How to find a doll...

by Alison Rasmussen


I got an interesting call today from a guy in North Carolina, looking for a Cyclone Cantata doll for his daughter, who collects the Wizard of Oz line of Tonner dolls. I'm sorry I didn't get your information--I wish I had, because I think I may have found your doll, and also some of the sites I gave you aren't around anymore!
I realized that there isn't really a good resource out there for finding not-so-current dolls, so this post is to help you do just that. Here is how where I recommend you look:
  • Your favorite stores. A couple of my favorites don't show up in the search engines very reliably. The Doll Peddlar has a great selection and sometimes decent prices. The Doll Market has lots of great deals. Dreamcastle Dolls has excellent customer service, and they will split up dolls and their outfits on occasion. The store owner actually emailed me when she saw that a doll I was looking for went on sale at another store. I highly recommend Dreamcastle. Also, Sweetheart Dolls often has some excellent sale prices on hard-to-find dolls.
  • Search engines. Start with Google. Make sure you enter in the doll's original name (as close as you know it) and the manufacturer. A million listings will come up for Ebay auctions, and sometimes you can find the exact doll you want there. But most of the time, the Ebay listings will be out of date. Plus, Google will sometimes show you listings that do not have shipping to the US as an available option, and that can be frustrating. I skip over the Ebay listings, or add the text "-ebay" to my search box to eliminate these listings.
  • Website translation. Sometimes you'll find the doll you want in a store in another country, and you may not speak the same language. I used to use Babelfish.com, which has since expired. If you need to order from an overseas dealer, you can translate the website using Google's language tools for free. You just enter the site you want to translate. You may end up spending a little extra on shipping. Keep in mind you may also pay more for the listed retail price, since this dealer also had to pay for shipping to her store in the first place, plus any currency exchange issues.
  • Ebay. If you don't mind if the doll smells like animals or smoke, or if it's in less than mint condition, Ebay is not a bad option. Do a direct search for the doll you want on Ebay, including the manufacturer.
  • Forums and message boards. Mark's Action Figures and Fashion Dolls is a great group of people who might be able to help out when you can't find the doll you're looking want. The Doll Page also has many forums and also some for-sale pages as well.
Just a note to the guy who called me this morning: I did find a few retailers who have the doll you want, Cyclone Cantata, from the Wizard of Oz collection, on hand:
  • The Doll Peddlar has this doll in stock. It's listed at $240, but I think the original retail was $300, wasn't it? And I think it will arrive the fastest. This store never shows up in the search engines, for some reason, but they have all kinds of dolls.
  • Kay Poppen Atelier in the Netherlands has this doll in stock for 125 Euros. Looks like you can email her to place your order.
  • Miss Vinyl in France has this doll in stock for 99 Euros. Also, there is a Union Jack flag in the upper right corner on this page. You can click on it, and it will translate the page for you. (Is this the original one you found?)
  • Ebay auction - Don't know if this listing will ship to the US, but it wouldn't hurt to check.
Anyway, I hope you find the doll you're looking for. I have to say, I don't think my dad would have done anything like that when I was little--I'm impressed!
Photos courtesy Tonner Doll Company.