If your parents or grandparents grew up in the early or mid-20th century, then you've probably seen the curios and shelves filled with the beautiful china and figurines that your family acquired over the years, but you've probably never looked at these all of the collectible figurines brands that your family's chosen from. From super affordable to downright luxurious, collectible figurines can make or break the bank, depending on which appeal to you the most. However, even with a wallet the size of a flea, there're some collectible figurines out there for you.
What Are Affordable Collectible Figurines?
For those who might be questioning what a collectible figurine really is, it's simply a small decorative statue. They can be made of many materials, from pottery to cement and from resin to porcelain. They include a variety of subjects, from fairies to flowers and everything in between.
Over the past few hundred years, there's been many companies that've produced popular, collectible figurines. Some have been around for years and others are just breaking onto the market. You may recognize some of these names:
- Boyd's Bears
- Precious Moments
- Royal Doulton
- Barbie Collectibles
- Cherished Teddies
When beginning to collect these figurines, it's best to collect similar objects. Decide if you want to collect by type, by company, by size, or by subject matter. Once you've gathered a collection that suits you, you can move on to collecting something different. Rather than trying to buy these for investment purposes, most people buy collectible figurines for the joy that they bring as they are placed around the home or office.
Resources and Collector's Groups for Figurine Lovers to Use
A great way for first-time collectors to get the best tips and tricks for collecting the pieces that they're interested in is to look for collector's groups or organizations to connect to. When you find the people who've been collecting for years, you can bypass all of the fumbling of your first few acquisitions and start your collection off strong. These are a few collectors' groups to get you started:
- The Hummel Club - The Hummel Club is a collector's club created 45 years ago; when you join the club, you get a bi-annual magazine that discusses all things Hummel figurines as well as access to limited quantity Hummels as soon as they're released, among other things.
- The Prudent Collector - While The Prudent Collector does sell numerous collectible figurines, it also features tips on cleaning your wares, maker's marks and history information for several manufacturers, as well as an extensive blog filled with neat information about topics like art glass, Disney memorabilia, and exhibitions you can visit for example.
- Doulton Collectors Club - Since 2014, Doulton Collectors Club has been a hub for news and notes about collecting Royal Doulton figurines. You can browse through their blog's back catalog on their website, which details past and current collectors events, specific Royal Doulton series, and more.
- Charming Tails - This website hosts a wealth of information about Charming Tails figurines; though, you should be careful since it hasn't been updated since 2008.
- Worthpoint - Worthpoint, albeit expensive, is a subscription-based service that hosts innumerable articles and books on vintage, antique, and unique collectibles' values. When it comes to getting an idea of a figurine's value, Worthpoint is a quick and accurate replacement for an official appraisal.
Where to Find Collectible Figurines
Collectible figurines, along with glassware and china, are one of (if not the most) collectible items out there. You can find them gifted at every holiday and special occasion, passed down as family heirlooms, and turned into a hobby/passion for devoted collectors. Yet, not everyone has an encyclopedic knowledge of which places sell collectible figurines, and where they can find the best deals. Here's a small collection of the many retailers to begin your hunt:
- Hummels at a Discount - Hummels at a Discount is an online retailer that offers a wide variety of Hummel figurines from across many years.
- Cheryl's Dolls - From Marie Osmond and Madame Alexander dolls to the ever-popular Beanie Babies, Cheryl's Dolls has it all. While they do have a substantial variety, their inventory consists of mostly modern figurines.
- The Collector's Boutique - The Collector's Boutique specializes in high-end collectible figurines from companies like Lladro, Nadal, and Nao. They also have a small selection on their website of vintage figurines for sale.
- eBay - While its reputation precedes it, eBay really is a great place to find collectible figurines online at a super reasonable price. Of course, there are the outliers that're listing items for way above their price range, but on the whole, you can find all sorts of antique and vintage ones here.
- Etsy - Etsy is very similar to eBay, though you do have to be wary of the, on average, slightly higher prices. This inflated market comes from Etsy's own fees that they charge the shop owners, driving them to upsell their products. However, there's still a substantial amount of really cheap collectibles on there.
