Antique porcelain dolls, with their beautiful handcrafted and painted faces, typically date from prior to 1920. You can find a variety of antique dolls on eBay. Before adding a doll to your collection, learn about the types of antique porcelain dolls available, know which factors should inform your buying decision, and understand how to evaluate the dolls on offer.
Types of Antique Porcelain Dolls
Collectors classify dolls according to the materials that manufacturers used to create the dolls' heads and according to the dolls' countries of origin, designs and styles, and production eras. An antique porcelain doll can have a cloth body and a porcelain head. Porcelain types vary; for example, China dolls feature glazed porcelain heads, while Parian dolls have unglazed porcelain heads. German and French bisque dolls, or fashions dolls, produced from the 1840s until after the First World War, represented exquisitely dressed ladies. Their elaborate clothing replicated the fashions of the times. French Bebes, produced from around 1850, as well as German dolly-faced dolls, produced from 1890, resembled babies and children. These antique bisque dolls are popular collectors' items. For many years, Germany was at the forefront of porcelain doll production. Some of the most popular German porcelain dolls include bisque Kewpie dolls, Armand Marseille dolls, Kestner dolls, and Kathe Kruse dolls.
Factors to Consider When Buying Antique Porcelain Dolls
Age, scarcity, condition, authenticity, details, and accessories affect the value of antique porcelain dolls. Doing thorough research about individual dolls, manufacturers, and styles allows you to make informed purchasing decisions. Bear in mind that children played with these dolls, so they tend to show signs of wear. Original clothing and accessories are relatively rare and add value to antique dolls. However, these items can help you establish age and authenticity of an antique doll. Read collectors' guides and visit museum exhibitions to improve your knowledge about antique porcelain dolls before you begin collecting.
How to Evaluate Antique Porcelain Dolls
When evaluating an antique porcelain doll, research the manufacturer and the doll. Check the doll's head for damage and signs of restoration that can decrease the doll's value. If a previous owner has had the eyes reset, ensure that they work as they should and are appropriate for the doll. In addition, ensure that the body matches the antique doll's style, age, and region of manufacture. The doll should have detailed features, an appropriate mohair or human hair wig, and be aesthetically pleasing overall.