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France produced the best dolls; Under the Hammer.

Byline: by Mike Litherland

THE majority of doll collectors seek out bisque headed dolls, although wooden, papier mac he and wax dolls are also interesting.

In the mid-19th century, fine papier mache dolls were produced with leather bodies and carved wooden lower limb. Germany produced simply made carved wooden dolls.

Wax was another medium used in English doll production by such manufacturers as Pierotti, Montenari and Meech. Lifelike poured wax dolls were produced with glass eyes and hair which was inserted a few hairs at a time into the scalps of the dolls to give a natural look.

Many were dressed in baby robes and had a hair stuffed body and poured wax limbs. Cheaper wax dolls were also made by dipping a head in wax. Over time, expansion and contraction occurs and these heads become crazed, but many collectors love their aged and worn look.

China-headed dolls were also produced in this period, and many have simple white glazed china and black painted heads.

UK collectors of cloth dolls tend to favour 20th century English producers. Chad Valley, Deans Rag Book, Farnell and Nora Wellings. Lenci of Italy and Kathe Kruse of Germany are also popular.

The vast majority of collectors concentrate their collections on French and German bisque-headed dolls.

From the mid 1800s until near the turn of the 20th century, the finest and most desirable dolls were produced in France. In the 1870s some wonderful fashion dolls were produced, usually with bisque heads, kid bodies and fine clothes, produced by companies such as Francois Gaultier, Jumeau, Barrois, Huret, Rohmer, and Bru.

From the late 1870s into the 1890s, many fine French Beb'e dolls were made, and Jumeau is a good example from the late 1870s.

The German company of Simon & Halbig began in the late 1860s. Early Simon & Hal big dolls had shoulder plates and kid bodies, but most are on composition, jointed bodies.

The majority of dolls found today were produced by Arman Marseille.

Some are ordinary, many of good quality.He was a prolific producer from the 1890s through to the 1930s

There were hundreds of German doll manufacturers, amongst those of note are Geb ruder Heubach.

Heubach of Kopplesdorf had a family connection with the large Armand Marseille company with whom they merged in 1919.

Dolls come in all shapes and sizes and therefore prices. They range from pounds 20-30 up to pounds 800-pounds 1,200 for the more generally produced ones.

The rare and unusual can realise many thousands of pounds.

We are holding a toy valuation day on Friday, March 7 at 43 Hoghton Street, Southport, 01704 538489.
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 1, 2008
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