Filed under: Article with tags: blythe on a budget, kenner blythe
I received an email earlier this month about if it was possible still to purchase a Kenner Blythe for a “good price”. That got me thinking about it again. Before Takara, before This is Blythe happened – Kenners could be purchased on eBay for pretty decent prices (think <$50 shipped). Nobody knew the value in the vintage dolls because there wasn’t a following, there wasn’t a bunch of people on the internet looking at photos of the vintage dolls, chatting about her on forums and there certainly wasn’t show featuring Littlest Pet Shop animals with a character with Blythe. Before that, Blythe was a blip in the history of toys because she didn’t last very long. One year, mass production, heavily discounted when she wasn’t loved.
Kenner prices tend to range for $600 to very, very high prices (well over $1000USD). But the price range depends on so much. The hair colour (and rooting style – wispy, chunky, side part or centre part), condition of the body – cracks? knees bend?, condition of the face (blush is a big one!). Whether or not the doll comes with any original clothing doesn’t really seem to be an issue with Blythe because most collectors play with their dolls – they’re not the type of doll that gets left behind glass cabinets staring vacantly into space. That said, there are stock dolls (anniversary dolls, older models of BL dolls like Parco, Goldie or Kozy) and custom dolls that go for more than a Kenner. A lot of people have noticed this. BLs were not mass produced like Kenner Blythe was. In theory, there are still more Kenners in existence then there will ever be of stock Parco, Goldie and Kozy combined. But that’s not what this post is about – it’s supposed to be of the possibility of finding a vintage 1972 Kenner Blythe doll for a good price. That really depends on what your budget is and what kind of flaws you’re willing to deal with.
For example, when I decided that I would get a sidepart redheaded Kenner, I gave myself an ultimate limit. I had X amount of dollars that I would be willing to spend on the elusive Kenner for my doll family. This included any money that I would have to put towards shipping costs. So with this hard limit, I went on a search.
I posted a WTB (want to buy) thread on Blythe Kingdom stating what I was looking for and asked people to get back to me with how much they were looking for. This was both good and bad. Good in the sense that I got responses from people with dolls to sell, but bad because some of the dolls were out of my price range by hundreds of dollars. One incident involved a member of the forum asking if I’d be interested in purchasing her Kenner Blythe that she had put up onto eBay and in the 3 minutes that it took for her to send the email, me to read it and to go to the link – the doll had been sold. I was let down because the photos of the doll was gorgeous and I would have bought her. Then I turned my search to eBay. I know some people don’t like using eBay, that a lot of people end up charging absurd amounts for shipping and they don’t take the best photos ever, so here are some of the things that I considered on my search:
- If you aren’t familiar with the pricing of the Kenner Blythe that you have in mind, “Watch” the auctions. Watching the auctions allows you to have a record of auctions and you can see what they doll looked like and how much they went for. Comparing auctions of similar dolls is a great way to see how the price range is for the type of Kenner you want.
- I’ve noticed that there are trends to Kenner sales. If you don’t mind a doll that’s missing legs, has a crack across her bum and has yellowed plastic – those tend to be less expensive. If you want a minty-mint Kenner, you will have to pay for more her unless someone sets a Buy It Now price that’s fairly low and you happen upon it. Additionally, listings that end on school nights tend to be a little bit higher (likely because people are less likely to go out and they have time to be on the computer) while those that end on weekend nights (so Friday or Saturday night) tend to go for a wee bit less. But your mileage may vary on this one.
- Take a look at the photos. Are they blurry? Is there something questionable about it? Never fear asking an eBay seller for more photos of the item that they’re auctioning. It’s in their best interest to supply good quality photos. Some things that they should include photos of include the back of the doll (with the Kenner copyright information), any cracks in the body, and all of the eye chips (if the doll still has the string or the owner knows to hand roll them).
- Don’t necessarily shy away from auctions run by people with less than 100% feedback. Always look at the feedback to see why they had a negative or neutral feedback. Sometimes it can be explained if you look at the comments by either the buyer or seller.
- Don’t be afraid of flaws. There are people in the community who restore Kenners for a fee, but there are also people in the community who are willing to share tips and tricks on doing minor restoration things on your own. For instance, I shared on this blog about doing a Takara leg transplant, fixing a pelvic crack and about securing loose hair plugs. There are always people willing to share information. Flaws that you can fix yourself could save you big bucks if you’re willing to take on a little waif in need of love
- It’s okay to lose auctions. There will be another Kenner, and that other one will be the right one for you. Set yourself a hard limit and stick to it. Overspending is no good for you (or your wallet, or your sanity) and it can make you feel guilty over how much you ended up spending on your Kenner – you don’t deserve that and neither should those feelings be attributed to your new-to-you vintage doll.
Short of finding a Kenner Blythe doll at your local thrift store or in the attic, you’re unlikely to find one for less than $600 – unless you’re super lucky. Doing research on what you’re going to buy before you buy it is important – I don’t know many people who impulse buy Kenners. Be aware of pricing trends, see if anyone in the community is selling one first! Those in the doll community are more likely to know what kind of things to disclose (like cracks, missing hair plugs) compared to someone who happened to come across a Kenner and is now selling it on eBay for a quick buck.
Good luck on your search for your Kenner!