Old and antique porcelain dolls are nowadays considered to be highly prized collectibles and are consistently appraised in the thousands of dollars. Determining their age is important and relies heavily on identifying any markings or symbols that denote its maker or manufacturer. Porcelain dolls are signed with distinct symbols, usually on the back of the neck, and these marks are well documented. This includes dolls that are made using various materials for the body or other parts but have a porcelain head.
Unlike porcelain makers that produced mostly chinaware or general purpose decorative items (e.g. vases, figurines), the majority of porcelain doll marks refer to specialized companies that developed unique manufacturing methods to create them. Each body part, particularly the head, was meticulously decorated with human features and was enhanced with real hair, glass eyes, and even mechanical parts to allow for animated human-like expressions or movements. That is not to say that porcelain factories that made other items did not engage in the manufacturing of dolls, but these tended to be well-capitalized businesses who could employ skilled artisans in order to compete with other more established doll makers, most notably from France and Germany.
Serious collectors should always consult reference guides to identify porcelain dolls, particularly if they could be potentially antique and would warrant more careful research. You can use our extensive database to help you identify marks on porcelain dolls made in Germany, France and all other countries where porcelain dolls were produced.
Check out our marks reference guide - marks4ceramics - to gain unlimited access to the most comprehensive and updated list of worldwide identifying symbols and doll companies' trademarks. Our specialists can also answer your questions for free when you need some help or have doubts (members only).
Here's a list of a few very prominent porcelain doll makers:In addition to pages for marks & hallmarks, our research tools also include a price guide to help you evaluate your collection and be certain that you are not paying high when buying or asking too low when selling. Below are a few examples.