ASK BEFORE BUYING!
Is that "mint" VINTAGE GINNY or GINGER DOLL you purchased authentic or is it a potpourri of vintage and reproduction pieces?
Is that MUFFIE doll with the perfect hair wearing her original hair?
Is that MARY HOYER doll you bought patched together with a mix-match of other doll parts?
DON'T BE FOOLED ! ! !
Vogue has, in the last few years, issued a Ginny reproduction doll line that is based on the original early 1950s Ginny dolls. These reproduction dolls are dressed in clothes and have accessories that are almost identical to the original Ginny dolls. They also come with great, removable wigs.
We have noticed that a disturbing trend has begun. Certain sellers are buying the Ginny reproduction dolls on the secondary market, stripping them of their wigs and clothing, and putting the wigs on different types of vintage dolls that need re-wigging. Vintage Ginny dolls are being re-dressed in the reproduction clothes that have their tags removed and are being passed off as all-original vintage. The re-worked dolls look mint and are selling for high amounts. This method is much cheaper than buying a replacement wig for $25 and a set of doll clothes for more. By buying the Ginny repro, they get all the replacement parts needed for $25 or $30.
Clothing from the reproduction line is tagged with a rectangular paper-like tag, that says "Ginny, the year of doll issue, VOGUE DOLL CO., INC." Clothing from the vintage line is tagged with fabric tags with blue or black printing on them; the type of font and wording varies according the years of issue. Please research before you buy.
If that GINGER, GINNY or MUFFIE doll looks too good to be true, it probably is. Not a hair out of place on that Muffie doll? The hair may be replaced with a modern wig. Does that Cosmopolitan Ginger have a perfect hair roll, as fresh as the day she came off the factory line? The wig has been carefully washed with shampoo, conditioner is left in to keep the wig hair controllable and then rolled into sausage or Shirley Temple curls and pinned into place. Not difficult to do. Are Ginny's braids too perfect, too thick and cut blunt across the bottom? New wig for sure. Ask if the wig has been replaced, or washed and styled. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee you will get an honest answer.
Ask if the clothing is tagged. If Ginny's clothing looks as if it is mint, never washed or ironed and the seller says there is no tag in it, then be assured you are probably getting reproduction clothing. If the seller has pictures of tags from tagged clothing in some of their auctions, but not in auctions such as the 1950s Ginny doll dressed in her mint-looking "dark blue roller skating outfit with gold trim complete with hat," ask for a picture of the dress tag.
Keep in mind that misrepresentation of the doll is not always by an incorrect description, but most of the time is by what is MISSING in the description.
Know that there are doll guides available for sale that will accurately describe, and provide clear pictures of nearly all vintage dolls. These books are worth every penny. Every day unethical sellers benefit from the unknowing buyer. Don't let them do it to you.
Language to watch out for:
- I am not the doll's original owner.
- I am selling this doll for a friend.
- Never washed never ironed.
- Dressed in her, (i.e.) nurse's outfit; yellow dress; picnic outfit; etc., with her white shoes and socks.
- Dressed in her original dress and matching panties, etc.
Face it. Most of those 1950s dolls were purchased for little girls to play with, and believe me those dolls were played with. There aren't too many dolls left today that are still complete with their original clothing, -- especially if that clothing on the doll being sold looks sparkling clean and crisply ironed. If a doll is being offered for sale in her ORIGINAL outfit, the only thing original about the outfit on the doll is that it is a tagged brand that matches the doll. It is not difficult to buy a tagged Cosmopolitan Ginger dress for $16 and a Cosmopolitan Ginger doll for $20 on Ebay under one Ebay account; wash, starch and iron the dress, clean up the doll and style the hair in the doll's original hairstyle, put on repro panties, slip, shoes or socks and resell the same doll as all original under a second Ebay account. Know that there are honest sellers on Ebay who sell reproduction panties, slips and socks for these vintage dolls, some that look very much like the vintage pieces. Certain people buy these repro pieces by the dozens to put on restored dolls, and then pass them off as vintage.
That Mary Hoyer doll that Martha Honest is selling has an odor problem and there may be a few missing eyelashes, but Martha sells it to Joe Schmoe for $60. Joe Schmoe receives the doll and immediately flips it on his main Ebay account, meaning he immediately re-sells the Hoyer doll just as he bought it; all he did was temporarily mask the odor which is not difficult to do. One method is to take dryer sheets and stuff them in the body cavities of the doll. Another method is to spray just a little bit of Febreze or perfume into the doll. (I can't tell you how many dolls I've purchased that have had this done to them). Then, because Joe's pictures are much better than Martha's and because he is a Mary Hoyer seller of certain reputation, his doll sells for $175, and you may be the buyer.
