Posts Tagged "german bisque doll"

I just love this photo!  Children in a basket on their porch on a sunny day – along with their calico cat and German dolly!  Precious!  I owned a calico cat when I was growing up; perhaps this is why I’m so fond of this image!

Judging from the children’s clothing and hair styles, the photo seems to date from about 1920.  The doll appears to be one of modest price and quality, made by a German firm like Armand Marseille or Cuno & Otto Dressel.  She has a typical “dolly-face” of the period. 

The article below, from, describes the “dolly-faced” dolls made during the early part of the 20th century and explains how these dolls differ from “character” dolls.

The German “dolly-faced” child dolls are the ubiquitous antique bisque dolls that collectors today are most likely to find, produced from 1890 to about 1930, from such manufacturers as Armand Marseille, Simon and Halbig, K*R,  and Kestner. Most of these dolls came from the Thuringia region, which had rich clay deposits used to make the porcelain. Many of the German dolly-faced dolls are unmarked as to manufacturer, and there are many manufacturers that had their names and other details literally obliterated by the World Wars. The most sought-after of the German dolls of the early 20th century are the character-faced dolls, produced in response to consumer demands for more realistic-looking children dolls. Kämmer and Reinhardt, Heubach and Kestner produced many high-quality expressive character dolls which are eagerly sought by collectors today. Also eagerly sought by collectors are all-bisque dolls (head, torso and limbs all made of bisque) from manufacturers such as Kestner, Heubach, and Simon and Halbig.

For German bisque dolls, as with all antique dolls, remember that quality varies widely even within one manufacturer’s products–dolls with finely detailed features (such as feathered brows and individual upper and lower eyelashes) and pale bisque are always preferred over dolls with single-stroke or other simplified features and darkly tinted bisque. Also, today’s collectors prefer closed-mouth bisque dolls, since many fewer of them were produced than open-mouth dolls. Common German bisque dolls of average quality which are unmarked or from Armand Marseille can be found for as little as $200 or $300, with prices for sought-after German characters soaring into the thousands.

This tiny German Character Doll measures about 9″ high.  He needs some clothes, or a diaper at the least!

This baby boy doll was made by the German firm, Hertel & Schwab around 1910-1920.  According to the website,

“Hertel, Schwab & Company was founded by August Hertel & Heinrich Schwab both doll designers & a minor partner Hugo Rosenbush who was a porcelain painter.  They were also know as the Stutzhauser Porzellanfabrik. Some dolls were made exclusively for the American/U.S.A. market; Bye-Lo Baby for George Borgfeldt, Our Baby & Our Fairy for Louis Wolf, Jubilee Dolls for Strobel & Wilken.  They also produced bisque heads for other German doll firms; Kley & Hahn, Koenig & Wernicke, and possible others.  They made Character Baby, Character Child & Dolly Face dolls, all of which are very good quality.”

Like the “Bonnie Babe” doll from an earlier post, he is a German character doll meaning his features were molded to resemble those of a real baby.  He has painted features including lovely brown eyes which are quite rare for a bisque baby doll.

The doll is marked on the back of his head with mold #142.  For those of you not familiar with antique dolls, a mold number is the number used to identify the original mold the doll’s head was fired from.  Today’s doll collectors use these mold numbers to help figure out which company originally manufactured the doll.  Some doll companies used their name, initials, or a recognizable symbol as part of the mold – others  just used numbers or a simple phrase describing country of origin like “made in Germany.”

When I was doing research for this post, I came across an interesting tidbit of information.  It seems like the Hertel & Schwab doll company closed in 1890 and reopened in 1910.  Does anyone know why the company shut down for twenty years?

Girl and her "Bonnie Babe" Doll

Over the years I have come across a lot of photographs showing little girls with their dolls.  This photo, showing a beautiful child with Georgene Averill’s “Bonnie Babe” doll, is one of my absolute favorites.

The visual composition of the photo is spectacular –  the beauty of the little girl, the lovely oriental screen in the background, and the clear shot of the doll’s face make for an incredible image!

Located in New York, the Averill doll manufacturing company was in operation from 1915-1965.  James “Paul” Averill and wife Georgene Hopf-Averill were the original founders of this company.  Georgene served as a doll designer while her husband handled more of the matters pertaining to business.

The company is probably best known for producing Raggedy Anne and Andy dolls and “Bonnie Babe.”

“Bonnie Babe” was produced from 1926 to 1946.  She had a bisque or celluloid head along with a composition, bisque, or cloth body.  She is marked Copr. By/Georgene Averill/Germany/1005-3653/1386 or 1402 on the back of her head.  The bisque heads for this doll were made by either Alt, Beck & Gottschalk or Kestner and imported from Germany.

“Bonnie Babe” is a German Character doll meaning that her features were molded to resemble those of a real baby.

This photo dates from “Bonnie Babe’s” earliest years of production – probably just around 1926.