You have seen them in the windows of antique stores,or in glass boxes in someones home; old dolls.Yet they are more than just old playthings from yesteryear. The antique doll is a representation of a bygone era.
The dolls themselves were often made of: bisque, china, papier mâché, wood, or wax.Any that were made before 1930 can be considered antique. A dolls value is measured by more than just its age though.How the doll was made,from what material,does it still have its original clothing etc. The very oldest dolls were called “Queen Anne” dolls,these were individually carved from wood and hand painted by the artisan.These dolls made from the 18th & early 19th century are very rare. If you find one expect to pay anywhere from $ 1500 – over $ 20,000 for it. The scarcity of these dolls is what makes them so valuable to collectors.
Enter the next phase the wax dolls.The earliest ones were made by pouring the wax into a mold then adding hair & glass eyes to the heads.The bodies of these dolls were generally made of stuffed cloth with wax limbs.The genre that dolls fall into are determined by the material that the heads are made from not the bodies.Wax dolls can be beautifully realistic because wax tends to resemble skin much better than wood or paper mache.Early poured wax examples can fetch between $1000 & $ 2000 while later ones with a maker stamp on the body have a higher value.
Perhaps the best example that non-collectors recognize are the china head dolls.China dolls were very popular between 1840-1880,and were still made up until the 1920’s.Their heads were made of glazed porcelain and the majority were made in Germany.China dolls are often identified by their hairstyles.The covered wagon style (hair flat on top with sausage curls around the head, 1840s), the Alice in Wonderland with a molded head band, circa 1850s or the Dolly Madison with her head full of curls and a molded ribbon.Most china dolls represented ladies and were dressed in the fashions of the time.Sometime after 1880 the china heads were sold separately so the owner could make her own body and dress it according to her whims.This had the added bonus of helping little girls perfect their sewing skills as they made clothes for their dolls.These fashion dolls even had an entire industry devoted to them.From shoemakers to milliners to jewelers there was a shop which catered to the doll owner.Today fashion dolls are very expensive to collect, varying in price from around $2,000 for unmarked or later dolls, up to $20,000 or more for rare examples in original outfits.
Dolls that were made from paper mache` come from the beginning of the 19th century all the way to the early 20th century.They are easier to find than the Queen Anne dolls.They were mass produced in Germany,France & the United States & were actually cheaper than wooden dolls because they could be made from molds.German dollmakers dominated the industry up until World War 1.These beautiful dolls have molded hair which is usually painted black,wooden limbs and a soft body.Most had painted eyes ,however a select choice few had real glass eyes.The value of these dolls has started to rise due the difficulty in finding them in excellent condition
If you enjoy the beauty of these old toys,or if you have some in your attic that you think may be worth money then delve into the world of collectible dolls. You can check here for info on getting started: www.antique–antiques.com/collectible-dolls.