Antique Doll Collecting.
Has become antique doll investing, with the price of the average doll easily representing several hundreds of dollars. Actually very few people buy dolls strictly as an investment: most collectors buy a doll because they like it. Still however most collectors expect to at least break even if or when they eventually sell their dolls. There are many factors to consider when buying an antique doll, and we will try to offer some suggestions about what to look for and consider. If you are not well-informed about a particular doll, make sure that you have confidence in the person selling the doll.
Fortunately for collectors, most antique bisque dolls are marked or labeled. These marks should give the buyer confidence because they identify the maker, country of origin, style, mold number and sometimes even the patent date. Many dolls however are unmarked but experienced collectors learn what to look for to identify thier probible source.
The mark does not tell you everything, two examples from the same mold could look entirely different and carry vastly different prices because of the quality of workmanship. To command top price, a bisque doll should have lovely bisque, eyes and hair. Even the molding can be much sharper on one doll to the next depending on the age of the mold used. The bisque should be smooth, artistic ability should be evident in the painting, the cheek coloring should be subdued. All of these factors make up a doll of high quality.
The oldest dolls do not necessarily command the highest prices. The current world record is nearly $170,000.00 for a German Charachter child from the 20th century. There are many Barbie dolls for instance, selling at higher prices than older bisque dolls of 1890-1920.
There are fads in dolls, just as in clothes, food and other aspects of life. Some dolls are popular enough to tempt collectors to pay higher prices than availability warrants.
Uniqueness, availability and visual appeal all play a role in evaluating an antique doll.
Another important factor when pricing an antique doll is the condition. Cracks and extensive repairs would reduce the value to about 1/4 the price of a high quality example. It is expected that an old doll can show some wear, possibly a small cheek rub or a chipped earing hole, and if factory flaws are not detracting, they will not reduce the value.
To command top price, an antique doll should be on an original or an appropriate old body. Minor damage or repair to an old body does not affect the value of an antique doll. An antique doll head on a new body, is generally worth 40-50% of the price of a complete doll.
Faded, somewhat worn or carefully mended original or appropriate old clothing are preferable to new ones. Good leather doll shoes can bring more than $200 per pair, a victorian white work dress, $75 and a french fashion lady dress $300. Good old doll wigs can bring from $25-$250.