How to Find the Value of Antique Porcelain Dolls

March 03, 2020 - Antiques, Art and Collectibles

Antique porcelain dolls can be incredibly valuable.

Some dolls from specific time periods have even made it into museums.

Maybe you received porcelain dolls as gifts when you were a child. Or perhaps you begged your parents to buy you a beautiful porcelain doll when you went to the toy store. Either way, you probably no longer have a use for these dolls. If you have a doll collection, you may be wondering how much it’s worth. It’s important to get the right value for your antiques.

Luckily if you’re short on money, you can use these dolls to your advantage. Keeping them cooped up in your dusty attic is no way to make cash. You should consider selling your dolls instead. Figuring out the price of a doll will depend on a few things such as the type, condition, and manufacturer. Here are some quick tips that’ll help you sell porcelain dolls to make some extra cash:

Assessing Your Antique Porcelain Dolls

Before you can know how much your doll is worth, you’ll need to know what kind it is.

There are several main types of antique dolls. They originate from different eras and countries.


The Chinese porcelain doll is widely considered to be the rarest type of doll. China dolls have physical traits that are indicative of where they were produced.

Some of the first dolls had painted hair and wooden bodies. Many China dolls produced in the late 19th century have wigs with bangs. China dolls were originally made with a porcelain head and shoulders, and a body made of wood–these are the rarest type of china dolls. As time progressed, china dolls were made with porcelain hands and feet or had an entire body made of porcelain.

While china dolls can have a huge variation of appearance, bisque dolls typically have huge eyes with a petite, open mouth. They’re often dressed in luxurious jewelry and lace.

Bisque dolls were first made with a leather or cloth body. At the beginning of the 20th century, these materials were changed to plastic and composition. These antiques often have doll-like faces, with big eyes and small mouths. Some bisque dolls have glass eyes that open and close.

There are a couple different types of bisque dolls. Adult fashion dolls look like adult women. “Baby dolls” have childlike qualities and clothing.


The value of your doll will also depend on its manufacturer. Most dolls will have a manufacturer stamp and a date on them. Antique dolls should come with an identification number on its shoulder, head, neck, or on the bottom of its foot. This number can help you determine a price for your doll and can be used when conferring with an appraiser.

If a doll is from Europe, it may have the signature of a production company such as KGM. A China doll that has a country written on it was most likely produced after 1891. This is because of the specific regulations set in place by the McKinley Tariff Act.

These marks are not always in the same place. The stamp might be on the back of the head, back or neck. It’s also sometimes on the bottom of the foot.

You’re in luck if your doll has a certificate of authenticity along with it. If you don’t have one handy, then you might be able to find a manufacturer’s stamp on the doll that will tell you what year it was produced. Vintage dolls produced before the 1930s are more valuable.

Determining Value

Assessing the condition of your antique porcelain dolls is crucial. There are different characteristics to consider.

The material and features of the doll will give you a general sense of its worth. Dolls from the 1800s and onward have real hair rather than painted hair. Their clothes were often made from leather.

Make sure your doll is made of porcelain and not plastic. Genuine porcelain bisque dolls will be a translucent material instead of chalky.

Many dolls were mass-produced in the late 1900s. These types of dolls are the least valuable and they don’t sell for a lot of money.

Older dolls from the 1800s and 1900s are more valuable, as they tend to have realistic hair instead of painted hair and clothes made out of leather. However, newer porcelain dolls will have stuffed, cloth bodies with a Victorian-era outfit.


Porcelain dolls can be in one of six categories. These include poor, good, fine, very fine, near mint, and mint. The most valuable dolls are in mint condition.

Look for signs of deterioration such as wear, chips, and cracks. Any signs of repair will also contribute to the condition of the doll.

Also, try to determine if the doll is clean and bright rather than smudged or tired-looking.

