To care for your antique dolls, look for instructions from the manufacturer when they are available and learn to store the doll properly. In addition, focus on building a quality antique doll collection rather than one that only has quantity.
Look for Brand-specific Care Instructions
From Barbie to Sindy dolls to French Bisque dolls, the world has thousands of doll brands, although only a handful of them are widely known and popular. Still, if your collection is primarily composed of a specific brand or type of doll, look for care instructions meant for that doll. For example, the official Mattel website strives to list all of their products' instruction manuals, in addition to having a department dedicated to taking calls regarding replacement parts, restoration, and more.
Store Your Antique Dolls Properly
Many people are tempted to place their dolls in the attic, garage, or basement. Unfortunately, while these spaces are meant for storage, they are not climate-controlled and can spell disaster for antique dolls of any kind. Basements and garages in particular are often damp or at least susceptible to moisture, which can encourage mould growth on a doll's clothing. Store your favourite antiques in the interior of the home, away from heavily travelled areas but in a space that is air-conditioned and free of moisture.
Remove Antique Dolls from Their Original Boxes
The idea of removing an antique doll from its original box is blasphemous to some people. However, if the doll was already removed once before, then the box is no longer sealed, and there is no harm in removing the doll again. In fact, experts generally recommend removing the doll from its original packaging to store it long-term. Remove the antique dolls clothes, remove any jewellery the doll wears, and package all of these items separately using acid-free paper.
Avoid Caring for Antique Dolls of Unknown Origin
If you're not sure where a doll came from or what it's made from, spend some time to sort out these details. Show it to other collectors, post pictures online, or compare its appearance to other antique dolls. Some types of dolls cannot be cleaned with water or certain chemicals without permanently damaging them. Some dolls are easily broken when handled in certain ways. Therefore, it is ideal to learn about the type of doll before developing a care routine for it.
Limit the Number of Antique Dolls You Own
There are literally millions of antique dolls, and it is not practical to collect, store, and care for them all. Proper care requires climate-controlled storage away from dampness, acid-free paper, and sometimes the occasional touch-up paint. It can become a chore to manage 100 dolls, let alone 1,000. Keep your collection to a reasonable number of antique dolls. You can sell or trade dolls to increase the quality of your collection without increasing the quantity to unmanageable numbers.