AG Doll Collecting Hobby: A Guide to Starting Your Collection

Collecting American Girl (AG) dolls is a hobby that can be enjoyed by individuals of all ages, blending the joy of play with the love of history and collecting.

First introduced in 1986, AG dolls captured hearts with their detailed historical backstories and period-accurate accessories.

Each doll from the original collection represented a specific era of American history, complete with books that told their stories and sparked imaginations.

Over time, this line has expanded beyond historical figures to include contemporary dolls and a range of diverse characters, drawing in a wide audience eager to find a doll that resonates with them.

The value of AG doll collecting isn’t limited to their monetary worth but also lies in the emotional and educational investment. A well-curated collection is more than just dolls on a shelf; it’s a personal museum of narratives and an homage to craftsmanship.

Collectors take pride in not only the dolls but also the rich array of doll accessories and outfits that enhance the storytelling experience.

Networking with other collectors through community events and navigating the buying and selling market can also turn this personal pastime into a social endeavour, creating friendships and shared knowledge along the way.

Key Takeaways

  • Collecting AG dolls combines historical appreciation with the joy of collecting.
  • The range of AG dolls and accessories contributes to the depth of the hobby.
  • The community aspect of collecting can lead to meaningful connections and exchanges.

See Also: Bucket List Of Hobbies From A – Z

History of American Girl Dolls

Founded in 1986 by Pleasant Rowland, American Girl began as a line of dolls designed to educate and inspire. The original dolls—Samantha Parkington, Kirsten Larson, and Molly McIntire—were produced by Pleasant Company and came with books telling stories of young girls living during important times in American history.

The Original Trio

  • Samantha Parkington – A Victorian era orphan who lived with her wealthy grandmother.
  • Kirsten Larson – A pioneer girl of Swedish descent adjusting to life in America.
  • Molly McIntire – A patriotic child growing up during World War II.

Expanding the Line

As popularity grew, more dolls joined the historical line:

  1. Addy Walker – A courageous girl who escaped slavery during the Civil War.
  2. Nellie O’Malley – A friend of Samantha’s, symbolizing the immigrant experience in America.

Kit Kittredge, a resourceful girl facing the Great Depression, was another addition that resonated with many.

Changes Over Time

In June 2004, Nellie was notably included in Samantha’s collection, marking a trend of interconnected stories among dolls. As the brand evolved, certain dolls were retired, making them highly coveted by collectors.

Manufacture and Design

Initially, dolls were manufactured in Germany by Goetz doll manufacturers. Their distinct, high-quality design contributed to their appeal. Throughout the years, American Girl has produced 23 unique Historical Character dolls, with a focus on cultural and historical accuracy.

1986American Girl launches with three dolls
1998Mattel acquires Pleasant Company
2004Nellie O’Malley joins as part of Samantha’s stories

The commitment to storytelling and historical context made American Girl dolls an enduring part of children’s literature and history education.

The Evolution of AG Doll Lines

The American Girl doll lines have expanded significantly since their inception, offering a rich variety of characters that reflect different periods in American history, contemporary life, and more recent diverse experiences.

Historical Characters

The Historical Characters line is a cornerstone of the American Girl collection, starting with dolls such as Felicity representing the colonial era. Kaya, the first Native American doll, reflects life in the 1760s. This line grew to include others like Josefina, portraying life in New Mexico during the early 19th century, and dolls from the 20th century, such as the World War II era Molly with her English friend Emily.

Time PeriodDoll
1850sCecile and Marie-Grace

American Girls of Today

In the late 1990s, the American Girls of Today line (now known as Just Like You) was introduced, reflecting girls’ current interests and diverse backgrounds. This collection allowed you to select dolls with a variety of hairstyles, eye colors, and skin tones, making the dolls more personalizable.

  • Customizable Options:
    • Hairstyles
    • Eye colors
    • Skin tones

Modern Doll Collections

American Girl has evolved further to include modern characters with stories set in contemporary times. This includes dolls like Lindsey, the first Girl of the Year, and Kailey, which have been impactful for reflecting the challenges and triumphs of the new millennium. Other dolls like Julie, Ivy, and Elizabeth showcase the vast range of experiences and eras that are covered by the American Girl brand.

Modern Dolls Overview:

  1. Lindsey Bergman – 2001 Girl of the Year
  2. Kailey Hopkins – 2003 Girl of the Year
  3. Julie Albright – Represents the 1970s

Each of these lines has its unique traits and stories, enriching the world of AG doll collecting by giving you a chance to connect with American history, contemporary life, and the diverse narratives of girls from different backgrounds.

Collecting AG Dolls

Collecting American Girl (AG) Dolls can be an enjoyable and fulfilling hobby. By starting, maintaining, displaying, and storing your collection properly, you’ll ensure your dolls remain in great condition for years to come.

Starting an AG Doll Collection

To begin your journey into AG doll collecting, consider what themes or periods attract you the most. With historical characters like Samantha Parkington from 1904 and Molly McIntire from 1944, you have a unique opportunity to collect dolls from various eras. Initial steps include:

  • Creating a wish list of dolls. Prioritize by historical periods, character stories, or current availability.
  • Setting a budget to manage your spending, as prices can vary for new and rare dolls.
  • Researching doll history and value through resources such as the Complete Guide to American Girl Doll Collecting.

