Dollhouse Dolls - An Introduction:
There are many types of miniature dolls, but dollhouse dolls are a particular type of miniature doll - one intended for play or display in dollhouses. Antique dollhouse dolls were often not done to a specific scale (nor were the dollhouses they were intended for) but the vast majority of today's dollhouse dolls and dollhouses are created on a scale of 1 inch equals 1 foot, so that most modern male dollhouse dolls stand about 6 inches and most female modern dollhouse dolls stand about 5 to 5 3/4 inches.
Years of Production of Dollhouse Dolls:
Dollhouse dolls have been in production as long as dollhouses. Very few early (prior to 1850) dollhouse dolls exist today as most of the earliest materials of the dolls were fragile (wood, wax). Dollhouse dolls have been in nearly continuous production since the 1800s and are still being made by both companies and individual artists today.
Companies That Produce and Have Produced Dollhouse Dolls:
Most of the major German antique bisque and china doll companies also produced dollhouse sized bisque and china dolls, including Kestner, Simon and Halbig and others. Today, various dollhouse companies still distribute vinyl dollhouse dolls for play and also display, but the finest examples are made by individual artists working in bisque and other materials.
Sizes of Dollhouse Dolls:
Antique dollhouse doll sizes varied wildly, but the majority were between 4 and 8 inches tall. Today, as mentioned, most dollhouse dolls are scaled for 1:12 dollhouse scale, so that child dolls are often 4 to 4 inches, and adults are generally between 5 and 6 inches, plus limbs and features are correctly in related proportion and scale.
Materials and Characteristics of Dollhouse Dolls:
Dollhouse dolls have been made in nearly every material that dolls have been made from! Some collectors specialize in dollhouse dolls, and look for unusual materials as part of their collecting. I have seen dollhouse dolls made from wood, wax, china, bisque, celluloid, hard plastic, cloth and vinyl.
whatever the head and lower limbs of the dollhouse doll is made of, many times the body of the doll is cloth. Modern play dollhouse dolls additionally also have a type of wired armature that makes the doll bendable for posing.
Marks on Dollhouse Dolls:
The vast majority of early dollhouse dolls are unmarked, or marked only with a mold number on the back of the dolls and sometimes, for bisque dolls, on the inside of limbs as well. Later vinyl and plastic dollhouse dolls often have the maker's name stamped on the back. In any event, since most clothing for dollhouse dolls are sewn on and not removable in order to help keep the doll in scale, it is often nearly impossible to search for marks on dolls with original clothing without destroying that clothing.
Prices for Dollhouse Dolls:
Antique dollhouse dolls are very popular with collectors. Since so many collectors, due to lack of space, turn to smaller dolls, there is a fascination with dollhouse dolls, especially those in the original clothing. A good child, man or woman dollhouse doll with glass eyes and original clothing can be priced between $200 to $600. Some dolls in rarer costumes and very early dollhouse dolls can go for much more. Modern bisque dollhouse dolls by certain desirable miniature artists can also be priced at several hundred dollars each.
On the other end of the scale, inexpensive, vinyl dollhouse dolls for play can be just a few dollars each and crude Japanese and German all-bisque dolls can sell for as low as $20 to $50 dollars.