Every little girl loves dolls, but there is something special and nearly magical about a classic porcelain doll. While many people write porcelain dolls off as relics of a time that has passed, collectible porcelain dolls can be held for a lifetime and carry a heavy sentimental value for the collector. These dolls occupy a very special niche in the world of antique collecting.
People are correct in their classification of porcelain dolls as antiques in many circumstances, because, much of the time, they are. Porcelain dolls have been around since the Europeans finally discovered the art of manufacturing porcelain in the 1700s. Only a few of these antique porcelain dolls survive to this day. This type of rare porcelain doll is very valuable.
Antique porcelain dolls that possess glazed faces are the dolls which are popularly referred to as "china dolls." Porcelain dolls with a face that appears more like natural skin, with an unglazed finish, are referred to as "bisque."
When purchasing antique porcelain dolls, look for evidence that the clothing and painted features of the doll are original and that there have been no breaks or tears in clothing. These things contribute to the value of the doll.
Before the 1800s, all porcelain dolls were portrayals of small adult humans in adult clothing. Finding a doll from this era constitutes the finding of a truly rare porcelain doll. During the 1800s a Frenchman by the name of Jumeau began producing "bebe" dolls, that is to say, porcelain baby dolls. These were highly collectible porcelain dolls and were sold all over Europe.
The first tip in porcelain doll collecting is to do it for love. The best route to happiness with this hobby is to collect the dolls because they make you happy, not because they are of a certain limited edition and you think they will have an increase in market value. It is very difficult in today's unreliable market to make any sort of accurate prediction regarding the future value of collectibles, whether they be dolls, antique books or rare coins. Sure, you can look for limited edition dolls and see which makers are in the highest demand, but in the end, it does not matter a bit. If you are happy with your doll collection, you are a successful collector.
The second tip in porcelain doll collecting is to pass on your love to the next generation. You must pass on your passion, or the hobby of collecting porcelain dolls may indeed become an archaic pastime.
The third tip in porcelain doll collecting is to look for wholesale porcelain dolls. There are many direct-to-market providers who can fulfill your desire for the perfect doll at a fraction of the cost.