UNCOVERING ANTIQUE DOLL FACTS
CHINA-HEAD DOLL FROM 1860S
Q Enclosed are photographs of my mother’s china-head doll. It is 192 inches long. It belonged to her mother and possibly had been her grandmother’s. It has to be at least 100 years old, as my mother is 83. The doll has a hole in each ear, so she must have had earrings. Her body is very soft leather filled with sawdust. There are no markings anywhere. My mother would like to dress her, but doesn’t know what costume would be appropriate. She believes this is a French doll. Also, could you give us an approximate value? She has no chips, cracks or broken pieces, and her body is in very good condition. We would appreciate any information you can give.
A Your lovely china head is a very desirable model manufactured in Germany in the 1860s, so knowing the date might help you figure out which generation it originally belonged to. This head was manufactured in Germany, possibly by Dornheim, Koch & Fischer. Collectors of china dolls have named this doll Countess Dagmar, but that is not historical. Giving styles certain names just helps collectors when they are talking about dolls to identify the models they are referring to. The doll was not marketed under that name. The body that she is now on is not her original body. She acquired it probably somewhere between 1900 and 1915. Since she is a lady doll, she would have been on a more shapely body with a very small waist. It would probably have been cloth, with china lower arms and legs with molded boots or leather arms, but it could have been completely of leather. You will have to decide whether to restore her to the proper body type or leave her on this later body. If this is the body she had when your mother played with her, she might want to keep her this way. As for dressing her, she should be dressed in an elegant gown of the 1860s to match her elegant hairstyle. For ideas, look in the Colemans’ The Collector’s Book of Dolls’ Clothes. It should be available in your local library. On pages 142-205, you will see examples of dolls costumed in 1860s fashions. As for value, her head is worth $400-500 and the body $50-60. Good luck on your project! If there are any doll shows near you, you might want to visit them. It’s a good place to look at other similar dolls, find vintage fabrics and perhaps even find a good body more appropriate for her.
JOINTED DOLL COMPANY DOLL WITH STEEL HANDS AND FEET
Q We recently purchased this doll in an antique shop in Vermont. She is all wood with steel hands and feet. Around her waist is a black paper band on which is printed “Approved Jointed Doll Patented April 29,1870”. We did not find her in your Blue Book. Would you be so kind as to give us some information about her? She is about 12 inches tall.
A Your doll was made by the Jointed Doll Company of North Springfield, Vt., so it’s not surprising that you should have found her in that state. The Jointed Doll Company operated from 1879-1881, although the owners, Dexter and Frank D. Martin, were making dolls as early as 1874 and as late as 1885. Frank applied for the U.S. patent on the doll, which was granted on April 29, 1879. (You are apparently misreading the date.) The doll has a wooden body with ball-and– socket joints that were fastened by rivets. The hands and feet are metal, with painted blue boots. The head is molded composition with blonde hair over a wood core. Most of the dolls were 12 inches, but larger dolls are known to have been made. Further patents for this doll were granted on Dec. 7,1880 to George W Sanders and on Nov. 7, 1882 to Charles C. Johnson. We do not know whether Sanders and Johnson were subsequent owners of the company or employees who may have designed improvements. Your doll seems to be in unusually nice condition for this type, which usually has quite a lot of wear on the head and paint chips on the metal limbs. With appropriate old clothes, I would value her at $850-950. Enjoy your wonderful find!
COMPOSITION ARMAND MARSEILLE DOLL
Q I have a 22-inch doll with bisque Armand Marseille “390 A 6 1/2 M” head. She has a walking composition body. The legs are on metal rods inside the open bottom of the torso. It also holds a paper bellows. When the doll is made to walk, the head moves from side to side and she makes a “mama” sound every few steps. I think she dates to the 1930s. What would her value be? What kind of clothes should she wear? I would appreciate any information you can give me.
A Since Armand Marseille dolls are fairly common-after all, he was the largest manufacturer of German bisque headed dolls-collectors tend to think that all A.M. dolls are lower line in quality, but that is not the case. Marseille manufactured many topquality dolls as well as a very large number of economy dolls. Yours is a good example of a higher-priced doll. She has an excellent-quality body with the extra details of walking and talking mechanisms and a moving head, seldom found on an A.M. doll. This type of body is much more commonly found on French dolls, but one other German factory, Kammer & Reinhardt, made one that is found fairly often. When your doll is properly clothed, I would value her at about $600 if her head is perfect with no cracks, chips or repairs. With her original short bobbed hair, I would place her in the 1920s-1930s. She should wear a drop-waist dress with an above-the-knee hem. The reprints of the Kammer & Reinhardt 1920s catalogs show lots of dressed dolls, and these would be an excellent place for you to see what she should look like when appropriately dressed. You would probably be able to find the reprints at a doll show. Thank you for sharing her with us.
JUMEAU DOLL FROM 1890S Q I bought this doll at a Paris flea market. She is 34 inches tall. I wrapped her in Pampers and carried her all the way home in my arms. Her only markings are an incised “15” and a marked red “14” on her head. She has a ball-jointed body. She is very beautiful. If possible, I would like you to tell me about her.
A Your doll was made by the prestigious Maison Jumeau of Paris. Even though she doesn’t carry the Jumeau trademark, there is no mistaking the beautiful Jumeau face. Jumeau started to make dolls possibly as early as 1842 and continued until 1899, when he joined the S.F.B.J., a group of French doll manufacturers. Jumeau had one of the largest doll factories in the world. They proudly advertised that all parts of the doll-head, wig, eyes, jointed body, even the clothes, shoes and stockings-were made in the Jumeau factory. They even made their own boxes and packing cases. Collectors love Jumeau dolls, and the prices for them remain high even though many of the models made during the 1890s are fairly easy to find. Your doll has an open mouth, and this feature would place her in the 1890s. During this time, a lot of Jumeau dolls were produced without the trademark stamp. Some of these dolls were sold to department stores and specialty shops that marketed them under their own name. Although these dolls did not carry the Jumeau trademark, Jumeau insisted that they were the same quality as the marked dolls. The 115″ incised on the back of your doll’s head is the size number. This is consistent with a Jumeau doll of that size, so it’s an additional indication that she is indeed a Jumeau. The red “14” is probably just an artist’s mark. Many Jumeau have painted red marks on the back of the head, and we don’t know exactly what they mean. We can only guess that it may be the painter’s number or the order number. With her lovely old dress and wig, your doll would sell today in the $4,000,500 range. She is truly a treasure.
We welcome your questions. Address letters to Jan Foulke, clo Doll Reader, 6405 Flank Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17112. Mrs. Foulke regrets that due to the large volume of mail she receives, she cannot respond to letters individually unless they pertain to her current research projects. Questions of general interest will be answered from time to time through this column. Photographs and/or illustrations submitted to Mrs. Foulke carry permission for reproduction in this magazine unless otherwise requested. Once printed, they become the property of PRIMEDIA Enthusiast Group and cannot be returned.
Copyright Cowles Enthusiast Media Oct 2001
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