How to Appraise the Resale Value of a Vintage Mannequin
How much my vintage mannequin worth?
We get asked this question all the time because we sell used mannequins. Determining the resale value of a mannequin is tricky, even with our 20+ years of experience.
We are not able to recommend a specific price for you to resell your mannequin, but we do have some helpful tips below to help you determine your selling price.
How do I price my mannequin?
Keith Dillion, a mannequin collector and visual merchandiser has this advice and we share the same sentiments:
“You may ask whatever you want for a mannequin and, if someone is interested, they will pay what they’re willing to pay.
I’ve seen very collectible brand name mannequins sold for $50, and I’ve seen incredibly basic, mass produced, inexpensive mannequins sell for hundreds over what they could be bought for brand new.
It all comes down to what the value of it is to both you and the potential buyer.
Ask for what you would be happy to get right now, and someone will pay what they would be happy to pay right now. Negotiate to meet in the middle where you’re both still happy.”
Who is your daddy?
Before you can price your mannequins you first need to know the brand/manufacturer of mannequin and ideally the era that it was produced.
This blog post HERE will give you some tips on how to identify what brand of mannequin you have by looking at the hardware.
Note: not all mannequins, especially knock offs from China will have identification on the hardware.
Also we suggest you post detailed photos of your mannequin on the Facebook Group VINTAGE MANNEQUINS The members in this group are mannequin collectors from all over the world.
Many of them are former visual merchandisers and have personally worked with all the top mannequin brands. Their collective knowledge far exceeds our knowledge about the value of mannequins.
The most sought after mannequin brands with the highest resale value are:
Wolf and Vine
Sometimes specific collections by a manufacture are more popular than others.
For example with Ralph Pucci mannequins, the Maira Kalma collection is a huge fan favorite compared to other styles by Pucci.
Five Factors that Impact the Resale Value
1. Condition – mannequins with broken or missing parts are not going to be as valuable because of the difficulty and cost of repair/replacement.
2. Pose – sitting, reclining or leaning mannequins are harder to find than a mannequin standing upright in a military style pose. So they tend to be more sought after.
3. Series – a hard to find Rootstein mannequin like Cher, Joan Collins, Twiggy or Donaluna is going to bring a lot more money even if it is damaged.
By comparison, a Rootstein mannequin in mint condition from a series that was reproduced more widely, like the Calendar Girl series, might not be worth much because all the major mannequin collectors already have them.
Also a mannequin with a realistic face is always more desired than a mannequin with an abstract, egghead or comical face.
4. Ethnicity – Asian and African American mannequins are harder to find because they were not widely produced so their scarcity increases their value.
Many vintage African American mannequins have been “WHITEWASHED” so they look Anglo. (The opposite of Blackface)
Often the paint is chipping and the darker skin tone is visible underneath the white paint (like in the photo above)
This means it is going to be expensive to restore it to its original skin tone. Buyers will factor that into what they are willing to pay.
5. Restoration Cost. We acquired a bunch of highly coveted realistic vintage Rootstein mannequins from a museum.
Although they were in excellent condition structurally, unfortunately they had been completely covered from head to toe in yellow or lilac paint.
Even the glass eyes on this Cher mannequin below had been painted over. This had a negative impact on the resale value because the buyer had to spend a lot of money to restore to the original condition.
BONUS: Some other factors that can increase the value are:
-hard cap wig
Online Selling Tips
When you post your mannequin for sale it is recommended that you include a photo of the catalogue to give buyers a frame of reference. It also shows that you took the time to do research.
On our Pinterest board we have catalogues for Decter, Rootstein, Pucci, Greneker, Hindsgaul and Patina V mannequins.
On our blog we have a lot of information about Rootstein mannequins, one of our personal favorite brands.
Before you post your mannequin for sale, you might want to monitor sites like Ebay to see what the going rate is for your style mannequin.
Check to see if is SELLING for the price, not just LISTED. Some items have been on Ebay for months without a sale because they are too expensive. A decrease in price or free shipping could make a difference.
While Ebay has lots of traffic so that makes it a popular place to sell mannequins, we personally feel their fees are too expensive. So we suggest alternative sites: Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Mannequin groups on Facebook.
If there is a used mannequin vendor in your city perhaps they will sell the mannequin on your behalf. Hope these suggestions help.