Sunday, July 31, 2011

Thrift Store Doll Finds

A couple of weeks ago I made an impromptu visit to a local thrift store where I discovered several racks of fashion dolls.  Many were in very preloved condition, but there were a few that were near mint, perhaps missing their shoes or another accessory or two.  I didn't buy anything that day, but I spied a doll that appeared to be a knock off of the original Black Barbie (minus her Afro hairstyle).  Her red shimmery gown gave me that impression.  I left her there.

This past Thursday after a trip to the post office, then to Marshall's to see if they had anything I "needed," and finally to the grocery store to pick up some natural peanut butter and fresh fruit, I decided to swing back by the thrift store to see what the racks of fashion dolls had to offer.  As I made my way to the wall racks, I noticed several Barbie and other fashion doll styling heads that were in very, very played-with condition.  I quickly scooted past these, continuing my course to the fashion doll racks. 

There were some new additions.  A rooted-hair, AA Ken with the smiling Jamal (maybe) face would have come home with me, but his black pleather space suit-looking costume was in the process of deterioration with several tiny flecks of it scattered inside the plastic bag and on him.  

I looked for the Black Barbie knock off and didn't find her.  I kept looking and finally found her along with Artsy Fashionista who had been there two weeks ago, too.  A third doll that I don't remember being there last time came home with me along with the other two.  Debut Alexis is missing her boots and wigs, but I decided her body could be a future donor for another doll's head.

Here they are in their baggies:  Black Barbie knock off, Artsy #1, and Alexis #1.

Freed from their baggies

Finally, here they are with heads combed, shoed/accessorized, and one quick fashion change (the red shimmery gown wasn't working for me).

I also applied a cream conditioner to the knock off's hair after wetting it, but first I trimmed the ends.  After applying the Infusium cream conditioner that I left in, I brushed it, and created a flip with my fingers.  Artsy's locks just needed brushing.  Amazingly, the quality of her hair is much better than the one I purchased new.

Did I "need" this trio?  No, because I already had Artsy and Alexis, but for $9 and some change, I purchased them anyway. 

Duplicates and their originals:  Artsy and Artsy are seated up front.  The redressed doll is the one I purchased new.  The thrift store doll wears the boots and holds the purse that came with the other.  Thrift store Alexis has borrowed the boots and original purse that came with the Alexis I purchased new. The new-purchased doll was redressed in the Liv'n Hip fashion last October and wears a red wig that I just had to have when I saw it at Wal-Mart last year.  Thrift store Alexis has also borrowed one of her sister's wig. 

If you have thrift stores in your area, you might want to stop in and check out their doll offerings from time to time.  If they are like the ones here, each week items with the tag color of the week receive 50% off.  Artsy's white tag qualified her for this week's discount.  Instead of paying $2.99 for her, she was only $1.49. 




  1. Way to go, Debbie! I love treasure hunting in thrift stores, however I rarely find any dolls of color in my local thrifts. I do get lucky with garage and estate sales, as well as local flea markets.

    Nice haul!

  2. Great finds! I got an early Fashionista in a bag of three pre-loved dolls at Value Village the other day. She was too light to swap heads with any of my African American dolls but she was a perfect match for one of my Latinas. Better still this version of the body was from before they started making the head swapping ones. Best of all, the bag of three dolls was only $3!

  3. Great finds! I am always amazed at what dolls I find at Thrift Stores. It's not always older dolls, but dolls that were released only a year or two ago. At least they are appearing there instead of some landfill.
    I wonder how long it will take for the Monster High dolls to start appearing in the Thrift Stores?

  4. I love finding goodies. I need to find good thrift stores. I have yet to find 1 around where I live now. I have found some things here & there at flea markets and a yard sale or 2. Great finds :O)

  5. Thanks everyone!

    I used to shop at this particular thrift store often way back in the day. I'd check them out at least once a week shortly after I began collecting dolls. They'd have old and new dolls that I'd bring home and restore. I'd keep some and sell the rest when the market for selling dolls was more stable than it is now. I stopped going when carpal tunnel-like symptoms set in and I needed to save my hands for my work instead of using them to restore dolls.

    Curiosity of late has gotten the best of me, which led to the recent thrift store trips. I probably won't be as frequent a shopper there as I was in the past, but it was a fun trip back down memory lane and I got some nice doll goodies in the process.

    I'm glad that others who have similar stores are able to find treasures, too.


  6. I always happy when anyone find really great items in a thrift store. It's like hitting the lottery! You won!. I now want the dress w/sweater and boots that came on the first issue Alexis. I will have to track them down!

  7. @Dollz4Moi, Have you ever looked the website

    It's a directory of Thrift Stores in the US. Maybe you can find some Thrift Stores in your area.

  8. Thanks Ms. Leo.

    The fashion first issue Alexis wears is nice. I hope you're able to find it reasonably priced.


  9. Congrats on your finds! I have tons of thrift stores in the area, and I have intentonally stayed away as of late. I know I will find too many things. Love that Alexis #1 outfit, too. Your LIV doll heads don't look so big. Their wigs are really nice.

    On another note, Artsy body #1 vs. Swappable...I know people have mentioned liking one body over the other. I just got my first swappable recently. I for the life of me can't find which doll has the first Artsy body. I think there was a issue about the knees. Please remind me what the issue is. I will say that I just discovered that my new swappable body can do a nice yoga type pose, which will work well in a future story. She also can sit very nicely on the bed with a fairly natural pose of bent legs. I am not sure if the first one does this or not, seeing how I can't find it.

  10. Thanks Vanessa!

    Trust me, Alexis' head is big, but her wigs are nice.

    Artsy #1's knee joint are more stable than the Swappable head doll's. The Swappable doll may be more "flexible" than Artsy #1. My initial problem with Swappable is her inability to stand without support. After playing around with her lately, I discovered that if one foot is turned inward, the knee is not able to collapse like it does when both feet and knees are in perfect alignment. Mattel attempted to improve the appearance of the knee joint with Swappable, but this caused "weak knees." At least that's what I've experienced with my doll.



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