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Dolls were manufactured and purchased for two reasons: playing and collecting.

Therefore, there are categories for toy dolls and collectible dolls that were manufactured over numerous centuries.

Certain types of dolls are more popular than others. This makes them highly coveted and therefore more expensive, too.

There are a few other factors that can also affect value (more on that later) but the type of doll is the single factor that hold the highest influence.

Mearto evaluates hundreds of similar items each month.

How to identify antique dolls

Doll collecting is one of the oldest forms of hobby. This is a passion for people from all over the world and across all ages. If you are interested in collecting or have a collection of antique dolls to sell, it is important to know every aspect of doll collecting so you can sell yours for the highest value possible. It is an ancient art and one that has evolved through time. Therefore, there are a lot of challenges with identifying and valuing dolls from across various eras.
You need to take note of the guidelines and other basic information you need to know when valuing antique dolls.

Antique Dolls for Collecting

Many of the collectors that find vintage dolls do so because of a sense of nostalgia. Most of them have collected dolls since childhood. Hence, doll collecting is something that they cherish because of the nostalgic value. On the other hand, there are those who have had their dolls handed down to them from one generation to another. The sentimental value of the dolls has developed in them that fascination for collecting it.

How to Identify Antique Dolls?

Do you need identification with your antique dolls? The history of doll collecting is a long one. It holds a special place in history such that it is not just collected by young girls but also avid collectors of antique.
You can identify old and antique dolls through its fashion. In fact, many doll collectors are drawn to it because of fashion. The fashion styles featured on old dolls are associated with the development of fashion over centuries and years. For example, Victorian dolls feature distinctive Victorian fashion elements. Expert appraisers therefore look at fashion when dating vintage dolls as it can reflect a specific time period or era.
In addition to fashion, other specific details such as the sewing and costuming can also help to identify the style and era of antique dolls. There are a plethora of sewing patterns that have been used on dolls over the years. It is therefore important point in collecting dolls; you need to look at the costumes and sewing patterns used for their manufacture.

Types of Dolls

There have been numerous types of dolls that are manufactured over many centuries. If you are interested in collecting or selling vintage dolls, it is important to identify these different types of dolls because they can differ in value. They were mostly categorized based on the type of materials that were used for making them.
Understanding the different types of materials for making the dolls, as well as the artistic details incorporated in each is crucial for those serious about doll collecting. Here are the types of antique dolls available for avid vintage collectors:

  • Cloth Dolls – This is a type of collectible doll made with cloth. They typically have flat cloth faces and the facial features are hand painted. Meanwhile, the hair for the doll is made of yarn. The clothing for the doll is made of cloth and usually sewn by hand. For these reasons, cloth dolls are among the most popular types of vintage dolls because of the artistic level required for making them.
  • Porcelain Dolls – This type of doll is made by firing pure clay. It is coveted by doll collectors because of the elegant look of the doll’s translucent material. Many of the Victorian dolls use porcelain.
  • Wood Dolls – Wooden dolls are one of the most primitive types of dolls in the market. Linden and basswood are the two most common types of wooden materials used for making dolls. They are seen as folk art pieces but are also valued for the high level of craftsmanship required for making them.  
  • Hard Plastic Dolls – The hard plastic is made with a flesh tone to mimic the color of the human skin. This is the most common type of doll in the modern times; however, the use of hard plastic for making dolls came about in the 1940s.
  • Bisque Dolls – This is one of the collector’s favorites, which is made of tinted but unglazed ceramic porcelain. Many of the French and German bisque dolls were colored before firing to achieve that warm, rich color to the dolls.
  • Metal Dolls – There are two types of metal dolls: ones made completely out of metal or those with metal heads. They were manufactured in the US and Germany during the 1880s. Most of the metal dolls are made with brass, pewter, tin or silver.

The Value of Antique Dolls

The value of antique dolls can vary depending on what type of doll you have in your possession. As mentioned earlier, the type of doll will also determine its material and the level of craftsmanship required for its manufacture.
These are the factors that affect the value of antique dolls:

  • Age of the doll
  • Condition
  • Rarity of the doll
  • Presence of markings
  • Size of the doll
  • Quality
  • Doll style
  • Artist’s workmanship
  • Accessories (such as shoes, parasols, and hats)
  • Original vs restoration

How Antique Dolls are Appraised

Do you have antique dolls that you want appraised? They are the only ones that can determine the actual value of vintage dolls using the factors already mentioned above. When appraising the value of these dolls, you should choose only qualified appraisers. It is your job to research on certified appraisers as there are illegitimate ones online. If you want an honest and accurate appraisal, you can work with certified websites such as Mearto. We have trained and expert appraisers to valuate your antique items, such as vintage toys and dolls.


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