F.&W. Goebel doll
Q As a professional designer, I frequently enter homes where I find a “sad” hidden doll that was once loved, but is no longer presentable. After I design the home and repair the doll, the home becomes complete. I often receive thank yous for the completion of the home and always a special thank you for the restoration of a doll. I have a question concerning this doll. She is marked “1912 Germany B4” and is 25 inches tall with set eyes and open mouth. I cannot identify her. Can you please help me, as I do love her?
A Your pretty German bisque doll was made by the porcelain factory of F.&W. Goebel, located in Coburg, Germany. Although the Goebel factory is best known for its Hummel figurines, this is an old factory that also made china half-dolls, bisque and china figurines, tableware, and knickknacks as well as bisque doll heads. They did not make complete dolls, but sold the porcelain parts to doll factories. In general, the quality of the Goebel heads is not as consistently good as those of other Thuringian factories of J.D. Kestner and Kling & Co., but many of them such as yours are very lovely. Furthermore, the production of doll heads was not as prominent a part of the Goebel overall business as with other factories. Some of the Goebel heads are incised with the trademark symbol “Triangle and Moon” or “Crown” over and entwined “W G,” but many of them did not have the trademark. The “B4” mark on your doll indicates that she is a Goebel. Other letters sometimes used by Goebel are A, C, G, H, K, S, SA & T. Some collectors assume that any bisque doll head incised with a letter and number was made by J.D. Kestner, as his letter/number sizing system is famous, but “B4” would never work for a Kestner, which with a “B” would always have a “6.” Also a Kestner size “B” would be much smaller, more in the 15-inch range. The “1912” on your doll’s head appears to be written in by hand rather than incised as part of the mark, so I think someone added it just to date the doll. You have redressed her in an appropriate style. Enjoy your sweet little girl!
Copyright Ashton International Media, Inc. Aug 2003
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