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Contemporary Collectible Dolls - Is There A Future?

By Michael Russell

In this article we're going to speculate on the future of collectible dolls based on some current day observations.

One fact about the recent collectible doll trend that is pretty certain is that people will most likely always continue to collect them. That is not the issue that is in question in this article. What is in question is if we'll be collecting these dolls simply for our own enjoyment or if there will continue to be a market for new collectible dolls.

Back in the days when dolls were merely playthings, most of the dolls that people bought were eventually thrown away or ended up collecting dust in an attic. Doll collecting was not a common pursuit and collectors of rare items didn't go through the trouble of hunting high and low for a certain doll, paying serious money for it and then bringing it home only to let it sit in its box on a shelf. But that is the reality of today's collectors. All because one day somebody realized that all these original dolls like the early Barbie dolls and G.I. Joe were slowly disappearing from the world and that maybe they might be worth something. And then it started on a broad scale.

The guides started coming out telling people that a 1959 Barbie doll could get them $2500 at a sale if they could find one. That's when the craze started. It was like somebody had told the human race that their oxygen supply was about to run out if they didn't all jump off a cliff. People started running to garage sales, antique shows, novelty shops, and then when the Internet became as popular as it is today, they started to hit every auction site they could find, not just to buy but also to sell if they had anything worth selling.

The problem with this new attitude about old things was that people began to think it would carry over to newer things that they purchased. Whenever someone saw a new doll they would buy it, hoping that someday it would be worth a lot of money and they would have something either for their retirement or to pass along to their children. The problem with that thinking is that the reason the old dolls were actually worth something was because people didn't keep them. Most ended up in the trash. But with the new attitude of saving everything and anything, the value of the newer dolls, even years later, was getting to nowhere near the current value of the older dolls. To give you an idea of this problem, a doll that was purchased 10 years ago for say $20 wouldn't be worth more than $25 today. The estimated value of these dolls even in 20 years isn't more than $35 or $40. People were not seeing the increase in value that they were hoping for. Why? Because everybody was saving these dolls. There were literally as many of these doll 10 years later as there were when they first came out.

Does this mean that collectible doll collecting for profit is dead? The experts say that for the newer dolls, yes, but the older dolls will always go up in value.

Some companies are trying to counter this problem by releasing dolls in limited quantities. But it is still doubtful that even these dolls will ever be worth what an old Barbie Doll is worth, simply because all these dolls will ultimately end up in its original box on a shelf. Something that Barbie never had the luxury of.

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