Flea Market Dolls

A couple of weeks ago something very exciting happened to me while browsing at a flea market. I like flea markets because of the chance to find maybe a unique antique or home decor item, the fun of haggling, and the amusement of people watching. Now I have a new reason. I was walking through an aisle of vendors chatting with my brother when I stopped mid-sentence due to something I saw out of the corner of my eye. I saw a familiarly shaped arm, sticking straight up out of a box. I made a beeline straight over, leaving my confused brother in a cloud of dust. I tried to keep myself from getting too excited, knowing it might not be what I thought. However, as I got closer, I saw the tell-tale neck strings and shaking slightly, unearthed Kaya from the box! Before I go further, I will say that I have REALLY been wanting Kaya. I had planned to get her at the MCM sale in July, but the ones I saw there just didn’t
“speak” to me. I know that sounds weird, but none of them felt right when I picked them up, so I ended up with lovely Rebecca instead. I now know why: fate was holding me out for this one! 🙂

Unfortunately, Kaya’s hair had been completely cut off, but that didn’t deter me, I knew right then she was coming home with me and that with some TLC I could make her good-as-new. I set her aside and started digging through the box wondering what else I might find, and sure enough! There was Marisol! At this point my husband and brother had finally caught up to me and joined in on my enthusiastic digging, my brother marveling the whole time at how I had spotted a doll from such a distance. At the bottom of the box was…Julie! I was now trying to control my excitement so the vendor wouldn’t see how much I wanted these dolls: Rule #1 in bartering. Unfortunately the guys were not helping much. “Whoa, what a great deal! Hey is this one? What about this dog? Is it that American Doll brand? You are going to buy these, right?”

As I have mentioned before, my mom loves American Girl just as much as I do. She was at the flea market with us too, so I called her immediately and told her to come find me, now! The first thing I think she said when she found us was, “Oooh, Marisol! MINE!”

The dolls were in rough shape, but the seller was aware that they were American Girl dolls and had them priced accordingly (though why they were buried haphazardly in a box, I don’t know). I knew I was not going to pay $35-40 dollars each for dolls that were going to take some expense and time to restore. Kaya’s main issue was her hair, and I suspected finding a replacement wig was not going to be easy. Her limbs were loose too, and I also discovered later that part of her little toe is missing. Julie’s hair was in fair shape, but she had some bad scuff marks on her nose and her upper lip. Marisol’s hair was an absolute rat’s nest, but she was otherwise in good shape.

The seller was a little bit snarky at first, and made a comment about us just wanting to resell them on eBay, but I calmly explained that we were personal collectors who enjoy dolls and he eventually let us have all three for $80.

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We are so excited to add these new dolls to our collections! Mom has loved Marisol for years (my sister has her) and I can’t wait to restore Kaya to her full glory and display her proudly with my collection. My mom already has Julie, so I took flea market Julie home with me, but I haven’t decided her ultimate fate yet. I really like my mom’s Julie, but hadn’t ever planned to get my own, so I am just going to wait and see if I start to feel attached to this one. I might keep her as Julie, I might make her a custom, or I might even keep my eyes and ears open for a little girl who would love a doll around Christmas time. We will see!

We have already started working hard on cleaning up our girls to make them beautiful and have definitely made some progress! I will devote a post to each doll in the next week or so with lots of pictures!


8 Comments Add yours

  1. Sharry A. says:

    Congratulations! Our flea market never has any good deal like that!


  2. Emily says:

    Thanks! Well, I never thought I would find such a deal either so just keep your eyes open– you never know!


  3. What a great deal! I can’t wait to see progress as you work on them.


    1. Emily says:

      I will definitely keep everyone updated! I’m super excited!


  4. Abby says:

    I got a pleasant company kit from a flea market in June! For some reason I seem to connect better with used dolls and pleasant company than new AG dolls. Kit was in her old meet outfit. She was in the middle of hundreds of stuffed animals. We were almost done at the fair and I was bummed that there was no AG stuff so far. Her head was sticking out of the bears and I bolted right toward her like you did 🙂 . I picked her up and was just like “she’s mine”. And her legs were super loose! My little sister came over and being super loud ‘look mom Abby found an AG doll !” I shushed her and then had her ask how much kit was. The lady said $65. I was like whaaaaaaat?!? So; my shy self marched back up to her and asked again, how much is this doll? The lady says again, $65. And I just say, can you go any lower. And she says rudely well they are $150 you know. And I just say “well, actually, $120 at the most, and it will cost me $50 to fix her legs (as I am shaking them)”. And the lady looks annoyed and then says fine $50. So I got beautiful kit who resides in a wheelchair in my doll house!!!! What other dolls have you found at resale shops?!? I love them!!! :))


    1. Emily says:

      Wow, what an amazing find! Having a story like that behind your doll I think just makes her that much more special! You know, loose limbs are a pretty easy DIY. Have you tried it? There are quite a number of YouTube tutorials that show how to do it. The “correct” way of doing it is to actually restring them using a restringing kit (available online) but if you want a really easy way that costs literally nothing there is also a method that uses hairties or rubber bands. We did that to a couple of my mom’s dolls and it worked really well!


  5. ABBY says:

    We tried that on my PC Samantha but it’s the stuffing I’m worried about because kit has a PC hear but an AG body and limbs, which is pretty weird if u ask me. I’m worried she won’t be as nice stuffed when we are finished. 😁


  6. Abby says:

    * I meant Pleasant company head* Going to another Garage sale today and it’s supposed to have AG stuff! I’m super excited!!!!!


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