|A variety of dolls made or manufactured by Black doll artists or manufacturers|
What's the Value of My Doll?
Those seeking to determine the worth of what they deem a possible valuable Black doll have often posed the question to me: "What is the value of my [fill in any doll's name]? If the doll's name is unknown, the question is usually, "Can you help me identify this doll and tell me how much it's worth?" The dolls in question are usually older dolls that are only available to purchase on the secondary market.
Ways to identify and determine the value of a doll vary. Below are a few suggestions:
1. A doll reference book that identifies and values your doll type is a good starting point. I have authored two Black-doll reference and value guides, but of course there are others. Myla Perkins’ books: Black Dolls: An Identification and Value Guide books 1 and 2 published by Collector Books in 1993 and 1995, respectively, are quite comprehensive and reference a wide variety of Black dolls made from the late-1800s through the early-1990s. However, the values in these works were assessed over 20 years ago when the doll market was more stable. When using any doll reference book to determine a doll's value, it must be noted that the assessed values are considered "book value" and are not necessarily the prices at which dolls will sell in the current market.
a. If you are not in the market to purchase doll references, check your local library where doll books may be available to borrow.
b. If you own a Kindle, there may be doll value guides available for borrowing through Amazon.com. Kindle owners are allowed to borrow up to one book per month.
c. Additionally, if you are a Kindle owner and if your local library is a participating partner and has eBook versions of doll reference books, you may be able to borrow these. Read more about borrowing public library eBooks for Kindle here.
2. Searching eBay for completed auctions of the same doll or similar doll to note what buyers are paying in today’s market is another way to determine the average selling price.
3. Seeking the service of local certified doll appraisers or antiques dealers is also an avenue for determining a doll’s worth, but this will usually be accompanied by their fees.
4. I do not conduct free doll appraisals, but for a nominal fee, I have conducted compensated appraisals in the past for insurance purposes and to determine the donated value of an entire collection.
To reiterate, when trying to determine the value of a doll or other collectible, keep in mind that a doll's book value (assessed value documented in a doll reference book) or appraised value is to be used as a guide, not as the price at which a doll should be purchased or sold. Furthermore, and very important to note, a doll is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it at a given time.
This page was written and published to be made available for those who write me in the future asking, "What's the value of my doll?"
Selling Dolls, Individually or a Collection:
In addition to value questions, I am also approached by those interested in selling one doll or an entire collection. For one or just a few dolls, try listing your dolls in an auction format on eBay.com.
For those interested in selling an entire collection, contacting one of the major doll auction houses would be my suggestion, such as Theriaults or McMasters.