Want to buy an antique French doll? Do you know how to tell authentic French antique dolls from fakes? Our guide gives you the facts & information you want to know.
French antique dolls contain a broad history and this is one of the reasons that they are so popular and also why most fetch large sums when sold. This history is so extensive because each doll reveals more and more about their garments, their manufacturers, the children who played with them as well as the history of the dolls themselves. To be classed as an antique, a French doll must have been made prior to 1930 and most were made between 1850 and 1930.
17th Century Antique Dolls
Some dolls have been found that were made in the 17th and 18th century and these dolls were first carved from wood like the antique French flour box. Due to the age and rarity of these dolls, these early ones can fetch between $2000 and $40,000; however only around 30 still remain from this time period. Don’t get your hopes up about finding one though, as they all are in the hands of collectors. In the 19th century, paper mache dolls were manufactured and these are much easier to find as they were much easier to create than their wooden alternatives. These dolls can still be worth a large amount of money if they are in excellent condition.
French Antique Doll Makers
In the 19th century, French antique dolls that characterized children were made and these were a massive success. These overtook those earlier dolls that represented adults and were called ‘Bebes’. The main makers were Jumeau, Bru, Steiner, Rohmer and these became very popular towards the end of the 19th century. Although they were very popular, these dolls were so finely made that they were only for the upper-class families to buy for their children and that is why they were soon overtaken by other cheaper German dolls. These French antique dolls can be priced in the thousands; however if you will settle for a damaged doll, you may find one in the hundreds.
French antique dolls had passed their prime after the late 19th century as their expensive quality could not compete with the cheaper imported antique dolls. More antique dolls were made but more of a focus was placed on the clothes and accessories that each doll had. This is why these newer additions to the dolls are much more common than older accessories and may even be placed with older dolls to attempt to fool potential buyers. During this period a whole range of antique French furniture and other accesories for dolls also sprang up.So if you are keen to have one of these dolls, make sure you know what you are getting and make sure you know the right price to pay. There is much history contained in each doll.