Limited Editions: Limited to HOW MANY?!

Jul 8, 2019

    1. I apologize if this has already been discussed, but it's something that has bothered me since I joined DoA in 2006 and started learning about my new obsession.

      In most hobbies and collectibles, a limited edition specifies the number of items that will be produced, and never never never produces any more items from that mold/specification. When you buy such an item, it is marked "25 of 100" or "2 of 10," for instance.

      And yet, in the BJD world, we have no idea how many dolls in a "limited" edition were or will be made, and more than once a previously "limited" edition
      has been reissued by the company.

      Now, I've been out of the loop for years, and I'm not familiar with the new companies' handling of limited dolls, so this may be changing. I did see a sale post of a non-Asian doll that specified the number of the doll and the total made.

      How is Volks handling this these days? I did a random check on Where Angel's Lie and came up with Shizu in 2009: "It is unknown what the total number of Shizus released was but it is implied that she was quite limited." This seems like a rather cavalier attitude, and I wonder why we have accepted it without complaint.

      Info or thoughts?
      • x 1
    2. With e.g. Ringdoll limited means limited ordering period. So they make as many as are ordered in that period and that's the amount. After the period is over they don't make any more. In this case it is really hard to say how many sets are made.
      Loongsoul adds "80 full sets" or something. So they do have a number. I guess they only make a certain amount of clothes and wigs.
    3. Most of the time it means "time limited", so like Qianna said. During that timeframe the doll is for sale, and nobody can tell how many dolls of that kind circulate around in the end because only the company knows how many they made of that specific type. When it's limited to a certain amount (doll itself or just the full-set) it is mentioned and then we know.

      It gets really blurry when companies do re-releases, release a doll again but slightly different (different full-set, different skintone) and so on.
      Not to mention event gifts! Those are limited as well but again, nobody knows how many of those actually end up in the hands of people since they technically aren't being sold.

      But yeah, generally we often don't know how limited a doll truly is. As it is, the term became just the opposite to "basic" or "standard" in some cases. Basic/Standard = can always be bought, "Limited" = can't always be bought, for whatever reason. How limited a release turns out to be in the end is unknown, and some companies really stretch that definition with numerous re-releases.
      • x 3
    4. When Kaye Wiggs released Nettle, she stated the limited edition would be a total of ten heads cast, and Nettle hasn't been re-released since.

      But as has been stated already, I think most limited BJD are time limited in terms of order or pre-order period (and thereby limited to the number of buyers who can raise the necessary money within that time period).

    5. I fail to see how knowing the exact numbers really even matters or why we shouldn't be "just accepting it". I mean, do we ever actually know how many of a limited item exists at any given time?

      Even for those items that did have a set number, we often have absolutely no way of knowing how many of them still "survive" to this day.
    6. A family member of mine is somewhat into art (paintings, drawings). He tries to get a very low number, as art--when it gets printed--degrades nigh imperceptively with each iteration. From what I've learned about BJDs, the same tends to apply, but at least for me... unless I have more than one in my collection to gauge the degree of degradation, I don't personally mind. I suppose I'm not a collector (with that frame of mind), such as a hobbyist and enthusiast. If I'm to get a doll, it's because I love the sculpt and/or have a character in mind for it. I give very little thought to "and this doll is 32 of 100 in the entire world" because I'll (most likely) never meet any of those other people. At most, I might get to enjoy their photos on social media. :)
    7. There are some companies that do "limited to x number" - Dollmore does it fairly commonly, and the recent Do Dolls Dream new release was limited to 15, I believe (although I do think she plans to release the sculpt again, just the special fantasy color won't be available again).

      But usually those numbers aren't helpful from a collector's perspective, because in the BJD hobby a doll's worth is based more on popularity than rarity. Sometimes those things coincide (FL Liria for example), but not all "rare" dolls are worth more based on rarity alone. And for that matter, you might have a standard release that simply isn't that popular, so only a few are cast before the sculpt is ultimately discontinued.

      For the most part, having only a limited number available, ever, isn't to an artist's advantage. Once you make a sculpt, it's less time-intensive to keep casting it if the demand is there than it is to make 10 and destroy the molds. Of course, that might change if a particular doll is really hard to cast or something, but it seems like the best way to sustain demand is to have multiple time-limited releases - because we see other people getting the cute dolls and it drives up demand for the next preorder ;)

      And on top of that, in a hobby as niche as ours and with as much variety available as we have, "limited to 200" or something like that is almost meaningless. Unless a sculpt is very popular, I would be willing to bet that there are fewer than 200 in existence anyway.
      • x 3
    8. In other doll communities having a limited number signed doll dictates its value based on how low of a number it is on the print or mold run. For dolls that have a set number for a limited run doll, we find that the lower the number the doll is the sooner it was cast. Having a lower cast number is better because over time a mold will lose it shape, so the lower the number the sooner that doll was cast which adds to the value of the doll. This also happens with art type prints that are printed from a linoleum block, the lower the number the higher the value.
      • x 1
    9. As others have said “limited” is more time limited for purchase. I think this serves a few purposes, one being (especially if fantasy parts are involved) limiting how many molds they have to maintain, the other being a bit of lean on fear of missing out to drive up the sales.
      Some companies are limiting outfits or certain skin tones to specific counts, sometimes for materials sake.

      While BJDs are a toy hobby, it leans more towards customizing than collection overall, which I would expect messes with the collectibility value aspect.

      I would out of curiosity love to see some data on sales, but it seems like a lot comes down to anecdotal notes. There are a few dolls that I know were exceptionally popular now out-of-production, that I hardly see now in the market. I’d be curious if that had more to do with turnover of individuals in the hobby or if they weren’t as populus as it seemed.
      • x 1
    10. more so it's over time the quantity, honestly if it doent say hoe many is limited then it's safe to assume it's time limited. most my dolls are limited and out if 18 id say at least 11 of them where time limited
    11. Dolls that are made in limited numbers seem to be full sets more often than not. With some of Fairyland's dolls its the extra parts and clothes that come with the dolls that are made in limited numbers, but a basic version of the doll is not made in limited numbers.

      The only doll I have that was number limited and not sold as a full-set is a Soom Noellia. The number made was limited only for the "Coffee Black" resin color, probably due to an expected difficulty in casting it. They actually changed the number from the original release of 20 (which sold out overnight) to 50. That made me happy, since I got one, but it did make them less rare.

      The company is known for doing time limited dolls, and re-releasing them as different versions, or in free-choice events that allow buyers to order fantasy heads and bodies in different combinations that what was originally offered. People are sometimes happy and sometimes seem more annoyed that a rare doll is more available.
      #11 Leo Pheonix, Jul 17, 2019
      Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
    12. In terms of VOLKS releases, limited edition dolls are typically sold via lottery. The obvious conclusion to this method of sale is that there are a limited amount of dolls available to purchase. However, as consumers we are not privy to the actual number amount.

      Another factor to consider is that while specific releases may be limited edition, the mold used to make the doll is still available to the company. Many companies will re-release the same doll as a new limited edition set, VOLKS included.