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Buying a used American Girl doll?


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#1 In the Rain

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 09:32 PM

I found a Felicity doll on Craigslist that dd really wants. It is being sold by a collector, who bought it some time ago from another collector on ebay. She doesn't know how old it is. It is from a smoke free home and has been kept in a glass cabinet. She says it looks new.

We are going to see it in a couple of days. What do I need to know or ask? Part of me worries it could be over a decade old. Would that matter?

It will cost as much as a new doll, but include two extra dresses. Would I be better off just buying the doll new, knowing that none of the extra outfits are available?

WWYD?

#2 DianeW88

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 09:56 PM

The older dolls, made when Pleasant Rowland was in charge of the company are MUCH better than the ones made now. You can tell by looking at the back of the doll's neck when it was made. It'll say "Pleasant Company" if it is one of the older dolls. We have 9 AG dolls (my dd is the only granddaughter on either side of the family) and some of them date back to 1986 (my MIL bought several for ME before I married my dh. She only had boys and was DYING to buy a doll for someone. :lol:) Anyway, my dd played with those older dolls like crazy, and honestly....they've held up perfectly. No problems whatsoever. Our Felicity doll was purchased in 1993, I think, and she still looks like we took her out of the box. So, if it is one of the older dolls, I say....snatch her up. You'll be getting the better deal.

#3 KristinaBreece

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 10:02 PM

The older dolls, made when Pleasant Rowland was in charge of the company are MUCH better than the ones made now. You can tell by looking at the back of the doll's neck when it was made. It'll say "Pleasant Company" if it is one of the older dolls. We have 9 AG dolls (my dd is the only granddaughter on either side of the family) and some of them date back to 1986 (my MIL bought several for ME before I married my dh. She only had boys and was DYING to buy a doll for someone. :lol:) Anyway, my dd played with those older dolls like crazy, and honestly....they've held up perfectly. No problems whatsoever. Our Felicity doll was purchased in 1993, I think, and she still looks like we took her out of the box. So, if it is one of the older dolls, I say....snatch her up. You'll be getting the better deal.


:iagree:

#4 elfgivas

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 10:15 PM

we have bought used from ebay and never been disappointed. good luck!
ann

#5 Starr

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 10:30 PM

Check out the condition of the hair. That seems to go first.

#6 KarenNC

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 11:58 PM

It won't matter about the age if the doll is in good condition. The Molly we have that is pre-Mattel has a white cloth body, while the newer dolls we have have tan bodies. I bought Molly at a thrift store, won Kaya in a drawing, bought Jess and Kirsten at yard sales, and my daughter was given Josefina as a hand-me-down. All but Molly are the newer bodies.

Another thing to look for are the strings around the neck. They are made with the necks cinched up with cotton strings, not plastic zip ties like many dolls. I believe I remember that you are looking for uncut neck strings to show that the head has not been replaced. Also, compare the length of the hair with a picture of the doll from the catalog. I believe our Molly had a bit of a haircut at some point. It didn't matter to me as I only paid $30 at the thrift store.

Here's an ebay buying guide
http://pages.ebay.co...s-buying-guide/

If you sew, or know someone who does, here are patterns that AG put out for the original dolls (you can't buy the patterns any longer either). http://www.agplaythi...ssPatterns.html This will let you or your daughter make more period clothes for Felicity, if that's what she wants.

For the hair, my friend who is a doll collector rescued our Kirsten. I found her for $2 at a yard sale and her hair was a wreck. I decided to take a chance on it and take her to my friend, figuring worst case scenario I'd send the doll to the AG doll hospital to get a new head for $25 and still come out to the good. My friend dampened the doll's hair somewhat and applied a little bit of regular leave-in conditioner (which we had because I use it), then combed through it gently. It did wonders for the doll and made her perfectly playable. Now we were looking for play dolls, not to collect them, so mint condition was not of paramount importance.

#7 jujsky

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 12:58 AM

Felicity isn't sold anymore, so you can't buy her new. You're looking at buying one second-hand any way you go about it. The brand new ones on e-bay are going for much more than you would spend at the AG store a couple months ago.

As another poster said, the pre-Mattel dolls are better. I just bought 2 horrible dolls off e-bay to restore (Kit & Josefina). There is tons of information on the internet about how to fix dry hair and such. Shampoo her with a good wig shampoo or baby shampoo and then if it's still dry, do a Downy dunk (let her hair sit in Downy for 4-5 hours & then rinse it). I did this with a used Kirsten doll with dry hair and it came out beautiful! I read (haven't tried it) that frizzy hair can be fixed by steaming it.

You'll want to check if her limbs are loose. Lie her on her back and put her arms and legs in the air. If she can hold a pose, she is fine. If not, they're loose. You can restring her yourself (it's easier than it sounds) or you can send her to the American Girl doll hospital. Also check her carefully for ink stains on the vinyl. It's not uncommon for older dolls -- even collector dolls that weren't played with -- to have ink transfer stains from the dye on clothing. These can usually be removed by covering the area with zit cream that contains at least 10% benzoyl peroxide. Cover the zit cream with plastic wrap cut to fit to keep it from drying out. Leave it on for 24 hours, rinse, and repeat until the stain is gone. You can put it in the sun. It speeds up the process because the zit cream reacts to the UV rays. I've also read on other sites that the UV rays break down the plastic, so it's sort of a crap-shoot. I read that you can heat the cream up a couple times a day with a hairdryer set on high to speed the process. I'm trying that now to see if it makes it work any faster. I'm on day 4 of trying to remove a magic marker heart from our Craigslist Kit doll's leg and it's faded pretty significantly in that time.

