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A stigma on secondhand dolls?

May 4, 2010

    1. If there is a similar topic already existing, please delete. I ran a search using keywords but couldn't find any. :sweat

      I bought my first girl, Shiori, secondhand. I bought her from a friend. She's a Volks SD Sara F-01, and I don't think I would've been able to get an SD-sized girl from Volks any other way. They're very expensive, as we all know, taxed and shipping is so expensive, and the customs in my country will drown me in fees. I wouldn't have purchased her if I hadn't seen her in person, either. I got her for a good price, and I have no regrets. The fact that she has switched hands so many times does not bother me. In fact, it adds to her story.

      I recently acquired Marketplace access. (And can I just say, I was overwhelmed!) Some of the dolls on my URGENT! list are for sale there. They are in good condition and being offered for a good price. And my birthday is coming up, so maybe...

      I like dealing with people. A big factor for me here is the possibility of layaway and the ability to use a courier instead of regular post. Couriers like FedEx and Johnny Air are so much more reliable, courteous and efficient than the regular post office here. I also like the idea of having the items that I want more or less ready for shipping. My patience is not a factor, I can wait, but I feel more at ease with knowing that my money didn't disappear into thin air, know what I mean?

      Is it just me, or do I feel like a "lesser" collector slash doll enthusiast because of my wanting to purchase secondhand dolls? Maybe it's because I'm spending less, compared to a brand new doll, maybe because the doll is "old" or I don't wait as long, I don't know. Like, I'm still somewhat uncomfortable with showing Shiori as Shiori, when I know the original original owner (Shiori's a third hand doll, in a sense, since the person I bought her from bought her from someone else) runs in more or less the same circles. It's like being haunted by ghosts of former characters, but haunted is such a strong word. I get conscious too. Would the community find me "cheap", or something negative along those lines? :...(

      Here, though, are my points for discussion: What do you think of owners who own predominantly or exclusively secondhand dolls? Do you think lesser of them or their dolls because they're not the original owners? Is there a stigma to them, or are they differentiated in any way? Are they portrayed in a negative light? Are there any pros or positive points to owning secondhand dolls, whether having some in your collection, most of them, or almost all of them there?

      This isn't really a question of is it right or wrong. At the end of the day, they are dolls bought with out money, and we spend our money on what we want as we please. This discussion is more of a thoughts and opinion kind of thread. I'd like to hear your thoughts! :)

      And again, if there is a topic like this that I missed out on, mods, please direct me to it and close this one!
    2. I bought the majority of my dolls second hand, since two are Soom MDs that I missed the order period for I could not have gotten them any other way. I was glad to get them very quick and not have to wait for a company to make them. Sometimes dealing on th MP can be a nightmare though.

      I used to slightly feel that my dolls were a little less special because they are second hand. It is kind of like I am always wondering what the original owner envisioned them as. But now that I have had them for awhile and changed their outfits and wigs and started telling stories about them I feel like they are really mine.

      And I don't think it makes you any less of a doll collector to get dolls second-hand. I actually think it is better to find the model you want, that someone else no longer wants to own, then to make a whole new doll through the company and have that old doll in the MP be wasted and unloved.

