Precise and detailing hand-painted Royal Doulton items originated in England in the 19th and 20th centuries when Henry Doulton founded the Doulton pottery company in 1815. His focus was on industrial stoneware, but the company started the housewares and figurine production once John Watts joined the business in the 1820s.
King Edward the VII promoted the company to the Royal Doulton in 1901. Nowadays, you can find numerous home essentials, like glassware, tableware, cookware, and figurines, with their mark. Before starting the new collection, you should check Royal Doulton price guides first. Let’s see.
Royal Doulton Figurines Value
Whether you are interested in buying or selling Royal Doulton figurines, learning as much as possible about their value is vital.
Quality-price guides are typically an excellent source of information, so you should look for one with a few recommended qualities:
- It is up to date and preferably published in the last year
- The best books are those written by multiple authors with different perspectives
- It should include details of each figurine’s value calculation
- It provides photographs and descriptions for as many figurines as possible
One of the best options is the online Royal Doulton Figurines Guide, with photos and detailed descriptions of more than 3,000 pieces.
Another option to estimate a particular figurine price is to check online auction sites, like Live Auctioneers and eBay, and their SOLD listings.
Ways to Value a Royal Doulton Figurines
The rule of thumb is that older Royal Doulton figurines produced in a lower number, particularly limited edition pieces, are costly.
All Royal Doulton figurines came with fixed proportions. Any deviation from these measures is a sign that they are fake.
Dedicated collectors typically look for figurines in top-notch condition without any damage or flaws. Signs of wear, cracks, and chips will always decrease their value.
Visible markings on Royal Doulton figurines, particularly so-called potted marks on pieces produced before 1939, will significantly increase their value.
The Royal Doulton company changed its logo over time. The first one used from 1879 to 1902 had a crown above the Royal Doulton. In 1901, the company introduced a new logo featuring a lion and a crown above its name.
From 1922 to 1927, the logo excluded a crown, but the company returned it in 1927 plus added digits from 1 to 30. Each number signed a production year in a period from 1928 to 1957. During the 1930s, the logo got the inscription Made in England above the Royal Doulton name.
Back stamp and HN number
Finding the back stamp is the quickest way to identify authentic Royal Daulton figurines and their age. Look for it at the figurine bottom, just above its name.
In most cases, you will find a hand-written HN sign plus a carved identification number on figurines designed from 1913 to 1940. The HN sign is actually artist Harry Nixon’s initials. The numbers were based on the figurine production year.
Royal Doulton figurines’ prices significantly vary, depending on the artist who created them. The most appreciated and sought-after pieces are those with the well-known artist’s validated signature.
Theme and color
Collectors like beautifully colored figurines and appreciate particular themes. For instance, one of the most sought-after collections is a Pretty Ladies set from 1913, recognizable for vibrant colors.
The Royal Doulton company used the highest quality materials to produce their figurines. Initial models made of terracotta and stoneware were heavy. However, typical pieces created of ultimate-quality strong and translucent bone china were lighter and contained:
- China clay
- Calcined bone ash
- Cornish stone
Royal Doulton painted their figurines with soft-toned pastel color. They paid attention to details, and each part came in a particular hue. For instance, figurines’ eyes are not only black dots, but you can recognize pupils and irises.
Royal Doulton Seconds
Royal Doulton company always strived for perfection and refused to sell sub-standard figurines. However, they didn’t throw them away either but created a separate category, the Seconds.
Seconds were distinctly marked with a dash across the company’s name or a hole in the middle back stamp. That way, it is impossible to confuse them with high-quality pieces.
Popular Royal Doulton Figurine Series
You can recognize more than 4,000 Royal Doulton figurine models created from the 1890s to the present day.
Besides these individual pieces, the company designed a few well-known figurine series. Most collectors look for those in excellent condition, and you can expect them to be expensive.
1. Pretty Ladies collection
Hand-decorated figurines in this set are probably the most famous Royal Doulton collectible items. The first Pretty Lady model dressed in an elegant, swirling dress appeared in 1913.
All others were made the same way, but their rich-looking dresses in pastel colors and shades were always unique.
2. The Dickens Ware series
Royal Doulton produced these hand-made miniature decorative items with characters from Charles Dickens books from 1922 to 1983. For several decades, the company used fine bone china to make them, but newer versions were typically larger earthenware.
3. The BunnyKins series
This Royal Doulton collection included dishware with classic BunnyKins figurines dedicated to children. The first of over 150 bunny-themed pieces appeared on the market in 1933. Collectors are prepared to pay $1,000 to $2,000 per piece, but those created by artist Barbara Vernon are even more expensive.
4. The Brambly Hedge series
A licensed Brambly Hedge series of plates, mugs, and bowls came with lovely child-themed images from Jill Barklem’s picture books. The first set appeared in 1980.
5. The Nursery Rhymes series
The company introduced these delicate bone china figurines in 1949. They included kids’ favorite characters from nursery rhymes.
6. Figures of Williamsburg series
Royal Doulton decided to give honor to efforts to restore Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, the former capital of the English colony, from 1698. The company designed a series with typical Williamsburg town residents, including prominent craftsmen.
7. Specialty figurines
Royal Doulton frequently released limited editions of specialty figurine series, which are highly collectible nowadays. For instance, each piece from the Gone With the Wind series is worth at least $500 despite being new and created in the 21st century.
Figurines from the Six Wives of Henry VIII series are even more pricey, and you should set aside $500 to $1,000 for each. It is the same with a Cleopatra figurine from the series Les Femmes Fatales filmed in 1979.
