Sample Appraisal: Antique Dolls
Appraisal ID: 11483
Appraised On: Oct 08,
Market Value: $
Replacement Value: $
Pair of circa 1920-1930’s unmarked, likely German, celluloid dolls
with stationary heads, painted eyes and closed mouths with cloth bodies
dressed in provincial costumes. Boy has molded hair; shows crack down
side of head. Girl has wig, possibly over molded hair. Both show wear
and age spots to costume. Fair condition overall.
Celluloid is one of the earliest forms of man-made plastic and was
originally invented in the mid-nineteenth century. It was first of all
used to simulate ivory, tortoiseshell and horn in the form of haircombs,
fans and other fancy goods; but not used for producing dolls until 1869
when the Hyatt brothers of New York used it under the tradename of the
Celluloid Novelty Company.
Celluloid is a mixture of cellulose nitrate, camphor pigments, fillers
and alcohol. The doll parts are produced by placing sheets of celluloid
into two moulds which form the front and the back sections of each
piece. Hot air or steam is then piped into the mould chambers which
forces the celluloid to the shape of the mould. The two pieces are then
joined together by ether. If a dull finish is required on the piece then
it is sanded with pummice or a similar scouring compound to remove the
Doll manufacturers were always on the lookout for an unbreakable,
durable and lightweight alternative to bisque. As export tariffs were
prohibitive and were calculated according to the weight of the goods,
they were anxious to find an attractive alternative that was lighter
than bisque and therefore cheaper to export. J.D.Kestner,
Kammer&Reinhardt, Bruno Schmidt, Kathe Kruse, Konig&Wernicke,
SFBJ all marketed dolls with celluloid heads. Major specialist
manufacturers of celluloid who supplied heads to the main doll-makers
and who also marketed dolls under their own tradenames as follows:
Germany: Rheinische Gummi and Celluloid Fabrik Co. (probably the most
famous of all, whose wares are marked with a turtle logo); Buschow &
Beck, Minerva (helmet symbol); E. Maar & Sohn, Emasco (3M symbol).
France: Peticolin (eagle symbol); Societe Nobel Francaise (dragon
symbol); Societe Industrielle de Celluloid (Sicoine);
United States: Parsons-Jackson Co.
The majority of celluloids produced in the late nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries were mounted onto fabric bodies with celluloid lower
limbs. After 1910, most of those made were all-celluloid. The
disadvantages of the early celluloids are that they were highly
flammable, squashable, subject to fading in light and many bore very
hard, shiny complexions that proved unpopular with children.
Item/Title: unknown at this point
Date/Period of Manufacture: turn of century
Condition: very good
Dimensions (HxWxD): both boy and girl dolls are 23
History/Provenance: received from German grandparents
This online appraisal report is an appraisal expert’s opinion of
value based on market comparable research of the item description and
images supplied by our customer. No further guarantee of authenticity,
genuineness, attribution or authorship is represented.
Current Fair Market Value is the price agreed on between a
willing buyer and seller, neither being required to act, and both having
reasonable knowledge of the facts.
Replacement Value is the price in terms of money that would be
required to replace the property in question with another of similar
age, quality, origin, appearance, provenance and condition, within a
reasonable length of time in an appropriate market.