Antique China Dolls: Shimmering Treasures

Carmen D. Lade

Pale yet lovely, glazed and beautiful. This description puts antique dolls in the chamber of the most popular collectible items. These dolls are basically prepared of glazed bisque, giving them a glossy appearance. Most antique bisque cover the wigs and eyes of the dolls; in general, they have painted eyes and molded hairs. China dolls were historically produced during the late period of 1930’s until the early part of the 19th century. The highest number of production was made from 1850’s through 1890’s in Germany.

Many countries are producing antique dolls, yet by far millions are manufactured in Germany. Among the major companies during the 19th century include Alt, Beck and Gotschalck, Kestner, Hertwig and many more. However, some of the early dolls were produced in France while Emma Clear, an American doll maker, created some during the 20th century.

Antique dolls were always made of glazed porcelain bisque that is usually left white and not tinted. They are made measuring approximately from about two inches up to more than 30 inches. The heads of the dolls are the only ones brushed with glazed bisque. Its bodies are commonly leather or cloth and sometimes with unglazed or glazed legs and lower arms. Frozen Charlotte and beau Frozen Charlie, the famous charming antique dolls are entirely made of bisque that are unglazed and are usually in single piece with no jointing.

Low Brows are considered the most common antique china dolls and are designed in millions during the period 1890’s. Its hairdo is composed of hair bangs that lay low on its forehead, thus displaying a low brow. Their prices vary according to its size.

Meanwhile, the very rare antique dolls and the earliest production were made during the 1840’s. They are too elaborate and difficult to find; these kind of dolls now could be worth thousand dollars. Unfortunately, most dolls are unmarked that makes it difficult to distinguish which company designed which doll. Sporadically, dolls are marked within its shoulder plates, putting the company name that manufactured the item. Some companies also put a number on the reverse part of the shoulder plate of the china doll. For instance, Emma Clear china dolls are mostly marked Clear/39.

Dolls can be a great collection to start. Like antique china dolls, this can be a delightful source to take pleasure from.

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