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"Retiring" a doll....respectful or overly emotional?

Jan 18, 2012

    1. First, let me say I'm not talking about a sculpt being discontinued or limited. What I mean, is to personally "retire" your own doll.

      Let me elaborate.

      I got my MSD sized AoD Chen in April 2008. His name is Amir and he has always been my absolute favorite, no matter how many may come and go. He has yellowed (a LOT), has some scratches and chips, is the old body and old s-hooked headcap type. He has some damage and staining caused by lots of love, and some mistakes I made before I really understood how to care for a bjd.

      This past November, I decided to upgrade him. I wanted him to be SD sized, wanted more adult options for him and just felt it was time for him to change. So I upgraded him to an AoD Gu.

      But then there's the matter of what to do with the old doll? I LOVE that doll, still do. He was my first and very loved. I can't stick a different character in him because I can't look at that doll and see anything but Amir. Even a totally different faceup, wig, eyes, clothes...would not change that. That WAS Amir. He's not a valuable doll. I had another Chen (new body, new headcap, face up, no damage) that only sold for $110, so I'm sure Amir wouldn't bring much more than maybe $90 or so and I know I'd regret selling him the instant I got the money.

      So, I wrapped him up mummy style, made him a special faceup protector, put him in his box with his favorite MSD things I couldn't use for any of my others and "entombed" him in a trunk in my closet. It just seemed like the most appropriate and respectful way to "retire" the old doll and move on to the new one.

      I've reshelled lots of characters, but Amir is the only one I've chosen to do this with, since he was my first and favorite.

      Has anyone else ever "retired" a doll?

      If you upgraded or reshelled a much loved doll, what did you do with the old doll? Did you keep it or sell it? Do you regret it or are you okay with it?

      Is it a respectful rite of transition to keep a bond or is it being overly sentimental and emotional to want to keep an old doll (that obviously has no feelings on the matter) you don't use anymore?

      I'd like to hear all opinions and thoughts, even if they vary from my own, just please keep it friendly. :)
    2. My first doll I no longer need because a more suitable mold came out for his character now, and I have kept in a the drawer where all the other dolls are kept. I'll most liley paint him every now and then, but I probably won't look at him maybe more than once a year (considering I already only look at my "favorite" dolls a handful of times a year too). I'm keeping the doll out of respect, because he was a combined graduation present from my mother and aunt before I finished high school to keep me motivated. If I had purchased him myself I would have sold him because he's just a doll.
    3. Yes, I retired my Isao Ver 1. He's my first BJD and still my best loved which is why he is retired for preservation of resin and faceup. His resin shows no signs of yellowing, no visible scratches and dents. His faceup was originally light and pale, so the light faceup is not due to fading. The doll is 7 years old, I am his 3rd owner, he is not a 1 owner doll.

      I restrung the doll, polished his resin, then I placed him naked in his box with pillows and face plate, wrapped his original clothes and accessories in wrapping paper and place them in the box with him. He is handled with gloves whenever I take him out for inspection, he is not allowed to go outside. I don't travel with him anymore. These days, he is seldom photographed.

      I collect vintage dolls (non BJDs), so I preserve and maintain old dolls. CloakedSchemer I assume Amir is a 1 owner doll, you got him new from AOD. It's nice to look back after 30 years later and say to yourself and others that you did not sell him, it's a successfully long relationship and you are his first and only owner.

      I understand what you mean when you said that he does not sell for much and so you have decided to preserve him. This is true for many of my vintage dolls although I must say that times are different now. 50 years ago, a doll costing $15 is horribly expensive, today the old doll may fetch $100+ which is cheap but you see, the doll's value did appreciate. It's hard to talk about value and appreciation. If he cannot sell for much and you love him a lot, do by all means preserve him.

      If I were you, I won't wrap his body/resin with anything for storage. Just place him naked in his box with the original pillows and face plate. Try not to let too much material wrap around his resin body for too long because from my experience, material such as cloth and paper could react with the body over time causing damage. You should inspect him from time to time, taking his out for air. Make sure there are no insects or small worms in the box. :)
    4. I have several dolls that I refer to as "retired." Like the OP, they're dolls that have been upgraded to new sculpts. Since all of my dolls are representations of characters, the new dolls have replaced the originals in that function. However, I still like (and wished to keep) the original sculpts, so I have placed the old dolls in a different doll cabinet, and continue to display them, but they no longer serve the same narrative function in my mind that they once did. In other cases, I have simply sold the original versions of dolls that I was replacing, but I do not consider selling a doll the same as "retiring" it.
    5. Isao ver. 1 is a special doll.
      I have many of the older Volks boys and I love them all. I have them out in a doll room dressed in white things with light colored wigs. The room is dark and has one window with the blinds closed. I could never box them. To me boxed = needs to go.

      If you have something you love, it's natural to feel emotion.
    6. As a person who still has her childhood dolls, I would also be inclined to retire a beloved resin doll and keep it. I will say, however, that your doll would be best kept loosely wrapped in acid-free tissue paper (just like old wedding dresses) instead of other materials that might react in time with the resin.

      I have re-shelled two characters, but I wasn't emotionally attached to the original dolls. I sold one of them and invented a new character for the other one.
    7. I have upgraded two dolls to new sculpts, but I started to dislike the old molds. I sold them and haven't regretted it (although I still love Lishe... she just isn't the doll for me).
    8. Well, I bought my first BJD about 3 months ago so I can't tell for sure...but I think I would prefer to "recycle" my old doll. I mean, if you always wanted to modify a doll body, maybe this is the right moment. If you love him just the way he is then you could improve him by treating the yellowing problem and sanding the scratches.

