Care, Display, and Cleaning of Fine Items

The Collectible Guru Tells All! Information on Everything From Gift Buying, Care and Cleaning, and even How To's.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Collectible Guru Responds to Patrick Moore


On a happier note, I believe this post is very near "perfect"

First of all, I believe you poorly misread the story "The Gift of The Magi". Those people did not give each other gifts just because they loved each other! They sacrificed for their love! They gave up their most prized possessions, not to show love(they already knew they loved each other), but to show how much they would sacrifice for one another. Isn't that, after all, the true meaning of love? Giving all of yourself and your possessions to another?

I believe that gifts should be given on Christmas. Either homemade tangible items, bought tangible items, gifts of adoration and trustworthiness, or simply giving something that you truly thought about to show your love of another (like a kiss). Some people buy gifts, some people make them. Some people are just together during the holidays chatting, eating, and having a good time. No matter how people decide to celebrate the holidays, who are you to put them down?

When was the last time you found/made that perfect gift, Mr. Scrooge, and watched the face of the person you gave it to light up because you found "just" the right gift for them? When was the last time you took time out of your busy bashing schedule to think about someone else for more than the time it takes you to do them a favor or shake their hand? My guess is, you have been damaged in the past by the beautiful holidays that we celebrate. After all, with no Christmas, where is Christ? Weren't the giving of gifts begun with his birth?

People all over the world have a few days that they celebrate together. Many celebrate it differently. Many celebrate it the same. How you do it is up to you. There is no need for you to attempt to press your hatred of a beautiful occasion on the world. So, I say to you, Mr. Scrooge, "Bah! Humbug!" and Happy Holidays!

Love you all!

The Collectible Guru

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

How To: Get a Real Time Value for Your Collectible Doll

How To: Get a Real Time Value for Your Collectible Doll

Hello everyone and welcome back! Today I will tell you how to get an accurate value of your collectible doll!

Dear Collectible Guru,

I have a doll from 19XX and I would like to know how to get a real estimate for the value of my doll without breaking the bank! I have had so many people tell me so many different things, I don’t know who to believe any more! Can you please help me out?

Your Friend,

Jane Doe

I have been asked this question so many times I figured I would just write the answers down for all of you to see! This is also how I give the big guys at Collectors DreamHouse recommendations on how to price their dolls so their customer gets the best deal available. Are you ready? I sure am. Here we go!!

First, Write down everything you know about your doll. Package condition, doll condition, what it is made of, what year it was made, how many people loved it then, special edition, etc… Now, when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. No matter how stupid it may seem to be writing it down, just do it. (You can thank me later!)

After you are postitive you have written down everything, take pictures of your doll. These will be used as reference points as you are looking your doll up. If the picture you find doesn’t match the picture you took, it is probably not the same doll!

Upload your pictures and go to an auction site. This can be any number of sites from Yahoo! auctions to E-Bay. Pretty much anywhere that will give you information on closed auctions will work but the most popular sites are the best avenues for this project.

After you are there, do not select a category! Simply type in the exact name of your doll. Click on search. (ummm… too easy?)

I will now tell you how to Get closed listings. I am going to use E-Bay for this example because I use them for a LOT of searches and comparisons. On the left hand side of the screen, there is a check box for “show completed listings” click the box next to it, to populate a check mark, and hit GO. Now the site will ask you to log in. If you do not have an E-Bay account, just take the time to sign up. It is FREE and you may use it more than you think! If you already have an E-Bay account, simply sign in and hit the LOGIN button. Now you should be presented with a list of items. Go to the next step.

Look for the items with prices in GREEN. These are the ones that sold. That is ALL you care about. Ignore the others.

After you have located your item and found the green numbers, pull up your computer’s calculator and add ALL of the amounts together that appear in GREEN. Count them as you go. Remember to only use the items that are directly identical to yours.

WAIT!! Don't close that calculator! Divide the number you now have. Take the number that you got from adding all those prices together and divide it by the number of items you got prices from. Example: item 1 = $20, item 2 = $24.88, item 3 = $55 Total of these three items = $94.88 When we divide by 3 (which is the number of priced items we added together) we get $31.62.

