Antique porcelain dolls are a favourite collector's item, found at antique stores, doll stores, speciality vintage stores or online. While many porcelain dolls are very valuable, other dolls may have lost value for a variety of reasons and will only sell for a fraction of the current market price. There are a few ways to determine the correct price for a porcelain doll.
Check the doll carefully for any dirt, dust or debris. Carefully brush off the doll with a soft-bristled brush to remove as much dirt as possible. Dirty dolls will lose value that could be retained by simply dusting off the doll regularly. As an added touch, use a can of compressed air to loosen debris without damaging the doll and risking a loss of value.
Look for stains on the doll or significant signs of wear. Irrevocable stains, or portions of the doll that are worn out or threadbare, will lessen the value significantly. If the clothing on the doll is stained, hand-wash the item in a diluted gentle clothing detergent and air dry. Clean clothes will bring a higher price than clothes that are dirty or stained.
Consider the packaging for the doll. Dolls in original costumes or with original accessories are worth more than dolls that no longer have those items. Dolls with their original packaging will value even higher, while dolls in unopened, original packaging will fetch the highest dollar.
Look for any chips or repairs on the doll. A bisque doll with a damaged head can be worth half of what a non-damaged doll would be. In addition, repainting on a doll can reduce the value up to £65, in 2010 prices.
Check for a certificate of authenticity and/or a registration card. These items will increase the value of the doll significantly.
Research the doll's artist and information about the doll. The number of dolls produced and the number of limited edition dolls issued are also important factors in establishing value. For instance, the Bruno Schmidt doll company was located in the Waltershausen area of Germany, where several doll creators were based. They produced porcelain dolls until the 1920s and created notable characters, including the Wendy mould (#2033/537) and the Tommy Tucker mould (#2048, 2096 and 2094). An original Wendy by Bruno Schmidt can bring a market price between £13,000 and £19,500 (2010 prices).
Research the doll with the above information in mind. Reference books about porcelain dolls, doll collecting and antique dolls are available at many bookstores, libraries or online. One example of a reference book is "Nippon Dolls & Playthings: Identification and Values" by Joan Van Patten and Linda Lau.
Look at online auction websites to see the current market value for porcelain dolls. In addition, visit doll shows, antique roadshows, and antique stores that sell porcelain dolls to get an idea about demand and current prices. Speak with other sellers and vendors to get their opinion about prices and value for the dolls.