Tips To Identify Your Collector Dolls And Their Value

Learning to identify antique dolls can mean the difference between a new toy for the kids and a valuable collectible.

An old doll’s value depends on numerous factors, some of which are easier to spot than others. Almost everyone discovers a doll sooner or later that is hard to identify. A good doll identification guide will always help, as will a magnifying glass. Here are some general tips to follow that may help you learn the value of your doll.

Evaluate the doll’s body and eyes

First, you need to examine the doll thoroughly in proper, and clear lighting. Very old dolls often had porcelain or bisque bodies or wooden bodies. Later, the dolls started having stuffed bodies made of cloth. Similarly, evaluate the doll’s eyes. Painted on eyes can be an indicator of old age dolls. Stationary glass eyes that don’t move came long before eyes that opened and closed when the doll was rocked.

Examine the doll’s hair and clothing

The earliest dolls, China head dolls, had painted or molded hair that was commonly parted in the middle. Dolls made in the 1800s had rooted hair, rather than painted hair. This rooted hair looks like real hair and was sometimes made from human hair or mohair. Doll clothing in the 1800s and early 1900s was often made from leather. Newer doll clothing will be made from synthetic materials and have a Victorian style. Clothing free of stains and discolorations is ideal.

Identify the manufacturer

Antique dolls like Armand Marseille or Simon and Halbig may be clearly identified on the back of a doll’s head, but this is not the case for most antique dolls. Usually, dolls produced after 1890 or 1891 are marked with the country of origin. If the manufacturer is not named in the mark, check doll reference books to determine who’s mark it is. Many reference books will list marks in an appendix, in numerical or alphabetized order. Several antique dolls are also marked with a mold number and it may be enough to identify the maker of the doll.

Tips to determine antique doll values

After having acquired the basic details about your doll, you can start to explore its value. Even when all the factors used in determining an antique doll’s worth are considered, the value still fluctuates based on the current doll market and the principles of supply and demand. Note that the French and German dolls, especially bisque dolls, are the most valuable kinds of antique dolls.

If you fail to determine your doll’s value using these methods, you can find out the manufacturer’s name through a doll appraisal at doll shows or doll shops.


Satavisha hails from the city of joy, Kolkata. She took up writing as my profession amid the pandemic when the world was at a standstill. Here, she acquired a balance between her passion for writing and sharing various ideas and facts through her stories.
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