Dolls in Brief

25 May


A couple of posts ago, I was asked to explain some of the abbreviations I use. I don’t use these to be smart, it’s just that every hobby, organisation, subculture etc has its own way of communicating and doll collecting is no different. Even if (like me) you don’t hang round much with other doll collectors, it seems that one minute you’re thinking “what the hell is a OOAK?” and the next minute you’re describing your TnT as TLC without batting an eyelid. Part of it comes from reading blogs and auction listings so much that it sort of creeps into your consciousness without you noticing. Making an abbreviation is sometimes almost like making a new word, usually to convey a concept that you won’t find a word in the dictionary for. For example, find me a word – one word- that will describe “a knackered old doll that has been damaged when it was played with, but it will probably clean up ok”. Another part of it is that even the most ardent enthusiast with the best typing skills in the world gets bored of writing monsterhighmonsterhighmonsterhighmonsterhighmonsterhigh over and over again.

I’m not planning on writing an exhaustive list, just mostly explaining the terms I use about my own collection, but I hope this will clear stuff up for some of you.

Types of Doll:

It’s probably best to start off by mentioning that popular dolls tend to be released more than once, in a different outfits and/ or with different themes. This means that you sometimes see dolls referred to as wave one, or W1, or Gen1, or first generation, for instance. This all means the same thing.

GG Barbie = Generation Girl Barbie, a range of dolls featuring Barbie and friends which was produced around the millennium. GG, or Generation Girl, is also sometimes used to describe a particular face sculpt, which was first used on Generation Girl Barbie and is still in use today.

CG Barbie = Cali Girl Barbie, a range of dolls featuring Barbie and friends first produced in 2004. Use of the abbreviation is probably more justified with this range of dolls, as the boxes all bear a CG logo.

DOTW Barbie = Dolls of the World. A range of collector-level dolls which has been running for decades and till runs today. Barbie wears national costumes from different cultures from around the world. I don’t have many because the costumes, especially from earlier years, tend to be, well, a bit Vegas showgirl (or just downright culturally insensitive, depending on how you see it). In fact, I recently sold my Sumatran DOTW because, although I thought she was very beautiful, her too-caucasian features really started to trouble me. Depressingly, she is plastic proof of the fact that actually, sometimes Mattel is guilty of peddling a very Westernised version of beauty.

SIS Barbie = So In Style dolls, a contemporary range of black and (some say) mixed-race dolls designed for children but loved by many collectors (including me). So in Style dolls tend to be snappy dressers and often come with designer clothing.

MTs = Moxie Teens. Articulated, wigged dolls made for children which are proving quite collectible (albeit more in the US than the UK, although I like them a lot). They are bigger than Barbies and production quality is quite high.

MH = Monster High dolls. I use this abbreviation and I have seen it a few other places too. Here are some common abbreviations I have seen used in connection with Monster High:

CAM: Create A Monster dolls, which are bought in swap-and-changeable packs of legs, arms, heads etc, which can be assembled according to your whim.
DOtD: Dawn of the Dance dolls, who are garbed in funky neon eighties-style clothing.
SS: Skull Shores, a swimsuit line.

BJDs: I am including these because I got asked about them – they’re not my area, although I’ve been tempted recently. BJD stands for Ball Jointed Doll, and they are highly articulated, often very realistic dolls usually made for adult collectors and enthusiasts. They are very much associated with Japan usually, but also produced in Korea and China. more info available here.

Talking about dolls:

OOAK: One Of A Kind, meaning a doll that somebody has customised to look different than other dolls of its type. This can include giving a doll a new body (though usually a doll who has been given a different body is referred to as a hybrid, if this is the only change), new custom-made clothes, new hair or new face paint. Celebrity OOAK dolls seem to be particularly popular at the moment, as do reimagined Monster High dolls.

NRFB: Never removed from box. Some collectors won’t buy anything else and would never dream of taking a doll out of the box, and some collectors will always debox dolls or buy second-hand. I’m one of the latter.

MIB: Mint in Box. Used properly, this should mean a doll who has been carefully removed from the box without damaging it, then displayed or used without spoiling her factory dress and hairstyle. When you are selling, it’s good to remember that some people are very picky indeed about what “mint” means (the older the doll, the more rigorous the definition, I believe). Actually, theses days sellers often use MIB to mean the same thing as NRFB, so it always worth checking first.

TLC: TLC means tender loving care – what they really mean is that this doll needs work. This can be anything from a bit of a wash and a new style to a re-root and replacement limbs. When combined with the words “spares”, tends to mean actually, this doll might not be fixable and she might only be useful as a source of spare parts. Sometimes a seller will say “in need of TLC” but more often it is used as a descriptive term eg “this is a TLC doll”.

HTF: Hard to find. Some collector-level dolls are only produced in low numbers. With Barbies, Silver Label dolls are only produced in numbers less than 50,000, Gold Label dolls only in numbers of less than 25,000 and platinum label dolls only in numbers of less than 1,000. There can be other reasons dolls are hard to find, though – because they are highly popular, because they were produced with a fault that led to a lot of them getting broken, or because the supplier has limited the numbers produced. For instance, it is said that with Monster High, Lagoona Blue is HTF because less Lagoonas are shipped to suppliers compared to other dolls in the range.

Well, it’s getting late and my memory is exhausted. If you can think of any I have missed, please let me know! If I think of any more myself, I will add them on, or write another post.

(By the way, the doll in the picture is my lovely Cali Girl Lea and she is wearing an old Sindy underwear set I bought in the nineties).


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