search and send it. This takes you to Current Auctions–click on “Completed Auctions” to get the values from auctions that are completed.
  7. Now, check the closing auction prices in the Completed Auctions area. Be SURE to open up the individual auctions, since prices for dolls that don’t meet reserves will be unnaturally low. These auction results will appear in a red font. Also, check the descriptions carefully to see the condition of the dolls that have sold.
  8. The closing auction prices give you a fair idea of market value. Dolls often sell for more than online auction prices at doll shops, auction houses and doll shows, since buyers online do not get to see the doll in person.
  9. You can also research doll values at doll shows, live auctions, and at web sites selling dolls.
  10. If all else fails, you can find doll appraisers at doll shows, doll shops and online which will appraise dolls for various fees. Sometimes, doll appraisers also appear at general antique shows.


  1. Condition is all-important! Dolls that are dirty, played with and without their original clothes, or dolls that are damaged are often valued at a fraction of book value.
  2. Doll sales to dealers are usually at 40 to 60% of book value. This helps cover a dealer’s overhead and allows the dealer a small profit in reselling the doll.
  3. Remember that eBay will help you evaluate current market values, but that prices on eBay are generally discounted for buyers NOT being able to inspect a doll in person.

by Denise Van Patten

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