BJD is a relatively new collector’s craze. It’s a hobby that revolves around a particular style of doll and stands for “ball jointed doll.” This means that the joints of the doll, ie; knees, elbows, hips, and so forth are connected by a very flexible ball-shaped joint. This makes the dolls highly pose-able with an elastic cord that usually runs through the frame of the entire doll.

These dolls come in two main categories, the BJD and the ABJD with the latter standing for Asian Ball Joint Dolls. The ABJD are important to the genre of toys since these types of dolls are not just prized for their great ability to take on different poses on a collector’s shelf- but also because they are almost always highly stylized with outstanding personality and character rendered in a high level of detail.

What Makes BJDs so Expensive?

Collectors and crafters of these dolls focus on the following attributes.

  • Pose-ability
  • Detail
  • Character
  • Anime cartoon-like features

Collectors prize these dolls for their generally very high quality of materials. While many brand label BJD products are made with cheap plastics- those kinds are usually considered entry level BJDs.

Where the marked detail of these dolls is most readily apparent is in the eyes and what collectors call the “face up.” The “face up” means the paint that is used to detail the face. It is generally meant to describe coloration which implies makeup on the doll, ie; rouged cheeks, lipstick, eye shadow and the like. The second, (or second to be noticed- not necessarily less important), is the quality of the mold and the material used. High-quality resins are generally preferred, and higher quality dolls have superior pose-ability.

Of course, the styling of the body and face are also highly subjective and extremely important. These dolls are meant to ooze character from head to toe- and the collectors who love them rarely settle for second best.

Some of the most expensive, high-end dolls come with a selection of eyes, differently shaped feet and hands which can be detached and swapped for different poses, and a selection of clothes and accessories which are particular to the specific character rendered.

One Size Fits Few

BJD dolls come in three primary size categories;

  • Large – These range from 50cm to 70cm
  • Mini – These range from 36cm to 49cm
  • Tiny – These range in size from 9.5cm to 35cm

The size of the dolls has a lot to do with the price as well, with the more expensive BJDs tending to be larger. This is not a hard and fast rule, however since many of the mini and tiny BJDs are considered to be very high end indeed. Because these dolls are generally marketed toward adult female collectors, bust sizes are also a major consideration and they do vary widely within the different doll sizes.

The Most Expensive BJD

The world’s most expensive BJD is a modern take on the tried and true Barbie genre of dolls. As the reigning champ of the world’s priciest Barbie-like doll- this item is a ball jointed and supremely detailed version of the Mattel classic. She was designed by Australian jewelry designer Stefano Canturi. She features genuine gem-spangled accessories, a highly refined hairstyle, molding and face up. The Canturi Barbie sold for just over $302,000.