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Dolls Selling Guide

Tags:  selling | dolls | barbie | american girl | bratzWrite a guide!

Got a collection collecting dust? Outgrown your childhood Barbie dolls? Gone from Cabbage Patch Kids to Bratz? Whether you're an experienced collector or simply looking to sell a few children toys around your home, eBay makes selling Dolls fun. With millions of eBay shoppers looking for dolls, doll clothes, doll hats, or doll shoes, it’s easy to turn your stuff into cash on eBay.

Cash In on Dolls


Cash In on Dolls

Many doll lovers of all ages successfully use eBay not only as a place to find new and unique Dolls, but as a way to fund their growing collections. Whether you are saving up for that must-have addition, looking to add to your new collection or purchasing a play doll for a child, selling on eBay is the perfect way to earn extra money. Swap out your unused Dolls—that trunk full of Barbie dolls in your closet or that American Girl your daughter never plays with—and buy yourself a new treasure.

What's It Worth?

Already have an item in mind? Visit Dolls & Bears Seller Central to find out the average selling price of similar pieces on eBay. You can also search completed listings to see how others are selling similar items.


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Find Out What's Hot in Dolls


Find Out What's Hot in Dolls

Millions of people come to eBay in search of Dolls and accessories. The following provides just a small sampling of the myriad of Dolls that you could sell on eBay. To get a real-time view of what’s in demand, what buyers are searching for, and what items are selling the most, visit Dolls & Bears Seller Central.

  • American Girl dolls: American Girl dolls are 18 inches tall and each has a page from history to share. For example, you’ll find Felicity, a colonial girl growing up in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1774. Josefina is a Hispanic girl living on a ranch in New Mexico in 1824. Mid-century Molly is a girl growing up during World War II. Native American and African-American dolls also share their historical background. These dolls have historically accurate wardrobes and details—and are being searched for by buyers of all ages.

  • American Girl doll accessories: Whether you own a Tea Tin Lunchbox and an entire set of Nature Paraphernalia (including a mini flower press and magnifying glass) for Samantha, or a pioneer school lunch and a fishing set for Kirsten, all of your American Girl doll accessories are in demand on eBay. Collectors, young and old alike, are searching for your American Girl doll clothes, accessories, and furniture unique to each doll on eBay.

  • Barbie dolls: An all-American favorite, Barbie dolls come in an array of personas, costumes, and price points. Innovative design, unique themes, and “celebrity” Barbies always keep buyers coming back for more. Popular Barbies include Betty Barbie, Veronica Barbie, Holiday Barbie, Princess of Holland Barbie, Princess of Hawaii Barbie, Queen of the Gypsies Lucy, or Evening Splendor Barbie, to name just a few.

  • Barbie doll accessories: Barbie is the ultimate fashion plate and thousands of doll lovers are looking for the perfect glamorous outfit for their favorite doll—whether it’s classy business suits or glitzy evening gowns. Buyers also love finding Barbie accessory sets, such as the New York accessory pack which comes with a purse, bracelet, sunglasses, ankle boots, stiletto heels, and even a plastic Yorkshire terrier! For many, Barbie doll collecting has become a full-time passion. From Barbie fashions to Barbie furniture one thing is sure: Barbie doll collectors will never run out of inspiration, imagination, or options to fuel their passion by buying your stuff on eBay.

  • Baby dolls: Baby dolls are softy, cuddly dolls that are perfect for buyers who are shopping for younger children. Try looking around your house for dolls such as Treasured Children by Lee Middleton, Huggums from Madame Alexander, and French Corolle dolls.

  • Baby doll accessories: Most baby doll makers, including Lee Middleton baby dolls and Adora baby dolls, offer a wide array of baby doll clothes and accessories for their baby dolls as well. Thousands of buyers are searching for the perfect accessories for their toy dolls such as baby doll carriages and strollers, baby doll cradles and cribs, baby doll bonnets, baby doll shoes or booties, and baby doll bottles.

