Finding dolls of all types is relatively easy today, especially with access to worldwide sources online, 24 hours a day. But, online sources of dolls are not the complete story, and there are many other important sources of antique, vintage and modern dolls. Here are some sources of dolls for you to consider.
1. eBay and Similar Web SitesYou've probably heard of eBay, and if you are a doll collector, chances are you will buy some dolls there. eBay and other online auction sites have become one of the most popular ways to buy dolls for collectors of all type. On eBay, you will find over 150,000 dolls lof all types isted for sale at any one time. As with any online shopping, there are risks involved so you should research ways to protect yourself before purchasing dolls online.
2. Online StoresAuction are not the only way to purchase dolls online. Many stores all over the world sell their dolls online. You can find doll shops online via search engines such as Google and Bing. As with eBay and other auction sites, be sure to research the online shop you are purchasing from prior to purchase. At minimum, be sure the shop is not a fly-by-night, and if you are making a major purchase, consider getting references, especially if the shop does not have a well-known reputation.
3. Doll ShopsIf you are lucky enough to have a local doll shop, it is a fantastic opportunity to see and inspect the dolls you are buying prior to purchase. Some doll shops specialize only in modern dolls, others carry only antique and vintage dolls, and some carry dolls from all eras. Many doll shops have closed during recent econommic difficulties, so if you have the resource of a local doll shop available, you should support it.
4. AuctionsBricks and Mortar auction houses often sell dolls. Some companies, such as McMaster's and Theriault's, specialize in dolls only. Other auction houses, such as Sotheby's and Skinner's, occassionally sell dolls. One way to find out when these companies is running doll auctions is to watch their online web sites. Another (more expensive) way is to subscribe to their auction catalogs. The auction catalogs are often valuable doll reference guides, with beautiful color photos. Most online auction houses today also offer some form of online bidding as well.
5. Estate SalesEstate sales can be an excellent way to obain dolls from original owners. Some smaller doll collections are also offered in estate sales after a collector dies. To find estate sales, scan the classified ads of your local newspaper as well as online classified ads. Some estate sales are conducted in auction format.
6. Garage SalesGarage sales are very similar to estate sales, and although it is exceedingly rare today, valuable dolls can sometimes still be found for low prices. Similar to estate sale, garage sales can be time consuming and also a bit hit or miss.
7. Antique ShopsOften you can find antique and vintage dolls at antique shops and malls. Surprisingly, many general antique dealers don't know very much about dolls. Therefore, you need to have a buyer beware attitude and know something about the type of doll you are purchasing and pricing when shoping at general antique stores and malls for dolls.
8. Doll ShowsIf you live in a larger town or city, you may be able to attend a local doll show. Doll shows are fantastic places to see dolls available from many dealers all at once. Often, workshops, competitions, and some educational seminars are held at the shows. Some shows (like Gaithersberg) focus on antique dolls, others only on Barbie dolls, and some are general and offer a wide variety.
9. Doll ConventionsDoll conventions are a bit like doll shows, only better and with more educational opportunities. Often held over a period of a long weekend or even a week, doll conventions often have choice dealers offering dolls in the salesroom, auctions and even doll trading. Extensive seminars, workshops and lectures usually are a part of doll conventions.
10. Doll ClubsMany doll clubs offer a period of time for doll sales or trading either prior to or after the club meeting. Trading can be a low-cost or no-cost way to add new dolls to your collection.