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Author Topic: Advice about American Girl dolls  (Read 1724 times)

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Offline LadyAmalthea

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Advice about American Girl dolls
« on: February 01, 2021, 06:33:49 PM »
I thought there was a thread about these a while back, but I can't seem to find it, and it looks like some things have gotten moved around so maybe it is locked anyway; I'll just ask here.

I had heard somewhere that the quality of the dolls has gone way down in recent years, and some rumours about attached underwear or something weird. Is this true? And if so, when did it happen? My daughters are only 2 and not old enough for an AG doll yet, but I wanted to get them for them eventually, since we got them for my stepdaughters, but I want to make sure they are the same quality doll that I grew up with. If this means that I need to buy an older doll, I will. The dolls we purchased my stepdaughters in 2009 and 2012 seem to be of the same quality of my childhood Kirsten that was purchased in 1992.

What is a fair price to pay for an AG doll that has never been removed from its box? The dolls I am particularly interested in are Julie, MaryEllen, and Kit if it matters; I believe all 3 are still in production, but I think I prefer to buy an older new one because I prefer the old outfits of Julie and Kit to the updated versions, and because of the above speculated quality issues.

There is a local seller who has 2 of the above-mentioned dolls up for sale right now for $100 each, and I'm wondering if I should jump on it and put them away until my girls are old enough. My worry is that AG will retire those characters and their prices will skyrocket; I still have my childhood Kirsten and I'm glad I do, because I looked up what it would cost to replace her and...well, I hope I never have reason to replace her!

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Re: Advice about American Girl dolls
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2021, 11:42:32 PM »
These changes were about 3-4 years ago.  They reversed the Permapanty change due to customer outcry. 
However, at the same time, they also started using poor quality eyes.  The Doll Hospital also has a service to upgrade them to higher-quality, due to customer outcry.

If you are buying direct from AG online, you shouldn't have to worry about these issues.  There may be older stock for the more unpopular dolls, but you SHOULD get a newer, high-quality doll.  If you are buying from the secondary market, yes, you will have to remember to ask about the eyes and permapanties and body fabric.

$100 is decent for a doll in the Meet Outfit you want, in the box.  $60-80 without the box.
Retired girls are more like $130-250,depends on who

I wouldn't spend more than $100 on Julie, Maryellen or Kit as there are SO MANY on the secondary market.  Older Kit dolls sometimes get grey/greenish vinyl, that's how you would know if you bought a 1st Edition one.  The odds are much higher of you getting one of those character dolls in good condition for  a good price.  Kirsten, as you have seen, is one of the pricier ones.  :)

Oh and older dolls have more stuffing in their bodies, which means they are more fun to hug.  New Dolls are much more streamlined. 
Bad news, the new clothes and new dolls are MUCH skinnier so don't expect New Clothes to fit on Older Dolls.
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Offline LadyAmalthea

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Re: Advice about American Girl dolls
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2021, 04:29:05 PM »
These changes were about 3-4 years ago.  They reversed the Permapanty change due to customer outcry. 
However, at the same time, they also started using poor quality eyes.  The Doll Hospital also has a service to upgrade them to higher-quality, due to customer outcry.

If you are buying direct from AG online, you shouldn't have to worry about these issues.  There may be older stock for the more unpopular dolls, but you SHOULD get a newer, high-quality doll.  If you are buying from the secondary market, yes, you will have to remember to ask about the eyes and permapanties and body fabric.

$100 is decent for a doll in the Meet Outfit you want, in the box.  $60-80 without the box.
Retired girls are more like $130-250,depends on who

I wouldn't spend more than $100 on Julie, Maryellen or Kit as there are SO MANY on the secondary market.  Older Kit dolls sometimes get grey/greenish vinyl, that's how you would know if you bought a 1st Edition one.  The odds are much higher of you getting one of those character dolls in good condition for  a good price.  Kirsten, as you have seen, is one of the pricier ones.  :)

Oh and older dolls have more stuffing in their bodies, which means they are more fun to hug.  New Dolls are much more streamlined. 
Bad news, the new clothes and new dolls are MUCH skinnier so don't expect New Clothes to fit on Older Dolls.

Thank you, this is very helpful! I wonder why they made these changes instead of just raising the price...I mean, these dolls were expensive back in the early 90's; $89 or something. They are now, what, $110? In 30 years, it's not a horrible price increase, adjusted for inflation. It wouldn't be out of line to raise the price a little bit to keep the quality customers are used to. By comparison, the clothes and accessories have gone up almost 100% since then! I remember saving up my meager babysitting earnings to buy a new dress for Kirsten, and they ranged between $13 and $22. These days, I don't think you can buy anything from AG for under $30.

That's too bad that the clothes don't fit. It would be nice to buy a secondary-market doll, and buy currently-released clothes if I so desired, but I see now if this is what I choose to do, then I'm pretty much stuck buying clothes off of Ebay to fit her (which is fine, as I like older stuff better anyway, but it's unfortunate that options are limited).

