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Why Are American Girl Dolls So Expensive?

For anyone that isn’t familiar with the American Girl dolls, this is how they started out. They were first released in 1986 and they portrayed girls aged 8-12 years old.

They were sold with accompanying books that once told stories from the viewpoint of the girl in various periods through history. In 1995, these stories were updated to be more contemporary.

These dolls have increased in value as generation after generation of young girls has grown to love them. They have become both inspirational and collectible.

I have no doubt that many of you reading this article either were or still are huge fans of these dolls and no doubt had your own when you were younger.

The one issue that many people have with these dolls is the cost of them that can easily be over $100 by the time you have added outfits and accessories.

So why are American Girl Dolls so expensive to begin with? We are going to take a look at the American Girl Dolls and discuss why people are prepared to pay the money that they do for them.

Which Is The Rarest American Girl Doll?

The value of these dolls has increased significantly over the years. The very first dolls – Kirsten, Samantha, and Molly – were first introduced in 1986 and have become rare collectible items ever since.

If in good condition, some of these dolls can sell for thousands of dollars each. If they come with accessories, they are worth even more.

Here are some of the rarest American Girl Dolls and how much you can expect to pay for them.

1. Samantha Parkington: $1850

why are american girl dolls so expensive

Samantha was born in 1904 and grew up in the Edwardian era. She witnessed many historical moments for women’s rights and child labor laws. Samantha was officially discontinued in 2009 but later revived in a different format.

The original Samantha dolls from 1986 which was the first year of production are very rare and sell for around $1,850.

2. Molly McIntire: $1,200

Molly McIntire 1944

Molly was born in 1944 and came of age during the years following World War II. Molly McIntire was first released in 1986. She was one of three dolls that were American Girl Dolls’ first historical characters. Molly was retired in 2013.

3. Kirsten Larson: $3,210

Kirsten Larson

Kirsten was born in 1854. She was a Swedish settler who came with her family to Minnesota. There she learned English and lived the hard life on the prairie.

Kirsten Larson was discontinued in 2010 and since then has become a highly sought after collector’s item.

4. Felicity Merriman: $1,250

Felicity Merriman

Felicity was the fourth historical character that American Girl Dolls released. She represented the Revolutionary War period and was first released in 1991. On March 28, 2011, Felicity dolls and their entire collection were archived.

American Girl Dolls Today

If these rare American dolls are a bit too heavy for your budget, their most recent dolls can be your alternative choice.

How To Fix American Girl Doll Hair?

Nothing makes a doll look worse than having tired and tangled hair. There are a few ways that you can rectify this at home without having to buy any special products and just using what you have around your house.

Don’t worry. You don’t need any special hairdressing skills. It is super simple to get that hair back in pristine condition. Check out the video below, that shows you how to get that hair sorted.



  1. Spray her hair down with water and get all the tangles out with a wire brush.
  2. To get the curl back, use a pencil and some bobby pins to hold the curl in place while it sets.
  3. Wait for her hair to be completely dry. Once dry remove the bobby pins and style your American Girl dolls hair as you want.

Tips For Fixing American Girl Doll Hair.

Here are a few tips that are recommended by the American Girl doll hospital.

  1. Never brush the hair dry. Always wet the hair using a spray bottle before brushing.
  2. Use a wire brush. These can be quite difficult to get hold of and can be quite costly but you can purchase an American Girl brush.
  3. Never apply heat. The curls that you see are added by wrapping the dolls’ wet hair around a circular object such as a pencil or end of your comb. Hold the hair there for 15 seconds and then begin to unwind.

How To Brush and Curl American Girl Doll Hair

The important thing when you brush your American Girl doll’s hair is that you never brush it when it is dry. Always lightly spray with water.

It is best to use a wire brush as this will pull out as little hair as possible and do the least damage to that beautiful hair. Below is a video that will talk you through step by step the brushing and curling process.

It is not recommended that you use any type of heat to curl your dolls’ hair as it could possibly damage or even melt the hair.



  1. Start by spraying your dolls’ hair with water and brushing it out.
  2. Then take a small section of hair and roll it tightly around the pen or whatever you are using to create the curl.
  3. Once you have rolled the entire length of the section, pull out the pen while holding the curl in place.
  4. Secure with a bobby pin.
  5. You will need to leave the hair to completely dry before removing the pins.
  6. Once dry, remove the pins, and voila you have beautiful curls!

Your American Girls doll hair can be styled in many different ways such as for special occasions as holidays. There are many video tutorials available on Youtube that will talk you through each different style.

How to Pierce American Girl Doll Ears



  1. You need to first pull back your doll’s hair so that you can clearly see the ears.
  2. You will need a thumbtack, a pen and of course a pair of earrings.
  3. Mark on the ear lope where you want the hoe to be and then take the thumbtacks and push it into the ear. You will need to use a little bit of pressure.
  4. Remove the thumbtacks by pulling it straight out and then place back in the hole.
  5. Remove the thumbtacks for the final time and you will see that there is a hole, you can then pop in the earrings of your choice.
  6. Repeat the steps for the other side after carefully lining up the holes to ensure that they are straight and even.


American Girl Dolls are not just a child’s doll. They are a part of American history. With that title comes a huge nostalgia factor and this may be one of the main reasons why these dolls are so expensive.

The original dolls provided a way to tell children the story of American history that had huge significance or impact on our lives today.

The dolls that have been retired are worth an awful lot of money, many of them are sort after by collectors who are willing and able to pay the prices.

As a parent, I would find it difficult to justify the cost of the rare American Girl dolls but to the cost of purchasing a new one although expensive would make a fantastic gift for a special child in your life. I think that it would bring many years of fun and entertainment to them. 

Are there cheaper alternatives? Of course, there is a vastly cheaper alternative available exclusively at Target called ‘Our Generation dolls’ which retail at around $30, many of which come with accessories such as pet dogs or surfboards.

So if you desperately want your little one to have a doll similar to the American Girl ones but simply can not justify the cost, the Target Our Generation may well be a brilliant alternative!