When it comes to collectables, porcelain dolls divide opinion. Some find them beautiful, others think they’re creepy! But whichever camp you fall into, there’s no denying that some are extremely valuable. So just how much can they be worth?
That’s what we’re going to find out! We’re taking a look at 15 of the most valuable vintage porcelain dolls sold in recent years. And we’ll explore just what it is that makes them so precious.
If you’re ready, let’s find out more!
Most Valuable Vintage Porcelain Dolls Worth Money
1. 11-inch Bru “Size A” Fashion Lady
This elegant doll is made of bisque porcelain, an unglazed porcelain with a matte appearance. She stands 11 inches tall and was made by the Bru company.
Bru was originally set up by a Parisian dollmaker named Leon Casimir Bru in 1866. His wife, Appolyne, was a seamstress, and it was she who created the dolls’ spectacular costumes.
This doll is a Fashion Lady, one of the original series made by Leon and Appolyne. Her head is made of bisque and is marked “A”, designating its size. Her braided hair is made of mohair attached to a cork pate. And her blue eyes are stationary and made of glass.
Her arms – hidden beneath her long, lacy sleeves – are made of kid leather. Her hands are bisque, and each of her fingers is individually wired.
She has pierced ears, complete with earrings, and wears a cameo at her throat. Her undergarments are made of lace and cotton, and her dress is embellished with more lace. She wears netted stockings and leather boots.
Although beautiful, she did have some condition issues when she was sold at auction in 2018. Her dress was thinning, and it had some staining around the ribbon. She nevertheless fetched a price of $1,600.
2. 15-inch Bru French Bisque Fashion Lady
This is another example of Bru’s Fashion Lady dolls. This one, though, stands 15 inches tall.
Her head and lower arms are made of bisque, while her upper arms are wood. Her blonde hair is made from mohair set into a cork pate. And her unblinking eyes are made of blue glass.
Her elegant costume comprises a smart blue day dress with buttons and satin trim, a matching hat and shoes. She has white undergarments, and around her neck hangs a golden crucifix.
Both the doll herself and her clothing were in good condition. And this, together with her larger size, saw her achieve a higher price at auction than the 11-inch model we saw earlier. She was sold in 2018 and was snapped up by a lucky bidder for $3,000.
3. 15-inch A. Thuillier A. T. Bebe
This 15-inch doll was made by Andre Jean Thuillier, who began making dolls in 1876. His are some of the most collectable dolls on the market, with charming faces and beautiful eyes.
This lovely example has a mohair wig on a cork pate. Her socket head is made of pressed bisque, and her features are finely painted. Her eyes are spiral threaded paperweight glass, and her ears are pierced. Her body is made of wood.
Her antique leather rosette shoes are stamped “Paris” to the sole. She wears a bonnet decorated with flowers and a matching silk dress.
The dress is, however, thinning – what doll collectors call “melting”. And there were repairs to her index finger, body, neck and knee joint when she came up for auction in 2018. She nevertheless sold for a cool $8,000.
4. 35-inch French Bisque Lady by Edmund Daspres
This large French doll was designed by Edmund Daspres. Daspres took the helm at the Steiner dollmaking firm in 1905. The doll’s unusual size and body style means she was most likely an exhibition piece.
Her socket head is made of bisque and she has fine features. Her brown glass eyes “sleep” and she has brunette human hair. Her lashes and brows are painted, and her mouth is closed.
Her body shape, with longer limbs and well-defined bust and behind, was designed to wear the fashions of the early twentieth century. She is dressed in a high-necked, silk wedding gown with lace and ruffles, undergarments and leather shoes.
Her veil has a coronet of orange blossom, and there is more orange blossom on her wrist corsage and bouquet. Her head and body are both marked with identifying numbers and initials.
She achieved a price of $10,500 at auction.
5. 19-inch German Bisque Lady 1388 by Simon & Halbig
This 19-inch doll is German, made by the firm of Simon & Halbig. Her head is marked with their initials, while her body bears the initials of Edmund Daspres.
Her mouth is open in a smile, showing a small row of sculpted teeth. And she has dimples at the corners of her lips and cheeks. Her blonde hair is made of mohair, and her ears are pierced. And she wears a lovely Edwardian costume, complete with matching hat.
She was in excellent condition when she came up for auction. That was reflected in the sale price of $14,000.
6. 18-inch French Bisque Doll by Aristide Halopeau
Aristide Halopeau made this lovely French doll in around 1880. Only one model was made, and this is one of the few surviving examples crafted from it.
She has blue glass paperweight eyes, painted lashes and brows, shaded nostrils and closed lips. Her blonde wig is made of mohair and attached to a cork pate.
Her body is made of wood and fully jointed. And she is in excellent condition, in a lovely green velvet costume, complete with bonnet decorated with fruit. Her leather shoes have silk rosettes and are signed “L. D. Collection of Frau Steiner”.
Steiner was a renowned doll collector. For many years, her dolls resided in the Puppenmuseum Stein am Rhein in Switzerland. When the collection was sold at auction, this lovely doll made $40,000.
7. 21-inch “Pink Champagne” Portrait Lady
This 21-inch “Pink Champagne” Portrait Lady is one of the newest dolls on our list. She was made in 1951, and was in near mint condition when she was sold.
Her pale blonde hair is intricately arranged in braids and curls. Her brows, eyeshadow and lower lashes were painted by hand. And she wears a beautiful gown with peach taffeta skirt and embroidered lace.
