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Doll Collecting - The Second Biggest Hobby in the United States

Aug 17, 2007
Did you know that doll collecting is rated as the second biggest collectible hobby in the United States?

With all the different doll manufacturers there are today, it can sometimes get confusing on what kind of doll is best to buy. Besides having to determine which manufacturer is the best one to go with, you then need to figure out which kind of doll is suited best for the purpose. Do you want a hand crafted doll, Artist doll, play doll, designer doll, licensed doll? It can get confusing.

Which manufacturer you go with is a matter of personal taste. Germany although, is known throughout the world for their quality made dolls. There have been many countries that have tried to follow but have never been able to match. To this day, Germany is still the leader in quality doll production.

No matter which manufacturer you decide to go with, there are still other considerations. The following is a list of the different types of dolls most manufacturers produce today.

Artist Dolls:
These dolls are specialty dolls often designed to look very much like a real child or person and are among the most expensive. Most often, they are produced in limited editions making it more affordable for the merchants and customers to buy. Newly made original Artist dolls can cost up to and over $5,000. That's a hefty price to pay for most doll collectors. Once the dolls are sold out, the mold is broken and the dolls are not made again. This is another reason for the high price tag.

The artists that make these dolls usually have contracts with specific manufacturers. For example, Hildegard Guenzel is a well known artist that produces dolls for Goetz.

Artist dolls are not the type of doll you would want to buy for child's play. These sorts of dolls are bought mostly by doll collectors between the ages of 30 - 45 and average in price of around $600 give or take a few hundred.

Variation Dolls:
These dolls can also be made by artists as well as the companies that manufacturer them. A variation doll is a doll that stays in production usually for a few years or longer. From year to year certain features of the doll may change. It may be something as simple as a different outfit, or the hair style or face shape may change a bit in the following year. Schildkroet is a good example of this. They carry a classic collection line of dolls which pretty much stays the same year after year. Each year you may see slight variations in the same dolls.

Variation dolls are not as expensive as Artist dolls. They can start as low as $40 on up to $500 or more.

Classic Collection Dolls:
Classic dolls are usually replicas of older dolls dating back to the late 1800's to early 1900's. I have even seen some replicas from earlier dates. They usually come in limited editions and average in prices from $100 - $500 depending on the manufacturer. These types of dolls are usually bought by people that remember having a doll of this sort as a child. These dolls should sit on a shelf for display only.

Hand Crafted Dolls:
These dolls can be manufactured by the companies themselves or sometimes you will even find these dolls designed by artists. Some can come with certificates and others wont. It can vary. These dolls can be played with and are usually a higher quality than the simple "play doll" varieties. Facial features may be more realistic and the materials are designed with play in mind, meaning you will find many of the soft bodied and bath babies in this category. These dolls are mostly bought for older children. Hand Crafted dolls are also sought after by collectors..

Licensed Dolls:
These dolls are dolls that the manufacturer has licensing rights to sell or produce. For example, Goetz manufacturers a "Harry Potter" doll under a special licensing agreement. Engel-Puppen has a special licensing agreement with Goebel to produce the Hummel dolls. These dolls can vary from expensive limited editions to play dolls.

Play Dolls:
Play dolls are made especially for children. They are designed to be dragged around by an arm, left lying on the floor for you to trip over, squeezed to death, spanked and thrown in a toy box.

There are hundreds of variations of play dolls. Some designed for a little less play in mind to the ones that couldn't break if a bulldozer ran over it. Manufacturers of play dolls are always careful to make sure the dolls are made of non-toxic materials and flame retardant clothing. Most of these dolls are made especially soft for children's play and includes the bath babies as well. Many of them are very easy to clean just by putting them in a tied pillow case and into the washing machine.

In closing, the doll you decide to purchase most likely will be one that just strikes you, no matter who made the doll. Most often, this is how dolls are purchased. You see a doll in the window that either reminds you of your childhood, or one that has a striking resemblance to a loved one. Many times, this is all it takes, and before you know it, you have the doll in your hands.
About the Author
Evelyn Becker writes articles for Deutsches Haus http://www.deutscheshaus.cc which is located in St. Paul, Minnesota. Deutsches Haus offers German collectibles, souvenirs, gifts and foods.
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