EBay is Great But...........
I have been asked to speak at doll clubs and women's club meetings over the years, and have always spoken of the importance when purchasing antique dolls, to do your homework. Invest in some good books that can help you identify a true antique doll. What to look for that will give you hints that a doll may not be an antique, and to know what is a fair price and what is not.
The biggest dangers used to lie in flea markets and "antique stores" where the owners really did not have the knowledge to know what they were selling, and often would mistake dirt or abuse, for age. I like to think that these people truly did not know what they were selling, that the mistakes were honest, however the person buying the doll was still the ultimate looser in the transaction.
Enter the computer era and we now have ebay..the electronic flea market, where ignorance is bliss and boy oh boy the buyer better be aware!! The best defense, if you don't trust your own knowledge is to make sure that you only deal with reputable dealers when purchasing antique dolls. You will soon learn what to look for!
I am truly not knocking e-bay, there are some terrific finds on there, just make sure you know what you are looking at, and be very careful about what you read. Just for fun, I spent a little time and pulled up some examples of what I mean. These items were found ALL ON ONE DAY, I did not spend weeks compiling this information. All of these items billed as "antique dolls" are very poor quality, originally cheap modern porcelain dolls. The description under the photos is taken directly from their ebay listing, followed by my description of what the dolls actually are. Hope you find this interesting... Best Regards Jayne
The Claim...ANTIQUE PORCELAIN DOLL-BISQUE , EARLY TO MID 1900'S - This doll looks from the early 1900's. She is 16" tall, and fine porcelain. She has an early to mid 1800's crushed blue velvet dress on, with pantaloons undergarment
The Reality..This doll was mass produced in the mid 1980's,in Taiwan, her outfit is original to her, and from the same era. New cost probably less than $20. Value today in dirty condition less than $2.
The Claim...She is approximately 16" tall and is wearing a flawless floral dress with a matching bonnet. Her head, hands, and legs are all porcelain and her body is soft she has beautiful blue glass eyes, and her original hair is in excellent condition. all sales are final.
The Reality..Mass produced, very cheap porcelain doll from early to mid 1990's. Her eyes are acrylic not glass. Made in Taiwan, initial retail approx $10, value now $1-$5 in any thrift shop. I particularly liked the "all sales final" notation on this listing. I guess that means, I can misrepresent what I am selling and you can't do a thing about it!
The Claim...Rare Original Bisque 26" Antique Doll Steiner Jumeau, Very old doll, belonged to Great grand ma .Very good condition
The Reality..This doll is made of composition. It has bad crazing around eyes, and is missing the wig. It is rather doubtful that the head is on the correct body, as the scale seems incorrect. Doll is missing one arm. May have value in the $20 range to a doll doctor for restoration purposes.
The Claim...YOU ARE LOOKING AT AN ANTIQUE PORCELAIN ESTATE DOLL. YOU CAN TELL SHE'S OLD BECAUSE STRINGS HOLD TOGETHER THE ARMS AND LEGS TO THE BODY.
The Reality..Where do they get these ideas?? This doll is from the same era, maybe a bit newer than the doll shown below. She is the second generation of cheaply mass produced porcelain dolls from Tiawan. The arms and legs, and usually the shoulder plate on all of these dolls, were sewn on crudely with string, that went through holes created in the porcelain for that exact purpose. This doll has been redressed, and her hair has been braided.
The Claim...Old antique porcelain doll This auction is for an old antique porcelain doll found at an estate sale.
The Reality..WALDA!! This doll was mass produced in the mid 1980's,in Taiwan, her outfit is original to her, and from the same era. These dolls all had molded poorly painted shoes, crude hands, and poorly painted faces. Unlike higher quality modern porcelain, the paint on these dolls is not fired on. New cost in the TV guide was $4.99 I remember the ads well. Value today in dirty condition less than $2.
The Claim...DOLL ANTIQUE BISQUE HAND PAINTED PORCELAIN LOOK AT THIS BEAUTIFUL HAND PAINTED BISQUE FACE!! SHE ALSO HAS BISQUE ARMS AND LEGS!!
The Reality..Ummmm gee...does she look familiar?? WALDA!! They are everywhere!! The craziest example of this doll I have seen on e-bay read as follows: Rare, very very old antique doll, belonged to my great great grandmother. The starting bid was $99. and she had a buy it now for $3,000. I did not give that seller the benefit of the doubt because of the great great grandmother comment. Unbelievable.
The Claim...Antique Bisque Doll, with bonnet Antique Bisque Doll, hands head and feet, doll is stuffed with removable clothing and shoes, also wears a straw bonnett. Great Condition.
The Reality..Modern porcelain doll from the mid 1990's. Again mass produced, cheaply made in Taiwan, and not worth a thing in displayed, soiled condition.
The Claim...porcelain doll antique This doll is in excellent condition. My aunt owned a large collection of porcelain dolls from the mid 1800s
The Reality..Modern porcelain doll from the mid 1990's. A mass produced doll, inexpensive to purchase initially but a step up from the ones previously shown. Original retail price approx $30. Value today in messed up condition approx $5
The Claim...Antique Bisque Porcelain Boy Doll This is an antique bisque porcelain doll. He is 9" tall & dressed in a hand crocheted pant suit.
The Reality..aahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... this is one of the scariest dolls I have ever seen and one of the most poorly painted examples. This type of doll is a modern "reproduction" if I dare use the term, using antique replica molds.The concept is great, the reality is, if you are not an artistic person, you will not be able to do a credible job on painting the features. This doll is valued at nothing, as the quality is so poor who would want to
The Claim...Your bidding on a Antique Jumeau Doll from the early 1940's. It's one of their first attempts to make a porcelain doll, which is the material as well. As you all know they were unsucessful, which makes this doll ETREMELY RARE. It's in near mint condition. No tags or stamps on the doll because they didn't produce these dolls. It was a test doll that they made only a few of in there warehouse, about 10. This is what the Jumeau Historian told me. good Luck!
The Reality..That is soooo funnny!. WALDA!!! I guess 4 of the 10 produced happened to show up on ebay in the same week!
The Claim...This one was being sold as an antique doll head, wonderful condition, no cracks or chips, a wonderful addition to your doll collection.
The Reality..I don't even know what to say!!!!!!! This doll would have been "created" using a mold by someone most likely in a dollmaking class, that had less talent than your average 4 year old. Lets just paint some eyeballs on some white marbles and stick em in. Be sure to use lots of glue, it will help fill in the gaps around the eye sockets.! Ok, I will stop now, this may have been someone's pride and joy.
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