1. Why this doll?
Before opening your purse ask yourself why this doll? Does it move you? Does it fit your budget? Is this a price based decision? Do you have a place picked out to display the new acquisition?
It is crucial to sort out your feeling before making what could be a bad emotional or rash decision. Once you know why you want a doll it is a much easier process to make a wise decision.
2. How much quality information do you have?
This is usually the most overlooked part of the buying process. Having a professional inspection can reveal important details about a doll that can drastically affect its worth. The inspection may confirm or eliminate the very reasons why you want to buy the doll in the first place.
The reason this process is often neglected is that circumstances often do not allow for it. Usually shop owners or flea market sellers will not let you ‘borrow’ a doll to have it inspected. If you proceed without an inspection buyer beware. If you do have an inspection you can skip most of the rest of this list.
3. Is it too good to be true?
Why is the vendor selling the doll for this price? Why is it available? The saying “if it is too good to be true it probably is” has become trite, but human greed or impetuousness often ignores this time tested advice.
4. What is original and what is not?
With just about everything collectible the more original the piece the more desirable it is. Shoes, eyes, wigs and dresses are the most commonly replaced items. Also the body is not often original to the head.
Among these items the dress and body are the most serious. A replacement dress can substantially degrade the value of a doll. Although a new body does not decrease the value like a new dress, it can still hurt. Replacement wigs, shoes and eyes can also chip away at the value and authenticity of the doll in question.
5. Has the doll been restored?
If it is not possible to have the piece professionally inspected a good once-over is in order. It is a good idea to view the doll with a magnifying glass and a portable light if possible. If the doll seller refuses to allow close inspection this is a huge red flag and you should consider walking away immediately.
Of all these rules the most important are clearly the first two. Numer one can prevent buyers remorse and number two can prevent being misled or cheated.