We don’t have to tell you that antique dolls are very previous items that deserve your attention. Each of these collectible dolls is a small masterpiece that managed to survive the test of time. However, the thing that gives them value is also their biggest flaw. They are very old and can be really hard to repair.
There are lots of different materials that are being used for these items. Porcelain, wax, wood, leather, different fabrics are just some of them. All this stuff makes them that much harder to repair. Not only do you need various materials, but you also know when to use them, how to use them and to be careful not to mess anything up.
But, although it might look like a hard process, you can learn to do it with proper guidance. Luckily, you have us to help you out!
Things to keep in mind before repairs
You have to keep in mind that antique dolls can vary significantly in terms of pricing. Some rare pieces can go for enormous sums. Among other things, this might be due to rare materials being used. All of these factors will drive the price of repairs up when you finally decide to take your doll to a professional.
If you don’t feel competent regarding your skills, it is much better not to touch anything. Even the smallest tinkering can lead to additional damage which will not only lead to more repairs and decreased value, but it might also jeopardize the item’s authenticity. Needless to say, dolls worth the most in pristine condition. Repairs can cost you from 25% to 50% of its value.
No matter what you decide to do with a doll going forward, it is necessary to determine its price beforehand. This is especially true if you’re an inexperienced repairwoman who wants to try her luck with an antique doll. If you want to practice or restore such items, make sure to start with cheaper pieces.
Besides the doll itself, you also have to consider its hair and clothing. Clothing is unfortunately often overlooked but it is considered as a part of the doll. If you want to sell a unique piece, you need to keep in mind that collectors always want to buy an item in its original clothing. Even if an outfit is tattered, it will be worth much more than a replica. So, don’t throw anything and try to keep it in the best shape possible.
Repairing it yourself
The main thing you need to keep in mind when it comes to antique dolls is that you should avoid making any irreversible changes even if it means repairing them. Unfortunately, this is often hard to do as these babies are really delicate. There are lots of things that can go wrong during the process and you will never be able to return things as they were.
No matter what, dolls will show wear and tear. This is especially true for items that are more than 100 hundred years old. Oftentimes, there will be visible damage such as missing limbs or hair. In other cases, the damage may be less noticeable and would require an expert to detect it. You especially have to be aware of certain materials such as wax, leather, wood and so on. This is why a person has to have intimate knowledge of all these materials and how they react with their environment so they know what to look for. So, before you start making any repairs and adjustment, try to figure out what was used to produce the item.
Ideally, you should make your first repairs while being tutored by an experienced professional. Due to the delicate nature of antique dolls, you will need some guidance as most things should be learned firsthand. The trickiest thing about them is the fact that each one is different; depending on the era when a doll was made, you might encounter different issues along the way. This is precisely why learning more about a piece should be your first consideration prior to anything else.
Best places to teach you about doll repairs
When we talk about popular collectibles, antique dolls are definitely at the top of that list. Because of that, the market is full of companies that are selling them or repairing them. In fact, they have become a global phenomenon so no matter where you live, you will be able to find a local expert that can assist you.
Here are some of our main recommendations:
- The United Federation of Doll Clubs is a membership organization of people who love, collect and restore dolls.
- Doll Reference lists doll manufacturers from the 19th and 20th centuries and is a good resource for identifying your treasures.
- The Little Doll Shoppe makes reproduction doll parts, many custom-designed.
No matter what you decide to do, take it one step at a time. The decision shouldn’t be rushed as these babies are masterpieces and the last thing you would like to do is ruin one of them. At the same time, don’t feel discouraged; it is a skill that can be mastered.