  • Bratz dolls: Bratz dolls, with their styled-out hair and makeup, trendy outfits, and ultra-hip attitude, have been a huge hit with the pre-teen set since they burst onto the toy doll scene in 2001. Popular members of the 10-inch Bratz pack, include Cloe, Sasha, Jade, and Yasmin.

  • Bratz doll accessories: From funky Bratz doll clothes and fashion packs, to the Bratz doll beauty salon & spa, Bratz convertible cars, or even Bratz doll loft apartments, there are plenty of Bratz doll accessories that are on demand on eBay.

  • Cabbage Patch dolls: Cabbage Patch dolls designed by sculptor Xavier Roberts were born in 1979. The original pudgy Cabbage Patch dolls had a soft cloth head and limbs and hair made of yarn. In 1982 Coleco bought the rights to produce Cabbage Patch dolls and began making their heads out of vinyl. Coleco Cabbage Patch dolls also came with a birth certificate and adoption papers. Hasbro gained the rights to produce Cabbage Patch dolls in 1989 and began making smaller dolls and Mattel still makes vinyl Cabbage Patch dolls. Collectors are on the lookout for dolls from every generation on eBay.

  • Groovy Girls dolls: Groovy Girls rag dolls from Manhattan Toy are geared toward 3- to 10-year-olds, but are loved by buyers and collectors of all ages. Diverse Groovy Girls dolls come in a variety of skintones, hair colors, and hair types. Each Groovy Girls doll also wears hip clothing, and separate Groovy Girls pets and accessories.


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Get Top Dollar for Your Dolls


Get Top Dollar for Your Dolls

Once you have an idea of what you’re going to sell, it’s time to think about how to attract Dolls buyers. Here are the top tips from eBay’s most successful sellers.

Help Buyers Find Your Items with Keywords

Keywords are a great way to attract buyers to your listing, especially when used correctly in your Listing Title. Listing titles are used by eBay’s search engine to pull up listings during a search. Use your 55 characters wisely, and try to anticipate what buyers will be searching for. Find out what is being searched right now with our list of Top Dolls & Bears Searches. Be sure to include common search terms like “Barbie” and “American Girl,” when appropriate. State important characteristics of your item—what it is, brand, doll or product name, collection, color, and condition. Of course, you should only include keywords that are relevant to the item you are selling. You can also search current and completed eBay listings to see what other sellers include in their titles.

In your Listing Description, make sure to include both basic information and details about your item. A good description is concise, well organized, and easy to read. Create bold section headlines, bulleted lists, and be sure to restate the information featured in your title plus more details such as dimensions, estimated value, repairs or restoration, materials, accessories, and any other interesting features. You can also insert photos or links to videos that highlight the unique attributes of your item. Think about your listing from the buyer's perspective. The more information you provide, the more likely the buyer will be to place a bid on your item.

Here are some terms commonly used by other sellers to describe their Dolls. Make sure you only use a term when you are sure it applies to your item.

  • Antique dolls: Antique dolls were made prior to 1930.

  • Collectible dolls: Any doll that you can collect can be called "collectible." However, the term typically applies to dolls made 25 to 75 years ago.

  • Modern dolls: Modern dolls are less than 25 years old.

  • Contemporary dolls: Contemporary dolls are still in production.

  • One-of-a-Kind (OOAK) dolls: Unique one-of-a-kind dolls do not have replicas and will never be created again.

  • Reproduction dolls: A collectible doll made from a mold, copying a doll made earlier.

  • Restoration dolls: A restored collectible doll has had repairs, such as repainting of body parts, or replacement of missing clothing.

Other common abbreviations used in the Dolls category include:

  • Mint in box ( MIB): A doll that is mint in box has been previously opened, but has no damages or repairs and will be sold with its original box.

  • New in box (NIB): A doll that is new in box has never been removed from its original packaging.

  • No longer available (NLA): A doll that is no longer available is no longer being produced by manufacturers.

Do Your Research

If you don’t know much about your doll, a little research can help you understand what you are selling which can lead to a higher return. Examine your doll for any brands, tags, or names. Try to learn about the collection that your doll belongs to—size of the collection, production era, production company, and rarity. All of these details will give you a better estimate of your item’s value, and educating your buyers can increase the attraction of your item. While prices vary greatly based on the popularity of a given doll, ultimately, the doll’s condition and vintage will determine its price.

