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Kim D.
Kim D., Certified Appraiser & Antique Expert
Category: Appraisals
Satisfied Customers: 6661
Experience:  25 Yr Decorative & Fine Art, Historic Objects Expert, CAGA, AOA
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I have a very old antique doll and I'm attempting to appraise

Customer Question

I have a very old antique doll and I'm attempting to appraise it but I know little to nothing about it. Is there a way I can better identify the year and or maker of the doll?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Appraisals
Expert:  Kim D. replied 2 years ago.
Hello. My name is***** and I am a certified appraiser with 25 years in a museum and in the field. I am happy to help, as this is a well preserved doll..her costume, wig and features are wonderful.
The image is a bit fuzzy so I am having trouble seeing her face.
What, if any, are the marks on the back of the head? Shoulder head or back? Mold numbers as well as maker marks are key.
Is this a shoulder head or socket head bisque? What are her limbs made of? Are they jointed? composition entirely? (her hand looks to be composition)
Does the doll have the original undergarments and can you show me a better image of her face?
Lastly, what is her size head to toe? This would be very helpful to know as well?
Thank you for the additional information.
Kim D.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
. On the back of the head it satsGermany and has the number 129 on it and then off to the side says 13 1/2. I don't have a tape measure to give you an acurate size.It seems to be composition and all limbs are jointed and the eyes can blink. It has all original undergarments.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Here is your facial picture
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Back of head and garments
Expert:  Kim D. replied 2 years ago.
Oh my this is such a beauty.
It looks to be a well known German maker that I know well but the size head to toe is still key.
Would you please find a way to give me a size head to toe - this would give us the value which could be very high.
Kim D.
Expert:  Kim D. replied 2 years ago.
Hello - I need to go for a bit but will be back later today and will look forward to your response.
Thank you for your patience.
Kim D.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Just got home from work. She's 24 inches long.
Expert:  Kim D. replied 2 years ago.
I suspected she was larger than she looked. This is a wonderful news.
The "13 1/2" is the head size and the "Germany" and "129" point to J. D. Kestner as the maker in Waltershausen, Thuringia Germany The famous doll maker was one of the finest and one of the first to make dressed dolls. They also made heads for many major toy suppliers. After 1892 their dolls were marked as you describe with just Germany and the mold numbers.
This doll is actually dated closer to 1905-1915 and its condition is superb with all the parts and pieces in tact. The book price for a 24" socket head, ball jointed doll with glass eyes and open mouth is in the range of 800.00-900.00 (USD) but fine dolls have actually been out pacing the price guides at major doll auctions (fairly unusual with other antiques prices slumping) and a doll of this quality and condition would have a current fair market value (based on high end auctions of dolls in the last five years) of 1***-**-****.00 (USD) in 2015.
If you are holding on to this, the high end of the range is appropriate for a replacement value (1600.00 USD) - which is what I would suggest unless you are planning to take this to a major doll auction such as Theriaults, Christies, Bonhams, McMaster Harris, Withington, Skinner, Sweet Briar etc.
This is a collectors doll for sure and retail on common boards online do sell these beauties but their selling prices are more in line with book prices so know that this is a doll that does have interest and only should been seen in collectors venues.
Best wishes and good luck with this nice 24in bisque. Do be in touch and please return with comments or reports even after the rating as I am always here. My excellent ratings are based on my customer care and interest in my patrons so know you can always return and find me just by addressing your questions to Kim D. at the head of your posts.
All my best,
Kim
Expert:  Kim D. replied 2 years ago.
Hello - I am just following up to see if you had any questions. My aim is excellent customer service and I am always concerned when I don't hear from my patrons.
What more can I tell you about your doll?
If you have no further questions, would you please rate my service at no additional cost to you?
You can always find me, even after the rating as I am always here if you think of something else or have other comments.
Thank you in advance as this is how the site is triggered to credit me for my time and pays us as experts - so the follow up is key.
