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Diane in PA
Diane in PA, Appraiser
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 737
Experience:  14 yrs. selling/researching antiques, art, books, jewelry +.
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Interested in information on a very old hand carved doll

Customer Question

Interested in information on a very old hand carved doll
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Antiques
Expert:  rarewares replied 7 months ago.
Hello,My name is ***** ***** I would love to help.The next step would be for me to see pictures of the doll and marks (also look on the back of neck or under clothes for maker marks) so that I can get visual clues of the date and value.Use the Add Files feature on your screen to add pictures one at a time and I will be able to complete my answer, thank you!
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
The doll is about 29 inches tall. I don't think there is a makers mark that I can dee
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I can see I mean. I'm sorry
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Back of doll
Expert:  rarewares replied 7 months ago.
I will have to opt-out as I am not 100% positive of the country of origin on this doll. I will let another expert answer and they will see our conversation and your pictures.
Expert:  Diane in PA replied 7 months ago.
Hi,My name is ***** ***** I'll try to assist you with your doll. She's pretty cool looking, although the poor thing looks like she's peeling from a bad sunburn. ;-)I'm assuming she is made of wood, since you said hand carved? Are you sure she's not papier mache? Is her head and neck all carved from one piece? Can I get your name? Thanks!
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
She is carved from wood. One piece. My name is Angie
Expert:  Diane in PA replied 7 months ago.
Hi Angie! Thanks for this info. A couple more questions:1) approximate size of head2) approximate area you acquired her3) do you know ANY history on her at all?Thanks!
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Head circumference is 14" from top of head to bottom of wood (chest) is 9 inches. Got at auction in MT no idea where it originated.
Expert:  Diane in PA replied 7 months ago.
Hi Angie - My apologies for the time span between your and my replies. Of course I only work 8 hrs a day, but I pick back up where I left off.Now that I have all the info that's available on her, I'll get to work on it. I don't know if I'll be able to pin down the exact maker, but I can give you some good history on this type of doll, some 'ideas' of who may have 'possibly' made her, and my professional opinion on the value. Sound good? :-)
Expert:  Diane in PA replied 7 months ago.
Hi Angie,Your doll was probably made by Joel Ellis, in the US. Unfortunately, without her original body, I can't say that is a "fact". Same goes for accurately dating her. She was most likely all wood at one time, with jointed limbs. Her hands and feet may have been made of either lead or pewter (or wood) . They are particularly prone to peeling and flaking. From just a photo, it's hard to tell if the head has heavy paint, or a composition over wood. If composition, she would most likely date to the 1870's - 1880's. If paint, 1860's - 1870's. Either/or, would put her around the Joel Ellis period/style. Ellis was a doll maker in Massachusetts/Springfield, VT from 1858 to around 1873. Most of his doll's heads were solid maple (rock hard rock maple - now extinct), so if you could somehow have the wood type assessed, that would be a good clue to either confirm it's an Ellis, or rule it out. The facial features and hair were hand painted. The hairdo was a prim 1860’s style, and painted either black or blond. Your doll's hairstyle looks to be pretty spot-on to that era. See here:https://www.pinterest.com/godeysgirl1860/1860-s-hairstyles/ Here are some links to a couple of other Ellis dolls/heads:1) In 'decent' condition (considering). Sold for: $385https://www.skinnerinc.com/auctions/2447/lots/540 2) One in poor conditionStarting Bid $50Estimate $200 – $400Sold for $550https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/11326107_wood-joel-ellis-doll Fun fact: they originally cost 75 cents - a lot of money at that time! Due to no original body, and the condition of the paint, I'd put a value of $100 - $200 on your doll -- but you never know! Someone may be looking to complete their collection and want exactly THAT head, and be willing to pay $300. If you took her to a flea market, she'd be valued around $50 (slightly higher in major metropolitan areas). Many of these dolls' heads are much worse off than yours - at least yours has a chance to have the paint matched up if someone wanted to restore her. You can always search online for a local reputable doll expert to bring it to. That way, someone may be able to tell you much more about her. Thanks for sharing this cool doll with me, Angie.Do you have any other questions on this that I can help with? If not, I hope I provided you with great service today.If I did, kindly rate me by clicking high stars.Otherwise, if you still need help, please reply to this message again.I wish you the best with her. If you find anything out, I'd be happy to learn as well! ;-)Regards,- "Diane in PA"
Expert:  Diane in PA replied 7 months ago.
Hi Angie,I hope you had a nice weekend.I haven't heard back from you, so I'm wondering if you had a problem with my answer, or ? If so, please.....don't hesitate to communicate to me. I'm still here to help you until you are satisfied. Thanks!- Diane
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
No problem. Thx for info. Think I'll keep her.
Expert:  Diane in PA replied 7 months ago.
No problem - you're allowed! :) Glad I was able to help. Have an awesome week.
- Diane