Find out where to buy new and second hand dolls while avoiding fakes and scammers.
So you want to buy a Blythe doll? Congratulations for joining this excellent hobby. This post is regularly updated and was last updated in March 2018.
Buying your first Blythe doll can be an exciting, yet daunting experience. When I bought my first Blythe doll, I had watched eBay auctions for months before I actually placed a bid. I got outbid so many times before I actually won an auction. The idea that I was spending over $100 on a doll seemed insane to me.
Now I laugh at my frugal past self, having spent several hundred or even thousand dollars on dolls. A Blythe habit is a slippery slope into a spending cycle I can tell you that. I receive quite a lot of emails from Blythe newbies that are curious where and how they can buy their first dolls. Here are my tips for newbies.
Before you can buy a Blythe you need to decide which doll you want to get. I recommend starting by deciding on a hair colour. If you can choose the hair colour you want then it will be a lot easier to decide which doll to buy.
There are loads of different hair styles, and even different face molds for the different releases. It is most likely that at first you won’t even be able to tell the difference between the dolls face molds but as you get more and more into Blythe you will be able to see the slight differences.
It is sometimes easier to just buy whichever doll is actually available. Even for a seasoned Blyther, hunting down a particular doll can take months if it is rare.
Do your research, you don’t want to be disappointed. Blythelife.com has this handy introduction to the common terms you will come across when researching Blythe. I highly recommend you read it!
Be careful that you don’t accidentally buy a Petite Blythe thinking it is a 12″ sized doll. Neo Blythe is the type you are looking for if you want a full size one. Middie is a middle sized one.
My first purchase was a Simply Lilac, this was based on her hair colour and the fact that they were easily available on eBay at the time. Now my dolls are more of a curated collection. I like to have dolls that look good together on the shelves and that suit the doll clothing I have. I prefer natural hair colours and pastels. This suits the clothing I own which is usually in the soft pink, blue, purple, yellow and green shades with mixes of gold and silver.
Price and Availability
Dolls vary in price and availability. The price and availability of particular Blythe releases can depend on a number of things, number of dolls made, popularity, original price, stock.
If a doll is extremely popular, like Miss Sally Rice for instance, it will be a lot harder to find. Kenner Blythe dolls are the first Blythe dolls that were manufactured and sold in 1972, they are very sought after and expensive collectors items. Even just a head for a Kenner Blythe could sell for $800.
The next release from 2001 was the BL mold. They are also highly sought after and can be priced from $400 – $800 depending on the doll, condition and stock items (clothes etc) that it comes with. The cheaper dolls are the RBL+, RBL, SBL and FBL molds.
Postage and Payment
You also need to consider that posting a doll internationally is usually at least $50 USD on top of the price you are paying for the doll. You should always pay for registration and pay through PayPal. Some sellers may ask you to pay as a gift in PayPal, I would not recommend doing this unless you know the seller as it negates your ability to open a dispute later on if they rip you off. If you can, buying from within your own country makes it a lot cheaper (around $20 postage usually).
Make sure you discuss the terms of the sale with the seller. Some people offer lay aways for more expensive dolls and you can pay the doll off in intervals. They usually have a non-refundable deposit. Don’t pester the seller while waiting for it to arrive, they cannot control the postal service. If you want it right away, offer to pay for express postage. I have had dolls take anywhere from 2 days to 8 weeks, I am in Australia.
Customs and Excise Fees
You should also consider that you may be charged customs fees for importing the doll into your country. Lying on your customs form is illegal and negates any insurance you have as the value entered is lower than the doll is worth. Remember to factor customs fees into your price and check your local government websites for information.
Once you have decided which doll you want to buy, you may find that you cannot actually find that particular doll anywhere for sale. I receive emails from hopeful new Blythers all the time regarding this. Make sure you read any listings thoroughly before you buy a doll. If a doll is listed as being stock, it means that it has not been modified in any way and should be, as it would be new from the box.
You will also find a lot of custom Blythe dolls listed and they could have a range of modifications including, sand matting their face (taking away the shine), hair re-roots, lip carving, painted eyelids and new eyelashes. A lot of newbies buy a Blythe with the intention of customising her themselves. I did this and ended up being unhappy with the result. Buy one from an experienced customiser.
