Collecting Victorian dolls can not only be an absorbing hobby, but one that can be quite valuable too, rather like a treasure hunt. Keep them or sell them, it’s up to you, but these collectibles increase over time and of course, can also become family heirlooms.
Valuable Porcelain Victorian Dolls – How much are they worth?
Porcelain dolls that were made a hundred years ago can fetch up between $168 000 to up to $300 000. These would be very rare dolls, however, made by an exceptional doll maker of the time. For example, the doll that fetched $300 000 at by auction house Theriault, was created by a French sculptor, Albert Marque in 1916 and was a pristine condition, hand-dressed bisque doll.
The most expensive antique doll ever sold was a rare German Kämmer & Reinhardt doll that sold for $400,000 at auction in the UK.
These dolls are rare finds though, and it is more likely that a collectible Victorian doll will fetch in the region of $1500 – $2000, on average.
Five tips to look for when collecting Victorian dolls:
1. Check for a brand or mark. Good doll makers used to imprint or mark the dolls on the back of the with their brand, which would be found on the back of the head, the torso or feet. Dolls manufactured after 1890 were marked with the country or origin versus the manufacturer’s name.
2. Check doll books that reference makes of dolls, date of manufacture or a mold number, which will help you to identify the manufacturer and may also help to find out its value. If all else fails, take the doll to an appraiser or auction house – they often evaluate valuable dolls for free.
3. Look for original clothing and packaging (if possible). Original clothing greatly adds to the value of the doll, especially if the outfits are in good condition.
4. Find a valuator or auction house valuator in your area who will be able to help you find out the period and value of your doll, and also identify the purchasing trends of vintage dolls. Sometimes, it’s worth holding onto your doll for a few more years to either hand on as an heirloom or with the prospect of greater value in the future.
5. If your antique Victorian doll is damaged or broken, take it to a restorer or a “doll hospital”, where the doll can be expertly restored. Note though, that even if the doll is superbly repaired, a restored doll will not have the same value as a doll that is in mint conditions. Still, many restorers do a great job of repairing broken arms, fingers, legs, and even faces.