In the dim, dark ages before the internet we learned about our dolls from books, magazines and at doll clubs but these days I find that if I am trying to research a doll related subject my first stop is Mr Google.
The internet has been brilliant for doll collectors giving us access to dolls and information that we might not have come across without it but it is also a bit sad that magazines such as Barbie Bazaar, which I used to love, have fallen by the wayside.
I have a small library of doll related books. Most of them are about Barbie and were bought in the late nineties as Naomi and I wanted to learn more about the dolls we were picking up at markets and secondhand shops. She has a few books too so together we have Barbie’s first forty years fairly well covered.
Amazon has quite a good range of Barbie books, honestly we are spoiled for choice of books identifying Barbie and her accessories or discussing her impact on society. I still like a book for reference, you don’t need to be online to access it, you can take it to bed (OK I know you can do that with a tablet but the books have bigger pictures.) I recently decided to treat myself to a new book because most of my dolls are post 2000 and not covered by any of the books we already have. I was quite surprised when browsing to find that nobody seems to have done a book exclusively about Fashion Fever dolls and fashions. I would have thought that if there was one Amazon would have it. The book that I bought was Barbie Around the World – Identifications and Values, 1964 – 2007 by Michael J Augustyniak
At least that gets me a little closer to present day Barbies although it won’t cover Model Muse or Fashionista dolls. I’ll have to wait for someone to write another book.
I would love to have “The History of Sindy: Britain’s Top Teenage Doll 1962-1994” by Colette Mansell. This book was written in 1995 and while it is available on Amazon and other online booksellers it is quite an expensive book to buy, even a used copy costs over $60. However, I have not given up hope that one day I’ll get a copy. One might walk into the Op Shop any day. In the meantime I recently bought from another collector a CD of photos called “A Picture History of Sindy 1964-67” which will be a good supplement to the Sindy websites I usually use to research dolls.
I have my Tammy Identification Guide by Cindy Sabulis and have found this very helpful in identifying my Tammy Family members. There are a couple of other Tammy books available:
Tammy Rarities From Around The World (2011)– also by Cindy Sabulis which I would like to buy as my Tammy’s and Naomi’s are a varied group.
Tammy and Her Family of Dolls: Identification and Price Guide (1995)by John Axe. I am not familiar with this book but it sounds like a good resource as well.
Tammy and Dolls You Love to Dress (1986) is also by John Axe so I’m uncertain as to whether the 1995 book is an update of this one.
I also have “Collector’s Guide to Dolls of the 1960s and 1970s” by Cindy Sabulis. Although I have both older and newer dolls in my non fashion doll collection my favourites are the ones from my childhood era which means late fifties to early seventies.
I’ve never bothered about price guides that much. Firstly, because they get out of date too quickly and secondly because I have never collected dolls as an investment. Now that I have so many I do think about how much the entire collection would be worth for insurance purposes but if my house burned down and I lost the lot it would take me the rest of my life to replace them and even if I could I don’t know that it would be the same as many are childhood dolls of mine or other family members and have sentimental not monetary value.
I think if you need to know the value of a doll you’d probably find a more up to date price online or by seeking out an expert.
When I research dolls I mainly want to find who made them and when and any other information I can about the different issues, accessories and the company that manufactured them. I often find the search for information is as much fun as finding the doll and playing with her.
When I started with Fashion Fever Barbies there were a couple of good websites that did excellent ID’s. One of them was so good that I believe Mattel made the owner take it down. Flickr and Pinterest are two places that are good for looking at doll photos and I often do but the format of those sites is not so well suited to providing the information as well and many collectors don’t provide it although their photos are fabulous. One of the best Flickr sites I’ve looked at is “The Doll Cafe” . I have an idea that this may be the same person that ran the Fashion Fever page I liked so much. In any case it is a good place to see fashion dolls NRFB and de-boxed. Not just Barbie either.
I have included a few photos of and from my book collection here but as I don’t want to violate copyright I can’t show you any pictures from the Sindy CD as much as I would like to.
I’d love to hear what resources others use or if you’ve heard of any new books coming out.