Collectors who need to determine their doll's date of origin have a number of ways to collect identifying information, For antique or artist dolls, the mould number, which indicates the casting template, can appear along with other marks that reveal the country and maker. To decode all this information and find out the exact model of your treasure, you should know the difference between a mould number and the other marks, and how they fit together to reveal the doll's identity.
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Things you need
- Doll collector reference book
- Magnifying glass
Recognise that not all dolls carry a mould number. While artist dolls, limited editions and certain antique dolls usually contain a mould number, mass-produced toys have company trademarks, logos or codes pressed onto them. These marks differ according to company, country or date of origin.
Understand that a doll may bear both a mould and patent number. A mould number stands by itself without letters or other marks. A patent number has letters before or in between the numbers.
Determine the doll manufacturer. You can accomplish this by first locating a list of number and letter codes for various dollmakers from price guides, magazines or collectors' websites. Then match the code with the marking on the your doll. Some codes, like U (for Uneeda), can be easily deciphered. Other marks require a list close by for identification. VW-3 identifies Ideal's Betsy Wetsy, for example.
Examine the back of the doll's head. Armand Marseille, Simon and other antique dolls were marked here with mould number or another maker code. After 1891, all dolls imported into America had to contain a manufacturer ID. Armand Marseille doll markings consisted of the company name and country of origin (Germany) followed by a mould number. You may need a magnifying glass to examine the print on the back of some dolls, as markings vary in size.
Identify antique German dolls' numbers with specific markings. Dollmakers in Germany tagged their creations with artwork, calligraphy and other marks in addition to, or instead of, mould numbers. Check doll collector guidebooks for sections on company insignias and mould numbers for photos of these markings.
Tips and warnings
- Don't confuse a mould number with an antique doll's size number. Doll sizes tend to be one or two digits and contain the company name or abbreviation with it.
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