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How to start a fashion doll collection

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Learning how to start a fashion doll collection is easier than you think

Learning how to start a fashion doll collection is easier than you think

There are dolls meant to encourage kids to play mommy or daddy. And dolls for playing with in a certain very pink plastic house. And then there are collectible fashion dolls.  

More works of art than toys, these incredible dolls feature detailed costumes and themed accessories, and are designed to be displayed in homes, businesses and even museums. 

If you’re new to the world of collectible dolls, you might be wondering how to start a fashion doll collection. There seem to be so many choices!  Thank goodness there are some ways to make choices about what to collect…and even more importantly, what doll will be the very first one in your collection. Here are a few ideas to help you take your first step into doll collecting. 

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Do you want your dolls to have a theme? 

Some people are drawn to the intricasies of historically costumed dolls. Others can’t resist dolls dressed in today’s latest runway fashions. Many like to collect dolls from a certain culture, a genre of film or books, or dolls that represent a certain stage of life (baby dolls, teen-age dolls or elderly dolls, for example.)  Some people like serious dolls, some like humorous dolls.


And then there are people who like the variety of collecting all different kinds of dolls, and would get bored with a themed collection.

Deciding what theme (or lack of a theme) appeals to you is a good place to start your doll collection. That way you won’t spend time or money buying dolls that won’t appeal to you down the road. 

Buy from a reputable dealer

There are many dolls which look beautiful at first, but are made poorly. Their costumes will not stay together, joints may come apart and the hair can quickly dull. 

Limiting your doll buying to trusted collectible doll store or catalogs can help prevent those buying mistakes, especially while you’re a beginner. 

Do your research

There are hundreds (thousands?) of dolls you might want to buy. But before you shop, spend some time doing your homework. Look for the best examples of the dolls you want, and buy the best of those you can afford. You will never regret buying quality dolls, or passing on that cute but too-trendy choice.

Where will your dolls be displayed?

The types of fashion dolls you choose to collect will also be influenced by where you plan to display them. If you have a large display space, you will be able to select larger dolls or a more extensive collection. Those with a smaller space would probably find that a few outstanding dolls or a collection of petite figures would work better. 

Will the dolls be safe from damage? 

The availability of glass cabinets, bell jars, cloches and other ways to protect expensive, detailed dolls is another factor in how to start a fashion doll collection. If your dolls will be displayed in a home or place of business, are there issues with dust, grease or humidity that could damage unprotected dolls? Are there pets or children who might access the dolls?

If protection is limited, you might want to select less elaborately clothed dolls, at least while you’re getting started. Once you see how the new dolls do in your space, you can decide what kinds of dolls to add to your growing collection. 

Set a doll budget

When you start collecting fashion dolls, it can be hard to stop. There is always one more amazing doll you just have to have for your shelves. One more piece for your themed collection or one more accessory. 

Without a preset budget, you could end up going overboard and buying too many dolls at once. You might even start to dislike your budding collection, as you realize how much money and space you have committed to this new hobby. And there’s a good chance you could buy dolls you don’t love, but feel guilty about passing on. 

A firm doll-buying budget and time plan can help you make wiser choices, selecting dolls you’ll love for years or even decades to come.


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