What Sells: Antique Dolls & Collectible Dolls

Antique doll collecting is the second largest collectors’ hobby in the United States (after stamp collecting). If you ask any group of doll collectors why they started, chances are you will get a variety of reasons that are as diverse as the collectors themselves.

Not surprisingly, children are often the catalysts for doll collecting by adults. In buying gifts for their own child or a child of a friend or relative, adults are exposed, maybe for the first time in years, to dolls. For many people, collecting is a form of nostalgia, tangible evidence of fond childhood memories.

What Sells

Top-selling brands include:
Research Resources

The following websites have photos and other information that can help you identify and describe your items:







Look for these signs of wear and tear:

  • Broken or missing limbs
  • Cracks, chips and crazing on bisque and porcelain dolls
  • Restyled, cut or matted hair
  • Tears, holes, loose seams and missing tags on clothing
  • Discoloration, fading, ink stains and other marks
  • Odors (cigarette smoke, musty smells from storage)
  • Torn, crushed or otherwise damaged packaging
  • Missing shoes, purses, hats and other accessories
Key Details

Include these details in your listing:
  • Brand
  • Model name/number (if known)
  • Gender
  • Material (bisque, vinyl, etc.)
  • Age (if known)
  • If a Certificate of Authenticity is included
  • If ever removed from box
  • Other descriptive terms (hair color, eye color, clothing, etc.)

Some antique dolls have been reissued as reproductions, so ask the owner how they acquired the item.

Storage and Shipping

Keep antique dolls in their original packaging in a well-ventilated room, away from children, pets, smoke and cooking odors. Don’t place items in direct sunlight or next to heating vents or air conditioners either, since the temperature/humidity changes can cause damage.

Wrap each item individually in plastic to protect it from moisture, bubble wrap it and place it in a sturdy box in a bed of packing peanuts for shipment to the buyer.

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