Maintaining Your Collection

Proper care is crucial to maintaining the value and appearance of your AG dolls. Tips to preserve your collection include:

  • Regularly cleaning dolls and outfits using AG-approved methods.
  • Monitoring for and repairing any damage quickly to prevent further deterioration.
  • Visiting AG Doll News forums for maintenance tips and community advice.

Displaying Your Dolls

An appealing display enhances the enjoyment of your collection and can be a conversation starter. Follow these guidelines for an attractive arrangement:

  • Choose a display area away from direct sunlight to prevent fading.
  • Use stands or secure shelving to properly support your dolls.
  • Rotate dolls on display periodically to showcase different parts of your collection.

Storing Your Dolls

When not on display, your dolls should be stored in a controlled environment to preserve their condition. Consider these storage tips:

  • Use climate-controlled storage to prevent mold and material decay.
  • Keep original boxes if possible for the best protection and future resale value.
  • Label storage containers with the doll’s name and collection year for organization.

By following these practices, you’ll enjoy the rich experience of collecting AG Dolls and give each doll the care it deserves.

American Girl Doll Accessories and Outfits

In the world of American Girl doll collecting, accessories and outfits provide depth and character to your dolls, creating a rich collecting experience through historically accurate apparel and contemporary accoutrements.

Historical Outfits

Your doll’s attire can transport you back in time with historically accurate outfits. These outfits are crafted with precision to represent different eras. For example, the Complete Guide to American Girl Doll Collecting showcases Samantha, Kirsten, and Molly’s collections, which feature clothing items from their respective time periods such as Victorian dresses, pioneer attire, and World War II-era clothing.

Modern Accessories

Switch to the present with modern accessories designed to reflect the current trends in youth culture. These items range from casual to formal wear and encompass a range of:

  • Footwear (like sneakers and sandals)
  • Outerwear (includes jackets and hoodies)
  • Tech gadgets and personal items

Get inspired for your doll’s modern look with a visit to the American Girl’s site.

Special Edition Sets

For avid collectors, special edition sets are a highlight, often including:

  1. Limited-run outfits
  2. Commemorative accessories
  3. Exclusive thematic sets

Treasure unique collections such as limited holiday dresses or anniversary editions, which are often enriched with intricate details like embroidery, beading, and lace. To see some of these unique offerings, explore collections like Felicity’s, including her authentic colonial attire detailed on HobbyLark.

Remember, your collection’s versatility lies in the medley of outfits and accessories you gather for your dolls, encompassing their historical backgrounds and contemporary lifestyles.

AG Doll Multimedia and Publications

When you dive into the world of American Girl doll collecting, you’ll find a wealth of multimedia and publications to enhance your experience. These resources include a variety of books, movies, and online media that bring the stories of American Girl dolls to life.

AG Books

American Girl dolls are complemented by a rich library of literature. Historical titles and books featuring the Girl of the Year offer deep insight into each doll’s background. Your collection can be organized with book slip cases, ensuring you keep the sets intact. For those interested in activities, the brand also offers cookbooks and craft books.

  • Historical Fiction: Witness the eras of your favorite dolls.
  • Cook and Craft Books: Engage in themed activities.

Additionally, the AG collection includes volumes by authors like Valerie Tripp, whose work provides a narrative for dolls such as Emily in Brave Emily. Find more about her collection at American Girl Doll News.

Movies and DVDs

Beyond the pages, you’ll discover movies that bring dolls’ stories to cinematic life. These films, often adaptations of the books, can be found on DVDs—a nostalgic and collectible format.

CharacterTitle of Movie
Kit KittredgeKit Kittredge: An American Girl
Felicity MerrimanFelicity: An American Girl Adventure
Molly McIntireMolly: An American Girl on the Home Front

AG Online Media

The American Girl brand extends into the digital space with engaging YouTube channels like Collecting AG Dolls, which offer insights into collecting. You’ll also find content such as computer CD-ROMs designed for interactive experiences with AG characters. The American Girl website additionally hosts forums where enthusiasts can share stories, tips, and their personal collections.

Interactive AG Doll Products

American Girl Doll products extend beyond the dolls themselves with a range of interactive items designed to provide a more engaging and immersive experience.

AG Doll Puzzles and Games

You can explore the world of American Girl through a variety of puzzles that challenge and delight. These puzzles feature scenes and characters from the beloved series, with varying levels of difficulty to cater to all ages. For trading card enthusiasts, American Girl offers trading card packs, allowing you to collect and learn about different American Girl characters.

  • Puzzles: From 100 to 500 pieces, scenes from historical to modern settings.

AG Doll Craft and Activity Kits

Engage in creative play with AG Doll craft and activity kits. You’ll find options such as a theater kit to stage your own plays, or charms to craft personalized jewelry. The ever-popular paper dolls let you dress and design for your favorite characters, providing hours of artistic expression.