The dolls in question were sold in the box, with the book wrapped in plastic. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to ask the seller what year they were new (if it's possible to find out) and whether they have the permapanties or not.

Offline sailorstitch

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Re: Advice about American Girl dolls
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2021, 05:27:27 AM »
Honestly, I'd just wait until your daughter is old enough and let her pick which doll(s) she wants. They're too expensive to risk buying a doll that she might not connect with.

The reason that AG started making the dolls lower quality is because the company has been in financial trouble for years. They're starting to turn things around, but they still have a long way to go. They dug themselves into quite a deep hole.

Offline LadyAmalthea

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Re: Advice about American Girl dolls
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2021, 01:07:32 PM »
Honestly, I'd just wait until your daughter is old enough and let her pick which doll(s) she wants. They're too expensive to risk buying a doll that she might not connect with.

The reason that AG started making the dolls lower quality is because the company has been in financial trouble for years. They're starting to turn things around, but they still have a long way to go. They dug themselves into quite a deep hole.

My girls are only 2, so perhaps I am jumping the gun a little bit. I'm just worried that by then, the secondary market won't be as flooded with them as it is now and I'll be stuck with buying newer, lower-quality dolls if I wait. One of the dolls has the same name as one of my daughters, so I thought it would be cool to have something in the package that had her name on it. If she doesn't connect with it, I'm sure she'll cherish it as a collector's item when she's older.

Lately, I've been eyeing the bitty twins for them; they are cute and something that is designed for their age range that they could have right now (or at least by their next birthday). Maybe I'll do that and concentrate on the other dolls in a couple of years.

Post Merge: February 27, 2021, 01:08:57 PM

Does anyone know what it means when the dolls have the 'beforeever' label on them? Is there a difference between those dolls and the ones that don't have that label? The ones that say that seem to have the newer style clothes, so I have been avoiding them in my searches, but I think I have seen a Kit doll that said beforeever in her previous outfit, as well. I just wonder if this change was at the same time as the quality changes and could be an easy indicator of which dolls to avoid?

Offline sailorstitch

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Re: Advice about American Girl dolls
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2021, 05:05:31 PM »
The secondary market has been flooded for a long time. The second hand supply isn't going to dry up in the next 5 years.

The doll that has the same name as your daughter is a bit different. I'd have trouble resisting that to. Although,  I'd keep it small. Like the books or one outfit.

Beforever was a rebranding of the historical line. They just discontinued the use of the name a few months ago.

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Re: Advice about American Girl dolls
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2021, 05:24:28 PM »
If cost is a concern and the doll with the shared name is Julie, maybe the mini doll?
I'll also note that when I was in elementary school I wanted an AG doll so bad but ended up not playing with it much...I got a lot more enjoyment out of reading the books for Felicity and Julie! Of course, your kid is only 2, but a book may be something that you can enjoy together.
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Offline LadyAmalthea

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Re: Advice about American Girl dolls
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2021, 09:13:32 PM »
That mini Julie is actually really cute! The mini dolls they made when I was a kid were just kind of...off-looking. They seem to have come a long way in the looks department since then (if not in quality).

Her name is actually Kit, though...a lot less common. She'll probably never have much in the way of pre-printed merchandise with her name on it. There isn't a doll with my other daughter's name, but they are twins, so what you buy one, you're stuck buying the other! (Her middle name is Juliette, so that's close to Julie, I guess!)

Kit was the doll we bought for my stepdaughter 8 or 9 years ago...I chose her because I loved her name. I remember when the Kit doll first came out, I was so excited...I always thought if I had a little girl her name would be Kit, and I said if I ever had her I would get her the doll with her matching name. Not knowing if I would ever have my own child (I had kids really late in life), I ordered her for my stepdaughter.

When my siblings and I were kids, there were only 3 doll choices. My youngest sister, Molly, was deemed too young to have an AG doll, so my mom bought the 3 existing dolls for me and my other 2 siblings, one of which obviously got Molly. We always thought it odd that our youngest sister didn't get her namesake doll; when she was old enough and more dolls had come out, my mom got her Addy. I think Molly was always a bit miffed that my other sister had gotten the Molly doll when it was her name...I never knew why my mom couldn't have just been okay with having 2 Molly dolls in the house. My sister is grown and in her 30s now, and her boyfriend found her a Molly doll on Ebay. Sorry for the long, dumb story...I just ramble sometimes!

Cost isn't really that big of a factor; I don't mind paying up to the amount of a new, current doll for the one I want; I just don't want to pay what I would now pay for, say, a NIB Kirsten kind of price for it. It sounds like I have a little bit of time. I'll probably concentrate on the bitty twins for now.

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Re: Advice about American Girl dolls
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2021, 10:34:28 PM »
The recent minis are actually really great. The originals with glass eyes are kind of scary imo, and the cloth body ones look strange to me. I vastly prefer the new vinyl body minis. They look so much better. You can even find a variety of outfits for some of them.