Fake Dolls and Factory Dolls
There are now many fake dolls in the Blythe doll market. These are not Blythe dolls anymore than a fake Barbie would be a Barbie doll. They are roughly based on the same moulds.
Mostly they are sold on eBay and will be listed as “nude Blythe doll” or “factory Blythe”. Some releases have been sold in fake boxes and passed off as real Blythe dolls but the list of genuinely faked dolls in boxes is very small. Generally they are naked, with hair that does not match any known genuine release.
There are several dolls that have been faked or copied, there are also dolls known as factory dolls which are just spare parts put together to make a full doll from the factory.
Factory dolls are rare these days with actual fakes making up most of the listings on eBay.
These links will help you:
- Investigation into fake and counterfeit Blythe dolls
- List of known copied and fake Blythe dolls
- Avoiding factory and fake Blythe dolls on eBay
To buy newer Blythe releases you can always buy them direct Junie Moon, the official shop for Blythe in Japan. Buying direct from Junie Moon will ensure that you are not buying a fake doll. I find their EMS shipping to be fast to Australia.
Other online retailers
- CC Toys – Hong Kong (ships international)
- Mandarake – Japan (ships international – mix of stock and custom dolls, 2nd hand)
- Magma Heritage – Singapore (ships international)
- Hobby Link – Japan (ships international)
eBay is another source for buying Blythe dolls but beware, there have been a number of scammers on eBay. Make sure you thoroughly check the sellers eBay feedback and read up on Bad Dolly Deals. Bad Dolly Deals is a community in which people record transactions that have gone badly. The price you pay on eBay for a doll is generally going to be higher than you would pay if you bought it direct from another doll collector. There are also many fake dolls sold through eBay.
Blythe Doll Forums
There are a couple of forums in which Blythe collectors gather and trade dolls and clothing. To avoid having scammers enter the community you usually need someone that is already in the community to vouch for you before you can join. This is called a referral. While it may seem weird that you need this, people have been ripped off in the past for a lot of money/dolls so security had to be increased. If you don’t know anyone in the dolly community try joining in the Blythe conversations on Twitter under the hashtag #blythe or joining some related groups on Facebook first to get to know people. Once you are trusted, ask someone to vouch for you. Once you have joined the forum, you usually need around 20-30 posts before you can actually view the for sale sections. This is an added security measure. Start a thread, introduce yourself, take a look around and chat to some people.
I have not checked if these forums are still active, potentially they are not and Facebook is your best bet since 2016.
There are several groups for buying and selling dolls on Facebook. I recommend Dolly Adoption. They have a list of rules to be followed when using the group so make sure you read it before participating. They also hold a list of feedback for buyers/sellers if you go to the groups Files page (you have to be a member).
100% Stock Blythe Adoption (for dolls that have not been customised)
Facebook can be a little unsafe. Before you buy from anyone ensure that you check Bad Dolly Deals for their name. That said they could be using another name or no username at all on Facebook. Make sure you pay for registered postage or tracking. It is your responsibility as a buyer to pay for this.
Attend a Meet Up or BlytheCon
There are numerous Blythe related events organised each year all over the world. I was an organiser of BlytheCon Australia and was amazed by the number of people I met that were new to the hobby. It probably also helped that I had around 9 Blythe dolls for sale, for very low prices.
Attending a dolly meet up is a great way to meet other Blythers as well as buy things without having to pay for postage and wait for delivery. If you are lucky, there will be vendors selling dolls too. It is much nicer to be able to look at and inspect a dolly before you buy them.
The United Nations of Blythe is a facebook group that lists all the Blythe events going on around the world.
Blythelife.com has a great tutorial on the common terms used in the Blythe realm that you should read before you start looking.
So, you’ve purchased your first Blythe doll! Congratulations! Now you must wait, this is the worst part of buying a Blythe doll. You need to be patient. There is nothing worse as a seller than having a purchaser hassling you because their doll hasn’t arrived even though it has been posted and it is out of your hands. If you’ve done your research on the seller, have paid through PayPal and have a tracking number you shouldn’t stress.
If you have a tracking number you can obsessively check the tracking online! I like to wait a couple of weeks and THEN check the tracking. Usually my dolls take from 2-5 weeks to arrive in Australia from overseas. Within Australia they should be here within 10 days or overnight if sent Express.