Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Wanna-Be Dolls Want New Homes

Wanna-Be Dolls as described and illustrated in Black Dolls an Identification and Value Guide by Myla Perkins (Collector Books 1993)

Based on old photos viewed recently of my grandson's first private birthday party that was at our home in 2002, that is the year I purchased the Wanna-Be dolls from the author of Black Dolls an Identification and Value Guide 1820-1991, Myla Perkins.  In the photos of Grandson's party, he is seated at the kitchen table in his booster chair opening gifts and later eating cake.  Visible in some of the photos are two of the Wanna-Be doll boxes.  They had probably recently arrived and had been placed against the back wall of the kitchen before eventually being taken to the doll room.

After another collector informed me that Perkins was selling some of her dolls (many of which were duplicates for her, many of which had been featured in her book), I contacted the author and requested a copy of her dolls for sale list. Among others, I purchased four Wanna-Be dolls. They are described in her book and illustrated as shown in the photograph above.

The Wanna-Be dolls are career-inspiring playthings created by the corporation of the same name with a copyright year of 1986.  They are 17 inches tall with vinyl heads, cloth bodies, vinyl arms and legs.  They have brown sleep eyes and rooted hair.  Dolls in the series included male and female pilots, doctors, teachers, executives, firefighters, soldiers, a male football player and female cheerleader.

The four Wanna-Be dolls purchased from Perkins represent male executive, female pilot, male doctor, and football player.

After their migration to the doll room some 13 years ago, the four I purchased from Perkins, shown above were in the same corner as Giggles and Baby Catch-A-Ball.  I was well aware of the Wanna-Bes' location because they were in front Giggles and a few others that were lined against the wall. I have enjoyed the dolls in their never-removed-from-box states and kept them solely because they were purchased from Perkins.  To create much needed space, I have now decided to find new homes for all four.

Additional photos are shown below:

Wanna-Be Executive wears white shirt, blue suspender pants, red suspenders, red and white polka dot tie, red lace-up shoes.

This note to parents is included in the Executive and Pilot's box.  The other dolls do not have the same note.
Wanna-Be Pilot wears goggles, helmet, gray flight suit, red neck scarf, and black boots.
Wanna-Be Doctor wears eyeglasses, white shirt and lab coat, burgundy bow tie, blue pants, and red lace-up shoes.  His stethoscope remains inside the side panel.
Except for colors, Wanna-Be Football player wears the typical uniform of a football player of blue helmet, red #57 jersey, gray pants, red socks, blue sneakers with white stripes.  The gold sticker on the boxes of the Pilot, Doctor, and Football player reads:  Hey Kids!  Complete your coloring book and receive a free diploma and calling card to hear your special message from Wanna-Be University.  See details inside.  A coloring book may or may not be in the boxes.
Photos of the graphics and text from their boxes are shown below:

The lower side panel reads:  
Dear Friend,

"Wanna-Be" was developed as a positive role identity toy with a real purpose.  A child must dream and aspire to reach life's greatest potential.  Use the "Wanna-Be" as a guidance tool for the young impressionable mind.  Our role as grown-ups is to nurture, teach and develop the young minds of children.  We hope that "Wanna-Be" will inspire many wonderful dreams.  

John Rector
Wanna-Be Creator

The message/poem on the back of the box reads:  See beyond the enchanted window into the valley of "Dream-Be" City.  In a world of grown-up people and things to be, comes a special little friend called "Wanna-Be."  A Firefighter, a Doctor, a Teacher and more, are all here now for you to explore.  Oh so many things to grow up and be, just open your heart and dream with your "Wanna-be."

By way of their separate eBay listings, I am hoping that finding new homes will take place relatively fast for these very well-made, career path-inspiring dolls, which are rare to find in African American/Black form.  My current listings can be viewed here.



  1. Hi Debbie, thanks for your comment on Kayla.
    I'm sure your dolls will find a new home where they will be loved and cherished.
    Take care,

    1. You're welcome, Arlette! Kayla is a very lovely little girl.

      I hope these find new homes, too.

  2. Thanks for sharing that link! I was very nosy and looked at everything you have for sale.

    I was going to sell on eBay but the prices they charge seem to have doubled from when I used them back in 2007. Are you happy with them or you sell on multiple sites?

    Wanna Be Doctor actually reminds me of old time barbers. Back in my day barbers wore similar uniforms to doctors.

    1. I am not at all happy with eBay's fees, coupled with Paypal's fees for collecting money, but it beats setting up at a doll show where sales might be hit or miss (plus that is a ton of work). eBay is the largest online selling source for just about everything and has a larger audience of would-be buyers than most sites. So I sell there online solely whenever I decide to part with something. I have a unpublished tab on my blog for sale items, but have not taken the time to list anything there. This is on my to-do list.

      To avoid eBay's insertion fees, I try to utilize the 20 free listings eBay offers a month and sometimes they offer specials such as "list 70 more items for free or list 500 items this weekend for free." Whenever I reach the maximum of free listings, I wait until the next month to list new things or relist things that did not sell in the previous month.

      I also have recently begun using their 30-day fixed price auction feature, which is essentially a buy-it-now but the listing remains online longer than the usual 7 days. These things might stay on eBay "forever," but I don't have to go through the relisting as often and have the relisting counted against my free listings.

      I don't think I would utilize eBay as a sole sales avenue if I were a die-hard doll dealer or seller of other things.

      BTW, I listed those NFL jerseys for my husband who told me to donate them to the thrift store. After I checked eBay and saw they would sell, I told him I'd list them for him for a percentage of the selling price. Hey -- it took time to photograph each one, write the descriptions, and when they sell, it takes time to package them up, print postage, and take the packages to the PO, so I need to be paid. Plus he has to absorb any eBay and Paypal fees.

      I sure wish those jerseys would fit playscale dolls. Trust me, I tried.


    2. Thanks so much for discussing you're eBay experiences. Based on what you said I'm going to sell my non doll stuff on eBay first. Since I do like going to the doll shows I'll sell my doll goods in person and see how it goes. I'd rather sell in person so I don't have to hassle with shipping and whatnot. Between eBay/PayPal and vendor show fees, it pretty much evens out.

    3. You're welcome, Muff. I hope your eBay trial works well for you. There is so much seller competition on eBay these days (different sellers with same stuff). Buyers now can pick and choose from whose items they bid.

      The eBay climate is definitely not like it was during eBay's infancy (1998-2001 when I first began seriously selling there on commission for someone. Those were the days.

      I sold a transformer toy for $800 and a case of vintage baseballs for $500. The person for whom I was selling had multiples of the transformer toy (the name of it escapes me now--just remembered Optimus Prime), and I sold those multiples on eBay for around $800 each.

      I sold so much stuff on eBay (mostly dolls, but a variety of other things) that this person was able to pay $10,000 cash for an SUV with her eBay earnings. Mine weren't too shabby either, but in hindsight (I did all the work and my commission fee was way too low.)


  3. Thanks for the information. I was not aware of these dolls.


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