Monday, July 6, 2015

Valuing Your Collection (Monetarily)


As I continue my series on financial matters related to doll collecting, I want to talk about valuing your collection. If you think your doll collection is worth more than $1,000, you should commit to an annual valuing/revaluing exercise. What do I mean by this? Doll values in the market fluctuate, sometimes wildly, and it's important for many reasons to have a good current picture of what your collection is worth. A few of these reasons include insurance, calculating your net worth, and making arrangements in the event you pass from this world. As someone who collects dolls for the fun of it, I admit it can be daunting to go through and revalue a collection annually. Regardless of the lack of fun this activity provides, I think it is an important task that should be completed. What follows is an explanation of how I revalue my collection. While I'm sure there are other ways to do it, this is the method I use.

The first thing to consider is what time of year you plan to revalue your collection. I like to revalue mine somewhere around Christmas, as this generally is when things fetch the highest value. I would stay away from summer months, because sales seem to slump that time of year.
It's the most wonderful time of the year ... for finding doll values.

The hardest thing you will have to do in the process is create a list of every single item of monetary value in your collection. I have lots of dolls that are very sentimentally valuable to me, but are devoid of any resale value. I do not include these in my revaluing process. I keep a running spreadsheet using Google Sheets to keep up with what I have. I create a new tab for each year so I can track fluctuations in my collection. If you would like a copy of the template I use for this, feel free to comment below with your email address and I'll send it to you. This will at least help you get started.

Once you have your list of dolls and doll accessories ready to go, just do an eBay Completed Listings search to get an idea of the value of each item. Keep in mind that you should compare the value of your item to one in similar condition that has sold (i.e. do not compare a gently played with doll to a mint in box doll, they aren't the same thing). I have two examples of this to show you. The first example is this:
Small World England Doll that my Grandma gave me

I simply do an eBay completed listings search and come up with this:

Sold dolls

My doll is not mint in box, but he is also not missing accessories like the doll sold at the bottom. This is not a scientific process, but I would value my doll somewhere in the middle of these two. I would feel comfortable putting a value of $150 on the doll I have. This doll was an excellent investment, as he was only $25 in the store, and is now worth quite a bit more (thanks Grandma!).

The second example is this doll:
Via-E Alexis doll

This is a Via-E Alexis doll (see here for a complete review of this doll). I personally love this doll as I think she is so unique in the 18" doll world. Regardless of how much I love her, what's she worth? A completed listings search yields NO RESULTS. I paid the introductory rate of $95 for Alexis back in the day. She now sells for $114 on Via-E's website. The factor that makes pricing this doll difficult for me is that quite a few Alexis Factory Seconds dolls were sold on eBay for $40-something dollars. This really annoyed me at the time and I thought it devalued the doll I had purchased. I do have a first edition doll, but considering all the factors, I would value this doll somewhere around the $80 range. This was a bad investment, but I'm okay with it, because I really do love this doll. 

Valuing and revaluing your doll collection can be a daunting task, but don't let that sway you from the mission. Pick a week or two, and fill in your values over that time. You don't have to do it all in one sitting, I certainly don't. With this kind of data, you will be much more likely to recover insurance money in the event of a catastrophe (check to see what your homeowner's insurance covers, or even get special collectibles insurance). And in the sad event that you pass away, how will your loved ones know what is a fair price to get for your items? With the proper documentation in place, whomever you bequeath your collection to will be armed with knowledge needed to sell it. Now, I have personally instructed my husband to build a mausoleum to hold my remains and my doll collection (hahahaha!). But no, seriously, I hope through this post the importance of knowing the value of your collection has hit home. I would be happy to hear from anyone who decides to do this! Good luck!

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