I started to collect dolls around the age of 12, when I found this doll in a dresser drawer at my grandmother’s. She was in a pretty box wrapped up in tissue paper, and I would go up just to look at her. One day, my grandma presented her to me, and I was hooked. This 1940s Arranbee Southern Girl, made of composition, was all the rage after the release of “Gone With the Wind.” This doll originally belonged to my Aunt Wilma and will always be the prize of my collection.
I continued to pick up dolls, and believed I had a good collection until I hit the doll forums on eBay over 10 years ago. What I found out is that I was clueless and didn’t know a darned thing. There is more to know about dolls than I could even imagine, which books just don’t help you with.
When I first started posting on the doll forums I found myself buying dolls just to say I had one. I went from clueless to ridiculous. I have now come full circle, back to just buying what I love unless I plan to sell it. What I have learned in the last 37 years of collecting is I will never know everything about all dolls.
There is something about a toy that has been long forgotten that is very appealing to me. I prefer to have dolls that had been loved to the mint dolls many collectors are drawn to, although I do have those as well. I have a bad habit of picking up dolls that need lots of love, and sometimes repair.
Hundreds of dolls later I have narrowed down my collecting to Terri Lees, Ritas from Paris Doll Corporation, character and advertising dolls, as well as trolls and puppets. The biggest passion I now have is the metal head baby dolls.
If you plan on starting a doll collection do your homework, older is not always better. It’s all about supply and demand, and above all condition. There are hundreds of doll makers, and thousands of different kinds of dolls. Lucky for us, there are many people out there who can help you along the way.