HTH!

#8 In the Rain

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 10:22 AM

Thanks for all of the replies. You ladies were much more helpful than google! :D I am definitely feeling better about the doll. In fact, it sounds like older might be better.

I guess the price is what bothers me. Most of the dolls on Craigslist are 70, and this one is 125. She does include the two extra dresses though. As of last night, he AG store still had the Felicity dolls, just not any extra clothes. Dd says she'd rather have the extra dresses and a used doll than a brand new doll. She especially loves the blue taffeta dress.

Thanks for the pattern link. If I can find someone who will sew them for me, I'll be set. ;) Maybe Grandma?

#9 jujsky

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 10:43 AM

Check for flaws carefully (cut neck strings in addition to the flaws I mentioned) and if you find any, talk her into adjusting the price accordingly. Honestly, if the doll is pre-Mattel, is in good shape, and comes with 2 outfits, it's a decent deal.

Let us know how it goes :)

#10 TXMomof4

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 10:46 AM

we have bought used from ebay and never been disappointed. good luck!
ann


This is where our first dolls came from. No problems and we got extra clothing for the same price as a new doll.

#11 KarenNC

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 10:51 AM

I guess the price is what bothers me. Most of the dolls on Craigslist are 70, and this one is 125. She does include the two extra dresses though. As of last night, he AG store still had the Felicity dolls, just not any extra clothes. Dd says she'd rather have the extra dresses and a used doll than a brand new doll. She especially loves the blue taffeta dress.


Take a quick look on ebay to see what the dresses she is offering are going for. Two of them may well add up to the extra money pretty quickly, especially if they are in great condition. Don't forget to factor in what you would have to pay for shipping. Also, as was said, double check with the catalog or online to find out the accessories that came with the dress to see if those are included. I would particularly worry about shoes, as AG dolls have wide feet. You can get them clothes from other sources pretty easily, but not shoes.

Here's a link to the description of what should come with the blue dress if it is advertised as new or complete:
http://store.america...d/142268/uid/18

#12 GraciebytheBay

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 11:38 AM

We have a rule that no used cloth materials come into this house. I am paranoid about bedbugs! Sorry, just had to share that.:tongue_smilie:

#13 In the Rain

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 11:50 AM

We have a rule that no used cloth materials come into this house. I am paranoid about bedbugs! Sorry, just had to share that.:tongue_smilie:


:tongue_smilie::lol: I remember my grandma buying me a stuffed animal at a garage sale once. She gutted it, washed the skin in the washing machine, and restuffed it. It was not the same, and I remember thinking I wouldn't have bought it if I had known what would happen.

This doll lives in a glass case. Hopefully she is bug free. I'll be sure to look for those tell tale streaks. :tongue_smilie:

#14 In the Rain

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 06:59 PM

We ended up buying the doll. :D Dd fell in love with her instantly. She happens to be an older doll, with the Pleasant Company stamp on her neck. She has definitely been well cared for. She is blemish free, with beautiful hair. She was missing the accessories though. I'll have to look for a place to buy the little mob cap.

Dd is ecstatic. :D Thanks for all of the advice and information, which made me feel better about spending so much on a used doll.

#15 Slartibartfast

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 07:06 PM

For the hair, my friend who is a doll collector rescued our Kirsten. I found her for $2 at a yard sale and her hair was a wreck. I decided to take a chance on it and take her to my friend, figuring worst case scenario I'd send the doll to the AG doll hospital to get a new head for $25 and still come out to the good. My friend dampened the doll's hair somewhat and applied a little bit of regular leave-in conditioner (which we had because I use it), then combed through it gently. It did wonders for the doll and made her perfectly playable. Now we were looking for play dolls, not to collect them, so mint condition was not of paramount importance.


My dd had a bunch of barbies with horrific hair not too long ago. Many doll sites recommended putting liquid fabric softener into their hair to brush it out. It worked well.

#16 Slartibartfast

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 07:07 PM

We have a rule that no used cloth materials come into this house. I am paranoid about bedbugs! Sorry, just had to share that.:tongue_smilie:


Ack!!

:willy_nilly:

#17 KarenNC

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 08:06 PM

We ended up buying the doll. :D Dd fell in love with her instantly. She happens to be an older doll, with the Pleasant Company stamp on her neck. She has definitely been well cared for. She is blemish free, with beautiful hair. She was missing the accessories though. I'll have to look for a place to buy the little mob cap.

Dd is ecstatic. :D Thanks for all of the advice and information, which made me feel better about spending so much on a used doll.


A mob cap is dead easy to make, even by hand (my preferred method). It's a circle of fabric, hemmed using a narrow turned hem, lace added if you like, then a gathering stitch a bit inside the hem (depending on the depth of frill you want--and you might consider making a double row of gathering stitches and gathering them together when you pull them). Gather the stitching, fasten it off, tack a little satin ribbon bow to the front and you're done. There's bound to be a pattern for it in the pattern link I posted.

Another method is here from Colonial Williamsburg http://www.history.o...ng/tchmhins.cfm You would have to scale it down to fit the doll, though.


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