Identifying a Doll Maker

?The manufacturer’s marks that appear on many collectible vintage dolls are usually found on the head or neck, between the shoulder blades or on the bottom of the feet.

Collecting vintage dolls has become a popular hobby for many people around the world today because almost every doll made in the past has its own very special story to tell, and just looking at them and holding them can give you a real sense of the past and how people used to live in less-than-modern times. Although people today now collect just about every different type of doll made, it is the true vintage collectible dolls that have the highest values. However, one sticking point in the field of antique and vintage dolls is the proper identification of them, and determining when, where and most importantly, who made them is all important in determining their true value.

Because the identity of a doll maker is such an important factor in determining value, many experienced antique doll collectors can determine the identity of a doll’s maker and the value, by a dolls size, the materials the doll is made of and the composition of its head and many other minor details are of significance too. Ordinary people who are not in the business of doll collecting can face many challenges when they inherit a collection of dolls and are searching for the maker’s identities. Because digging through books and antique stores can be very time consuming and hiring professional appraisers can be costly, the best way for the average person to determine a doll maker’s identity is to look for any manufacturer’s marks that usually appear in one of four main locations on a doll’s body.

Many of the most prolific early doll manufacturers marked the bodies with a name or a number or a combination of a name and number or even a combination of numbers and letters. These marks are most commonly found on the head or neck, between the shoulder blades or on the feet. In some cases the only visible clues might be found on tags that appear on original doll clothing, but since dolls were made to be children’s toys, the tags were often cut or torn off over the years. Making things more difficult is the fact that some older dolls may have no markings at all. These factors have made the recognition of an antique doll maker somewhat of an art form today. If you can identify the maker of a particular vintage doll, it will help determine its value and perhaps tell an interesting story about the manufacturer as well as its past history.


Images courtesy of Adam Freidin, pasukaru76, photogirl7.1

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