There are price guides and there are PRICE GUIDES.... clearly this is the latter. The huge 606 page book is what every collector likes to see. Prices and lots of them! Want to know what your Googlies or Frozen Charlottes are worth? Perhaps it's that Remco John Lennon in the back of your closet or maybe the Franklin Mint Dorothy of Oz doll you want more information on? This gives you a small idea of the scope of this book. Antique, vintage, and modern are all listed, explained and priced.
Denise Van Patten is a fellow Guide on About who clearly understands what collectors are looking for in a price guide.
But it's not the prices shown that make this such a valuable resource in your library, it's all the other information that's included. Van Patten's informative book is divided into two parts -- the first section is a 45 page how-to on collecting. Where and how to buy, selling dolls, storage, restoration, displaying, care and definitions are all covered in part one and should be required reading for every doll (and would-be) collector.
The second section is divided into three sections Antique Dolls, Vintage Dolls and Modern Dolls. It's been noted that most other price guides usually ignore modern dolls, but since these are very popular -- it's a welcome addition.
Dolls listings are broken down further in each category. Each particular doll company and/or type of doll has a short article at the beginning of the price lists, with the history of the company or doll, market report, online/offline report and particular characteristics.
Van Patten's approach to pricing is refreshing. When applicable, two different prices are listed. Internet sold prices were researched over an 18 month period and are shown as such, meanwhile the other price listed is from a combination of doll shops, shows and land-based auctions.
The last portion of the book is a lengthy list of resources including several pages of definitions, doll resources, reference library and an index! I've noticed several publishers leaving the indexes out of recent guides -- so I was delighted to see it in this book and have already used it a few times.
Unfortunately there was one disappointing aspect to the book -- the lack of large photographs. Although there are over 850 photos in the book, they are small black and white images. There is a nice sixteen-page color spread in the middle of the book, but it's not near enough. Since I've spent lots of time browsing Denise's excellent pictures on her web site, this most likely was a publishing decision.
Bottom Line -- if you're an antique doll collector, with over 200 pages devoted to antique dolls, buying this book is a no-brainer. But even if you are an occasional buyer or seller of current dolls and toys, The Official Price Guide to Dolls published by House of Collectibles is an excellent addition to your research library. With the modern doll section covering (among others) American Girl, pages of Barbies, Franklin Mint and Danbury Mint -- truly there is something for everyone.