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How to identify makers' marks on dolls

Updated April 17, 2017

Whether you found an old doll in your grandmother's attic or you're a serious collector, you'll want to be able to identify the doll's maker. In many cases, you can find the manufacturer's mark on your doll in the form of initials, numbers, names, phrases, figures, symbols, or combinations of them all. The Internet has made it easier to identify these marks and to connect with other doll lovers around the world.

Examine your doll closely. The manufacturer's mark may be found on the head or neck between the shoulder blades or on the feet. Remove clothing or turn it inside out. Some original doll clothing have tags attached or sewn into the garments underneath. A magnifying glass may be helpful for seeing the mark clearly.

Determine some basic variables about your doll to the best of your ability. If you have some idea what material the doll is made of, how old the doll might be and what type of doll it is, you can get an idea of where to begin looking in the vast catalogue of doll makers' marks on the Internet.

Consult one of the vast online resources, such as Doll Reference. Use the search function to make your task easier. Enter numbers or letters you find on the doll to find manufacturers that used the mark that's on your doll. Doll Links is a blog dedicated to identifying dolls and has numerous links to reference sites to help you identify your doll.

Post a request for help with a picture of the mark on one of the discussion forums on the Internet if you need additional help. There is an active forum on eBay and Doll Reference where collectors help each other with identification and other questions.

Consider investing in a good doll collector's reference book if you're serious about collecting. Reading Amazon.com's customer reviews is one good way to make a wise purchase. Save money by purchasing a used copy instead of one that's brand new.

Enlist the aid of a professional appraiser. You can find a reputable appraiser through an association such as National Antique Doll Dealers Association, or visit area doll or toy shows. Appraisers and collectors will be well represented among the exhibitors.

Things You'll Need

  • Magnifying glass
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About the Author

Living in the Twin Cities metro area, Andrea Cody began writing in 1984. She has written projects for AstraZeneca/National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Elsa Klensch, Searle Pharmaceuticals/Monsanto and Dade Behring, an in vivo diagnostics company. Cody received a Bachelor of Arts in writing from Columbia College.