      I completely understand where you are coming from, and I have learned that it doesn't matter where the doll comes from it is all about how you make it your own that is important.
    3. I have bought two dolls "new" and one secondhand. Its quite strange but for some reason I am more likely to play with Moe then the other two dolls. I think because she is secondhand I am less worried about messing up her fullset or accidently marking her. So she is the one that generally gets her clothes changed or follows me around :)
    4. I think it gives her more personality and history to have changed hands. I hope that someday she can find someone to settle down with; I do think it's nicer when a doll has long-term close memories associated with them by someone. If they just kept being swapped so that no one ever truly loved them and paid attention to them, something would be lost by that.
    5. --
      #5 Devil's Trill, May 4, 2010
      Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
    6. ALL of my dolls are now second hand, or third-hand, or fourth-hand... actually most of them I don't really know how many owners they had before me. I don't feel like there's any stigma in that. I have the dolls I wanted and getting them from the company would have been more expensive or straight-up impossible in the case of the two limiteds. I don't think I've ever seen anyone look down on a doll for being purchased second-hand. Heck, unless you bring it up, most of the time people won't even know.
    7. I own three dolls atm and am waiting for two more. Four are from their original companies, and one is second hand - and I have to admit that she is probably the most loved in my "resin crew".
      Some dolls are just impossible to get from the company or are associated with waiting times of about 4-6 months and frequent "defects" (I mean... extreme seams, dirt, bad stringing, bad packaging - stuff that is not crucial and can be repaired, but something that a newcomer or an extremely choosy collector will want to avoid), so it makes much more sense to just buy the said doll secondhand when you know what and when you would be receiving. Unfortunately, the MP is not always a clear blue sky, but there are many sweet and reputable people.
      I think owning a secondhand doll is not too different from getting the original - it's just about time and convenience. A doll that has lived in a house for 1-2 weeks already loses the previous owner's aura, and if it just stayed in the box most of the time, then there is nothing to lose in the first place ^_^;;

      As to the stigma part - I can't even think of someone placing such a thing on people 0___o" Besides, many LE dolls are for sale on the MP and sometimes for a price 2-3 times higher than the original, and it'd be pretty much impossible to get the doll any other way. The secondhand market is just part of the hobby - in the long run, even the most loved dolls can end up there.
      The stigma is ultimately placed on bootlegs, but the rest... definitely not on the community level.
    8. I bought my first doll from the company, and am now paying off a doll secondhand. And whilst I love my first doll and had a great experience, there's something a lot more reassuring and personal buying second hand. And even though, after this layawya is paid off, I will have to buy my next dolls first hand, if I found them on the MP I would buy them there first.
    9. Before I came to Japan, I didn't want secondhand dolls. It wasn't so much because they weren't new as it was I had no way of truly knowing the condition. Sure, there are honest people who point out every mark and record everything done, and then there are others who view a five inch scratch as a "small mark." My godmother got taken pretty bad on eBay for a secondhand tiny with an "adorable wig" that doesn't fit at all and was cut in the back, a "cute faceup" that looked like a 5 year old scribbled on with a yellow and pink crayon, and so on. At least with a new doll, you can email the company and get it fixed 95% of the time.

      Now, in Japan, I love going to Mandarake and getting secondhand dolls. I can look at the condition and see everything possibly wrong, and I can make my decision based on that. The perfect but old Volks Ken? Just needed wig, eyes, and clothes. The Volks FCS F-19 with a jarring faceup? Five hours of work, and he became completely different and my dad's favorite doll. Heck, I just got finished cleaning up a Unoa B-el boy (one of the cheaper sets from the Nakano Mandarake), and the problems he had were mainly chipping blushing!

      Now, if I had a choice between ordering a new doll or ordering a secondhand doll without being able to see it, I think I would take the new doll. That's just me.

      For someone owning a secondhand doll, I honestly don't care. Is he/she cute/sexy/attractive/cool/etc.? That's all that matters to me. Now, if someone came right up and said "This is my secondhand doll ____," I would be confused because, well, it's not relevant and I can't see why it is important to the conversation. If I asked a question like where the doll came from or who did the faceup, I can understand getting some secondhand related answer, but it's also like saying eBay or something.
    10. I've never heard of a stigma attached to owning second hand dolls. How would one even know you weren't the doll's first owner? I think if that attitude was common, we wouldn't have such a busy marketplace ^_~
    11. I've never heard of such a stigma either... although all of my dolls were purchased from the company I have a lot of friends who own dolls that were bought from other owners, heck in some cases it's the only way to get a doll (if they were limited, discontinued, or from a company that is difficult to buy from directly). If a doll has been taken care of, it's hard to tell if it's been owned before or by how many people.
    12. No way! I have respect for people who buy secondhand. It just seems more economical, and the attitude some people have of "if it's not shiny and perfect and new, it's worthless" bothers me. (Not just doll people, anyone.) Wabi-sabi gets no love. :<
    13. I understand where your concerns come from. This hobby can be very social at times, but I believe a "collector" is defined by the principle with which they collect, not what they collect... if that makes sense at all.

