Sunday, January 11, 2009

Will the child lead law affect doll collectors?

I heard about the child lead law earlier this week. The law requires that sellers perform lead tests on children's toys and clothing, and will go into effect on February 10.

There has been some controversy concerning how this law will impact thrift stores and consignment stores. These stores can't afford to do the expensive testing, and are therefore worried about not being able to stay in business.

This article claims that the child lead law isn't intended for thrift stores, and won't affect how they do business. However, a few lines in this article hint that the law is vague enough that it could still be used against resellers.

Here's an excerpt from the second article:

This week they issued a clarification to the law for re-sellers of children's products. It stated, "the new safety law does not require re-sellers to test children's products in inventory for compliance with the lead limit before they are sold. However, sellers cannot sell children's products that exceed the lead limit and therefore should avoid products that are likely to have lead content, unless they have testing or other information to indicate the products being sold have less than the new limit. Those re-sellers that do sell products in violation of the new limits could face civil and/or criminal penalties."

"When I first read it, it thought, this is nice," says Radicella. "It says, yes, you may sell things. You don't have to test for lead, but you can't sell something that has lead. Well, if we don't test, how do we know if it has lead?"

I've been worried about this because of the way it could possibly affect vintage doll and toy collectors. I don't think it would affect private resellers, such as eBay sellers. But how will it affect the antique stores and thrift stores where some of us collectors get vintage dolls and toys?

The problem is that many vintage toys do have, or can be suspected of having, lead in them. And the law specifies that thrift stores shouldn't sell "products that are likely to have lead content," or they could be at risk for "civil and/or criminal penalties."

I don't know if there is anything in the law exempting selling these items as collectibles, but there should be.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Mattel's lawsuit against Bratz

While I was searching online for other Bratz stuff I could use as props for my dolls, I was reminded of the lawsuit that Mattel recently won against Bratz. Not only was Mattel awarded $100 million, MGM also has to discontinue Bratz after the holiday season.

I have serious issues with the outcome of this lawsuit. It was based ostensibly on the fact that the creator of Bratz, Carter Bryant, worked for Mattel (Barbie) when he came up with the idea... But we know the real reason for the lawsuit is because Bratz were causing Barbie's popularity to slip.

So what are we saying here? That when you work for a company, they own every creative idea you have while on their payroll? As a freelance writer, I believe wholeheartedly in a person's rights to their intellectual property, so to me this sounds like intellectual slavery.

And in any case, what entitles Mattel to total domination of the toy market?

I think a company's business practices have a lot of impact on how people — parents especially — view their toys. Mattel has pretty much sealed their fate: My kids will never own a single Barbie!


Saturday, December 6, 2008

A doll weekend

I spent today "playing" with my dolls — photographing them and organizing my for-sale stuff for tomorrow's doll show. As per my usual, I got some really great photographs and some that will need to be redone.

Here are some of the best ones:

Madame Alexander Cissette in #918-1957

Madame Alexander Elise in black velvet pants outfit, sold separately in 1957 as #16-46

Vogue Jill models an outfit for Miss Ginger, and Ginger and Little Miss Ginger wear their matching outfits

Cosmopolitan Miss Ginger as a bridesmaid

I will identify and blog about all of these dolls in the coming weeks, but for now, enjoy the eye candy!


Friday, December 5, 2008

New doll stands!

Not long ago, I blogged about the new doll cabinet that was my early Christmas gift from Michael, and how I ran out of stands before I could finish my new display. Well, I ordered a dozen Kaiser doll stands online, and they came this afternoon.

I put up a few more dolls this evening, but haven't had a chance to do much yet. Some of the doll stands will probably be used (and clearly labeled "Not for Sale") at the doll show on Sunday, so I probably won't finish arranging my display until Monday. Too bad!


Friday, November 28, 2008

My new display cabinet

My husband has given me my Christmas present — a new display cabinet for my dolls — early this year. We brought it home last night, and I literally spent the rest of the evening — about four hours — fussing over my dolls.

First I had to take all of the dolls out of my other display cabinet in the living room, so that we could move it over and make room for the new one. While we rearranged the furniture, "the girls" milled around on the kitchen counter:

Part of my 1950s doll collection

Like my other cabinet, the new doll cabinet is an antique, though not quite as big or quite as nice. Still, I estimate I'll be able to get a good 25 or so dolls out of storage and on display.

My new doll display cabinet

Of course, because so many of my dolls were in storage, I am short on stands: I need about a dozen stands for the 8-inch dolls, and probably four or five more stands for my 14-inch dolls. However, after a long evening and many difficult decisions, I think I have settled on which dolls will be displayed and which will be left in storage. (I have three cabinets now, and still need another cabinet in order to display all my dolls!)

Getting a new cabinet has also motivated me to do certain things, such as fixing doll outfits that have been waiting for a few stitches. I'm also planning on washing, conditioning, and restyling a few dolls' wigs in the near future.

Playing with dolls is so much fun!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

eBay versus Craigslist

I saw an article today about the war between eBay and Craigslist. For those of you who don't know, eBay is the most popular online bidding site, and an excellent place to buy and sell dolls — if you don't mind putting up with eBay's high fees (for sellers) and general disinclination to get involved in disputes.

Craigslist, on the other hand, is a network of community websites (one for each major city in the United States) where local sellers can post ads for free. Although I haven't found many good vintage dolls listed for sale on Denver's Craigslist, I've heard of people getting great deals on Craigslist in other locations.

Of course, Craigslist technically threatens eBay's very existance, because it's a free way to sell things online. (My mom now sells almost exclusively on Craigslist. It takes a little longer, but she doesn't pay any listing fees.)

A few years ago, eBay bought a little over a quarter of Craigslist's stock from a former employee, and now they're apparently trying to bring Craigslist down completely: They are suing on the grounds that Craigslist is "trying to dilute its stake to reduce its potential influence over the company's board," but it sounds like eBay is actually trying to strong-arm Craigslist's owners into selling the company to them.

Regardless of whether I continue to shop on eBay or not, I hope that they don't succeed in acquiring Craigslist. One of the great things about Craigslist is how unconcerned they are with maximizing profits — and since profits seems to be all eBay cares about, they're bound to destroy the anti-establishment spirit of Craigslist!