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Home Voices of the Industry In the Spotlight Buy Any Good Dolls Lately? Fess up and share the details. I’m in the market to know.
Buy Any Good Dolls Lately? Fess up and share the details. I’m in the market to know.
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

This is a very special week for me, not just because it marks the return of two of my most favorite not-so-guilty pleasures: both “Dancing with the Stars” and “Glee” hit the airwaves again. No, this week is definitely more exciting than Carrie Ann Inabacarrie_ann_inaba_320x240 stridently spotting an “illegal lift,” and Jane Lynch stoically humiliating a new crew of Gleek wannabes. This is my birthday week, and as such, I always treat myself to something fabulous and unique.

As a doll fancier, I use my birthday as an excuse to acquire a new addition to the flock. (Wait a second, doesn’t that sound like I collect parakeets?) The coven? The family? The crowd?  Hmmm, bear aficionados term their array of collectibles as “hugs,” perhaps we should come up with a new name for our little resin and vinyl friends.

While I ponder what to call my porcelain posse, I’m already devouring the latest issue of DOLLS to figure out what I should buy, and in what direction I should travel. The newest additions to my stable—no, that’s too equine—were the original “Delilah Noir” doll and the Statue-of-Liberty-Doll-1-21
“Statue of Liberty” Landmark Barbie. Both of these dolls have personal significance to me: Lady Liberty means a lot because I can see the actual statue from where I live in New Jersey. (Well, actually I can see her backside, which says something about the Garden State’s state of mind.) Delilah holds a meaningful allure because she looks like a parochial student gone slightly wild. As someone who wore a uniform kilt for 12 years, I relish an honor student who seems just a tad dishonorable!

All of this leads me to my big self-realization: what do I want to buy, and, very significantly, why?

Before I had kids, and when I first started collecting as an adult, my original purchases were all of child dolls. I think I single-handedly kept Julie Good-Kruger’s company in business.jggoodkruger11 I was addicted. Looking back, I think I was so attracted to the depictions of children because I was literally building a collection via baby steps. Returning to the world of dolls offered me comfort and familiarity, and it made me nostalgic for my own contented youth. Having spent years interpreting dreams for family and friends, I think I know a thing or two about symbolism. Those first dolls were justifications of being a “big little girl” again!

From there, I became mad about fashion dolls, and I lavished the Genes, Tylers, and Alexandra Fairchild Fords in my coterie (?) with attention and tons of accessories. Those long-legged ladies were far better coiffed and styled than I’ve ever been. They could hold a candle to any diva on “DWTS” or “Project Runway.” I really did love my fashion dolls and spoiled them rotten.




Since then, I’ve been a hit-and-miss purchaser: sort of buying what my pocketbook and psyche will allow. And so now, as I watch a new year stretch before me, I wonder who will grab my attention. I’m totally up for grabs.

Not knowing where to turn, but knowing I do want to buy, what do you suggest I do? What dolls are you buying these days? Are you caught up in the BJD trend—and do you mix and match your components? Or, are you more of a purist, still believing that dolls should be seen and not turned? (Yeah, it’s a bad pun, but try coming up with a better rhyme for “heard.”)

At times like this, I really envy Oprah, and not just because of her billion-dollar personal fortune, her communications empire, and her ability to be generous and gregarious at the drop of a hat. No, I envy Ms. Winfrey (who, by the way, is a doll collector, specializing in angels and Daddy Long Legs) because she is able to call upon her minions of viewers and audience members and get some authentic two-way dialogue going.

I’m turning to you now—anyone who is reading this blog—and borrowing a page from Oprah’s Book Club, I ask: have you bought any good dolls lately?

Please tell me if you have, and what made you buy them? Why were they appealing enough to persuade you to write that check or bang out that credit card? And, finally for the record, what in the world do you call your gang of 4, 40, or 400?

I think I’m going to call mine “the elegant entourage.” And after all these years, picking a new one out and bringing it home to the fold makes me as giddy as an “Oprah” audience member receiving a round-trip air ticket to Australia. That’s a g’day, mate. Happy birthday to me! (


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Happy birthday, Stephanie! I cherish any legitimate reason to buy a new doll! I did not read anything in your post about vintage or secondhand dolls.

I have recently sold much of my collection of porcelain dolls to make a place for dolls of my childhood. That would be the 80's-- glamorous styles, crimped hair, glittering T-shirts. Dolls from this era abound. I have added 30 Superstar Barbie and friends to my collection (all extremely grubby fixer-uppers) and the gorgeous Hot Looks models, also by Mattel. The hardest thing is remembering the name of a doll brand so that I can search on eBay. I have noticed I am not the only one doing this... so I am collecting fast before prices climb.

Mattel must be aware of this as the company has begun re-releasing dolls from this era. I recently purchased the repro Peaches n' Cream only to find several of her accessories were not re-created and packaged with her. I was quite disappointed.

However something to consider for us Gen X'ers.

Have a great one! smilies/cheesy.gif
ophelia , September 22, 2010 | url
Love the way you write.
Eva Summers , September 22, 2010 | url
I have always loved dolls and have designed and made soft dolls for little girls for a long time. I just recently got into buying dolls that have seen lots of love and play and recycling them. Some are done as originally designed but some I don't know what they looked like in the beginning but they are not elegant or childlike depending on what I see in their faces. This is so much fun and after all these years, I am not playing with dolls.
Love your blog and your style of writing.
Eva Summers , September 22, 2010 | url
Happy birthday, Stephanie. I don't know you, but I feel like we're friends. I've enjoyed your blogs these past months. Go out and buy yourself a beautiful doll, or maybe two to reflect your children. I think you can always do well with a Kish Kid.
Bette , September 21, 2010
Happy birthday, Stephanie! I'm an active doll collector--ie, if I can't play with it, I don't want it! I make and change clothes, brush and style hair, pose pose pose....and no types of dolls are better for this than ball-jointed dolls/BJDs (so much more than a trend). I can change eyes, hair, face paint if I choose, and can have one doll stand in for a dozen with just a few simple changes. I do have Ellowynes, other Tonners, a Cissy, babies, etc, but really adore BJDs for the play value. And I'm 49, so no age limits! smilies/grin.gif
Charlie Riley , September 20, 2010
Happy B'day to you! Will be fun to see who you choose to add to hmmm your flock (i still like that one, reminds me of hens, cozier than stable, which also has connotations of Ownership of Women). Aha! How about Pack? assuming you are the alpha and care for all your little vinyl and porcelain and resin crew. Or even Crewe, as they say in New Orleans...

I used to pride myself on only collecting small dolls (12" and under) as they didnt take up so much space and $ as many of the bigger ones. Then i got hooked on My Twinns after finding one at an estate garage sale. They are an $$ large play doll but particularly the dolls from the original factory in Denver are of higher vinyl quality than most. With the 50+ variations in head sculpt and coloring the potential for individuality and personality in these dolls is tremendous. The current incarnation in Virginia has fewer available scupts but provides enormous potential. There are hobbyists and former MT artists out there that repaint refurbish and almost "reborn" these dolls to an exquisite degree beyond what mass production can do.

Check it out. They show up on Ebay frequently and of course the MyTwinn website is up and working.
frankie , September 20, 2010

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