      There are many doll companies, such as Volks, Alchemic labo & Elf dolls, just to name a few, that adopts a business mannerism that makes buying their dolls difficult. There's nothing wrong about being economical in this hobby. Buying dolls 2nd hand can sometimes be the only way to acquire certain bits and pieces, that might have been released at a time you have yet to join the hobby, or at a time you didn't have the money. We're defined by how much we love our dolls, not how much we have spent on them. I personally have many 2nd hand dolls because I couldn't have acquired them in any other way.

      Personally I do not believe a doll needs to be new to be considered worth while. Although this largely depends on what attitude a person takes to this hobby, but for the most part, these dolls were never meant to be "NEVER REMOVED FROM BOX" items. Their appeal is the fact that you can customize them to differentiate from the rest of their kind. With a new face-up, any old doll can look brand new, given that it's well taken care of by its other owners. Some people may think that when they buy a fullset doll, that doll needs to stay unchanged otherwise it will lose its value, but we all know that isn't the case anymore, since a doll is merely a blank canvas onto which we extend our imagination.

      As for the haunting of a pre-existing character... I guess it's more like picking a stance for yourself, of who you want this doll to be. The doll's previous owner(s) let him/her go, then I would assume that whatever character this doll used to embody, no longer exists in this particular doll. It is YOUR doll now, so make it whoever you want. Regardless of whether the previous owner mingles in the same circles or not. It's not her doll anymore, so it's not her character anymore. I hope I'm making sense:)
    14. What do you think of owners who own predominantly or exclusively secondhand dolls? Do you think lesser of them or their dolls because they're not the original owners? Is there a stigma to them, or are they differentiated in any way? Are they portrayed in a negative light?
      Believe me, there is no stigma attached to buying pre-loved dolls and no one judges anyone by how they bought their dolls. If this was true, we wouldn't have such an active Marketplace!

      Our box-openings and incoming doll areas have just as many people who are eagerly awaiting their second-hand or third-hand dolls as people awaiting their first-hand dolls, and everyone celebrates an arrival because the doll is new to you, their previous history doesn't matter because the doll is yours now and all dolls are shiny and new to their new owners, whether they've had 10 previous owners or none.

      It's important to remember that even if the doll is second-hand, you may still be paying the same as if they were new from the company. A well-cared for doll in pristine condition doesn't tend to depreciate in value. There is no two-tier system between those who own first-hand dolls and those who own pre-loved dolls, we've all paid a lot of money for them and that's that. No stigma, no snootiness.

      Are there any pros or positive points to owning secondhand dolls, whether having some in your collection, most of them, or almost all of them there?
      Over my two years as a doll collector (not a long time at all!) I have bought far more dolls second- or third-hand than I have first-hand. The Marketplace is a great venue to find long sold-out dolls or discontinued dolls, and I like buying from other collectors, I like knowing that it takes less time to have my new doll posted to me. As for any positive points to owning specifically second-hand dolls? I'm not sure. As soon as I buy a doll, whether new from the company or on the Marketplace, they're new to me and I create new characters for them, I don't worry about their past because their future is with me :)

      delgadina, please show off your beautiful Shiori, and don't worry about her being pre-loved. Volks Four Sisters dolls are very much loved here, regardless of how many homes they've lived in before they find their forever home :)
    15. Well I do admit I do not own any full secondhand dolls, I've owned a used body and currently own a secondhand faceplate. I have sold a few dolls though and from a sellers perspective, I tell you I loooove to see my previous darlings live a happy life! I really do love it when the new owners post pictures and I get to see them again. I think most sellers like to see that. Just because they sold the doll doesn't mean they never ever want to see the doll again. The worst reaction you'll get is disinterest :lol: So that was about your Shiori, you really shouldn't feel bad about showing her in the same circles that the previous owner also socializes with. If anything, she or he would probably be happy to see your Shiori again.

