Collecting Antique Dolls Makes a Wonderful Hobby

Carmen D. Lade

The great period for doll making was from 1840 through 1830.

In this era doll makers took great pride in their work and turned out dolls of great fine tuned detail, from the hand painted eyes in the smooth porcelain heads to the steel riveted leather or cloth bodies and porcelain limbs. The clothing on these antique dolls were hand made by accomplished seamstresses who took the same pride in their work as the doll makers did.

Today we can see this pride reflected in the dolls that have survived the past hundred or more years and they are truly a joy to look at. The fine porcelain heads with human hair set in the pates with the fine detailed faces reflect the countenance of the time period in which they were made. The wonder and innocence that seems to emulate from those faces can bring us back in time in our imaginations.

The wonderfully refined and cultured dress of the antique dolls that were made to represent the women of the time are exquisite. From the long underclothing to the many layers above, finished off with the high topped shoes and the sun shading hat. Armand Marseille, Heinrich Handwerck, Ernst Heubach, JD Kestner, Ernst Kammer, Franz Reinhardt, Pierre Jumeau and Leon Casimir Bru were each in the top of the top doll makers in the time period in which they lived and worked their doll magic.

Today any of their dolls are the ones collectors keep an eye open for.

Marceille, Handwerck, Heubach, Kestner, Kammer and Reinhardt were all of German descent, Jumeau and Bru of French descent.

When collecting antique dolls, everyone wishes for the best, of course, a doll with no cracks or crazing, which is a “weathering” of the doll shown by lines on the surface, and certainly no missing limbs. However, even those dolls are worthy of having in your collection. They show a loved and well played with history and are valuable just as they are, not all cleaned up and repainted and redressed and given new wigs.

More often than not, a ” redoing ” will diminish the value of a collectible doll.

If you are a doll lover of any kind, beware. Once you begin to really look at these old antique dolls, you will be smitten. They are hard to resist, but.. know that any one of them that makes its way into your home and your heart will never let you down. Their value can only go up as time goes by… and there will always be doll lovers around.

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