My excellent ratings are based on my care for my patrons so know that I am here even well after...I look forward to seeing what else you have - but please finish with a simple review.
Thank you!
Kim
Expert:  Kim D. replied 2 years ago.
Hello - I was just wondering if you need to know places to sell the doll or your had other questions about my response.
My aim is excellent customer service and I am always concerned when I don't hear from my patrons.
If you have no further questions, would you please rate my service at no additional cost to you?
You can always find me, even after the rating as I am always here if you think of something else or have other comments.
Thank you in advance as this is how the site is triggered to credit me for my time and pays us as experts - so the follow up is key - yet I am here if you have further questions or comments to tell me more.
My excellent ratings are based on my care for my patrons so know that I am here even well after...I look forward to seeing what else you have - but please finish with a simple review.
Thank you!
Kim
Expert:  Kim D. replied 2 years ago.
Hello - I hope that you are getting my responses. I was so excited to see your doll and report on the current market findings. Yet I have not heard how you are - or feedback in our rating.
Here are a few records to show you what I am seeing: (not the same exactly but similar and the same models - I think this may help)
Smaller example
Lot Number: 45.
19" (48 cm.) Bisque socket head,brown glass sleep eyes,painted lashes,thick brush stroked and multi- feathered brows,accented eye corners and nostrils,open mouth,outlined lips,four porcelain teeth,dimpled chin,blonde mohair wig over plaster pate,composition and wooden ball-jointed body. Condition: generally excellent. Marks: H made in Germany 12 129 (head) Excelsior (body). Comments: Kestner,circa 1900. Value Points: rarer child model by the illustrious doll firm,has original wig,pate,body,body finish,choice bisque,and wonderful antique costume.
Realized Price: $1,300.
Presale Estimate: 800/1100
Another Doll 129 yet smaller:
Lot Number: 163.
17" (43 cm). Bisque socket head, bright blue glass sleep eyes, dark eyeliner, painted lashes, brushstroked and multi-feathered brows, accented nostrils and eye corners, open mouth, shaded and outlined lips, four porcelain teeth, blonde mohair wig over plaster pate, composition and wooden ball-jointed body. Condition: generally excellent. Marks: E made in Germany 9 129 (head) Germany (body). Comments: Kestner, circa 1900. Value Points: beautiful child with rarer model number has lovely bisque, original wig, pate, body, body finish, antique multi-layered costume.
Realized Price: $1,400.
Presale Estimate: 800/1000
Another smaller 129 but beautiful:
Lot Number: 26.
18" (46 cm.) Bisque socket head,brown glass sleep eyes,painted lashes and brows,accented nostrils,open mouth,accented lips,four porcelain teeth,brunette mohair wig over cork pate,composition and wooden ball-jointed body,nicely costumed in antique red cotton school dress,undergarments,red knit stockings,white kidskin shoes,lace cap,and carrying a small brown dog with Steiff button in ear. Condition: generally excellent. Marks: H made in Germany 12 129 (head) Excelsior Germany (body). Comments: Kestner,circa 1900. Value Points: rare to find model with endearing childlike expression,lovely bisque,original wig,pate,body,body finish.
Realized Price: $1,300.
Presale Estimate: 800/1200
As you can see these Kestners are out pacing auction estimates at fine sales. I could go on and on with records but I am not sure that you are seeing these and I wanted to connect and see if you are as happy as I am in the current market for this doll.
Please follow up and let me know!
Thanks so much,
Kim D.
Expert:  Kim D. replied 2 years ago.
Hello - I am just following up to see what more can I tell you?
If you have no further questions, would you please rate my service.
There should be a window to click how happy you are with the service at no additional cost to you.
Thank you in advance as this is how the site is triggered to credit me (and pay me) for my work with you.
My excellent ratings are based on my care for my patrons so know that I am here even well after the rating...I look forward to seeing what else you have in the future - but please finish with a simple review.
Thank you!
Kim