      I don't really think secondhand dolls are anything less then new dolls. The only reason I haven't bought dolls secondhand (apart from a faceplate and the body) is because my dolls have been easier to get new. I am now going to buy dolls secondhand though because of customs, they changed the customs limits and percentages so now I'd be crazy to buy outside of EU. But I don't think it's in any way a lower form of doll collecting. And with all honesty I think it's wonderful that there are people who buy dolls from people who didn't bond with them or have financial issues or whatever. If nobody bought secondhand dolls, it would be a sad sad hobby I think.
    16. Maybe I haven't been in the hobby long enough but I've never heard of such a stigma. I bought both my Hounds second-hand because I had to. By the time I decided I wanted one they were out of production. I don't love either of them any less for not being mine originally.
    17. To those who haven't heard of the stigma-- okay, neither have I, but I can very easily imagine there being one, for two reasons:
      1) Collectors who value getting something rare may find a "never opened in box" sort of thing to feel rarer and harder to get than something that has been used.
      2) In Japan, there's generally a stigma on used items. Used things are often dirt cheap because nobody wants them; there's more status, somehow, when it comes to getting something new. It applies to CDs and books and goodness knows what else. And we may not all be from Japan, but our hobby is.

      So these things may put a "stigma" on used items. That said, much of what others have been saying here-- how much they love their dolls, how beautiful they are, etc-- have nothing at all to do with a stigma. One's love or aesthetic appreciation just don't depend on stigma at all. Stigma is only something that matters when you're objectively viewing something as a collector, comparing what you have to what you could have, or somesuch.

      nk-chan, I totally agree with you about wabi-sabi. I definitely appreciate that sort of thing, especially for something like a doll who is meant to be an entity with a history and personality. When you meet a new person, they have a history apart from you, and if you get to know and love them, it's just a valuable part of who they are; the same goes for anything that's meant to acquire history, experience, and memories-- including dolls.
    18. I currently have seven dolls and only two were bought new. I am the Queen of finding dolls under market value, and I know how to stalk a thred as well. I have no issues with owning a second hand doll or with someone else owning one. Plus, I like to think of it as recylcing.
    19. I have both brand new and secondhand dolls in my collection and don't regard them any differently. I guess I've always felt that now I've bought them, they're secondhand to anyone else anyway. I have a couple of heads that I've bought from other people that have incredibly nice face-ups which makes me glad they're secondhand. If the owners hadn't been selling them, I never would have been able to get them. I've sold a couple to people in my Brisbane group and they love the doll whereas I was wanting to find something different or buy a different type of doll. I regularly change over the dolls in my collection and don't think twice about it. I'd happily buy a doll from someone in our group and wouldn't feel it was inferior because they didn't want it. Often the dolls aren't quite what you're looking for. I know that I prefer larger chunky dolls whereas others can prefer smaller more delicate dolls. I've sold a bobobie I bought for my daughter, the person stripped off the face-up she had and made her a doll that reflected her tastes. She's really pretty now and different to the doll I had, I forget she was once mine when I see her. Perhaps you need to look at a new face-up or different look to make her feel more individual to you?
    20. I'm sure there must be some people out there who think those things, but I've never met anyone like that and I'd be very surprised to hear someone give voice to opinions like that!

      Doing a quick count of my collection, I have 12 secondhand dolls and I love each of them every bit as much as my first-hand ones. People buy dolls secondhand for lots of reasons, not least being that that's the only way to get limited dolls if they sold out before you were able to buy one... or in some cases certain limiteds simply aren't available to people in certain countries unless they buy from the secondhand market: I live in Europe, so DoA's marketplace was the only place I could buy my Ami Ayase from once Volks' North America-only lottery was done :S If that's the only way to get a certain doll then that's how people will do it if they love the sculpt and want one enough.

      I've also bought a non-limited doll secondhand (my Elfdoll Sooah), and by buying her from the marketplace rather than direct from Elfdoll I got a doll with a beautiful custom faceup that I think outshines anything the Elfdoll artists could have done with her. Another benefit, I'd say! Other considerations can also include reduced shipping costs when buying a secondhand doll from someplace closer to home, and another consideration for me is the ridiculous Customs Charges that we're charged here in the UK when buying a doll from East Asia or the USA. If I can buy a doll secondhand from within the EU and save up to $180 in extra Customs Charges, then that's a very big advantage!