Toy dolls are sold at retail and specialty stores and are highly collectible and customizable. Many companies and businesses cater to hobbyists that like these items. Here are some common terms related to these items.
Bisque - This is fired, unglazed porcelain. Because it is unglazed, it gives these figurines a life-like, matte finish. Collectors differentiate these from porcelain dolls in that they have a head made of bisque while porcelain ones are all glazed. This style was popular in the late 19th century, and some antique bisque figurines are incredibly valuable today.
Papier-mache - This is a material made of paper pieces or pulp and reinforced with glue or paste. This is a common material for the bodies of these figurines.
Ball-jointed Body - This is a body usually made of composition materials or papier-mache with wooden balls acting as the joints.
Vinyl - This is a type of plastic that is composed from a specific organic compound. Retail figurines found commercially are generally made of this material. These figurines come with a number of options for clothes or an accessory.
Doll Hospital - These establishments specialize in the repair of doll bodies, clothes and accessories. These establishments also specialize in the repair of various antique figurines and action figures.
Reborn - This is a figurine that has been designed to resemble a newborn baby. It is composed of either parts that come in a personalized or pre-made kit. Professional sculptors and design artists create kits for the public to assemble and paint. They are usually equipped with limbs, faces, heads, eyelashes, bodies and other accessories. Occasionally, builders may choose to design a special accessory for their creation, like fake tears.
Dolls are not just toys for children. Collectors look for items from their childhood or valuable vintage and antique dolls and collectibles. Specialty retailers offer these items for sale. They also regularly offer an accessory or two that children and avid enthusiasts want for miniature houses. Clothes are also found in these stores.
While they may start out as toys, these items develop quite a following. Throughout history, dolls have been crafted from clay, paper, plastic, rubber, stone and wax. Cloth items were sewn and stuffed with some form of filler. Jointed wood figures were used to help artists capture the human form. Adults usually look for the more delicate materials like bone china, ivory or porcelain. Realistic porcelain faces are one of the most popular items around.
Historical significance also has a hand in the item's value. Antique babies made by specialty manufacturers can be valuable and are sold for large sums of money. The older and more rare the doll, clothing, or accessory is, the more valuable a collectible it is.
Antique dolls offer the highest values. After World War II, plastic and vinyl manufacturing picked up. Toys made from plastic created in mass marketing which drove down the value of these toys. Finding rare or very old items is the best way to make money or gain status.
Many of the stores selling these items also offer accessory items, clothing from popular fashion designers and custom made houses. The clothes on the dolls should be original and in a decent condition. If you want to buy these collectibles, a specialty retailer or collector is your best bet.