Kit and Julie are both very common dolls, especially Kit. I've been buying up a storm of secondhand AG dolls lately. Its very, very easy to find regular dolls for $50 plus around $7-15 shipping. Prices as low as $30 + shipping aren't rare. They go super fast, but I still see dolls popping up for around that price. If you're willing to pay around retail price you can easily find beautiful dolls in perfect condition or even MIB. I wouldn't worry at all about the supply running out.

Certain items like clothing or accessories are harder to find, but I wouldn't really recommend buying a bunch of rare items for play anyways.

In the meantime, you could still incorporate the historical dolls in other ways so your girls are familiar with them. Read them the stories, buy the ornaments if you guys do holiday trees, show them the movies. There's a lot of Hallmark merchandise of the older girls, like bookends, statues, and snow globes. Some of them have the dolls' names on them.
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Offline LadyAmalthea

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Re: Advice about American Girl dolls
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2021, 01:04:53 AM »
The recent minis are actually really great. The originals with glass eyes are kind of scary imo, and the cloth body ones look strange to me. I vastly prefer the new vinyl body minis. They look so much better. You can even find a variety of outfits for some of them.

Kit and Julie are both very common dolls, especially Kit. I've been buying up a storm of secondhand AG dolls lately. Its very, very easy to find regular dolls for $50 plus around $7-15 shipping. Prices as low as $30 + shipping aren't rare. They go super fast, but I still see dolls popping up for around that price. If you're willing to pay around retail price you can easily find beautiful dolls in perfect condition or even MIB. I wouldn't worry at all about the supply running out.

Certain items like clothing or accessories are harder to find, but I wouldn't really recommend buying a bunch of rare items for play anyways.

In the meantime, you could still incorporate the historical dolls in other ways so your girls are familiar with them. Read them the stories, buy the ornaments if you guys do holiday trees, show them the movies. There's a lot of Hallmark merchandise of the older girls, like bookends, statues, and snow globes. Some of them have the dolls' names on them.

Thanks for weighing in! Those are some great ideas, about reading the books and familiarizing them with the characters. I should ask my mom if she still has all if ours from the 90's laying around...if not, I know they have a whole shelf of them at our library. I didn't know Hallmark did AG merchandise!

Yeah, I'm kind of on the fence about giving the kids the discontinued clothes and accessories; as much as I try to instill otherwise in them, my kids are just so much rougher than I or my siblings were. We were so careful with our AG stuff and all toys...everything was always packed away so carefully...but then again, I was 13 and my sisters only a couple of years younger when we got ours and were really done with our 'playing' phase by then, plus we knew how expensive it was! I can't even get my little ones to respect their Fisher Price Little People. I know they're little yet, but they still just play so much differently than I did...I was always that freak child that never peeled the wrappers of her crayons and would go into hysterics if someone jammed them in the box in the wrong order or *gasp* broke one, so it's weird to me to see my kid dump her naked baby doll down the stairs or stand on her Leap Frog laptop...I can only imagine what will happen to my blood pressure if I don't rein this in by a few years from now!

Yes, it was the glass eyes that creeped me out about the minis...you're right! Glad to know they are better now...I might totally reconsider those.

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Re: Advice about American Girl dolls
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2021, 05:14:31 AM »
Oh man I know what you mean about rough play! I was absurdly gentle on my toys as a kid so the few Barbies that I still have are basically mint. Watching other kids play was traumatizing even as a child, haha. My little sister just bashed her toys around. Now as an adult knowing what they cost, I cringe a little seeing kids bang their toys around. But as long as they're happy that's what matters. I just won't buy them fancy toys XD

The Hallmark stuff is mostly the older dolls in their meet outfits in generally the same pose, but there is definitely some interesting stuff if you look around! I have a little chunk of Kaya's stuff. There's also this list on the wiki, but its not 100% complete. Looking up "American Girl Hallmark" on eBay brings up a ton of stuff.

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Figurine, with MIB Kirsten figurine peeking in the background

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Bookend, which is huge, heavy, and gorgeous!

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Snowglobe, which is hands down my favorite piece

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Story box, has a few different settings and a bunch of pieces
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Offline LadyAmalthea

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Re: Advice about American Girl dolls
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2021, 01:29:03 PM »
Those are really cool! I looked them up on ebay like you said...my favorites are the bookends, I might have to get some of those someday! The figurines are really good too, I'll have to keep an eye on these. Thanks for sharing your collection!

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Re: Advice about American Girl dolls
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2021, 07:08:46 PM »
Your Kaya things are lovely
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Re: Advice about American Girl dolls
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2021, 11:35:05 PM »
Thank you both! I hope to have a complete Kaya collection one day and the Hallmark merch is a very affordable way to start.

I wish we still got new Hallmark stuff. At least ornaments of the newer character dolls would be awesome.
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