The Alexander Doll Company

Madame Beatrice Alexander Behman started the Alexander Doll Company in 1923.  During the course of her life with the company, Madame Alexander, as she was known, created many firsts in doll making. Including making the first dolls with eyes that opened and closed, dolls based on pop culture characters such as “Alice in Wonderland” and “Gone with the wind” and dolls based on famous people such as Queen Elizabeth II. Madame Alexander stayed active in her company until age 93.

Generally speaking there are four eras of Madame Alexander dolls, based on the date of manufacture:

The Antique Dolls: Which means dolls were made before 1939.  These dolls will be highly collectable due to their rarity. These dolls will be made of cloth exclusively and have hand painted faces and sown on clothing. Dolls from this era include the Alice doll based on Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” books.

Collectible Dolls: These dolls were made between 1940 and 1970 and again are considered very collectable due to their relative rarity.  These dolls with will either be composite dolls, that is made of many different materials such as cloth stuffed with sawdust, with plaster of Paris heads. Or after 1947 these doll will be composite with hard plastic or completely plastic in makeup.  Dolls from this era include dolls based on people such as Sonja Henie, the Olympic figure skater and the Dionne Quints. Also included in these era are the 1944 and 1945 lines of “Patriotic dolls” representing the Armed Forces.

The Modern Era: All dolls made since 1970 and yet not currently being made by the company are considered Modern. These dolls are considered less collectable because they are not so rare and were often purchased as actual toys for little girls to play with, not just as collectables.   These lines included updated versions of the “Wizard of Oz” dolls and the Emily Dickinson doll.

The Contemporary era dolls are all doll lines still being made by the company. These lines will become collectable as they are retired from manufacture. Also, they could be purchased and stored as a long term investment.  Indeed some of these dolls are designed to be collectable from the start, such as the “High Fashion and Couture” lines that feature Madame Alexander dolls dressed in exclusive fashions from some of the most famous fashion designers of today like Jason Wu, who design Michelle Obama’s inauguration gown.

Sources:

http://www.madamealexander.com/

Linda Crowsey, Madame Alexander 2010 Collector’s Dolls Price Guide #35 (Paducah, KY: Collector Books, 2010).

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How to Assess the value of a Barbie Doll Collection

In assessing a Barbie Doll collection for monetary value, the first thing that the collector must do is understand that personal and sentimental value is not worth a dollar.  A collector will not pay you for your attachment to a doll.

The collector will need to get a couple of different sources about the market value of their collection; “Warman’s Barbie Doll Field Guide: Values and Identification” is a great resource as is “The Barbie Doll Years: A Comprehensive Listing & Value Guide of Dolls & Accessories”. Other resources are also available to help you, such as this website.

Also it is essential that the collector knows the value of each doll by itself and also as part of a set or collection. Accessories and original clothes also have value, so assessing them is a good idea as well.

What follows are some general guidelines how to evaluate your collection for money value.

First, inspect the all the items with a clear eye. To decide the authentic value of your Barbie dolls, thoroughly examine the doll’s state. Pay attention to any damage, no matter how slight. Each scuff or flaw will reduce the value of the item. Make sure your Barbie doll is authentic. There are replica dolls out there that are essentially valueless.

Next, has your doll or the accessory been removed from the box? If so than the value will be lower than if the item has never been removed from its box (NRFB), or sometimes called Mint in Box (MiB). The MiB dolls with the original packing still intact are the most valuable.

Next, check for any restoration work on the doll or have there been any alterations. Dolls that have been altered in anyway are less valuable than dolls in original condition.

Is you doll is some way special or unique? There are some dolls that only very few were manufactured. Of course, these special editions or limited edition dolls will be worth more, based on their rarity. For example Collector Edition Barbie Dolls are made in quantities of 35,000 units; whereas Limited Edition Barbie Dolls are made in lots of less than 35,000 units.

Using the books mentioned above and other resources to check the market value of the dolls. Look for the exact Barbie doll to check. If your doll is really rare and unique there may be less information available about it. You may want to have it appraised. Also use multiple sources to check the value, which will provide an average cost of the doll.