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Dolls without Borders
Although fashion dolls have possibly been around since ancient times thereís no doubt that the introduction of the Barbie Doll at the American Toy Fair in New York back in 1959 set doll collecting on a new course. At first, the slender blond plastic fashion conscious young lady was meant for children to dress and undress and occasionally change hairstyles. However, when the collectors started to take an interest in Barbie she began to move from the toy box to the shelves of the china cabinet and display case.
Today we find a whole range of new and more expensive dolls on the market with price tags that make them out of reach for most children. In addition to Mattelís Barbie Silkstone, a heavy vinyl collectable, many other chic and curvaceous models have appeared on the scene such as Tyler Wentworth, Cissy and Fashion Royalty. Dollfie, who is more of a young teenager, is also in big demand in spite of having a starting price of five hundred dollars and going up to well over a thousand.
Passionate collectors from all over the world, both men and women, often spend as much on new outfits for their dolls as they spend on their own clothes. At any one time you can see over 6000 items listed under dollís fashions on eBay where prices range from a few dollars to hundreds. On the Internet you will also find those who specialize in repainting them, some of who have become artists in their own right.
I would venture to say that Fashion Royalty by designer Jason Wu is one of the most popular fashion dolls at this time. Youíll find enthusiasts for this glamorous 12" icon every-where. There are forums, message boards, photo galleries and news groups dedicated to her. People travel across the world to attend conventions held specifically to show off her many forms, her moods, outfits and accessories.
To gain possession of certain limited editions devotees have to enter a lottery and the winner then willingly coughs up several hundred dollars for the privilege of ownership. Many of these sought after special releases will then appear on eBay at several times the amount the seller originally paid.
Whether dolls can be a sound investment is questionable as collectors frequently switch their loyalties as new designs appear on the market. However, many have no intention of parting with their precious collections or the haute couture they have assembled on their behalf.
This is not so much of a hobby as a sub culture with owners speaking of their dolls in the most endearing terms. And there seems to be no end in sight as more and more people discover the joy of owning something beautiful that doesnít answer you back or wet on the carpet.
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