I’ve posted a lot about Kenners on this blog already – I’ve talked about buying Kenners, some restoration tips that I come across when wanting to restore my own dolls, and just in general the wonderfulness that are the 1972 vintage beauties.
I was previously of the opinion that Neos were just as good (or better!) than the Kenners that I saw. I mean, why would I want to spend hundreds of dollars on an old doll when I could get a few brand new dolls for the same amount of money? It did take me a while to ‘see the light’, as they say, but see the light I did. And now I’m all “Kenners are Awesome!”, but I know a lot of people aren’t.
Let’s consider the history of Blythe. It’s 1972 and a big-headed doll comes onto the scene. With a pull string and mod 70’s outfits, she sat on the shelves waiting to be bought. And waited, and waited, and waited. That doll’s original 1972 price? About $5-6 USD. And she sat on the shelf. What I wouldn’t give for a time machine to snatch up some Blythes at the 70’s pricing! Now that she’s worth well over 100x that original amount, why are people still buying her? Why are people paying hundreds to a thousand-plus dollars for her?
Because Kenners have a certain charm. She oozes it – not to be confused with scalp ooze that sometimes happens with the older girls. There’s just something special about a doll that’s older than I am, with personality to spare.
I’ve read posts online about how some people don’t think that Kenners are worth the price tag. That’s fair enough. I’m sure there’s people who don’t think that Neo Blythe dolls are worth the price tag either. Same goes for Middies or even Petites. Worth is a relative term. What a Kenner is worth to one person isn’t the same worth to another person.
For me, personally, my Kenners have been worth the amount I paid for them. They still cost me many pretty pennies, and I’m not a fan of overspending, but they have been worth it to me. But what I paid for a Kenner may not be how much you would pay for one. For instance, I would never pay the price for a NRFB Kenner… but I don’t have $1500-2000USD that I can afford to spend on Blythe dolls right now. Plus, the moment I unbox her (and I would…), her value would go down faster than a new car depreciates when you drive it off the lot. Kenners fluctuate in prices a lot. No two Kenners are exactly alike and they all have their own little quirks that need to be taken into consideration when trying to consider a value.
All original make-up, eyelashes, clear eyechips, original body with no cracks or tears, all plugs, thatching, a pull-string that works, knees that bend – all of these add to a Kenner’s value. Missing legs, frizzy hair and an obviously replaced string? Definitely takes its toll on the value of the doll. Just buying a head? I hope you’re paying less than the price of a full doll with a full head of hair. Because the value is less.
Let’s put it into perspective. You can buy a single Kenner Blythe leg, depending on which side and if the knee still holds position, from $50-100. A Kenner hardcap can run for about $50. A Kenner pelvis, I’ve seen them go for about $30-75, depending on if there is one crack, two or none. A pristine Kenner scalp (with no tears, with hair) could run upwards of $250 – depending on what the rooting pattern is and the colour of hair. Heads alone (with an eye mechanism, hopefully working) can run for $400-500, easy. By the time you start trying to find a torso with arms and without cracks, you’d be better off finding a Kenner with poor auction photos and ratty hair than to piece one together yourself. But you could be ambitious, or needing a part to ‘complete’ your doll. And that’s totally okay too.
I find joy in doll ownership. I would like to think that most Blythe collectors/hobbyists do. I find it fun to dress my dolls in new clothes, collect tiny shoes and attempt to sew (even though I often fail miserably). When this hobby stops being fun, I’ll know that I’ve overstayed my welcome. Until then, I find joy in the world of Blythe. And that includes the Kenners, because there wouldn’t even be Neo Blythes, Middies or Petites today if it weren’t for Kenners.
I definitely think that Kenners are worth it, but like everything else in the world of dolls, you need to find the right one at the right price for you. I don’t think that people should dig themselves into debt over Blythe. I think that the responsible thing to do is to budget money for Blythe – Kenner or otherwise. It’s a hobby, not a necessity (as hard as that may be for some people).