Collectible Dolls

The wonderful world of doll collections

One of the reasons collectible dolls are so popular is their unmatched ability to bring back wonderful memories of childhood and the simpler days. Almost everyone can remember at least one beloved doll from their younger years, even if it was one they couldn't have at the time for one reason or another. Thankfully, doll collecting can put that right!

There are so many different kinds of dolls to collect that it can be hard to pick just one, but most people already have a particular type in mind when they start. For those who are still trying to figure out which is the best collectible doll for them, it's best to do a little research and take a look at each of the popular types to see which fits your personality and budget.

Cabbage Patch Kids

One kind of collectable dolls that have enjoyed a recent surge in popularity are the Cabbage Patch Kids and Babies. First introduced in 1978 by Xavier Roberts under the name "Little People", the originals were sculpted by hand according to Roberts' personal design. Natural variation in material and technique made each original doll a one-of-a-kind treasure for the lucky child who received it. These original Little People have been known to sell at auction for $25,000 and up.

Cabbage Patch KidCabbage Patch Kid

A few years later, with the popularity of the Little People soaring, a mass-produced version with a vinyl head was introduced and the name was changed to Cabbage Patch Kids. After a short decline in popularity, the "Kids" have returned to the spotlight with a new, updated look that still manages to retain the appeal of the original.  Avid collectors still rush to scoop up the latest Cabbage Patch issues, making them one of the most popular collectable dolls of all time.

Barbie Doll

Probably the most highly recognized collectible doll in the world is the Barbie doll. With her ever-smiling face and parade of fashions, Barbie has been a beloved part of thousands of collectors' lives since her introduction in the 1960's. Every year, Barbies are created with new fashions and new themes, all the while continuing to be relatively inexpensive and therefore excellent for the beginning collector.

Barbies aren't just child's play anymore, though! In addition to the regularly issued dolls, Mattel has started releasing some higher quality collectable dolls that fetch considerably higher prices than the ones on the toy store shelves. Some of these Collector's Edition Barbies are even cast in porcelain and decorated with Swarovski crystals for the discerning collector.

Barbie DollBarbie Doll

Madame Alexander Dolls

Madame Alexander DollMadame Alexander Doll

When you think of high-quality collectible dolls, one of the first kinds that comes to mind are the exquisitely detailed dolls of Madame Alexander. The tradition of these beautiful dolls goes back to the 1920's when the first all cloth dolls were created from Madame Alexander's own imagination. Over the next nine decades, the dolls' composition was changed from cloth to harder-wearing plastic, as the creator's first aim was to make dolls that could be played with.

Madame Alexander dolls are still being produced to her exacting standards, with more than 90 years worth of collectible dolls for collectors to choose from.

Annalee Dolls

No discussion of collectable dolls would be complete without mention of Annalee Dolls, some of the most exquisite and artistic dolls you'll find. With mice, rabbits and other animals dressed in seasonal garb, they are truly collectibles to be cherished.

Annalee DollAnnalee Doll

Ashton Drake Dolls

Ashton Drake DollAshton Drake Doll

While most of these companies specialize in one kind of dolls, the Ashton-Drake Galleries feature vinyl, hard plastic and porcelain collectable dolls, making them one of the most prolific doll companies in the world.  There are so many different Ashton Drake Dolls available that some collectors prefer just to stay within one line, such as the "Precious Moments" line or their reputed porcelain bride line.

Porcelain Collectible Dolls

Of course, porcelain dolls themselves have quite a following in the collectible world. There are many collectors whose doll collections feature nothing but porcelain dolls from well-known companies such as Lee Middleton and smaller newcomers like Bronwen Porcelain dolls.

Collectors of porcelain dolls often search auctions and estate sales for antique dolls, some of which date back to the Victorian era or earlier. Porcelain collectible dolls are in fact so popular and so varied that we have created them a page of their very own.

Collectible Porcelain Angel DollCollectible Porcelain Angel Doll

Today's Collectible Doll Marketplace

With so many different types of dolls encompassing so many eras, the Internet has become a doll collector's paradise for buying, selling and trading collectible dolls. Where before it could take months for a fellow collector to respond to an ad placed in a doll collections magazine or newsletter, online bulletin boards and classified ads can be answered in a matter of minutes! Ebay has also revolutionized the collectible doll world by having hundreds of valuable dolls available for auction at any time of the day. Doll clubs now meet online and are able to share tips and advice easily, giving doll collectors a world of valuable resources to explore from the comfort of their own home.

Caring for your doll collection

Once you've decided on your favorite type of doll, you're going to want to protect her from breakage as well as dust, moisture and damaging UV light. This can always be accomplished by keeping your dolls in their boxes, but what fun is that? The best option for beginning doll collectors is to invest in protective glass or plastic cases that allow the doll to be viewed from all angles without being excessively handled. Most of these cases come complete with a wire doll stand in the base so you can show your new treasure off in all her glory.

More advanced collectors, or those with extremely valuable collectable dolls may choose to purchase a museum-quality showcase for their dolls, which are airtight and constructed of special UV-filtering glass or plastic. Keep in mind that these are extremely expensive, so if you're just beginning your doll collection you might want to start saving now!

Most of all, remember that dolls were originally created for people's enjoyment. While it is always a triumph to find the one that completes your doll collection, remember to have fun and think of it as more than just an investment. After all, what makes a doll most valuable is how much a collector cherishes it.

Additional Articles

Read more about collectible dolls on our African American Dolls, dollhouse miniatures, Blythe Dolls, Dora The Explorer Dolls, Gene Dolls, Raggedy Ann Dolls, Corolle Dolls, Collectible Baby Dolls, Collectible Cloth Dolls and Simpsons Dolls & Collectibles pages.

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