Affordable Sylvanian Dolls Buying Guide

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Affordable Sylvanian Dolls Buying Guide

Sylvanian Families dolls are a highly collectible set of dolls, and popular as toys for children and as collectables. The figures are divided into ‘families’ of different animals, and many collectors will strive to have complete families in their collection.

A wide selection of dolls and accessories are available, and the range has been popular since its launch in Japan in 1985, with the first dolls becoming available in the UK in 1987. The dolls can vary in price and availability, from early vintage types to more recent and easily obtainable Sylvanian dolls. Sylvanian Families dolls and accessories can easily be found on eBay.

Time Period

There are two key time periods which Sylvanian dolls are often categorised into. These are divided by a period in the 1990s in which Sylvanian dolls were briefly no longer sold in a number of countries. In these cases the dolls were quickly re-launched a few years later.

  • Pre-1990 figures are those which were made before the 1990s. These dolls represent earlier examples of the series, and are often sought after collectables. These dolls can sometimes be harder to obtain than other dolls, and are therefore often more expensive to purchase.
  • Post-1990 figures are those introduced after the re-launch in a number of countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States. These figures are often more widely available, and are also often less expensive. These dolls are also generally made with more modern techniques and materials. These more recent models also often feature open hands which can hold cups and other small accessories.
  • As well as figures, accessorise are also divided into pre and post 1990s categories.

Country of Origin

Sylvanian dolls were first introduced in Japan in 1985, and quickly rose in popularity throughout the world in the following years. The country that a doll originates from can have a significant impact on the cost of a doll. There are a few types that are widely available on eBay.

  • Dolls originating in England are among the most affordable and widely available types. Many different types of doll and accessory can be found here, and the price can range greatly depending on other factors. Dolls available in the UK are very similar to those originating from the United States, and more modern ones both feature open hands.
  • Dolls originating in Japan are often harder to obtain, being less widely available outside of the country. These are also the most sought after type by collectors, and the price of Japanese Sylvanian dolls can be high. Many consider the dolls to be of a higher quality, with superior clothing and accessories. There are also some dolls which can only be found in certain shops in Japan, which can be both very difficult and expensive to obtain. These include the Urban Life and Misty Forest series of dolls.

Types of Sylvanian Doll

There are a few types of doll available, and the type can have a further impact on the cost of a doll.

  • Modern dolls, including post 1990 dolls, are among the most widely available, and most affordable. These dolls are often made out of durable, cheaper materials such as hard plastic, and are often the preferred choice for those buying Sylvanian dolls for younger children. Porcelain and china are also often used, however.  Numerous accessories are also available for this type of doll.
  • Vintage and antique dolls and accessories are older types. These are popular among collectors, and are often difficult to obtain and expensive. These dolls can be made out of numerous different materials, and can include vintage accessories.
  • Rag dolls are soft figures made out of cloth. Fewer of this type of doll have been made than others, and due to this limited availability they can be quite difficult to obtain. These dolls can sometimes be desirable collector’s items.
  • Contemporary Collectables are another type of Sylvanian figure. These are more recently made figures which are desirable to collectors. The price and availability of these figures can vary greatly, with some being affordable and others becoming expensive.

Sylvanian Doll Materials

Another key element in the cost of a Sylvanian doll is the material which a figure is made out of. A number of materials have been used in the production of Sylvanian dolls.

  • Hard plastic is one material used, and figures and accessories made of this are among the most affordable and easily obtainable. Plastic is a light and durable material, meaning accessories and figures made from it can withstand wear and tear well. This durability and affordability makes this kind of figure a popular choice amongst those looking for Sylvanian dolls for children.
  • China and porcelain has been used in Sylvanian dolls and accessories throughout the history of the range, and can be found in both modern and vintage items. These figures can sometimes be more expensive than other materials, and is often more fragile than plastic. This makes them less suitable for children, and porcelain items are often favoured by collectors and those who intend to display rather than use their Sylvanian dolls.
  • Other materials are also available in both figures and accessories. Many figures, accessories and play sets will feature a composition of various different materials for different parts of the set. Wood is often used for doll houses, furniture and other accessories, though these can sometimes be more expensive than the plastic equivalent.

Sylvanian Families Accessories

Sylvanian dolls can be suitable for use with many accessories, featuring a range of themes and items. Accessories for Sylvanian figures can vary from larger and expensive items, to smaller accessories. Both Post 1990 and Pre-1990 accessories are available, and can be used interchangeable with either category of doll. These include;

  • Doll houses are a popular accessory for Sylvanian dolls. Often made of either wood or cheaper plastic, these serve as an excellent centre point for a collection of Sylvanian dolls, and can be both used for play and display purposes. Doll houses are also useful for storing figures when they are not in use.
  • Furniture is another popular accessory for these dolls, including beds, chairs, clocks and a wide variety of other items. These can include more expensive, very highly detailed items and cheaper, simpler designs. Doll houses will often arrive with a set of themed furniture, and dolls are also sometimes sold with these small accessories.
  • Vehicles for dolls to ride in are another popular accessory, and are particularly suited for children to play with. These can include large cars and smaller motorbikes designed to fit a doll, and sometimes include clothing accessories such as goggles and helmets. Many of these items are affordable and widely available, though some vehicles are less common collector’s items. Caravans are also popular, and can often be attached to the cars. The caravans often serve a similar function to a full sized doll house, and often come with a set of themed furniture.
  • Clothes are another widely available, and often more affordable, accessory. Made of cloth and similar fabrics, many different types of clothing are available for use with figures, including popular choices such as shoes, aprons and pyjamas. A collection of different types of clothing can help stimulate creative play in children, as well as help complete a collection of a family of dolls.   

How to Buy a Sylvanian Doll on eBay

A wide range of Sylvanian dolls and accessories of different types and materials can be found on eBay. Sylvanian Dolls can be found under the Dolls & Bears section, in the Collectables & Antiques category. Results can be organised by categories such as price, condition, and distance to seller as well as by hair and eye colour, region of origin and type of figure. It is also possible to sort between the Auction and Buy it Now buying options, which provide flexibility in how a Sylvanian doll can be bought.

Key information about an item, such as the type of the doll and any included accessories, is generally prominently displayed in the item listing. Further information about an item can be accessed on the item’s page. Information about the seller can also be found here, including item reviews and feedback ratings, ensuring a purchasing can be made with confidence. It is also possible to ask the seller a question on this page, if any more information is required.

If a specific figure or accessory is required, it may be easier and more effective to use the search function available at the top of every page. Searches can be made to return results from within specific categories, or to cover the entire site. Further information on effective use of the search function can be found on the Search Tips page.


Sylvanian dolls are a popular toy and collectable, and a wide range of dolls and accessories are available. These include the more difficult to obtain and expensive items popular among collectors, to more affordable items suitable for purchase as toys. There is a wide variety of Sylvanian dolls and accessories available, and these can be easily found on eBay.

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