Why Pawn Dealers Love Antiques

The nature of the pawn industry allows pawning and selling to a dealer to be a mutually beneficial decision. Many times, with a high-value, unique antique—you actually have much more leverage than the pawn dealer. Pawn dealers are under pressure to keep their inventories stocked and diversified. Even when you’re attempting to get a collateral loan you have the ‘sellers advantage’ with antiques. If you walk into a pawnshop with a Tiffany Lamp or even antique fishing lures. it’s like walking into the shop with a goldmine.

Just as with high-end art, antiques are worthy of investment. Since the artisan-crafted pieces can be hundreds of years old and have unique qualities, these pieces both appreciate and retain value. Antique furniture is especially valuable to use as collateral for a pawn loan. Modern furniture does not have the same demand antiques innately have, making these distinctive items a coveted product for pawn dealers. Getting a free appraisal on PawnGuru might shock you! Your vintage furniture which is taking up space in your living room could be worth thousands!

With such a high demand and niche market, a quality antique can be pawned for a loan anywhere from $20 to thousands. It depends on the rarity, authenticity, aesthetic appeal, condition, and market demand for your specific antique. The best way to know beyond any shadow of a doubt how much your item could be worth as collateral is to corroborate offers with PawnGuru!

Pawn or Sell

Once you’ve determined the value of your antique porcelain dolls, it’s time to sell. Pawn shops are a great method for selling your antiques.

Before you sell your doll, compare it to other dolls from the same manufacturer and time period. You can find price databases online, consult a doll collecting forum, or even check out a book at the library dedicated to dolls.

Once you find out the essential information related to your doll, it’s easy to determine a price range for it. There are plenty of places where you can sell your doll. Whether you choose to bring it to an auction, sell it online, or visit a pawn shop, you’ll be able to determine if your buyer is making a good offer.

There is a difference between pawning and selling, even though you can do both at a pawn shop. When you are pawning a doll, you are giving it to a pawn shop as collateral for a loan. The loan amount is the value your doll is appraised at by the pawnbroker.

The loan will need to be paid back by a given date that you and the pawnbroker agree on. When you pay back your loan and by the given date, you should expect to receive your doll back.

Selling a doll at a pawn shop is very straightforward. The doll is appraised and you either agree to sell it to them outright for that amount, or you don’t. You have negotiating power, but do keep in mind pawnbrokers tend to keep a good pulse on the current pricing of electronic devices.

Pawn shops are a reselling business so they need to be able to sell your doll for a profit. It is easier for them to buy it from you than it is for them to issue you a loan. You will get more money if you sell it to them than if you pawn your doll.

Why Pawning Provides a Better Alternative to Short-Term Loans

Depending on the pawn dealer you visit and state laws in your area, you can receive an interest rate on a collateral loan anywhere from 2-14%. Obviously, the lower the interest rate, the more sense it makes to take out this loan. Interest rates from banks and other traditional loan institutions can mirror these rates and are often much higher than what you can get with a pawn loan.

Another huge incentive to pawning is there is no credit check. If your credit score is already plunging, the less hard checks on your credit report the better. Hard checks take ten years to disappear from your credit report and can be agonizingly damaging if your score is already low.

One last thing to consider when thinking about pawning antiques or any other valuable commodity is the amount of paperwork you will have to fill out. If time is of the essence, then taking off work to visit a financial institution just to fill out a monolithic amount of paperwork could be less worth it in the long run.

You can avoid all these inhibitions when you pawn your high-value antiques at a pawnshop! If you use PawnGuru, you”ll definitely know you’re getting the best deal by comparison shopping through offers. You’ll never walk into a dishonest shop or have to worry about what the competitor down the street would offer!

PawnGuru can help you sell or pawn your doll by giving you offers from different local shops. It’s a free, reliable and easy way to get the best from your collection.

David Stiebel
David Stiebel

David Stiebel is one of the cofounders of PawnGuru. David was educated at MIT, where he studied Math. He subsequently worked at Bain as a data scientist before starting PawnGuru in 2015. He started PawnGuru to build a better tool for pawn shops and consumers to connect.

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