Most Valuable Royal Doulton Figurines
Most Royal Doulton figurines and tableware are worth $25 to $50, but vintage and antique items can reach over $2,000 at auctions. Their price mainly depends on the series, artist, and condition. A few rare pieces are particularly valuable, including:
The Bather, produced in 1928, is the rarest and most expensive Royal Doulton figurine. John Broad created this atypically heavy and sizable piece in the Art Nouveau style, popular in the early Victorian era.
Most models have blonde hair, but this brunette bather with a floral headband was paid $8,100. The figurine is 13.75 inches (35 cm) tall and 5.5 inches (14 cm) wide, making it a perfect decoration.
Most valuable Royal Doulton figurines
|Production year||Figurine type||Number||Price|
|1900||La Victoire Crowing Cockerel||/||$5,387|
|1917 to 1935||Bluebeard with Plume on Turban||HN 75||$5,379|
|1920 to 1949||Ellen Terry as Queen Catherine||HN 1379||$3,600|
|1985||Les Saisons Hiver (Winter)||HN 3069||$2,995|
|1916 to 1938||Pretty Lady||HN 0070||$2,241|
|1990 to 1999||Romeo and Juliet||HN 3113||$1,500|
|2000||Suzhou Monkey||BA 40||$1,099|
|1964||Prestige Matador and Bull||HN 2324||$875|
La Victoire Crowing Cockrel
This 10.25 inches (26 cm) high figurine from 1900 is one of the rare existing Royal Doulton made of stoneware before 1913. John Broad designed it incredibly realistic to highlight the feather texture and movement.
You can see his initials added instead of a back stamp and number typical for this company. You can’t find its value in the Charlton Standard Catalogue, but some experts estimate it to be over $5,000.
Bluebeard with plume on a turban
Royal Doulton produced Bluebeard figurine No HN75 from 1917 to 1935, but it is rare on the current market. It depicted a famous character dressed in middle-eastern attire from the 1001 Arabian Nights stories. You need to set aside over $5,000 to get one.
Ellen Terry as Queen Catherine
C.J. Noke created these 12.25 inches (31 cm) hand-painted figurines with the number HN1379. They show Queen Elizabeth the way Ellen Terry portrayed it in Shakespeare’s Henry VIII. Their production lasted from 1920 to 1949, and rare surviving models typically cost $3,600.
Collectors are prepared to pay approximately $3,500 for every 7.75 inches (20 cm) tall child figurine in a nightgown. Its beauty is in the faithful portrayal of childlike innocence.
Les Saisons Hiver
This hand-made 11.5 inches (29 cm) tall Winter figurine on a 7 by 3 inches (17.8 x 7.6 cm) base is from a limited edition created in 1985. The company produced only 300 pieces, but experts estimate that their number is significantly lower nowadays. Its rarity justifies the price of $ 3,000.
Although Royal Doulton introduced numerous figurines within the Pretty Ladies collection, this particular retired piece is something special.
Harry Tittensor designed it within the Grande Dame collection, and you can expect to pay at least $2,200 for this 9.5 inches (24 cm) tall figurine wearing a powder blue dress.
Romeo and Juliet
This Romeo and Juliet garden scene is an excellent option for romantics worldwide. Even though it was created at the end of the 20th century, its price is about $1,500 per piece.
Royal Doulton produced only 250 of these limited-edition 9 inches (23 cm) wide and 8.5 inches (21.6 cm) tall figurines. Artisans made them in flambéed Chinese style, and collectors adore their blood-red color.
If you believe in the Chinese myth that this monkey brings fortune and good luck, you can buy a piece for just over $1,000. Well, the owner will become wealthier after selling it.
Prestige matador and bull
This rare 24 inches (61 cm ) long and 16 inches (40.6 cm) high porcelain Royal Doulton figurine is an excellent present for a bullfighting fan who can pay $875 for it. A group of artisans spent a year completing the entire composition produced in 1964 under the number HN2324.
Ways to Determine Fake Royal Doulton Figurines
There are a few typical ways for fraudsters to create a fake Royal Doulton figurine to look real, so you should be careful when trading. Therefore, it is necessary to check a few things that will undoubtedly show you that the piece is fake.
Smaller figurines because of low-quality materials
One of the quickest fraud techniques is to make a mold of an original figurine and use it to create fake pieces. However, these pieces are always smaller because counterfeiters always use low-quality materials.
They shrink during the firing clay process, so the resulting pieces are smaller than the originals. On the other hand, figurines made of plaster don’t require firing and stay the correct size, but their base will remain unpainted.
Altering the paint and color schemes
Fakes always look differently because of uneven and brighter color finish without details typical for Royal Doulton figurines. Sometimes counterfeiters remove the original color from an authentic piece or change its original features.
That way, an ordinary figurine can remind of a unique piece. Another option is a forgery of the identifying mark on the base by re-painting it or adding a false HN number or back stamp.
Where to Find Authentic Royal Doulton Figurines
There are several places to look when you want to buy an original Royal Doulton figurine, like:
- Neighborhood estate sale
- Specialty retail stores
- Auction venues
- Specialty Retail
- Online vintage and antique markets
- Online store
Royal Doulton figurines are beautiful and valuable items that originated in England. Always check the HN number at the back and Royal Doulton’s official back stamp before purchasing a desirable piece. Be prepared that their price will significantly depend on condition and model.