She has a taffeta slip, net hosiery and satin shoes. And she is fully accessorized with an Italian straw bonnet, tulle purse and pearl earrings.
All those accessories don’t come cheap! She was sold at auction for $44,000.
8. 9-inch French Bisque Bebe A.T. by Andre Thuillier
This 9-inch doll is another example made by Andre Thuillier. The smaller size makes her rare and desirable. And she has an exceptionally lovely face.
Her head is made of bisque, while her body is wooden and fully jointed. Her eyes are blue glass paperweights with spiral threading. And her blonde, waist-length hair is made from mohair.
She is marked A. 1 T. on the head, and T. D. in a shield on her derriere. She dates to around 1862. And her rarity saw her fetch a price of $66,600 when she came up for auction.
9. 21-inch French Bisque Bebe A.T. by Andre Thuillier
Here’s another A. T. Bebe by Andre Thuillier – but this one is much larger. She stands 21 inches tall and has a head that swivels. Her eyes are made of blue glass, and her face is finely featured.
Her body is made of French kid leather, and her blonde hair is mohair on a cork pate. Her forearms are made of bisque. And her fingers are finely sculptured, with excellent detailing on the knuckles and fingernails.
She bears the all-important marks of A. 9 T. on her head and shoulders. And her black leather shoes are marked in the same way.
She was in excellent condition when she came up for sale. The winning bidder paid $65,000 to take her home.
10. 16-inch Bisque Poupee Edmund Rochard Doll
This 16-inch bisque poupee is by the highly collected dollmaker Edmund Rochard. Her eyes are crafted from cobalt glass, and her blonde hair is made from mohair.
Her head, shoulders, forearms and lower legs are made of bisque, while her body is kid leather over wood. She wears a beautiful antique dress with undergarments and stockings. Her slippers are made from rose silk, and she carries a bunch of flowers.
But most distinctive is her necklace. This is a gold medallion that’s also a stanhope. Look through it from behind her shoulders, and you can see a hidden image.
She was in excellent condition when she came to auction, with just the tip of her right thumb having been restored. The price when the hammer fell was $80,000.
11. 26-inch French Bisque Art Character 225 Jumeau
This 26-inch French doll by Jumeau wears a designer costume and carries a parasol. She was in mint condition when sold, and came presented in her original box, complete with color-tinted label.
She was a rare find, having once belonged to the celebrated doll collector Huguette Clark. Clark was herself a fascinating character, and the subject of a best-selling book.
Perhaps it was this provenance that helped this doll reach her impressive sale price. She sold in January 2020 at an auction which marked the 50th anniversary of Theriault’s, an auction house specialising in dolls. That day she made an astonishing $113,500.
12. 22-inch Albert Marque French Bisque Art Character
This 22-inch doll was crafted by the renowned maker Albert Marque. Her bisque head is made from four pieces, and she has blue glass eyes, painted lashes and brows, and accented lips.
She has an unusual body shape, with narrow shoulders and broad hips. And she wears a pretty antique dress made from red wool and a satin blouse. Her undergarments bear the label of the prestigious Margaine-Lacroix boutique, and her original shoes still carry their Alart label.
She is one of only 100 dolls made from this model, and dates to around 1916. Her price at auction was $160,000.
13. 22-inch Albert Marque French Doll
This 22-inch French doll by Albert Marque set a new world record for a porcelain doll when he sold in 2014. So what made him so precious?
Well, firstly it was the maker. Albert Marque is considered one of history’s finest craftsmen of dolls. Second is the rarity. Only 100 of this model were thought to have been created. This one was number 27, identified by the digits inscribed in the head.
The body was specially crafted by the artist Aristodeme Botta, and was designed to realistically depict a young child. The face is finely sculpted and painted. And the doll was presented in his original couturier costume with the cloth label of the Parisian boutique Margaine-Lacroix.
The doll spent nearly fifty years in a Swiss museum before coming to market. He achieved a price of $300,000.
14. 25-inch Kammer & Reinhardt 108 Bisque Character Doll
That same year, this German bisque character doll broke the new record. This doll stands 25 inches tall and was made by Kammer & Reinhardt.
Her eyes are particularly finely painted. They are blue-grey with a darker outline, red dots at the corner, white dots for reflection, and painted eyelids. She has a tranquil expression, with a slight smile, and her auburn hair is worn in two plaits.
Her clothing comprises a white broderie-anglaise dress with lace cuffs and a blue sash. And she has a white petticoat, bloomers and a straw hat.
She created a bidding frenzy when she came to auction. The final price was $308,000.
15. Antoine Edmund Rochard Doll
This nineteenth century doll by Antoine Rochard was considered a perfect example of the golden age of French doll making.
She is beautifully painted and dressed. And she wears a fine necklace with 28 crystals, each of which hold microscopic images of French scenes. When the jewels are held to the eye, the images are magnified 160 times.
She holds the current record for the highest price ever achieved by a porcelain doll. Bidders at the 2018 auction where she was sold included both private collectors and international museums. The winning buyer – Barry Art Museum in Norfolk – claimed her with a final bid of $335,000.
Princes and Princesses in Porcelain
That brings us to the end of our look at 15 of the most valuable vintage porcelain dolls. We hope you’ve enjoyed meeting them!
A doll’s maker, quality, costume and age will all influence the price. Finely painted features and collectable elements like jewelry with stanhopes add to the value.
But for many doll collectors, what makes a doll stand out to them is something personal and unique. That can make it hard to predict the results on auction day – and makes dolls a very exciting field of collecting!