- Facebook Marketplace - A great way to find some items for cheap in a pinch is Facebook Marketplace. However, you're at the mercy of what the people in your area are selling, so you shouldn't expect to find really specific collectibles, but rather just a smattering of what people are trying to get rid of.
- Lladro - Lladro is still in operation, and heading to their website can give you a wealth of information on their past and present collections, as well as the newest pieces in their collection that're for sale.
- Precious Moments - Insanely popular in the Christian community, Precious Moments is a site filled with cherubic figurines that people's devout family members can't get enough of.
- Wee Forest Folk - Wee Forest Folk is a business that's been in operation since the 1970s and sells delightful animal miniatures. While these miniatures do cost between $100-$200 each, they can make for a great investment piece or gift for someone in your life.
Common Prices of Your Favorite Collectible Figurines
If you haven't taken a leap into buying collectibles, you're not alone. Things that're desirable enough to be deemed 'collectible' have a reputation, which implies that they must be expensive to be worthy of note. However, little jolly porcelain collectible figurines don't have to drain your paycheck to be worthy of taking up space on your mantel. In fact, you can find a number of these collectible figurines for under $100-$200 apiece (which is quite low for these finely crafted and often hand-painted pieces of art).
For instance, if you're in the market for something vintage and cutesy, Kewpie dolls are a great option for you. They're cherubic little children painted with big eyes and sweet smiles, and usually cost around $25-$30 per figurine, such as this vintage Kewpie duo that's listed for $25.
A solid mid-grade affordable figurine brand is Hummel; featuring children and adults in all sorts of playful, muted toned scenes, Hummel figurines have a reputation for being somewhat pricey. While there are rare Hummel pieces that'll cost a few hundred bucks, there's still a number out there that won't break the bank and can run around $40-$55. For instance, this 1960s Hummel figurine entitled "Happy Pastime" is listed for $55.
A step up from Hummel figurines is Lladro. These sensuous, fluid figurines can quickly rack up quite a hefty price tag, especially if you're looking for subjects that're now retired. Yet, fear not, because Lladro has a selection of more affordable figurines on the market that'll cost between $40-$300a piece. For example, this Lladro dancer figurine from the 1980s is listed for $275.
Tips for Using Online Retailers to Find New Collectible Figurines
There are many places online to find affordable collectible figurines besides eBay. In fact, because eBay seems to be the first place people look, other auction sites can actually have much better prices due to less competition for the items. Collectible figurines, no matter which manufacturer, style or type you collect, are available all over the internet.
One of the best ways to find affordable collectibles on any auction site, including eBay, is to intentionally misspell the word in your search. For example, affordable collectible figurines can be misspelled any number of ways, including:
- Afordable collectible figurines
- Affordable collectibe figurines
- Affordble collectible figurines
Additionally, you can invest in a price guide and study as much information as you can find about your chosen collectible figurines. In this way, you'll be able to spot fakes and pick out an unrealistic price.
Ideas for How to Display Your Figurines
You can choose to display your figurines in a number of ways. Some collectors create displays with the whole collection. Others make small vignettes or display the collectibles in small groups with similar figures. These are a few ideas for how you can put your display together:
- Organize your collectibles in interesting compositions - Collectibles are more interesting when they're displayed on several levels, and a variety in height and size will be more visually appealing than many figurines that look the same in a grouping. Your lifestyle will, to some extent, dictate your display method. If you have small children or grandchildren in the house, it may be best to keep the figures behind glass or up on a high mantle or shelf.
- Create thematic displays - Add items that fit together well. For example, if you have some Gone with the Wind figurines, you might arrange them on top of a vintage copy of the book, next to a banquet lamp similar to the one in the movie.
- DIY display cases using resin and other materials - Some companies produce special display items that add charm to the collection. Animal figurines, for example, might be displayed in a charming resin forest.
- Create narratives for the figurines you're putting out - Rather than just displaying the figurines, allow them to tell a story.
Start Your Collection Today
Collectible figurines displayed in your home can give visitors a peek into who you are and allow them to know you a little better. These figures not only add a bit of whimsy, but can bring a smile to your face when you catch them in the corner of your eye. And when you feel that you have outgrown your collection, if you ever do, make sure to pass them along to someone who you think will love them as much as you did.