Author: Alison Rasmussen

How to Get the Dolls You Want for the Holidays

The holidays are approaching. These tips will help you pass hints to loved ones that what you’d really like this year is to add to your doll collection! Each year after Halloween, I like to start my holiday shopping. I love to shop for gifts: choosing individual presents for my loved ones brings me a lot of holiday cheer. But in the back of my mind–I hate to admit it–I have a sneaky little voice wondering how I can pass my wish list on to my loved ones, so I won’t get socks or towels this year. I’d rather build up my doll collection! This post will give you tips for some things you can do to pass your wish list along. Tell your spouse what you’d really like. Be direct, like this: “Honey, please tell your mother I really don’t want any crystal candle holders this year. I have a wish list at Amazon, and I’d love to have family members shop there.” Have you seen dolls you’d like at Costco or Sam’s Club? Perhaps you can make not-so-subtle remarks at your next family dinner. Ask your doll dealer if she offers a wish list. If she doesn’t, ask if she would be willing to email your family members with a copy of your must-have items. If you collect top-of-the-line dolls, a gift certificate might be a good...

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The Pet-friendly Home and Doll Collecting

As a follow-up to my recent article on buying dolls on the secondary market, I thought I’d add my two cents to pet-friendly homes and doll-collecting. I recently rearranged my autumn display from a reimagination theme to a historical theme. I stepped out of the room for a moment, and upon returning, I was shocked to find my eight year-old cat, Lilo, “loving” one of my most treasured grails, Mademoiselle a la Mode Tyler Wentworth. Previously, neither of our two cats have shown any interest in my doll collection. Aside from her occasional fascination with tulle, Lilo keeps away from my dolls. (I hear this is unique in pets, specifically about horror stories with intricate feathered headdresses that have seen better days.) Fortunately, Mademoiselle’s gown was easily brushed off with a cat-fur roller, and aside from a slight loss of dignity, nothing else was harmed. Except now I feel I need to rephrase the traditional line I use in my secondary sales and auctions: “My items come from a smoke-free home; though I do have two cats, who stay away from my dolls.” This is obviously no longer true. What on earth could have come over her? Is Lilo becoming a doll collector in her later years? Maybe she’s just becoming a true Rasmussen, like the rest of the women-girls in our house. In any case, she is welcome...

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Negotiating the Secondary Market

Wondering where to start in the secondary market? Let me show you the ropes! Many doll collectors have braved secondary markets such as Ebay, the DollPage Show & Sell, message boards and Amazon for hard-to-find dolls. Those people have generally either experienced an amazing deal or a horrendous disappointment. Here’s some advice I’ve learned over the years: Accurate description. Even an honest seller won’t know everything important to you about a doll. Ask important questions about a doll–stains, yellowing, odors–before taking the plunge. Accurate photos. Do not rely on manufacturer’s photos, even for never-removed-from-box dolls. You never know what you’re going to get–ask for and insist on photos of the actual doll. Return policy. If the doll is not as described, you should be allowed to return it. Ebay requires sellers state their return policy–ask about it before you buy from other sources. Buyer protection. Be aware that if you send funds as a “personal” transaction, you lose any fraud protection from Paypal. It’s worth covering the cost of those transaction fees (which your seller should be paying, anyway–it’s the cost of doing business)! I prefer Paypal for the extra protection in disputes. Insure your items. If you’re spending $50-$5000 on a doll, why wouldn’t you spend the extra money to insure your purchase? Don’t upgrade to priority shipping, if you’re looking to save money–but don’t scrimp on insurance!...

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Confessions of a Doll-shop-a-holic

Are you looking for good deals on dolls? Let me share my tips with you. Now that I have your attention, I’ll open with my biggest secret: I’m probably the worst bargain shopper in the world when it comes to dolls. My main problem is loyalty. I have a couple of favorite dealers, even when I come across a better price elsewhere. There are benefits to frequenting a favorite dealer: Customer loyalty programs. Repeat customers often get the best prices from dealers, especially on newly released dolls. Dealer insider specials. If my dealer goes to a convention or show, often she can pick up a special doll or outfit with me in mind. Patronizing the smaller shop. I feel good that my dolly dollars are supporting small business. A part of my collection is unusual and narrow in focus, and I have commissioned several unique outfits from artists. While this may not be the best way to get a bargain, I am sure to find exactly what I need this way. I’ve found a few people whose work I admire, and I have returned for more pieces later. The benefits are: The artist is familiar with my taste. I’m familiar with the artist’s needs and work habits. The second commission will most likely fit in with my collection, since the artist’s former work is similar in style. In my...

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Passing Down the Doll Collecting Gene

Attending local doll shows is a great way to pass your love of dolls on to young daughters or relatives. Here’s my experience. I took my five and eight year-old daughters to their first doll show on Saturday. Before we left, I had to make them swear (in blood) that they wouldn’t throw fits about buying dolls beyond their allowance or cause a scene, they wouldn’t whine about when we could go home, they wouldn’t beg me to buy any dolls, and if they didn’t think they could keep to these rules, they should not attend the show. You might think these rules are strict; however, I take my doll shows seriously, as I may want to return next year. Plus, I don’t want to apply the “one more restaurant we can never come back to” approach I’ve had as a mother of four for the previous ten years to my doll hobby. My worry was unfounded. My daughters had a wonderful time. They looked at every booth with enthusiasm–enjoying each table, pointing out tiny dolls, miniature furniture and stuffed animals–to the delight of older collectors attending the show. Kate spent her allowance on a Dolls of the World Princess of England Barbie, and Lauren hers on a gigantic grab bag of doll-themed stickers. They were truly delighted to look and enjoy the sights. I enjoyed myself, too, and...

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When an Intervention Might Be Necessary

Are you a doll collector who needs intervention? Check out this handy list and see if you qualify… You know you need an intervention when: you spend more at your favorite doll shop than on housing your bookshelves don’t have any actual books on them your browser homepage is set to a doll-themed website more than 75% of your email is doll-related trauma ensues when most of your pre-orders fall within the same month you have an email or web address with the word “doll” in it your Amazon wish list is only doll-related items your neighbors refer to you as “that crazy doll lady” your relatives refer to you as “that crazy doll lady” nothing cures a headache but a new doll you can’t walk past your curio cabinet without playing with your dolls you have just a touch of obsessive compulsive disorder your favorite initials are B, J and D your mail carrier knows you by name and sight (and fears you) your UPS and FedEx carriers address you by name (and fear you) you spend more than two hours daily checking doll message forums you spend at least an hour per week snapping digital photos of your dolls you have accounts on Photobucket, Flickr and/or Mobile Me and upload photos regularly you know the difference between MIB and NRFB, and the terms mean something to you...

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