1. Know how to grade and inspect dolls. You should know if a doll has been restored or touched up. Always look inside of the head for cracks and for color mismatches in the paint.
  2. Buy from a reputable dealer or source. Ebay and the Internet can be both good and bad places to buy dolls. If the descriptions and pictures are poor, you do not know what you will be getting. Don't be afraid to ask for more pictures or for additional descriptions of the doll. There are a lot of people that are selling dolls on auctions sites that just don't understand that small defects in dolls such as hairline cracks in the face or head, or decal damage can depreciate the value of a doll.
  3. Condition of the decals is critical. If decals are missing, scratched, or damaged, it greatly depreciates the doll.
  4. Store the dolls in a safe place. Keep the dolls out of the sun and away from dirty conditions or tobacco smoke. Try to keep the dolls enclosed in a plexi-glass or glass case. This will keep dust off the dolls. Do not handle the dolls more than they need to be! I have a few friends that stuff the head full of cotton balls or tissue paper so the head cannot hit the neck post. I personally would like to see the heads move if I shake or touch the cabinet. REMEMBER - any time the doll is handled, you put the head at risk of being damaged.
  5. Shipping instructions I send the following instructions for whenever I purchase a doll: (1) the neck post MUST be wrapped 4 - 5 times with tissue paper. The goal is to prevent the brim of the head from touching the shoulders (impact damage). (2) After neck has been wrapped, the entire doll should be wrapped in bubble wrap and taped so the head does not move around; (3) lastly, specify that they use a large enough box so the doll can be surrounded by paper or other cushioning material during shipment.