Have you decided to thin out your doll collection, or perhaps you have inherited an antique doll from a family member that you wish to liquidate. What ever the reason, many people really do not know where to start, or how to get the best price for an unwanted doll.
If you suspect that the doll you have is an antique, it is very important to do your homework before you set out to actually sell the doll. There are many price guides and collector books available for antique dolls so a good place to start is your local library. If you really have no idea how to identify your doll through these means, and still feel by its history that it is antique and or a collectible, it is probably a good idea to look into having the doll appraised. This can be inexpensive, and well worth having done if your doll turns out to be a valuable item.
There are many factors to keep in mind when selling your doll, even after you have identified what you have, and have a current market value on the doll. As a private seller, it is very difficult if not impossible to find a buyer that will pay you book price for your doll. People who buy privately, whether for resale or for their own collections are not prepared to pay book price for a doll. They know the risks involved in doing so. Book price is reserved for those reputable dealers, whose good name and knowledge are a large reason why a collector will pay the extra to buy their dolls in such places.
For this reason, when you are selling privately, don’t expect to get the same prices.
Also keep in mind that book prices are based on dolls in excellent condition, with minimal wear, original clothing and wig and many other features.
I have had people see their doll in a book, valued at $500. Their actual doll however may be bald, need stringing, have not clothing and a cracked head. Instead of $500. their doll may only realize $50.
So you have now identified your doll, and have decided on a fair value based on your particular doll and circumstances. Where to go from there.
There are many options. First and most obvious is to take out a classified ad in your local paper. It may surprise you to learn that there is another collector close by who may be interested in what you are selling, particularly if the price is right.
You can also take your doll to local antique dealers, or doll sellers. Remember to be very fair in your asking price, as these dealers have to purchase based on what they hope to be able to resell the doll for in their shops. Some dealers however will be happy to work with you if your price is right. I have also worked with customers by selling their dolls in my shop on a consignment basis, where the mark-up can be less and the customer may realize a higher price than if I purchased outright. This can be a good option if you do not mind waiting for the money for your doll.
The last few years have seen a huge influx of antique dolls being sold on e-bay. This is another good option for a potential doll sale. If using this method, be sure to set a reserve on the doll if you have a minimum amount you will be happy to receive. Also bear in mind that you will have to pack and ship the doll well. Shipping damage on an antique doll is simply unacceptable. You can end up loosing your doll and the money you realized by selling her. If she has open/shut eyes, you will have to remove the wig, and stuff the head with tissue paper to avoid having the eyes knock about and potentially break, or break the porcelain head. Be very sure of your packing ability before considering this option of sale