This is the average price that someone would pay for your doll! And thereby, it is the Real Time Value. (pretty dang simple!)

I know what you are thinking… “If this is so easy, why doesn’t everyone do it?” Well, the simple answer to that is that not everyone knows an accurate value can be found in this way. Hey, if they subscribe to this blog, then they can find out easily can’t they? (Be a friend! Let them know about this blog!)

If you still don’t trust yourself, or you are just at your wits end because you can't find your item, try choosing a good, inexpensive appraisal site to do your digging for you.
As usual, I have included a list for your convenience: (VERY reasonably priced CDH has used them quite a few times) (ONE FREE) (at the time of this post, 12/05/2006, appraisals were $18.95)

It has been wonderful and I will see you all next time!! Happy appraising!

Thanks for reading!

The Collectible Guru

Want to know when I post again? Subscribe to this blog via RSS!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Care, Display, and Cleaning of your Collectible Teddy Bear/Porcelain Doll

As questions about the proper care of collectible teddy bears/porcelain dolls seem to come up quite often, I thought I would help those of you out who have many collectible items and don’t know how to manage them by giving you a short checklist.

  1. Please do not put your teddy bear or porcelain doll in a sunny window! This will cause discoloration of the poor things’ fur and/or clothes.
  2. Please do not wash your teddy bear in your washing machine unless it says you can on the care tag! When you open your washer, you might see a flattened, decapitated bear! (Autopsy anyone?)
  3. When your teddy bear/porcelain doll becomes dusty, please don’t wipe it with a wet rag! Either gently vacuum the dust off of its head, arms, legs, and clothing or put those babies outside on a nice windy day (in the shade). (Make sure it isn’t going to rain first and please don’t leave your item unsecured! They will blow away and disappear forever!) An easy way to anchor teddy bears in the wind is to tie their legs to a NEW piece of wood with a fishing line, then set the wood across something like sawhorses so the wind can circulate better. Don’t leave them out for more than 30 minutes because you never know what a bird/dog/rain cloud might decide to do.
  4. Glass and plastic eyes may be wiped clean with a dry microfiber cloth.
  5. Leather foot/paw pads/shoes may also be cleaned with a dry soft cloth.
  6. If you need to remove something like splatters of kool-aid from a leather foot/paw pad (don’t ask), you can use a good saddle soap.

Okie dokie, on to other things! Next, I am going to tell you how to display your collectible teddy bear/porcelain doll for maximum visibility and cuteness!

  1. Put tall teddy bears and dolls in the back and short ones in the front. (Like you didn’t already know this) It increases visibility of the smaller items.
  2. Put items that are dressed alike together (country with country, formal with formal, etc…) that way they will look like they are actually doing something besides just sitting around gathering dust. (darn lazy things takin’ up all my space… why I oughtta…you get the point)
  3. Teddy bears/dolls that go together, should stay together! Geeze, if you separate them it will be like taking away their best friend.
  4. Make sure that your bears/dolls are well out of the reach of animals in your home. Some dogs like to eat them and some cats like to scratch on them.
  5. If you have the time and energy available, make some scenes with your items. Include things like little trees and benches or a dance floor and dining tables. People who view your collection will believe you to be a genius with a few little changes or additions!
  6. Put your collectible teddy bears all over the house. Don’t limit them to one room! Install a beautiful shelf in your dining room or bathroom and put a plush or two up there as well! Porcelain dolls will brighten any room and gain quite a lot of compliments. (just make sure if they are in the bathroom, they don’t get a lot of steam… smell that? it is a wet/mildewed doll!)

Now, if you decide to keep your teddy bears/dolls in their original container forever, make sure that they are stored where the plastic breakdown of the package is retarded and try to remember that the longer your item is deprived of air, the sicker it will become!