      You said that you can't see him like another character...well, I don't see any problem if you keep his "younger version" at the same time you keep his "mature version". It's like you're telling his story =)
    9. I believe, this is the sweetest thing that I have ever read here...I think that is touching that you retired him, that you couldn't give him up. I recently got my first doll, and who she is,is in the little resin body she has now. I could never "reshell" her character.
    10. Thank you so much to everybody who has responded! I actually thought I might be doing something weird, but I'm glad to see others do this too.

      stargazer_i, Amir is a one owner doll. I got him from JunkySpot.

      XvPandavX, your response made me smile. :) I never thought I could reshell Amir either, but the AoD Gu just called to me and told me it was time for Amir to "grow up".

      EDIT: Also, I was unaware that the resin needed to breathe and that fabric could hurt him! @_@ I'll be sure to take care of that asap! He's in the closet where I keep my clothes, and in a trunk so bugs can't get to him, but I thought I was keeping him safe by being wrapped. Thanks to all who let me know better!
    11. I think this is an interesting question. Of course, the cost of the doll and all his accouterments makes this sort of "retiring" a bit different than the normal putting away of things we once loved. ;) I do have several dolls currently "entombed" in my closet mausoleum. ;) I'm not sure if they will be there long-term....but they've been there quite a while already....and I do wish I had kept some of my original foundation dolls. :( I just didn't realize at the time of rehoming how nostalgic I would get for them down the road....
    12. Once I am done with a doll, I'm done with it. It gets sold. It doesn't really matter how long I have had it or how sentimental I feel about the character attached, there's really no point in me keeping a doll just because of nostalgia when I could sell it and spend that money on something else.

      I've reshelled characters many times. I've never kept the old versions, no matter how much I enjoyed the doll or liked that particular sculpt. I suppose with this particular hobby for me, the character is more important than the actual doll - that is what I am emotionally invested in. These characters existed before the dolls and will exist after the dolls.
    13. I don't think this is any different from keeping any beloved toys from your childhood. There's nothing wrong with a little sentiment.
    14. This is what I'm thinking too. Although I have done this with childhood toys, I haven't done it (yet) with any BJDs. Most of the dolls I was "done" with I stopped liking or were too expensive to keep around just for keeping them around. Should I ever have a doll I have no "use" for (for lack of better description) that I have liked a lot and could not sell for whatever reason, I would probably give it as a present to someone close to me who would love to have the doll or "retire" it as described in the first post.
    15. I've never done anything like that myself, and have no idea if I ever would. However, I think it's a very nice idea. It's sweet, and I can tell how much you really really love that doll. :)
    16. I agree it is a very sweet concept :) Unfortunately I don't really have the space to 'archive' dolls in this way, and I think I would prefer to sell (or even give, if the value was low) the doll on, for someone else to love, enjoy and breathe new life into. I do understand your attachment though, I know I will never part with my first girl Clarice no matter how yellow or worn she gets, but I also have no plans to 'reshell' her, ever, she is the one and only Clarice :XD:
    17. I don't think it's overly emotional! I have definitely "retired" my first doll...she was a Ringdoll Rebecca. I didn't take very good care of her (I was a total n00b when I got her) and so she's now very yellow and has damage from the mods I attempted. If she weren't in such bad shape, I might sell her for someone else to love...but right now, I think I'm the only one who could love her. :(

      My other "retired" doll is also a Ringdoll (a NS Kyo to be precise). He was a Christmas present. I never did much with him, other than make him cross-dress and look too pretty. :sweat But since he was a present, I would feel bad selling him, even though my mom said it would be perfectly fine (she gave him to me).

      Again, I don't think it's overly emotional at all. I still have the majority of my childhood toys...I can't let them go, either!
    18. I don't think there's anything wrong with keeping a doll even if you don't play with it anymore. I still have my first Cabbage Patch Kid that a classmate gave to me when I was in a bad accident. This was back in the decade when CPKs were THE doll to own, and everyone had one but me. Also, the girl who gave it to me was quite popular and I was more of the shy and bookish type (that hasn't changed much). So, there's a lot of sentimental value attached. Most of of my old toys are gone, but not Angelina. She's here to stay, even if only in a storage bin in my closet.

      As for BJDs, I've reshelled several characters, and so far the old versions have all gone to new homes. I contemplated keeping Kess's first version (a minifee Lishe). Like the OP, I just couldn't see her as any other character but Kess. But unlike the OP, it just seemed a waste to keep her stored away when another owner might enjoy her, so she ended up being sold. I needed the money more than I needed the doll. It helped pay for her second shell (which also ended up being sold so I could finally get her third and final shell, a Delf elf lishe).
    19. For me, it's about the characters primarily. There are some dolls in my collection I do not want to let go because they are rare, LE or dolls I just could never get back - but I doubt I could ever retire them.

      For me it's more of a letting go process I think. I'm going to be reshelling one of my current characters and I will definitely sell his head onwards rather than keep it. I don't see the point in keeping it if I'm not going to do anything with it - no matter how much I love his sculpt (Kawaiinino Half Eyes Iz). If I don't have a use for it, then I'm not keeping it. I just have to be tough on myself like that. Dollies are too expensive to keep around 'just because' for me.
    20. This. This is how I feel about it. I wouldn't have any interest in the dolls if it wasn't for the character and I can't justify buying a doll just because it looked good and had no idea what sort of character it would be. At the beginning, I bought two dolls for the sole purpose of finding one that fits. As soon as I decided, the other one got boxed and put up for sale even though it was the one I was eyeing for a year longer. However, I don’t see this as more or less emotional because I am really attached to the character. I *might* keep the "retired" doll if it was a younger version of him. But I also don't want to have "two" of him laying around and I also don't like extra... stuff.