Doll accessories such as doll clothes, doll hats, and doll shoes can be priced significantly higher for collectible dolls than for contemporary toy dolls, simply because they are rare and harder to find. Good antique doll shoes for German and French bisque dolls can be quite expensive, for example. Another differentiator is the material. Collectible dolls are often made of porcelain, wood, bisque, cloth, metal, papier-mâché or composition materials. Contemporary toy dolls, in contrast, are typically made of vinyl; a soft, plastic-based material, which is highly durable and ideally suited for many hours of play.

When selling a rare or collectible doll that is potentially worth a lot, it may be worthwhile to get your item appraised and authenticated. Authenticating your Dolls not only provides you with a good estimate on expected sale price, but it also builds buyer confidence. Third-party graders and authenticators are qualified, experienced professionals who pledge to provide unbiased opinions.

Note: Opinions expressed by evaluators are theirs alone. eBay does not examine items listed on its site and does not have the expertise to evaluate items. eBay cannot guarantee the findings of any evaluator — authentication and grading are difficult, often subjective matters where experts themselves occasionally disagree. Each of the companies listed on the Opinions, Authentication, and Grading page that provides authentication and/or grading services is an independent company, and eBay is not responsible in any way for any action, inaction, opinion or service in connection with these companies. You should review the credentials of each company and use your own judgment before using any company's services.

Showcase Your Dolls with Great Photos

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words! Photos are the closest you can get to putting your Dolls and accessories in the hands of potential buyers. Here are some tips on how to best represent your item:

  • Choose the Right Background: Use a contrasting, solid backdrop. By placing your Dolls on a solid black or white backdrop, you draw a buyer’s immediate attention onto the item.This is easily achieved by hanging a bed sheet or placing poster board behind the item. Use a plain, colored fabric backdrop to make your item stand out. Most importantly, avoid background clutter that can distract buyers or confuse them regarding what you are selling. If you are selling more than one item in your listing, take pictures of the set as a whole and of individual pieces.

  • Cover All Angles: Take pictures from multiple angles and distances, zooming in on important details. Make sure highlight any signatures, dates, and details. Zoom in to show textures and colors and try taking a close up photo of your doll’s facial features. Always include photographs of any flaws—it gives the buyer a clearer idea of what they are bidding on and builds buyer trust.

  • Use Proper Lighting: Natural light tends to give the best representation of your item, however direct sunlight can have the nasty effect of shadows. Find an area that receives indirect sunlight. Try taking your item outside on a sunny day and photograph it in a shady area. If you can't seem to find an area like this, or would prefer to use indoor lighting, try surrounding your item with desk, overhead, or floor lamps. Above all, avoid using your camera's flash which causes distortion and shadows.

  • Add Gallery: Including a Gallery photo with your listing is extremely important for success. You can attract attention to your item with a photo next to your listings in search results. In addition, when a buyer uses “Picture Gallery” to look at search results, your listing will be shown. Your Gallery picture should be a very clear, uncluttered view of your item. Since it is the only photo visible on search pages, make sure it provides a good representation of your item.

Maximize Profits with Low Priced, No Reserve Listings

Auction style listings are a great way to create excitement around your Dolls and accessories, which in turn can develop into a bidding frenzy among buyers—which could result in a higher selling price for you. The keys to a successful auction style listing are to get your first bid and encourage bidders to continue bidding.

  • Low Starting Price: Getting that first bid is critical, as other buyers are generally more likely to jump in if they see there are already bids on an item. To do this, many sellers prefer to set an opening bid below what the item is actually worth. Try beginning with a low starting price—such as 99 cents—to jumpstart bidding activity.

  • No Reserve: Be careful when setting a reserve price. Buyers may lose interest in an item if they place a bid and find it doesn't meet the reserve. Because they do not know the reserve price, they may assume the seller is simply asking too much for the item. To prevent this from happening, try listing your item with "No Reserve." Items sold with "No Reserve" typically attract more buyer interest, as buyers know that they will actually win the item if they are the high bidder.