If your little one pulls a limb or a head off of your favorite doll, DO NOT throw it away and cry! Call a bear doctor ASAP! As usual, I have included a list: (this one is for teddy bears and is in Pennsylvania) (this one is for teddy bears and is in Australia) (this one is for dolls and is in Kansas)

Till next time,

The Collectible GURU
I work at

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Care and Cleaning of old/rare books

I am in NO way an expert on the care and cleaning of rare/old books but I have listened when my elders have given me instructions in the past. So now, I will share with you what I remember. It is so frustrating to see people treat books with no respect. So, for all of you who don't realize what you are doing to your books when you do it, here is a breakdown of care and cleaning procedures:

First of all, NEVER lay your books upside down and open on a table! Why? This puts stress on the spine and breaks the glue that holds the book together. Do this enough and you will have, not a book in your hands, but a couple of covers and some loose leaf paper. Your choice really but I would give you a nice lecture if I ever saw you do it. : )

Second, do not allow your books to sit on your bookshelf unsupported/crooked. Either lay them down and stack them or use bookends or another book for support. If your book looks like this / or this \ then the covers and binding will be strained and your book cover could break in half! I know, scary right?

Third, please do not dust your book with a damp rag! A gentle vacuuming or feather dusting will remove any dust gathered on the top and spine. This should be done at least once a month as dust can cause discoloring of pages.

Fourth, when you are reading your book, place it in your lap or place a rolled up towel under it to support the covers. Why? Because books were made to be held and cradled by the reader, in the hands or lap, not to be put on a table and smashed flat. If you do this, it will strain your binding and your pages will begin to fall out. (Don't say you were never warned!)

Fifth, do not store your books in plastic containers. The plastic has chemicals in it and as it breaks down, it will break down the fragile book inside. (Imagine going to get your favorite old book because you have decided to sell it and finding a pile of dust! Oh, woe!) Instead, choose to store your books wrapped in brown paper and place them in corrugated cardboard boxes and stack them on pallets. Do not store them any way but flat and make sure they are snug (not tight) in the box. Do not store them where pests can get to them. (Silverfish and bookworms will eat the glue out of the binding. Also, RATS AND MICE will use your books for bedding if they can get to them.) Cleanliness and diligence will thwart bugs and rodents. DO NOT USE CHEMICAL PESTICIDES! Last, but not least, do not tape your box so well that it cannot vent and store it in a CLOSET!

Sixth, DO NOT put tape on the binding of your books!! If you have a book that is falling apart, wrap it with string 2 ways and gently tie it like a package (don't get excited and tie these too tight!!!) then wrap as instructed above. After you have followed these steps to make sure you will not lose pages, contact a conservator, most can repair your book with very little damage to the original construction.

Seventh, wear COTTON gloves when handling the outsides of old books but not when you are turning pages as this can cause breakage. Why wear gloves when handling the outside? You have oils on your hands that will transfer to the book and cause discoloration of the binding/cover. Well then, why take them off when you turn pages? Because when you have cotton gloves on, the fabric can catch the delicate edges of the paper and because you can't feel the pages, you are more prone to move the wrong way and crumble them. Just make sure your hands are clean and dry before handling pages.

Eighth (I know it seems to go on and on), IF you have an accident and your books get wet (I am tearing up at the thought), use a hair dryer to dry the pages while constantly flipping them and separating them to prevent sticking. After your book is COMPLETELY dry, press it under heavy books (please do not put something weighted on top of your book unless it is another book as it will leave indentations) to prevent warping. If it is an old book that has gotten wet, gently separate the pages and insert tissue paper between EACH one. Gently press on the covers, remove tissue, and repeat until every page is completely dry. Then press as instructed above. If you cannot dry all of your books before they are ruined, FREEZE THEM. Yes, that's right; stick that sucker in the freezer. It will keep it from becoming more damaged while you dry its brethren. Then, you can defrost the books one at a time and dry them at your leisure.

Last (about time huh?), if you have a book that is broken, has tape on the binding, has loose pages, or has been eaten by pests, follow the instructions above and call a book doctor quick!!! I have included a list:

Or you can search yourself: use BOOK REPAIR in any search engine!

If you decide to just get rid of your old book... CONTACT ME at and I WILL TAKE IT OFF YOUR HANDS!!!!

Till next time,

The Collectible GURU
I work at