Antique Dolls: Tips on Appraising

Tips for Collectors’ On Hiring an Accredited Appraiser
Who Specializes In Antique Dolls

A Brief History:

The history of dolls and doll making practices dates back thousands of years to Ancient Greece and Egypt. Antique dolls were originally made as children’s toys, but have now become hot collectors’ items.

During the 19th Century, doll heads were manufactured using porcelain or bisque (bisque: unglazed porcelain, resembling skin/neutral tone) and china (shiny glazed porcelain); combined with a body of leather, rubber, cloth, wood or composite materials (such as papier mâché). In the 20th Century, bisque was gradually replaced by a variety of other materials, such as plastic (i.e. the fashion ‘Barbie’ doll).

Today, dolls are collected by adults, for their nostalgic value, beauty, and historical importance or financial values.

Value: To determine the commercial value for your doll, there are 5 specific attributes to consider:
(Quality and Condition) what is the quality and condition of the doll? (Authenticity) Are there any marker’s marks on the body and/or head? (Provenance) The history of ownership, where did the doll come from? And (Exposure) Has it ever been exhibited or featured in a publication? All of these questions are critical in determining a fair market value.

Also to keep in mind, if your doll has its original clothing and is in good condition, it may increase the value.


How to check if you have an authentic doll:

Dolls have markings or “incisions” located behind the neck, between the shoulder blades, behind the arm socket, or on the dolls head. The process involves lifting the hair or wig and clothes to properly identify the marking of each doll.


Type of Dolls:

Baby doll, Toddler, child, adult, portrait, fashion, lady, character, novelty, mechanical, boudoir, talking…

Different kind of eyes: Glass eyes, sleep eyes, or paperweight eyes.

Mouth: Open mouth (with teeth or without teeth), and closed mouth.

Hair: Molded (seen on China dolls), rooted hair, length, color, wig (is the replaced or original), human or mohair

Types of body: Composition (man-made materials), cloth, felt, wood, wax, kid leather, metal, papier mâché, porcelain, bisque, rubber, hard plastic, vinyl, combination.


Popular manufacturing companies:

Armand Marseilles (Germany and France)

Simon and Halbig (Germany)

Heinrich Handwerck (Germany)

Société Française de Fabrication de Bébés et Jouets (French)

Jumeau Bru Jne (French)

Johannes Daniel Kestner (Germany)

Madame Alexander (American)



“Made in Germany ‘E. 7.’ JDK 211”
“Made in Germany 390” 390 is widely known as Armand Marseilles’ model number.
“Germany A.P. Sch. 5/0 M”
“1896, C.O.D. 1, DEP, Made in Germany”















Have any questions, or need your doll appraised, please call our offices at 305-446-1820.

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