  • Accept PayPal: Buyers want to know that they can pay securely when making a purchase on eBay. By accepting PayPal payments, you can build buyer confidence and help protect yourself. PayPal transfers payments to a bank account of your choice and notifies you when a payment has been received. Best of all, PayPal offers free online tools to make managing your payments easier. You can even print shipping labels and track your shipments.


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Ship Your Dolls


Ship Your Dolls

Specifying reasonable shipping and handling costs in your listing is essential for smart selling—and it improves your search ranking when buyers sort by total cost. Never leave a buyer wondering how much shipping will cost.

Calculate Shipping Costs

Often times, shipping costs will vary by distance. To make sure your shipping charges reflect this, incorporate a shipping calculator into your listing. With the shipping calculator, eBay can automatically calculate the shipping cost for your buyers based on the size and weight of your item and the buyer’s location. You can also program the calculator to add in the cost of packaging materials and your handling fee, if any.

Select a Service Option

To protect both you and your buyer against loss or damage during shipping, consider purchasing shipping insurance for your package—especially for higher priced items. Shipping insurance is available through most shipping companies, and can be purchased while you pay for shipping. You can factor in the cost of shipping insurance into your shipping cost—but make sure you state in your description that you are doing so. Buyers want to know that they are paying extra for shipping for a good reason.

Package Your Dolls Securely

After your item sells, you are ready to ship it off to its new home. Make sure you package your item safely and securely. Use bubble wrap, foam, or other packaging materials to make sure your item is not damaged during its move. Here are a few steps to think about:

  • Wrap It: Individually wrap items and provide lots of cushioning (bubble wrap, peanuts, foam, corrugated dividers, or crumpled paper). Be careful if you choose to reuse newspaper—the ink can rub off and damage your items. If you use foam peanuts, be aware that they may shift in transit, so overfill your box. If any pieces could be damaged by water, make sure you wrap them with a layer of sealed plastic or place them into waterproof Ziploc bags. Remember, wrap and pack firmly—you don’t want to hear any rattling!

  • Box It: Most smaller dolls and doll accessories can fit nicely in a free USPS Priority Mail box, which you can order on eBay—the United States Postal Service will even deliver them right to your door for free! For larger items, use a corrugated box with rigid sides, intact flaps, and plenty of room for cushioning on all sides. Don't exceed the maximum gross weight of the box (usually printed on bottom flap).

  • Seal It: Use strong tape designed for shipping, rather than masking tape, cellophane tape, string or paper over-wrap. Once you’ve sealed up your package, you can pay for shipping and print shipping labels right from your PayPal account. You can even request a pickup from USPS or UPS, saving you a trip to the Post Office or UPS location.


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Build Your Reputation


Build Your Reputation

Communication is the key to a successful transaction. Make sure you’re available before, during, and after the sale. Answer any questions about your item promptly. Include a thank you note in your package—it’s a great way to surprise and delight your buyer and encourage them to leave you positive feedback.

Always Leave Feedback

Feedback is extremely important for all eBay users. Consistent positive feedback lets buyers know that you manage transactions well and that you care about your reputation. One way to help ensure good feedback is to communicate well, represent your item truthfully in your listing, and be polite. Also remember your buyer’s feedback score is as important to them as yours is to you—so be courteous, thoughtful, and truthful when leaving feedback.

Express Yourself

Be more than just a username to your buyers. Introduce yourself through your About Me page and MyWorld. Add pictures, keep track of your favorite buyers, and tell the community about your interests and collections. Show your expertise by writing Reviews & Guides. Connect with other Dolls collectors and enthusiasts on the Dolls, Dollhouses and Miniatures, and Dolls Artists and Limited Edition Discussion Board. Remember, be yourself—and have fun!

Sell for a Cause

Support your favorite cause and enhance buyer trust and loyalty at the same time. eBay Giving Works listings tend to sell at higher final prices, because buyers are more willing to purchase, and often pay more for, items that benefit a nonprofit. Get more exposure and receive a receipt for your tax-deductible donations!


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