ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Collecting Antique Bisque Dolls

Updated on January 18, 2015

Many collectors shy away from antique bisque dolls. They feel that these exquisite dolls are expensive and unattainable. While it is true that there are rare, expensive dolls on the market, there are also many beautiful dolls which are still affordable. When a collector educates themselves, they will be ready when a good deal comes along and can build a beautiful, unique collection.

A lovely example of an Armand Marseille 370.
A lovely example of an Armand Marseille 370.

Educate Yourself

Before you take the plunge and buy your first antique bisque doll educate yourself. Read everything you can, look at pictures of dolls you like, and talk with doll collectors and dealers. Know what your are looking at and looking for. There are many reproductions on the market. Finding out that your first purchase wasn't what you thought it was could be a major disappointment.

Do not assume that the person selling the doll knows what it is. Many antique dealers feel that all antique dolls are valuable, but this is not the case. Don't let them intimidate you into making a purchase you will regret later.

Kaiser Baby
Kaiser Baby

Antique bisque dolls can be found with wooden bodies, kid leather bodies, or all bisque bodies. Some of the less expensive dolls actually can be found with cardboard bodies. These "low end" dolls can actually be quiet charming and are generally less expensive than their more elaborate sisters.

Most of these dolls had human hair wigs, mohair wigs, or molded hair. Some had no hair at all, such as some of the Eskimo dolls made to commemorate Admiral Byrd reaching the north pole. These dolls had fur parkas with hoods glued onto them.

Bisques dolls were mainly made in Germany and France. They were manufactured from the mid 1800's until the 1920s. Today, French dolls are generally considered more valuable than the German dolls, due to their excellent workmanship.

Do You Collect Dolls?

What type of dolls do you collect?

See results

When collecting antique dolls, condition should be a top priority. A crack or chip in the head can significantly reduce the value of a doll. Even a hairline crack which can be hard to see can affect the value. Many collectors carry a small, portable black-light with them. Shining the black-light on the head can detect hairline cracks which are otherwise invisible.

Most bisque dolls will have an incised mark on the back of the neck or head. These marks vary depending on which company manufactured the doll. They tell collectors who made the doll and what the mold number was.

Armand Marseille Floradora
Armand Marseille Floradora

Bisque dolls display well and the collector can create a striking display with a carefully assembled collection. It is best to display them in a cabinet in order to protect them from dust and to protect them from getting knocked over. Keep them out of direct sunlight, as this can fade their delicate, antique clothing.

If you are storing a bisque doll, take extra care in wrapping the delicate bisque head. Always store them face down, as the eyes can work loose from the plaster which holds them in place and fall back into the head, cracking the bisque. This is especially important while driving with a doll, as bumps in the road can cause the eyes to come loose.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • smw1962 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago


      To the best of my knowledge, the French dolls made in the late 1800's were very high quality in the dolls construction and in the clothing. Many German dolls made during the same time were of comparable quality, but many collectors seem to like the French dolls. By the 1920s, at the end of the bisque doll era, the quality of many French and German dolls had gone down considerably. Also, World War I stopped the export of the German dolls to America, which opended the doll market for the American doll manufacturers.


    • profile image


      5 years ago

      smw1962, Why do the French-made antique bisque dolls generally receive higher marks than the German-made? Is there a particular time period that is troubling in terms of antique bisque doll-making and selling? From the mid-1800s to the 1920s were challenging times for both countries, particularly Germany what with the Franco-Prussian War and the German economic collapse during and after WWI.

      Respectfully, and with many thanks for sharing, Derdriu

      P.S. That's particularly interesting -- and helpful to know -- about the information gained from the doll's incised mark on the back of the head or neck.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)