  1. Theater Kit: Set the stage and act out scenes with your dolls.
  2. Charms and Jewelry: Create your own accessories with easy-to-use kits.
Activity TypeDescriptionSkill Level Required
Theater KitScript plays and perform for an audienceIntermediate
Craft KitsCustomizable jewelry and charmsBeginner
Paper DollsMix and match outfits and scenesAll Levels

Through these interactive products, you get to expand your enjoyment and deepen your connection with the American Girl universe.

AG Doll Collectible Items

In the world of American Girl (AG) doll collecting, certain items stand out for their detailed craftsmanship and ability to enrich the doll’s world. As you explore this hobby, you will encounter a variety of collectible items that can range from furniture to full thematic sets.

Furniture and Large Items

American Girl dolls can be paired with an array of furniture, which includes beds, chairs, and tables made to scale, allowing for a more immersive experience.

A popular choice, the doll travel basket, acts not only as a display piece but also as a secure method for transporting your doll. Similarly, large items like bookends serve a dual purpose, adding to the aesthetic while offering practical utility.

Here are some of the furniture and large items you might come across:

  • Doll beds: Where your dolls can rest and you can display them.
  • Chairs and tables: Perfect for setting up a scene or doll tea party.
  • Doll travel basket / slip case: Ideal for keeping your doll safe during travel.
  • Bookends: Decorative and functional, often themed to match AG historical characters.

Themed Collections

AG dolls often come with their own backstories, which are supported by themed collections. These collections include a range of items such as a lunchbox, reflecting a doll’s era or personal story, or a family album, allowing you to delve deeper into the doll’s personal history. Themed collections are curated carefully to provide an immersive narrative experience.

Some themed collection pieces:

  • School sets: May include desks, school bags, and lunchboxes.
  • Historical sets: Furnishings and items that reflect a certain period, complete with a family album.

By focusing on these collectible items, you enhance your AG doll’s environment and make your collecting hobby more enjoyable.

AG Doll Collector Community and Events

Collecting American Girl dolls is not just about acquiring the dolls; it’s about being part of an active community that comes together through various events and activities. Whether you are new to this hobby or a seasoned collector, you’ll find myriad ways to connect and enjoy your passion with others who share your interest.

Collector Community

The American Girl Doll Club is a prime example of a community for collectors. Here, you have the opportunity to meet monthly to exchange insights and experiences related to the American Girl collection. Online platforms like Facebook also host groups where you can engage with fellow collectors, show off your finds, or even buy, sell, and trade items. Collectors often cherish pieces like the original Pleasant Company dolls, now considered collectible since Mattel’s purchase of the brand.

  • Key Community Aspects:
    • Monthly meetings and discussions
    • Online groups for exchange and camaraderie
    • Opportunities for trade and acquisition

American Girl Events

Special events are a hallmark of the American Girl experience. From in-store signing events to historical character unveilings, there are many activities that bring the collector community together.

Notable occasions include the release of new dolls in the American Girl collection, often accompanied by historically-themed parties that celebrate the era the new doll represents. These events provide enthusiasts with the chance to deepen their knowledge of the line and to celebrate the rich narratives that accompany each doll.

  • Upcoming Events to Consider:
    1. Exclusive unveiling parties
    2. Thematic celebrations for new dolls
    3. Opportunities to purchase limited edition and retired dolls

By participating in these community-driven experiences, you can expand your American Girl collection and share in the joy of these treasured historical narratives with others who appreciate the value and charm of each unique doll.

AG Doll Buying and Selling

When you dive into the world of AG (American Girl) doll collecting, understanding the buying and selling landscape is crucial for making informed decisions and growing your collection smartly.

Secondhand Market

The secondhand market is teeming with opportunities to find retired or rare AG dolls. Places like eBay are great for seeking out these treasures. Be vigilant for condition and completeness; these factors greatly affect the doll’s price and desirability.

Auction Platforms

For the avid collector, auction platforms serve as hunting grounds for rare finds and good deals. Whether it’s an AG Doll Auction site or mainstream platforms, auctions offer a dynamic way to purchase dolls, often at competitive prices. Remember, timing and a keen eye for detail can snag you a sought-after doll at a lower cost.

AG Doll Valuation Tips

To successfully buy or sell an AG doll, understanding its value is paramount. Here are key factors:

  • Age: Older, retired models often fetch higher prices.
  • Condition: Mint, in-box dolls are at the top, with pricing decreasing with wear.
  • Rarity: Limited editions or dolls with unique accessories can command premium pricing.

Consider leveraging a guide like the Complete Guide to American Girl Doll Collecting to inform you about the nuances of doll valuation.

Creating a Wishlist

Start by creating a wishlist of dolls. This focused approach helps you pinpoint and prioritize your search. To organize, consider a table format:

Wish List ItemReason for InterestNotes
Molly McIntire1944 historical eraLook for original accessories
Samantha ParkingtonPart of original AG collectionPrefer in-box for value retention

Maintain and update your wishlist as your collection and interests evolve. With these practices, you’re well on your way to becoming a savvy AG doll collector.

Additional Doll Collecting Topics
AG Doll CollectingAntique Doll Collecting
Barbie Doll CollectingBlack Doll Collecting
Fashion Doll CollectingWooden Doll Collecting