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What IS the Value of A Doll--Part II

Looking At Doll Values From A "Why I Need The Value" Perspective


Dehors Poupee at Theriault's New Orleans

Dehors Poupee at Theriault's New Orleans Auction

If you want to determine the value of a doll, it helps to know first why you want to find that doll's value. Do you need the value for insurance purposes? Do you need a value to establish an opening or reserve price for a doll on eBay? Or, do you need the value of a doll so you can make an intelligent decision about the purchase of a doll? As discussed in Part I of this article, all three of these scenarios may cause you to determine the value of your doll in a different way.

Tools For Determining Doll Value

This article assumes you have already identified your doll. If you have not, read: How To Identify Your Doll. There are various tools and resources that can help you price your doll:

    1. Price Guides and Doll Books
    2. Internet Web Sites and Price Guides
    3. Doll Magazines
    4. eBay's Completed Auctions
    5. Doll Appraisers

You will use different tools depending on why you need to find a value for your doll. For instance, if you are valuing your doll to set a start/reserve price on eBay, a formal doll appraisal which sets the "best" book value for your doll will be of little help.

Valuing Your Doll For Insurance Purposes

If you are trying to determine the value of your collection for insurance purposes, you need to find the replacement value of your collection. You should find a value that will easily allow you to replace your dolls via dealers or any other means if your dolls are damaged in a fire or other disaster or stolen (make sure that you have adequate insurance--generally, doll collections must be protected by a special rider to your insurance). To value your dolls for insurance, start with the price guides that are currently on the market, including Jan Foulke's Blue Book, now in its 16th edition. Note, however, that the market is extremely volatile right now, and books are generally sent completed to their publisher many months before the actual publication date. So, if a price book is at the end of its publication cycle (say, the end of the 2nd year after the edition is published) it could be as long as 3 years since the price research was actually done. Therefore, you might want to supplement your book research with current prices in magazines and on eBay. Keep in mind that eBay prices are generally lower than book value prices, due to a host of factors including the unavailability of the doll for personal inspection prior to purchase, and that if a book value is higher, you are generally better off with that value for insurance purposes.

Remember when valuing your dolls, however, NOT to overestimate their value. You will pay unnecessary insurance premiums for an over-valued collection. So, if your prized Shirley Temple has messy hair, replaced clothing and bad crazing, don't value the doll at the full, mint price for insurance!

Also note that many insurers will require an appraiser to appraise a collection before insuring it. Whatever you do, don't use a general antiques appraiser, find someone who can appraise dolls, through the UFDC, Auction Houses, the Internet or other means.

A Note On Doll Appraisals

If you are a true doll novice and you really don't know where to start, you can try to find a doll appraiser to value your dolls. You can find appraisers at most doll shows (for a small fee, often for charity or to support the organization organizing the show) or through doll auction houses and doll shops.

Valuing Your Doll For an eBay Sale

It doesn't help to value your doll at book value for a starting price or reserve on eBay when the last 20 of your doll sold for 50% less than that on eBay--or, 50% more. A book value (or Internet doll value Price Guide, like the one on this site), might be a good starting place but, as mentioned above, the market is quick and fluid, and you need to research the Completed Auctions on eBay. Make sure you check each auction individually--dolls that didn't meet reserve and dolls that aren't in the same condition as your doll shouldn't count. If you have a particularly rare or unusual doll that hasn't sold on eBay in the last two weeks (which is as far back as the database goes) then you WILL have to rely on published book , magazine and Internet values.

On the next page, we look at valuing a doll to make a doll purchase.

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