My daughter is leaving for college and needs money for expenses, so she is prepared to auction her Barbie collection. What we have is unconventional--a huge assortment of very gently used items spanning 4 decades. Mostly bought on eBay, they were not acquired for collectability, but just because they were lovely, or to fit a theme (once I made a ski scene for her, with items from every era ... another time it was a ballet scene).
Sometimes I got her just an outfit with no doll, such as the Todd Oldham ensemble. Or sometimes just a doll. I got one Audrey Hepburn doll, plus all the outfits from Breakfast at Tiffany's, but not three separate dressed dolls. Not all the clothes are Mattel or known to collectors. Some are Candi Couture and some are really beautiful items handmade by moms and grandmas in the 1960s!
We would like to sell them in lots. Our concern is not to have to go to the post office every other day just to complete a $3.99 sale, and not to end up with a whole bunch of random items left over that are really cool but don't have descriptions that buyers tend to search.
So-o-o, here is my question--how best to group them? I see several ways to go:
(1) Take a known doll with her original outfit, such as Michelle "Uptown Chic" from the Savvy Chic collection, who is African-American, and offer her in a lot with all the other cool outfits we used to put her in (some gorgeous handmade batik dresses, some Fashion Avenue lingerie, a sun dress, and an African American Kelley with outfits of her own). We played with them that way ... each doll had her own personality, wardrobe, career, and family ... and it would be fun to keep that intact, all the while identifying where all her various stuff came from.
(2) List outfits in theme lots, such as: Ballet, which includes the rare1960s items such as the tiny paper program for the Nutcracker but also has modern stuff; or Costume Ball, with Snow White and Flamenco Dancer (Fashion Avenue Spain) and others; or Careers (air line pilot, surgeon, firefighter.
(3) List outfits in clothing category lots (Party Dresses or Sportswear) that include both rare and common items.
(4) List a massive lot of accessories (houses, travel cases, soccer equipment, wheelchair, Rosie O'Donnell talk show set) for someone who likes to set up Barbie scenes and then admire them for a few weeks (which is what we used to do).
Whatever we do, we'll take lots of photos and trace the origins of items to the best of our ability. The thing is, I would much rather sell all our Kens, who incude Elvis, a bearded Disney King and a black dude, with all their outfits from 1960s through 1990s (including a complete Hawaii ukulele, etc., set from the 60s, in the original 60s carry case, kind of like this listing (280887502310), than try to sell bits and pieces. Will that work if the accessories are vintage but the dolls are not???
ANY advice on the most desirable way to group them and how to set prices is really appreciated. What will buyers go for? If anyone thinks we could just offer it all in one mammoth lot for, say, $700, that would be great, but I don't know if anyone would be interested in that.
Thanks so much to whoever has the patience to read this ...