I also coveted a beautiful antique doll my neighbor received for Christmas one year. It had been her mother's doll when she was little, and had a painted wooden head, chipped in a few spots, which added to its charm.
When I was in college, I spent the summers working at a specialty toy shop in my hometown. I loved being in charge of the window displays, and the shelf display behind the cash register. Among its many classic and wonderful toys and books, were 20 or more different types of Madam Alexander dolls. I always dreamt of getting the lot of them and displying them in my room, but at $65 each, even just one was out of my college-student budget.
This must be why I long for the day when Emma will be old enough to have an American Girl doll. I didn't know about these dolls when I was young, but now I would love to be able to buy every single one. I would read each doll's story, make her a quilt that represent the time period she is from, and group them together in chronological order on the shelf, looking prim and proper in their period specific costumes. I have to remind myself that Emma might not want these dolls...
The other thing I think would be fun to collect is doll houses. Wouldn't it be great to have a whole neighborhood... Each house could be decorated in a different style. Turkey Feathers is one of my favorite blogs. Her daughter makes and sells doll house baked goods on their Etsy site. The cutest things you can imagine! She has great eye candy on her blog, but the miniatures are what keep me coming back!