Another scenario is Martha is selling a TLC Mary Hoyer doll. The cheeks of the doll are scratched, the body has a slight odor and a hand on one arm is chewed. The Hoyer doll is bought by Fanny Fixit for $30. Fanny Fixit buys all the TLC Mary Hoyer dolls that she can on Ebay, including those Hoyer look-alikes with unmarked bodies or are marked "Made in USA" on the backs. Fanny buys both hard plastic and composition Hoyer dolls, and nearly all of them have problems. When these TLC dolls arrive at Fanny's house, she goes to work. Off comes the head, the arms and the legs and she starts mix and matching to make a whole doll. It doesn't matter to Fanny that she is putting a late 1940s Mohair hard plastic head on with a mid-1950s body, and that the color of the plastic of the body parts do not match. The arm from the doll with the odor problems goes on a doll that does not have odor problems, and that can set off another chain reaction. Within months your doll will begin to smell like a glass of sour milk because the bacteria has spread. With the compo dolls, she takes all the good pieces from the dolls and makes a whole doll from the good parts, not caring that the legs don't match each other in color. Fanny covers the composition cracks with craze concealer purchased from Internet doll hospitals. The pieces of Hoyer dolls that can't be used go up for sale again as "parts" and not all of the defects are disclosed. Pictures of these doll parts are poor and/or the doll part is scanned in from a scanner (which damages the doll part more) so defects are hidden. Fanny then puts the mix-and-match Hoyer for sale on Ebay with great digital camera pictures as "all original" and we, the buyers, are fooled if we don't know what we are buying.
Another type of restoration is manufactured by the "TLC Doctor" who specializes in quickie-fixes. Dora Dolldoctor buys up all the cheap, broken, problem dolls on Ebay and when these dolls arrive at her home she sorts them out according to size and body type. Dora went to the same Academy that Fanny Fixit did. Dora looks over her inventory and sifts through her booty. She chooses the 1950s hard plastic doll in a tagged "Jolly" dress that looks like a hard plastic Jolly doll but Dora really isn't sure what brand the doll is. The doll has a broken hand, so Dora replaces both arms with those from a doll that is of similar size and body style, such as the Raving Beauty doll that Dora bought with the damaged legs. The arm color of the Raving Beauty doll is lighter than the Jolly doll, and the arm size is slightly smaller which causes the arms to recede into the arm cavities of the body. Dora hides this problem up by redressing the doll in the tagged dress, and lists the doll on Ebay as being a rare Jolly doll that is in mint, unplayed-with condition and wearing her original dress. Bids go sky high because this may be a rare doll and Dora makes out like a bandit. They buyer ends up with a doll that may or may not have a Jolly head and a mix-and-match body. The only way the buyers realize they have been ripped off is if they immediately undress their dolls when they arrive for a careful inspection. Many people don't bother to undress their dolls when they arrive. They just unwrap the doll, admire her and put her on the shelf for display. Please--undress all your dolls when they arrive and make sure the body parts match!
Be aware too that a tagged-dress does not always mean the doll is the same brand. Many hard plastic dolls from the 1950s were not marked and identification can sometimes be difficult. Honest mistakes are made all the time, but there are those sellers like Dora Dolldoctor who benefit from deliberate misrepresentation.
Beware of PRIVATE auctions. Ask yourself - why does a seller feel it is necessary to have all bidders on their auctions hidden, especially today with Ebay's new safety regulations of hiding bidder names? More often than not, the seller is hiding more than just bidder names. If a particular seller's auctions always seem to end with high prices far over and above all other dolls for sale of the same type and quality, beware of bidding on those auctions. The end prices may have been manipulated by the seller and/or their friends and family. You say to yourself "No. Impossible. Ebay claims they have "superior" software in place that catches shill bidders." LOL. We tell you BAH! Not true! If that was the case, a great percentage of Ebay's registered users would be suspended. We know for a fact that sisters and mothers and cousins use their Ebay accounts [and their husbands' Ebay accounts] to bump up auction prices. We know for a fact that "dolly friends" bump up end prices of auctions. It happens on a regular basis, and this is organized behind the scenes via email or pop-up instant messages. After all, how does Ebay know who is related to one particular seller, or who their friends are? Dolly friends are made through Internet chat groups, doll message boards and doll clubs. Some of these relationships extend beyond the boards and groups, and are carried on through outside events such as conventions or doll shows. Some friendships occur just through the buying process. Buy a doll from someone, strike up an email conversation, and you've got a new BFF.
Check feedback for suspicious and consistent repeat buyers. Check the feedback of the buyer's buyers or sellers. You may be surprised by what you discover. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of the bidding process over a great looking doll, but is it worth it? You may be paying too much money in a manipulated auction for a doll that was restored, and is not all original.
Think carefully before you bid.
p.s. I have received nearly 100 emails from people thanking me for writing this guide. As of this revision, this guide has been reviewed over 9,000 times and 19 of the 292 people who took the time to vote on this guide have stated this guide was not helpful. Now, who do you think the 19 people are? ;)