Porcelain dolls, also referred to as "china dolls" because of the way the glaze finish on the doll's face and hands looks like china dishes, are some of the most collectable items on the market. These dolls were first manufactured in Germany, France and Denmark in the 1800s. Today, the condition of a doll can affect its value almost as much as the date of manufacture and the rarity of the doll itself.
Locate the date that the doll was manufactured. Dolls manufactured before the 1930s are considered true antiques. These dolls are worth more than a vintage doll manufactured after the 1930s.
Find the stamp of the manufacturer. Dolls carrying the stamp of a particular manufacturer can be worth more than dolls made by another manufacturer.
Examine the doll's condition using a magnifying glass. Doll condition can be rated as mint, near mint, very fine, fine, good or poor. The better condition a doll is in, the more it is worth. Things that can affect the value of the doll include cleanliness, chips in the doll's features, whether hair in the doll's wig is missing, and whether the doll's clothing is original to the doll.
Look for signs that the doll has been restored. Some collectors prefer to purchase a doll in its original condition. Restoration can diminish the value of the doll.
Read current books and magazines on doll collecting. These can help you identify the doll as well as get an idea of current prices for the doll.