Since 1986, American Girl has created some of the most treasured dolls around. These 18-inch dolls, both male and female, were inspired by different historical eras, each packaged with a storybook about their character. Though the toys were designed for children as young as eight, their stories covered a wide range of social issues, including child labour, slavery, war and poverty, all delivered in an age-appropriate manner.
Equally popular are the company’s Truly Me dolls (previously branded as Girls of Today and Just Like You), who had a wide range of appearances. Here are some of the most valuable American Girl dolls manufactured in the 80s and 90s.
Kirsten Larson – $2,400
Described as “brave” and “steadfast”, the character Kirsten Larson comes from Sweden and immigrated to Minnesota in the 1800s. She spends her time helping out with chores on the family farm, and in featured videos, she was described as having a “pioneering spirit”. The character was created in 1986.
On ebay.com, Kirsten once sold for the astonishing sum of $2,399.99 in February 2023. The seller, who was based in Madison, Wisconsin, noted that this Kirsten “came from a professional collection”.
Molly McIntire – $1,500
Also created in 1986, Molly McIntire belongs to the World War II era. She lives with her Scottish-American family in Illinois, and is relatively insulated from the war until she befriends Emily Bennett, a young evacuee from Blitzed London. One Molly doll, with a sprawling signature and manufacture date across her torso, sold for $1,499 in February 2023.
“She has no odours, no repairs, but does have some stains on the back of the legs,” the seller advised. “Wig is full and uncut, one braid needs to be re-tied. She is dressed in tagged clothes but they are from the early 2000s.”
Samantha Parkington – $1,295
The Progressive Era character Samantha Parkington is an orphan, living with her old-fashioned grandmother in a small town in New York. Her storyline describes the new inventions and changing social attitudes of the era, including women’s voting rights and independence.
Complete with a large wardrobe, one original 1986 Samantha doll sold for $1,295 in April 2023. “This doll is pre-Mattel – from Pleasant Rowland’s original line of dolls with a white cloth body (as opposed to later, flesh-colored models),” the seller noted.
Romina – $800
When Pleasant Company began producing American Girl Dolls, which were manufactured by Götz in West Germany, it made prototypes with a classic face mould. This face, nicknamed Romina, has an upturned nose, round cheeks and two visible teeth.
One example of this standard 18-inch doll sold for $800 in February 2023. “[It’s in] very good condition,” the seller pointed out. “… I believe her hair has been cut. Comes with her pink 2 piece pyjama set and black shoes. Comes from a smoke and pet-free home.”
Kit – $675
The character Kit gained her name from the song Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag. This tomboy and aspiring writer is growing up during the Great Depression, and she must adjust to a new life when her father loses his job and opens their home to lodgers.
Kit, along with her dog Grace, her bed, wardrobe, party treats set and a wide array of other accessories, sold for $675 in January 2023. “We’re downsizing, so my three daughters’ much loved American Girl collections can no longer live here,” the seller wrote.
Just Like You Doll, African American – $500
The African American face mould, also known as the Addy mould, is described on today’s Create Your Own system as an “oval face with full cheeks and lips, [and] oval-shaped eyes”.
A 90s example of a doll with this face mould, with dark skin and long dark hair, sold for $499.99 in March 2023. “This is an extremely rare doll,” was the seller’s comment. “She is clean, but does have some shine marks. Her limbs are tight. She holds her pose. Her eyes work properly. She is older as she does not have a body tag.”
Felicity Merriman – $400
Felicity Merriman is an adventurous and sporty girl from Colonial Williamsburg. The character was created in 1991. Since Felicity wears lower necklines, Pleasant Company gave her a flesh-coloured torso rather than the original white cloth body – a change that has stuck with all later dolls.
One Felicity doll sold for a total of $400 in April 2023. “Most of my listed dolls/bears/accessories belonged to my friend’s mom,” the seller added. “Her mom purchased large quantities of dolls and bears with the intent of opening up a doll/bear store in the 1990s. Unfortunately, she never got the chance to do this, so these items sat in storage, untouched, for years. I am helping her to sell her large collection.”
