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Planning Retirement Online

Family Treasures - Edition 11
 November 2004

Miller's Price Guide 

Purchase Miller's Price Guide 2004/2005

Family Treasures 11

Jill Churchill, who writes on antiques and collectables for YOURS magazine, continues her series .  


Ladies in crinolines and other ‘half dolls’

They were all the rage in the 1930s – remember those ‘crinoline lady’ teacosies? If you have one hidden away in the cupboard, now’s the time to bring her out. Her ‘skirt’ - probably knitted - may be beyond rescue, but it’s the top half that matters. Is she made of china from the waist up? If so, you’ve a collectable ‘half doll’ that can fetch ?20 to ?300, maybe even more.

Amazon Books - Collecting Dolls Houses and MiniaturesThese figurines also lurk as tiny pincushion ladies in needlework boxes, and on old-fashioned dressing tables where they once hid powder puffs. (Some of us may even remember one discreetly shielding the loo roll from public gaze.)

Not forgetting the bottom half

The true half doll has pieced holes just below her waist, so that the skirt can be sewn on. She’s always ceramic - sometimes earthenware pottery, sometimes porcelain - and can look like a Gainsborough portrait, or a be-bonneted little girl, or like a 1920s film star. She might be just one inch high, or as tall as 10 inches.

Many were made in Germany in the early 1900s, and sold in toy shops for little girls to ‘dress’ with appropriate skirts. Others went straight to fancy-goods manufacturers.

Arms for the pure

Auction houses and dealers report a growing interest. A Gainsborough-type lady, 5inches high, made of bisque (matt porcelain) with touches of glazing, fetched ?80 at a recent auction. A smaller, more mass-produced doll in glazed earthenware, was ?40. Those moulded ‘all in one’ rather than the more desirable ‘arms extended’ kind, might fetch ?20.

An Art Deco (1920s) can go over ?200 if you can find one; so will any good-quality doll with the German mark of Galluba & Hoffmann.

Best in the boudoir

Collector's  guide to dolls of the 60`s & 70`sThe boudoir half dolls are often the most fun as well fetching best prices: a 1920s ‘flapper’ with legs attached to a powder-bowl, the torso as a handle and a swansdown powder puff as a skirt, might fetch ?300 if in good condition.
And if your tea cosy doll is a sumptuous one, properly dressed with a skirt that’s made of padded and trimmed fabric over a wire frame? Well, I’ve only seen one in a book, but there it was valued at ?1,250.

Previous editions:

Family Treasures - 1

Family Treasures - 2

Family Treasures - 3

Family Treasures - 4

Family Treasures - 5

Family Treasures - 6

Family Treasures - 7

Family Treasures - 8

Family Treasures - 9

Family Treasures - 10

For subsequent editions - see the laterlife interest index



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