People joke about whether you were a 'horse girl' and 'wolf girl' growing up, but if you were a history girl in the 80s-90s, then you didn't marvel over animals, but the infamous American Girl Dolls instead. With original prices that meant they should have come with a brick of gold alongside the collectible toys, vintage American Girl dolls continue to rake in hundreds to thousands of dollars every year. Discover just which American Girl dolls are worth money and have gone down in collector history.
Undoubtedly, one of The Pleasant Company's most popular dolls from the original six-doll lineup was Samantha Parkington. Orphaned and taken in by her aunt and uncle, Samantha's storyline was set at the turn of the century, and her compassion for her working-class friend made her a fan favorite.
Today, the original Samantha dolls with her iconic striped dress and tights are very valuable. This was only compounded when the character was retired from production in 2008. With all the accessories and original box, Samantha dolls from the 1980s can sell for about $1,000-$3,000. For example, one Samantha from 1986 sold for $3,000 on eBay.
American Girl Doll's own version of Laura Ingalls Wilder from Little House on the Prairie was Kirsten Larson. She was a straw-blonde Swedish immigrant, and readers followed her and her family as they made a new life on the American frontier. Another doll from the original lineup that was retired in 2010, vintage Kirsten dolls are worth quite a bit to doll collectors because of their rare status.
In the best condition, Kirsten dolls can sell for around $1,000-$3,000. For example, one Kirsten doll from 1989 sold for $3,300 due in some part to the fact that she's wearing a less-common outfit (a school dress as opposed to her blue dress and pink apron ensemble).
Jump back to colonial America with Felicity Merriman, The Pleasant Company's fourth American Girl Doll. A red-headed character with an independent streak a mile wild, Felicity is a popular doll on the collectors' market. She's also one that, despite being in the first lineup, constantly comes up for sale.
Original dolls from the 1980s and 1990s can sell for about $1,000-$3,000, depending on their condition. For example, one lot with Felicity and her original box, as well as several clothes and accessories, sold for $2,000 online.
Nellie O'Malley and Other Best Friend Dolls
If you're not a die-hard American Girl Doll fan, then you might not recognize their Best Friend series. These books and dolls were plucked out of the main characters' storylines and given their own spotlight. Five of these dolls were made between 2004-2008, and since they're not as well-known as the original lineup, they're not worth as much.
In nearly mint condition, these Best Friend Dolls will sell for up to $500 online. For example, a Nellie O'Malley - Samantha's iconic Irish best friend - sold for $499.
Just Like You Dolls
Just Like You Dolls were The Pleasant Company's inventive way of selling more merchandise. Instead of investing time and money in creating new characters, they released a series of dolls with different features. Kids could look through the collection and find the doll that looked the most like them, aka 'just like you.'
Today, these dolls aren't pulling in thousands of dollars with collectors, but they're still worth more money than they originally sold for. Typically, they can sell for about $100-$250 online. For example, one Just Like You #4 doll sold for $242.50 and a Just Like You #15 doll sold for $249.99.
What Makes Vintage American Girl Dolls Worth Money?
Nostalgia is the main driving force behind collectible American Girl Doll sales today. Though, there's a big community of doll collectors who want every piece of doll history they can get their hands on. But, if you're trying to free up space in your house and are looking to get rid of a few childhood mementoes, check for these characteristics.
- Look for one of the six original dolls. Without a doubt, the most collectible American Girl dolls are Addy, Felicity, Josefina, Kirsten, Molly, and Samantha.
- Look for dolls manufactured in the 1980s. They were first released in 1986, and these original dolls are the most valuable of all of them.
- Check for white-bodied dolls. When you look under the outfits, dolls with torsos that are white and not flesh colored were only made in the early production years, and are worth more money.
- Don't discount the accessories. If you have a bunch of American Girl Doll accessories, they also sell well online.
- Look for dolls and accessories in their original packaging. The dolls you'll be able to get the most money for are ones still in the packaging.
American Girl Dolls Are More Valuable Than Ever
Incredibly, kids were right about American Girl Dolls. They did end up being collectible all these years later. Worth well over their steep selling prices, vintage American Girl Dolls are a niche but nostalgic touchstone from so many 80s and 90s kids' childhoods that they're doing very well on the collectors market right now.