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Porcelain Dolls: History, Origin, Types and Price

Today, we have a wide variety of doll products such as reborn and silicone baby dolls.

While dolls existed since the primitive societies, first modern dolls were created in Italy during the 15th century. During this period there were numerous public exhibitions depicting the life of Christ. For this purpose, elaborate dolls resembling humans were used.

The trend soon spread all over Europe. In certain countries such as France, there was an organized movement which created complex dolls using wood as a material. These dolls also had intricate clothes and were primarily for nobility.

Both adults and children could play with them. In that regard, they were neither toys nor simple objects but instead, something in between.

Unfortunately, while wood is a good material for creating dolls, it is problematic for adding intricate details. No matter how good an artist is, he could never make them realistic. We had to wait for a long time until first modern realistic dolls were created. This happened in the 19th century with the appearance of a new material that would allow artists to add details: Chinese porcelain.

Types of dolls made of porcelain

Doll movement was strong in numerous countries of the world. People were going crazy for these beautiful miniatures. Because of this, we got lots of different variations of the item.

The most popular porcelain dolls are Chinese, German and French. Some of them were made from glazed porcelain while others used unglazed one.

Price of porcelain dolls

Needless to say, these dolls are highly collectible and to the right person, they can worth a lot of money.

In most cases, it is really easy to assess their value. Nowadays, there are various online shops and auction houses where you can find them. Most of them will be priced around 10 to 15 dollars while the rare ones can go up to 200. Still, this doesn’t work in every case and for particular, collectible dolls, you might want to ask an expert for assistance.

The condition of a doll also has a big impact on the price. For example, the same doll, from the same manufacturer can vary significantly in price based on their condition and current doll trends. If we’re talking about items that are more collectible, they can go for $200, $300 and even more.

Identifying the doll's age and condition

When appraising a doll, the expert will take a magnifying glass to check it out. The main things that are being checked are the name of the creator (authenticity is also corroborated along the way), certain marks which can be located on various parts of the doll’s body, the condition of the clothes and whether they are original, skin of the doll, dolls hair etc. Basically, every part is under scrutiny.

Usually, the expert will refer to material for identifying age. Keep in mind that different trends and techniques were used during history and by discovering which techniques were used, you can not only determine the period when it was made but possibly even the manufacturer. Of course, older dolls will almost always bring a higher price.

Where to buy porcelain dolls?

There are lots of different sites you can refer to for information. Most enthusiasts will go to eBay or certain doll forums. Given how popular porcelain dolls are, there are even magazines and other publications where you can check some old items. Nevertheless, our advice is to contact an expert.

While doing your own research is always beneficial, you can never be fully certain unless you call someone who has the necessary experience and knowledge. In some cases, the expert will be able to determine the initial price and even provide the certificate of authenticity. This will be a great head start if you were considering to sell it.

The most valuable, unique dolls are usually presented during special, exclusive auctions. Some of them may cost up to several hundreds of dollars!

Final words

Porcelain dolls are an important part of doll history. In fact, they had a profound impact on the toy industry and how certain items look like today.

Having such an object in your home is a real privilege but also a responsibility. These dolls are really fragile so you will have to pay attention to how you’re handling them. In the end, you don’t want to damage your little precious angel!


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