100 Dolls for $1.00?!?!

Dollar Flipper Ebay Flip 20 Comments

The word “doll” is apparently a pretty loose term.  These are definitely not the vintage Barbie dolls that you’d expect.  All I know is that if I were a kid who was into dolls (I wasn’t), and I’d saved up my hard earned money to buy these dolls (I didn’t), I would have been pretty pissed off when this little box showed up.
Who am I kidding?  We all know that I would have ended up convincing myself that these “dolls” were just what I wanted…
Fast forward to how I actually came about these dolls.  I purchased them at a local church rummage sale.  I seem to find my best items at church sales.  Maybe they just don’t have the time or interest to research their prices like people who hold their own garage and yard sales or vendors at flea markets.  Maybe it’s because there are many volunteers who are responsible for managing and selling a large volume of unfamiliar items that they don’t know the value of.  Who knows the reason?  All I know is that I love church rummage sales!
Back to these weird tiny pink dolls.  The thing that initially caught my eye was that the label on the box looked pretty old.  Doing some quick research on my iPhone using the eBay app supported my idea that the price tag of $0.50 was well worth it.
Notice that the label is still on the box, and there’s no major damage.

These dolls were offered in comic book ads back in the 1960’s.  They were produced by the 100 Doll Co. They could all be purchased for just $1.00 with $0.25 shipping and handling!  My inner child is already rummaging in the couch for spare change.

They act like Styrene is a selling point…
Hmm, One 7′ Monster or 100 little Lilliputian dolls… These Archie Comics were just full of great “deals.”

Although the 100 Dolls Co. wasn’t the best at advertising, they definitely knew how to gather a  diverse group of characters ranging from babies, nurses, dancers, foreigners, clowns, cowboys, and brides.

And of course this collection wouldn’t be complete without Santa and his reindeer.

I’m not even gonna ask about how Santa fits in with this group.

Although there were originally 100 dolls, the set I bought came with 99.  Much to my frustration and regardless of how many times I re-counted them; there were definitely only 99.  This set is still pretty close to complete when compared to other sold listings (which usually only have ~80 of the dolls).  I listed it on the aggressive side as an auction at 49.99 +4.99 S/H.  Even though I didn’t get much action on the bids, I was OK with that since I started the price so high.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Purchase price – $0.50
  • End Selling Price – $56.80
  • Fees and Shipping/Handling – $10.66

Total Profit:  $45.64
Available Cash to go out and buy more: $46.14
Profit per doll –  $4.564

I wish all my flips were this easy and carried so little risk.  Any time I can purchase an item for less than $1 and potentially sell it for more than $15 is a great deal.  Selling it for over $45 profit is a home run!

-Dollar Flipper

Comments 20

  1. I would love to know which one you were missing, how could they manufacture those and still make money? Were they made in the US? What is Styrene? (form of plastic?)

    Very cool sale!

    1. It’s hard to tell which one I was missing. The lot was pretty random to begin with and I wasn’t able to find a complete list.

      The styrene they refer to is most likely polystyrene which is used to make hard brittle plastics of all color like CD cases. It can also be fluffed up to make packing peanuts and Styrofoam. If I had to guess, I’d say that these toys were injection molded although I didn’t see the little nubs that are common on injection molded items.

      I’m guessing they were made in the US. Most plastic manufacturing in China didn’t begin to expand until the early 80’s.

      Finally, the costs. Don’t mind my back of the envelope calculations here:
      The cost of a stamp in the 60’s was $0.05.
      I’m going to throw out a number and say total with the box the shipping/handling is $0.50.

      So the total the customer sends is $1.50.
      I’m going to go on the high end here and say that the costs of the manufacturing are $0.15-0.25. Plastic is dirt cheap now, so I’m betting this is over, but still, it gives us a rough idea that they were making somewhere between $0.75-0.90 per box.
      Translated into 2012 dollars using an inflation calculator,, that’s a profit of $5.73-$6.88!

  2. I know this is year’s late, but I just bought a set – also 99. There were multiples of 30 different dolls – either two or four of each doll, except for one that had three. My guess is that that one is the one missing doll. He appears to be Asian from the hat, coat and bucket that’s being carried.

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  3. So neat you’re still monitoring this thread, thank you!

