Collecting antique porcelain dolls can be a very rewarding hobby. Talented artisans have been creating beautiful dolls for decades. The number of choices from countries all over the world are enormous! Although today you can buy good quality reproductions, modern technology has also seen an increase in fakes. How do you spot these fakes being sold as originals? There are many tell-tale signs that will sound alarm bells. Here are the basics:

Doll Marks

This is a subject for its own article however, let’s take a quick look.

If you are buying in the USA, all dolls made and imported after 1891 required to be marked with the country of origin. Although the form of mark can be located on the back of the head, chest, shoulder or the soles of the feet they can also be encoded within the material or simply an attached label. The presence of a mark immediately dates the doll as post 1891. The mark will commonly involve a mould number, size number, patent number and of course the manufacturers initial or stamp. No marks MAY mean pre 1891. If the doll has no marks be sure to check the following:


Take a look at the eyes closely and look for these signs:




Legitimate porcelain will have been around a while and most probably made from a bisque that looks realistic. Expect to see some fine crazing. Of course any cracks or evidence of repair will effect value.




Most antique porcelain dolls are actually are combination of parts from different manufacturers. It was common practice for manufacturers to specialize in heads and supply to the greater market. Be sure to check for marks. Refer above.

It is difficult to quickly assess whether an antique doll is real or a fake. Although the above list is a short insight, familiarize yourself with the particular doll/s you are interested in by visiting museums and other collections to study up close what the real thing should look like. This will give you a good benchmark.

Source by Mario Matassa

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