Find out where to buy new and second-hand dolls while avoiding fakes and scammers.
This post is regularly updated and was last updated in September 2022.
Buying your first Blythe doll can be an exciting, yet daunting experience. When I bought my first Blythe doll in 2009, I watched eBay auctions for months before I actually placed a bid. I got outbid so many times before I won an auction. The idea that I was spending so much money on a doll was scary and exciting. I eventually won an auction for a Simply Lilac.
I receive quite a lot of emails from Blythe newbies that are curious about where and how they can buy their first dolls. Here are my tips for newbies.
Note: Fake vs official Blythe dolls
The doll market has been flooded with fake dolls based on the Blythe mould. Fake dolls are also sold as:
- Factory dolls – unless they are made from official doll pieces from the factory floor they are not factory dolls they are fakes.
- TBL – a cute take on the mould names that official releases have (SBL, RBL) based on the Chinese selling site Taobao, they are referring to TaoBao Blythe.
- “nude Blythe doll” – most fakes on eBay are listed under this title
Fakes sell for around $70 whereas official releases are priced in the hundreds. We will explore fake dolls further.
Work out which doll you want to buy
Before you can buy a Blythe you need to decide which doll you want to get. I recommend starting by deciding on 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 hairstyles, and different face moulds for the releases. It is likely that at first, you won’t be able to tell the difference between the doll’s face moulds but as you get more into Blythe you will be able to see the differences.
Sometimes it is easier to buy whatever doll is 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 a handy introduction to the common terms you will come across when researching Blythe. 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-sized one. Middie is a middle-sized one.
Price and availability
Dolls vary in price and availability. The price and availability of particular Blythe releases can depend on a number of things, the number of dolls made, popularity, original price, and stock.
If a doll is extremely popular, like Miss Sally Rice, 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 collector 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
Posting a doll internationally can cost $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 depending on where you live).
Make sure you discuss the terms of the sale with the seller. Some people offer layaways 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.
Finding a doll for sale
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 the doll themselves. I did this and ended up 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.
Most are sold on eBay or Aliexpress 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 were put together in the factory using spare parts.
Factory dolls are rare these days with 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
- Whatever happened to ThisIsBlythe .com
The website This is Blythe is no longer owned by Gina Garan, she lost the domain when it lapsed. The dolls available on this site are heavily marked-up fakes or images taken from customiser websites that are not in the hands of the website owners. It used to be a great resource in the community. Read Imogen’s investigation into ThisIsBlythe(dot)com: Whatever happened to ThisIsBlythe(dot)com.
The official shop for Blythe in Japan is Junie Moon. Buying direct from Junie Moon ensures that you are not buying a fake doll. I find their EMS shipping to be fast to Australia. You can sign up for their lotteries in which they select people to buy their limited dolls.
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.
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.