how to sell vintage and antique dolls of porcelain or bisque etc

If you have stumbled across this blog post after frustratedly googling "Where to sell Porcelain, vinyl, rag or bisque dolls?" for the umpteenth time and wiping angry tears from your eyes. Don't worry, you are not alone.

By the way this isn't a sales pitch. I'm not going to tell you that we hold the keys to your doll freedom.

I mean, I won't turn you away if that's what you want after reading this but that's not the purpose of this blog post. If you want to see what we can do for you click here! 

Almost every person we go to says that they feel overwhelmed by dolls. They are intimidating, they can be big, bulky and awkward to store.

There are three main options to sell a doll collection. 

1) Auction 

2) Bear Buyer 

3) Sell them yourself - Skip down to the bottom to avoid my rambling if this is your jam. 


I'm going to come straight out and say it, I'm not a fan of auctions for doll collections.

I'm biased, obviously, but when we first started out all of our doll buys came from auction.

We would take the amount that we would pay for the doll(s) and reduce it by the auctioneers fees.

We would pay the same total amount but the vendor (you) would get less. We acquired a lot of dolls this way. Hundreds if not thousands. 

They have their positives, which is they can generally consign quite quickly and they can take large volumes. 

The drawbacks are that they can be slow, especially if you are quite away from their next auction or they want you to wait for their next specialist auction. You don't know how much they'll make. It could be higher than estimate or lower.

I don't know, you don't know, they don't know.

Boll Buyer

If you need to find a doll buyer, congratulations your journey ends here. I jest. 

There's plenty of places that will buy dolls, most hidden in cobbled streets or in far flung corners of the interwebs. 

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. The biggest drawback for most doll buyers is space and cashflow.

Some want a ridiculous amount of information. Do you have this, do you have that, can you write a list, can you take photos, can I have the distance between Jupiter's third moon and your nose on the last Tuesday of the month. You get the gist.   

Now some of this is necessary business practice but most of it isn't needed. 

Our positives, we can move fast... same day cash (we can, I assume others do this as well) Space and cash whats not to like. 

Another down side, its very hard to compare prices to know if you're getting the best deal. Trusting the people you're selling to is very important.  

Sell them yourself

Finally the whole reason I wrote this blog. To empower you to sell the dolls and get the best value. (or to scare you so much that you click the contact us form to ask us to take them away from you) 

If you've stayed with me this far, you deserve a medal. So why not grab a cuppa and a biscuit and read through these baby steps, that will make your life so much simpler and easier. 

1) Get something to you put your dolls in. Bin bags (thick ones preferably), Plastic boxes (80l boxes are perfect for this) or the cross hatched bags that you  used to take to the launderette, if you can find them.

Whatever you use make sure you've got a good supply that you reckon you can fit them all in. 

2) Make two lists of what you have. One per box or bag and a master list. If the dolls have paper tags, they should have names, and brands. CHeck the backs of the necks for makers marks. Google that. 

Failing that pop the doll in front of a neutral background and take a snap with your phone. Open up (or download) the google app and use google lens to help you. If that still lets you down put it to one side. We'll come back to it later. 

Here's the process. Pick up doll- identify doll- write doll on both lists - put doll carefully into box. Not lob it across the room in a fit of rage because you can't find who it is.Tempting though that may be.  

Pro tip - number each box or bag and write that number on your list. It will make your life so much easier if you know exactly where each doll is supposed to be.

3) Take all your dolls with no names or brands and try to age them. Once you've got a rough age, find the most popular doll brands for that era, then go play detective and rinse and repeat until you're out of dolls.   

4) Work out where you're going to sell them The main options are Facebook, eBay or Gumtree.

We don't use Gumtree so I can't say anything about it, but its a thing I guess.  

Facebook is rife with scams and the clientele can be... odd. There are good Facebook groups for selling dolls but make sure you check the group rules.

eBay is good and reliable but expensive. It may be slower but its our platform of choice. 

5) Take a box or bag of dolls at a time. 

Look them up on eBay sold items to find a value. 

If using ebay or facebook marketplace - List them one at a time, with nice clear photos with a neutral, uncluttered background. Making sure the face and tags can be seen. 

 If using Facebook Groups - Pop the list up with Prices and specify plus post or including post. 

Work out roughly how much postage will be and charge it to the buyer or include it in the cost of the doll. Either way make sure you don't lose out. 

Make a note of the sizes of doll you have so that you can buy, save or scrounge the right sized boxes.

Pro tip - Remember most dolls are breakable, so make sure they are safely wrapped for their journey. 

6) Sell all the dolls or not.  If the dolls all sell, they were well priced. If they hang around, start dropping the prices until they move. Unless you can wait and if you can wait hold out for that one buyer that will pay the price you're asking.

7) Become best friends with the post people whoever you choose to use. Get invited to their wedding, be their best man. I digress but you will see them a lot. 

8) Profit. Sit back with your net gain and smell the wonga and feel the success of a job well done. 

Reminders and points to note 

  • Make sure you have boxes to post them in. 
  • Make sure you have access to a  printer and ink
  • Be prepared to wait to sell them all. 
  • Use a tracked postal service. It's very easy to get called a scammer on Facebook and eBay may hold your money without tracking. Being called a scammer will make it harder for you to sell the remaining doll.
  • We would recommend not doing holds or layaway. They get very messy. First come, first serve, get paid ship the doll. Nice and simple

Happy selling.

 If that sounds too much like hard work click here to see what we can do for you.


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