Just Like You Doll, Asian American – $335
Pleasant Company created this face mould in 1995, making it the third mould to be used in the doll line. It featured on the doll known as Just Like You 4 until it was retired in 2011. This particular example from 1995, with long dark hair and dressed in a knitted sweater, sold for $335 in March 2023. It came from a home in Omaha, Nebraska.
“This Asian American Girl Doll was manufactured by the Pleasant Company in the 1990s,” the seller elaborated. “She was purchased at an Estate Sale and owned by an adult collector who used her to fit the clothes she made for her granddaughters.”
Girl of Today – $295
With a scrunchie in her hair, this brunette Girl of Today sold for $295 in February 2023, from a home in Benton, Pennsylvania.
“You don’t find Pleasant Company dolls like this anymore!” the seller pointed out. “Very rare, NEVER removed front the box! One of the first 1990s Girl of Today dolls. Adult collector-owned. The bottom of her box reads ‘GT16’. Made in Germany/China.”
Just Like You Doll, Girl Scout Uniform – $260
This particular Just Like You doll, from a home in Penns Grove, New Jersey, dates all the way back to 1996. She has long dark hair and bangs, dark eyes, and her nails are painted red and black.
She is dressed in a Girl Scout Uniform, which was first released in 1996 and retired in 1999. She sold for $259.99 in April 2023.
Josefina Montoya – $250
Introduced to the line in September 1997, Josefina Montoya is the sixth historical character created by Pleasant Company. She lived on a ranch in New Mexico during Mexican rule in the 1820s. Artistic and caring, this character dreams of becoming a folk healer someday. One example of this doll, manufactured in 1997, sold for an impressive $249 in March 2023.
“This RARE Josefina doll is in excellent condition,” was the seller’s note. “She has beautiful long soft eyelashes (all intact), natural facial colouring, and silky shiny hair still in its original braid. She can hold a pose, her eyes function normally, and her body is clean with no odours.”
Addy – $230
Addy Walker’s story began as that of an enslaved girl living with her family on a plantation in North Carolina in the 1860s. She and her mother escape to the North and resettle in Philadelphia, where Addy excels in school and adapts to free life in the city. One vintage model of Addy fetched $230 on eBay in February 2023.
“Addy’s body is in good condition, no obvious marks or shine. Brown eyes open and shut easily, no silvering,” the seller added. “Hair in good used condition, redone in original style but without ribbon to hold tightly in place. Limbs tight, easily holds pose including standing. Full meet outfit with shoes, stockings, pantaloons and dress all in excellent condition.” The seller also included a Christmas dress that was made independently by a seamstress.
Bitty Baby Doll – $179
Bitty Baby dolls, first marketed as Our New Baby, were intended as a learning tool for children awaiting the arrival of a new sibling. The basic toy didn’t come with any additional accessories except for a Bitty Bear, who featured in the associated storybook.
One Bitty Baby from North Haven, Connecticut, manufactured in the 80s, sold for $179 in March 2023. It came with an original wicker basket, which had a single broken handle, decreasing the overall value.
Caroline Abbott- $146
Caroline Abbott lives in the town of Sackets Harbor, New York, where her family owns a shipyard. This 1810s character hopes to become a ship’s captain one day. In her story, she also becomes a witness to the War of 1812, a conflict between the United Kingdom and the USA with its indigenous allies.
One Caroline Abbott doll sold for $146.39 on eBay after receiving seven bids. She came from a home in Wellington, Colorado, complete with her travelling outfit: a dress, bloomers, jacket, hat and boots. Her original hair had been replaced.
Just Like You Doll, Grecian Outfit – $70
This Just Like You doll with blonde hair and hazel eyes fetched $70 in an eBay auction, after attracting a single bid. She was sold by the same seller who offered Caroline (above), based in Wellington, Colorado.
This standard 18-inch doll came with a Grecian outfit, comprised of a floaty blue dress and a golden coin headband. “She has a watermark under her left arm on her torso,” the seller added.