No title. Just a bunch of weird dolls in trash bags.
March 25, 2014 8:22 PM   Subscribe

My late mother-in-law collected dolls of questionable value. Like 18" Kurt Cobain motion-activated figurines... and so much more. We need all 30 of them out of our basement. How, Internet? HOW?

They're all unopened and in their original packaging... but they're also covered with dust, and most of the boxes are bent and squished in some way. I don't know if we have any of those "we'll eBay it for you" places nearby, and are those places even worth it?

Here is the Flickr set with every glorious one.

I know we need to just let them go and not be sentimental (and some of them are super cheap in every way), but there are a couple in there that my husband insists are worth 100 bucks or something. They just HAVE TO GO.

Hope us, please.
posted by Madamina to Shopping (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, I was going to say that I have a doll collection from my Mom too, which I also want to unload, but hers is more international/fairy tale characters. Nothing like "John Lennon / The New York Years". I bet some of these _are_ interesting to a collector, unlike mine.

Here's a doll shop that does sell older collectible dolls (and a lot of Barbies) - you might e-mail them and see if they'd be interested in some:
posted by amtho at 8:27 PM on March 25, 2014

Do you have a couple hours to sit with eBay and put up postings?

Look for other people who've listed the specific doll before. Set the Buy It Now price as that price, or maybe undercut by $10 if you just want it out, yesterday.

Because you already have all the dolls photographed, the real work is mostly going to be in shipping things out.
posted by Sara C. at 8:34 PM on March 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

I know those are all worth something that will make it worthwhile to sell. You could make a lot depending on how much patience you have.

Clean the boxes with a DRY duster. Do not open the boxes.

You can search on ebay to get an idea of values, but I bet someone will pop in here with better resources.

You could easily make enough to go on a swank vacation or similar. That collection is not "junk."

Good luck!!
posted by jbenben at 8:36 PM on March 25, 2014

You can make it a little easier on yourself by grouping them in similar pairs or lots. Put them on Ebay at auction and start 'em low. Gather shipping boxes for them beforehand, and weigh them so you can put up an accurate shipping cost - you don't want to have to keep answering that question over and over again. You don't have anything invested but your time, so accept whatever you get for them with gratitude from your late mother in law. If your husband is insistent that some of them are more valuable, then put him in charge of those ones.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 8:40 PM on March 25, 2014

Just as a data point, we tried selling a similar set of dolls on craigslist, and offered the whole lot (something like 60 dolls) for $50, and no-one bit, but we were in a rush to get rid of them. We ended up just taking them to Goodwill.
posted by LionIndex at 8:48 PM on March 25, 2014

Most are worth $20 to $25, each. The John Lennon maybe as high as $175. The ScareFace about $65... Has Kurt Cobain been opened? Is he missing his guitar? He might not be worth $50 to $75 anymore. I couldn't even find an example of the Bettie Page doll, so that one might be $$$!

Maybe not as valuable as I thought, but overall still worth selling.

Sure, group them into lots.

The secret to selling things quickly on ebay is offering free shipping. Price accordingly.
posted by jbenben at 8:58 PM on March 25, 2014 [4 favorites]

Bettie Page looks to be about $35 on eBay.
posted by jferg at 6:01 AM on March 26, 2014

You only have a relative few of them. Group them into types (all the monsters, all the Star Wars) and post them on eBay.

What you'll get is what they're worth.

Take the money and have a nice dinner out.

Yay you!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:31 AM on March 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Put them on eBay. If you have an iPhone (android too, probably, but I've no first hand experience with that) the eBay app makes it extremely easy to list items, including pictures. Take many pictures of each item. I think you get 12 free with each listing.

I would list them individually, but it would be easier to in lots. Either way describe them as best as you can - size, character, brand, condition. If there is any model number or anything like that include it as well. With collectibles people have alerts set up to notify them when the things they dig go on sale, so make sure you include the keywords they might be thinking of.

It is hard to convince yourself to do it, but you should list each item with a starting bid of what the shipping will cost you. Say, 7$. No reserve. If people want them, and I suspect they do, they will bid them up to market price. Extra shipping and reserve prices put people off. What you want to happen is for more than one person to think you've got a good item for a great price, and to get invested in winning it. I've sold some ridiculous things over the years using more or less this method and I have very rarely had to send something off that I didn't feel like I got a good price for.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:47 AM on March 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you don't want to hassle with eBay you might try selling them as a lot to a local comic book store, or maybe a record store that also sells collectibles. Won't get nearly as much money though.
posted by InfidelZombie at 11:05 AM on March 26, 2014

Whoooooa. You are definitely not going to make enough to take a vacation on these. Ruthless Bunny's "a nice dinner out" estimation is more in line. A couple of them are things you might get $50 - $75, a bit more if you are lucky and the boxes are not damaged. The KISS, Star Wars, and Spawn dolls are very run of the mill and the sort of thing easily found at flea markets selling for $5 - $10 (and they are not exactly selling like hotcakes). I wouldn't bother putting them up on eBay, if you're not a regular seller, it would be a lot of hassle for a very small amount (especially if you sell them in lots). I would label that stuff as "junk", as in -- if you take it to a store that sells collectibles, they might offer you a dollar or two a piece for them.

The big LOTR set, the motion activated horror dolls, & the Cobain & Lennon are worth putting up yourself. Expect $50 - $75, and consider anything over that an unexpected bonus, to avoid disappointment.

Soldiers of the World, you're looking at $10 - $20 a piece on ebay.

The one exception is that Bettie Page -- if you're going to hold on to ONE, make it that one. Put a "watch" notice on that one linked above -- it's got less than a day left to it, and though the current bid on it is $34.95, we have no way of knowing how it will end up (I'm watching it myself now, as my curiosity is piqued). I can tell you that no one has sold that doll on ebay in the past 3 months, which can be a good sign. (feel free to memail me as a potential buyer on that one!)
posted by the bricabrac man at 10:30 AM on March 27, 2014

Addendum: after using some different search parameters, I did in fact find a few examples of that Betty Page doll selling in the past 3 months, all sold in the $25 - $40 range.
posted by the bricabrac man at 10:36 AM on March 27, 2014

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