Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fabulous Finds under $500

Now that Christmas and the holidays are nearly upon us, we may want to take note of the many doll related events taking place, as well as the various types of dolls available on the antique and secondary markets.

Antique Doll Collector Magazine is a great place to look for additions to your own collectins and for gifts for your doll collecting friends.  A subscription alone makes a wonderful gift for a doll lover.  Also there are beautiful, quality ads from top dealers in the doll world, all with prices and contact information in their ads. You can also read about upcoming auctions and exhibits. 

Antique German Bisque head, mohair wig. Marked "Germany." $85.00

Antique carved bone doll, wooden and wire armature.  From Theriault's Monday Rendezveous
Auction, this August 2014. $300.00.
Feature articles are also great ideas for buying dolls.  For instance, the March 2009 issue included a story calle "Doll Finds Under $500!" by Julie Blewis.  This well-written, color illustrated article included wonderful celluloid twins in Asian dress, three WPA puppets, Molleye Goldman dolls, composition Three Little Pigs, German all bisque animal dolls, a Heubach girl,  a vintage Eruopean cloth doll, a Madonn and Child of wood by NIADA artist Helen Buller, a wasx doll by NIADA artist Gladys MacDowell, an aritsts pair depicting Alice and The Mad Hatter, a miniature display case, and crepe paper over wire mannekins representing a family of four.   Blewis also mentions metal dolls, among my specialties, as dolls readily available in this price range. Another hint:  check out our magazine; you can buy back issues which also make great gifts for doll lovers.

The truth is that antique dolls are available in all price ranges, and there are still many wonderful dolls to be had for under $500, $100, $50.00, even under $25.00!

To prove my theory, I did a search on Ruby Lane,, and came up with the following information. My search took place October 13, 2014. There were 5,720 dolls and doll related items listed for under $500. There were 4,019 in the under $25.00 price range.  6,006 dolls were listed in the under $100.00 category, while there were $5,032 in the under $200 category. There were 5,761 dolls and doll items in the under  $50.00 price range. By way of contrast, there were $1,977 items in the less than $1000.00 price range.  Dolls in the over $1000 and over $5000 categories were listed as follows: $1000 - 4999: 1,685 and over $5000: 316.  The total dolls and doll related items listed was 30,067.  Of the 7,606 antique dolls  listed on October 12th, only 316 were over $5000! 

These figures should enourage everyone who does not have a huge budget.  While dolls that near $400,000.00  price tags get a lot of publicity, they are not the norm.  Our editor, Donna Kaonis, wrote a wonderful post for this blog on affordable dolls.  I urge everyone to reread her wise words.

If you are careful and diligent in your doll searches, you will be rewarded.  Within the last two months, I was able to purchase a 14 in. Simon and Halbig bisque headed little girl on a ball jointed body for under $150.00.  I found wonderful Japanese "frozen" dolls and penny dolls, two mint in their box wearing painted bathing suits for $20.00.  The little penny dolls cost between $1-$5.
Common china heads, blonde and bisque, can be found for under $30.00, with cloth body, and clothing.  Some have china limbs.   Nancy Ann Storybook dolls, collectible vintage dolls, can be found for $15.00 in great shape with wrist tag but no box; boxed examples can sell for $25.00.

I have found wax over composition dolls on eBay for $40.00, handmade cloth dolls for under $100 on eBay and other online auctions, Armand Marseilles dolls for around $50.00 for 11 inch examples at estate sales, and $95.00 for a 390 head on a ball jointed body, dressed in appropriate clothing at a local shop.  At one show, from a private colletcor's booth, I was able to buy a Joel Ellis doll in great shape for $375.00.

So, this little post is meant to get everyone out there looking, online, in stores, at auctions, and dol shows.  Theriault's Discovery Day and Monday Night Rendezvous auctions are wonderful plays to look; there are many fantastic dolls that are auctioned for $300 and under. The variety is endless, the bargains abound, and we collectors "toy soldier" on!

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