Questions to ask when buying a used Blythe

Written on April 27, 2011 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
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Used Blythes can be tempting: the prices are lower than a still-in-box Blythe, the doll may already be located in the same country as you (save on custom duties) and you have the ability to ask for photos from all angles. Many of these questions are written with the Takara and Ashton-Drake Galleries Blythes in mind.

Things you should consider asking about the doll:

  1. Is the current owner the first owner? (This is important, they may have received the doll in what they believed to be stock condition when the previous owner had done some changes.)
  2. Any damage done to the make-up? Is the make-up stock or has it been spray matted, sand matted or completely altered?
  3. Are there any changes to the eye-chips? Are there any visible scratches on the eye-chips or eyeballs? If the eye-chips have been changed, what type of glue was used?
  4. Does the doll have sleepy-eyes?
  5. Has the doll been gaze-corrected?
  6. Has the doll been boggled?
  7. What kind of method(s) have been used to open up the doll’s head?
  8. Are there any gaps where the scalp should be meeting the head?
  9. What kind of condition are the screws for the Blythe’s head in? Have they been replaced or stripped?
  10. Are there any scratches to the plastic of the front or back faceplates (not necessarily where the make-up was painted)
  11. Have there been added ear piercings? (Some people will add ear piercings to their dolls, to mimic the ones that come with ear piercing holes stock, with a drill.)
  12. Has there been any changes to the hair of the doll? (Hair cut, trims, scalp-swap, missing plugs, etc.)
  13. Is the doll on the original stock body?
  14. Are there any markings on the doll’s body?
  15. Does the doll’s knees bend? Do the knees hold in positions?
  16. Are there any stains on the body? Has there every been any stains present (but later removed)?
  17. Has the doll ever been exposed to pet dander, cigarette smoke or anything else that may be an allergen for you?
  18. Has the doll ever been exposed to fabric softener, moth balls or heavily perfumed substances?

Additional questions for those wanting to buy a 1972 Kenner Blythe doll are:

  1. How many lines are on the back of the doll? (6 or 7?)
  2. Are there any missing plugs in the doll’s hair?
  3. Is there any yellowing to the plastic of the doll?
  4. Is the string/ring still present?
  5. Do the eyes still change when the string is pulled?
  6. Are the eye chips clear or cloudy?

Provided that the doll has met all of your conditions (eg. you don’t mind any of the damage reported), you should really consider asking how the doll will be packaged. It’s very surprising how some people will package dolls to be shipped across a country or overseas.

Some questions to ask about shipping are:

  1. Will the doll come in the original box and shipping carton?
  2. What kind of methods will the shipper be using to secure the doll?
  3. What kind of carton will be used?
  4. What kind of packaging filler will be used? (Newspaper? Styrofoam peanuts? Cotton? Fabric scraps?)

Pros and Cons to NRFB and Used Blythes

Written on July 6, 2010 at 10:30 am by Michelle
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I currently have six Blythes, five of them had been NRFB (Never Removed From Box) and one of them had been used with previous owners. My first five Blythes were actually NRFB, so I think that really mattered to me at that point. When I got my Cappuccino Chat, there was just this sense of excitement when I carefully opened up the box, slide her out with all the stuff that had tape plastered all over it. Every long strip of tape came off with something attached to it and it was so much fun. It was better than my birthday and Christmas and any other major present-receiving holiday combined.

Some pros and cons to buying a NRFB Blythe:

Pros would be that you’re pretty much guaranteed to have all the stock (which is a huge plus if you love it), you’d get the doll in minty condition and hopefully no messy factory paint jobs, and you get to be the very first person to remove her from a box and enjoy her.

Cons are that NRFB is more expensive than a used version, you have to deal with ‘box hair’ and all that danged tape holding the doll and all her stock prisoner inside of the box.

On the flip side, my Blythe that was bought used, Velvet Minuet, was an absolute dream. I knew what she would look like right outside of the box and she came with nearly complete stock and was at a price lower than a used nude version on that popular internet auction website at the time. The person selling her to me disclosed all flaws, told me how easy the eyes were roll (Velvet Minuet is an early SBL and has that ‘extreme downward gaze’ that everyone seems to hate).

Some pros and cons to buying a used Blythe:

Pros would be that the price is lower when compared to a NRFB version of the same doll, you can get the doll nude if you’re not fond of the stock and don’t even care if you own it and you can potentially see more photos of the doll in different angles and even ask for more photos.

Cons would be that the doll could have been customized and the current owner is not aware of it (i.e. there could have been a hair cut, the scalp could have been removed, super glue could have been used on it), special qualities of the doll may no longer be in pristine condition (i.e. painted on tattoos, painted fingernails), the doll may have scratched makeup (eyeshadow, lips, blush) that the current owner may not notice and you may not get the stock that you want, if you are partial to the doll but also want all the stock (and are not willing to pay for the NRFB price).

My final thoughts

Choosing between a NRFB doll and a used doll is really a personal preference. Some people love getting only brand new dolls, others don’t mind the idea of a previously owned doll. I used to only prefer getting dolls brand new, minty-minty in the box, but that’s because it was all I had exposure to. After getting my Velvet Minuet and having a great experience with buying a used doll, I’m almost a convert. For me, buying a used doll is the same as buying a used anything else – it’s important to do your research about the item itself and about the seller too.

I do think that each doll purchase should be made responsibly, regardless of your preference for NRFB or used dolls. Dolls are meant to be a hobby and something to be enjoyed, not something that creates more debt for you. If I can’t buy a new (or even new-to-me) doll straight-out without having credit card debt (even for a little while), I don’t buy it. It’s not worth the hassle and the stress that comes from being a little financially reckless. So buy new dolls responsibly and enjoy each and every one of them.

What do you think?

Are you a NRFB Blythe collector? Or do you like the idea of your dolls having a history and a past before they reached you? Share your thoughts!