Paper Dolls - An Introduction:
Paper dolls are a popular type of doll which has re-invented itself many times over the last 200 years. Early 19th century paper dolls could be elaborate affairs--hand painted, boxed sets, sometimes with tissue paper clothing. By the mid-20th century, paper dolls commonly came in "books" which required that their owner cut out the dolls and clothing. Today, paper dolls can often be found for free on the Internet--free to print out, cut out and enjoy.
Paper Dolls - Years of Production:
Paper dolls have existed in various forms (some crude, some elegant such as mica overlays in the 1700s) but they weren't manufactured until the very early 1800s in the United States and England. The earliest paper dolls were hand painted.
Companies That Have Produced Paper Dolls:
Numerous companies have produced paper dolls in the past 200 years. Earliest companies tended to be in England and the United States, with Germany also producing many paper dolls in the mid to late 1800s. The best known manufacturer of paper dolls in the mid to late 1900s was Raphael Tuck, an English company that produced their paper dolls in Germany. Other well-known companies that have produced paper dolls include Dennison, McLoughlin Brothers, Whitman and Golden Books.
Materials Used To Make Paper Dolls:
Obviously, paper has been the most common material used to maker paper dolls. However, some paper dolls have had tissue paper clothing, some dolls are made printed with velveteen or other special papers, and some paper dolls are made of cardboard.
Prices and Secondary Market for Paper Dolls:
Many paper dolls from the second half of the 2Oth century can be collected very inexpensively, as can many advertising paper dolls and even some earlier paper dolls from the late 19th century. For paper dolls from the early 1800s or before, the sky is the limit. For 19th century paper dolls, the more complete (and mint) the set, the more expensive it is. For paper doll books, uncut books are always worth more.
Ways Paper Dolls Have Been Sold:
As mentioned, through the years, many paper dolls have been sold as boxed sets. Sometimes, 19th century paper dolls came as sets in envelopes. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, many paper dolls were given out free as advertising (sometimes along with, or printed on, Victorian trading cards). Throughout the 20th century, paper dolls have often been printed in magazines. The most common ways to find paper dolls today are in book form, or on the Internet in free, printable form.