The Porcelain Doll Collector

As far as collecting is concerned, dolls are one of the most popular items collected worldwide and antique dolls remain highly restored-after by discerning collectors. The enduring popularity of dolls is aptly described by Pamela Shearer in 'A Century of Dolls': "an antique doll, with its smooth bisque skin and luminous eyes, has a direct appeal that skips right past logic to lodge in the heart. this essential trick of the human mind, to find irresistible fascination in a face, that underlies our capture with dolls down through the millennia. "

For many collectors, the French and German porcelain bisques of the late 1800s to early 1900s are the first choice. At that time the rivalry between the leading manufacturers lead to the creation of what are generally considered the most beautiful dolls ever made. Expensive even when new, the rarity of the best dolls is reflected in their prices today, leading some collectors to take a closer look at modern reproductions.

There are some interesting points to note when comparing the antiques to modern-day reproductions, of which some collectors might not be fully aware.

o An antique Jumeau or Bru in excellent condition and wearing her original costume would sell in the tens of thousands of dollars. An authentically reproduced doll by a skilled doll maker, wearing a hand-sewn costume and undergarments in keeping with the original dolls, can be bought for a fraction of the price.

o Today's reproductions are made using a finer bisque than the originals.

o A beautifully made and costumed reproduction antique will remain highly collectable and, depending on the mold, can appreciate in value considerably.

o The quality of the painting on some antique dolls can vary noticeably as many were outsourced to village workers where the painting was often performed on a production-line system where different artists specialized in painting different features.

o Just as the antique dolls were highly valued when new and passed on down through the generations, a good quality, new reproduction can likewise begin its journey down through generations of your family, starting with you.

A great place to find the best reproduction dolls is at doll shows, many of which include a competition where doll artists present their best work to be scrutinised by experienced sentences. Although most do not sell their award-winning creations, you can expect all their dolls to be of a very high standard. For more information on antiques and reproductions you might like to visit the website listed below, where you will find exquisite dolls, plus a wide selection of books on the subject, available to buy online.