How to Identify an Antique Doll

Written by ehow hobbies, games & toys editor
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For many doll enthusiasts, the challenge of identifying a particular doll is part of the intrigue of antique doll collecting. Some antique dolls have markings that make identification easy, while other dolls remain a mystery.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Doll
  • Magnifying glass
  • Doll reference books
  • Computer and Internet connection

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  1. 1

    Observe everything about the doll that may help to identify it, such as the material it is made of, its size, the type of eyes it has, its hair and clothes.

  2. 2

    Examine the doll carefully for markings. Usually the marks will be on the torso, back of the head, or feet. They can be letters, numbers or symbols. Sometimes the name of the doll's manufacturer may also appear.

  3. 3

    Look for a mold mark if the manufacturer's name is not on the doll. Study doll mark reference books to understand all of the markings that are on the doll. One doll mark reference book to consider is, "Antique Trader's Doll Makers Marks: A Guide to Identification."

  4. 4

    Compare the antique doll to pictures in the reference books if there are not any marks to identify it.

  5. 5

    Take your doll to a doll appraiser at doll shops or doll shows to see if they can identify it for you.

  6. 6

    Ask for help in identifying your doll at doll collecting forums (see Resources below).

Tips and warnings

  • If you know the manufacturer of the doll, search online auction sites such as, to see if you can find a similar doll.
  • There are some dolls that may never be identified except for the era during which it was made.

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