Ball-Jointed Dolls and Their Collectible Appeal

Posted on: 27 September 2016

Almost every culture has its own variation on the figurine. From small soldiers to petite dolls with dresses to action figures, the collectible figurine market is itself a massive nexus of different interests and niches that are far deeper than just a brand or style. For ball-jointed dolls (BJDs), collection is an act of finding great styles, condition, and customized designs from different owners. Delve into the world of BJDs with an overview of the style and culture.

What Is Distinct About BJDs?

There are many noticeable differences between the BJD style of dolls and other types of dolls, even with the many variations of dolls within the BJD world. The ball-jointed style can be quickly identified by the easily posed, sectioned joints of the doll. High design technique is used to hide the joint features, but the swiveling adjustments for each joint is what visually sets the dolls apart.

The term is used to refer to a modern style of dolls made in Japan and South Korea from design houses such as Volks, Alice in Labyrinth, Luts, and Souldoll. These dolls are built to be customizable in multiple areas, making it easy to replace heads, limbs, fingers, and even faces. Faces are specifically sought after for events and services called Faceups, in which professional or hobby artists decorate the faces of BJDs. 

Which Parts of the BJDs Are Collectible?

As mentioned in the previous section, many parts of the dolls can be customized. Although an entire doll with its clothes and original design can be sought after for collection value, the unique pieces used for customization may be sought after as well.

There are limited-edition dolls, as well as parts for dolls that are only sold as additional accessories. In addition to the doll's body design, the highly detailed clothing made by some doll manufacturers and separate doll-clothing designers fetch their own expensive prices with unique collector's value. This is especially the case if the doll's clothing is officially sanctioned by a well-known clothing designer.

Finding the artist's branding for the more unique designs takes a lot of homework, and with the modern world of BJD being both relatively new and spanning multiple cultures, getting the information in English can be difficult. You'll often have to contact a vendor in Japan or Korea to get an official answer if the answers from English-speaking doll forum community members aren't enough, and you can't always talk to an English-speaking expert.

Contact a doll and figurine specialist to find more information about collectible figurines for sale, accessories for dolls, and more information about the culture around these dolls.