Are Kenners Worth It?

Written on June 21, 2013 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Article with tags:

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).

For the Love of Primrose & Lily

Written on February 20, 2013 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Musings with tags:

A year and two days ago, these two lovelies became mine.

My two 'new' acquisitions

And life, as they say, hadn’t been the same again.



I learned a lot by restoring them, replacing legs, fixing plugs, breathing in the vintage smell that is 1972 plastic.

Primrose & Lillian Rose

Happy belated birthday to Prim & Lily!

What I learned about Kenners (and myself) without meaning to

Written on February 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
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I’d like to put the blame on BlytheCon for my reasons for wanting a Kenner. It was 2011 and I was totally okay with not having one. That said, I met some fantastic people, held some beautiful vintage Blythes and the rest, as they say, is history. It took me a while after BlytheCon to find my first Kenner. She was an eBay ‘win’ and came to me from the UK. A little sidepart redhead with a lot of potential, but quite a few ‘issues’ that needed to be fixed. Notably a big ol’ crack that doesn’t naturally occur on the body. Restoring Emmalynn took me a while and it was frustrating for me. I wanted a Kenner that I could play with, straight out of the box as it were. I didn’t set out really wanting to find a doll that needed some help – but she was what was available and I fell in love with her photos so… I won the auction and this little waif made her way to me…

Hello, gorgeous

Looking back, I’m pretty amazed that I just jumped in on dismantling her. After a few photos, I had her scalp off, then removed her hardcap to get her dismantled to give her a good cleaning. Probably a good thing anyways, she had a fair bit of grime on her. But what I really learned (besides how to secure hair plugs and how to put the silly scalp back on) is to be patient. It was hard, because I wanted to just play and get her all dressed up in fun clothes. But I had a goal to reach – and that was to put her back together in a way that she’d be restored. So off I went on that little goal, which took a long while.

First Kenner love

Being patient was something I really did need to learn. I had to do the research to find the right materials, I had to read the instructions to figure out how to use the glue product. Then there was the clamping and then waiting for the glue to set and trying (repeatedly) to get the legs back in. It is frustrating to watch it crack open all the time, very frustrating. But finally (finally!) it held and I was so ecstatic that all the time and effort had been well worth it (along with actually being able to fix her without sending her off!). It’s a pretty awesome feeling when something you read about doing online actually works. It’s also a really rewarding feeling when you realize that your little TLC girl isn’t so TLC anymore…

All Kenners are different, which is what makes them magical. They all have different quirks, different things to be ‘fixed’ and sometimes, they tell you that all they want is some new legs and their hair left alone. The neat thing about Kenners is the personalities that they come with and share.

1/52 - Introduction of the Kenners

Blythe On A Budget: Kenners on the Cheap?

Written on November 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Article with tags: ,

Hello world, I'm awesome, aren't I? 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.

Emmalynn gets some love too! Miss Emmalynn ?

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.

My Three Loves

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!

Vintage on Vintage

Written on October 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Musings with tags:

I love vintage things. I haven’t always loved vintage things, but Blythe has certainly helped that along. With countless hours spent going through thrift stores in hopes of finding that coveted thrift Kenner, I’ve managed to acquire a small collection of vintage Pyrex and other kitchenware.

Like many of you, I also spend a lot of time looking at photos of Blythes belonging to other people and I adore photos of Blythe in vintage clothing. I enjoy vintage Skipper fashions (and the flats!), I covet the squishy laced-up Barbie boots and I have a small (growing!) collection of vintage handmade Skipper clothes that someone’s mom once made for them that got tossed aside to either eBay lots or thrift stores.

What better way to show a love for vintage doll clothing than to have a vintage doll wearing them?

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