    Since theyn I’ve found a few other sets, and the pattern is the same – 4 or 2 of each doll. Even though some sets are missing dolls, they all follow the pattern. I was surprised! A real find would be to get a set with the “clothes” (stickers) enclosed.

    One set is a slightly different color – a paler and more creamy/violety pink that shows more details – the material may be the same, hard to tell. The box doesn’t have a postage stamp or label, but it was before zip codes, from 228 Lexington Ave., NY. But all other sets – including from Lexington Ave. – are the brighter pink, including those without zipcodes, and the latest one, from 1976.

    Others are from 47th Street, and one from NJ (1976).

    a little too obsessed, eh? ; )

    Best – Beth

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      Plastics can change just by dye lots (think carpets, installation companies won’t allow for multiple lots to be used in one area because there can be a big difference). I’m betting this is part of it, but you’re right, if they were produced in two different spots then it’s even more likely.

      You’re becoming an expert on these dolls! I didn’t even realize that there were sticker clothing! That would be an awesome find!

  4. I saw one photo on line – they didn’t look like clothes, more like triangles and circles, if I recall. I’m almost wondering if they were meant for the dolls.

    And good point about dye lots. I wish all of the boxes I have (5) had mailing dates. But the typical bright pink is identical in every box – even the latest known date of 1976 from East Orange, NY – except for the one.
    Who knows, maybe it’s the oldest.

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      That’s really neat. I bet the “clothes” could bring a premium. Awesome that you’ve found 5 boxes! That’s a great haul.

  5. I was one of those sad kids who sent in their money and was hugely disappointed by what was sent back. I still remember that so well… it was probably 1975.

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      Oh no! I can imagine how terrible that would be as a kid. Being bummed out about a crappy toy is the worst.

  6. I was just re-reading one of my Reminisce magazines, and something triggered my memory of the “100 Dolls” my mom ordered for me–seems like it was from a Carol Wright catalog, and I’m guessing I was 6- to 8-years old, so that would have been 1957-59. Apparently the picture didn’t give us a clue as to what they really looked like. And “if they were dolls, well then, we knew what a ‘doll’ was.” I remember mom and I were both excited beyond words that we’d get 100 dolls for either 99 cents or one dollar. My next memory was their arrival. We were both shocked and disappointed beyond words to see what these “dolls” were. (As you all have described.). To us, these were not dolls. I do remember playing with them though. There were no “sticker clothes”. And, although my mom was a keepsake keeper, these dolls did not make it into her Lane cedar chest. I can picture these both as light pink and the darker pink; I’m thinking mine were the lighter pink.

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      Pam, this story is great! It’s crazy how these memories jump right back at us when we least expect it. It’s like the first time I got one of those expanding dinosaur pills. They were not very impressive.

  7. Mine didn’t have sticker clothes. Doesn’t seem like stickers would adhere to the irregular shapes…?

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      Yeah, I agree, but with the quality of the toys, it wouldn’t surprise me if they tried to sell sticker clothes that didn’t fit well!

  8. I bought a box of these when I was 9, needless to say after waiting 3 weeks and being so excited I was more then a little disappointed when the box arrived. Yet I played with each and every doll which I thought was overkill with the repeated amounts and lost my faith in mail order that day.:)

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  9. You sound so snobbish and superior about this find at a church sale. Then you gloat over the takings you raked in over what you ridiculed as inferior trash, obviously well satisfied with your doubtful sale.I saw these ads for the 100 dolls and even as a little girl I knew they would be small and molded plastic–I don’t think anybody thought they would be similar to barbie dolls. But most little girls would have been happy to get a whole box full of little doll shaped figures because they weren’t thinking with an adult mind–but with a fantasy filled mind of a child. Your smug comments are so cynical- like you can’t remember what it was like to be young and appreciative of the simple things of life.

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      It seems like you’re in the minority. Several other readers were disappointed when they were children. Even though kids can be very creative (mine can play for hours with just a box), that doesn’t mean that they don’t understand value.

  10. I found a box of these dolls at my grandma’s. I looked online and found a post that showed the red sticker clothes. It was a sheet of red simple shaped “clothes” in the most basic form….a 3/4 circle for a skirt, or a cape, small odd shapes for hats, etc.

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