Antique porcelain dolls – is your doll fake?

Collecting antique porcelain dolls can be a very rewarding hobby. Talented craftsmen have been creating beautiful dolls for decades. The number of options to choose from from countries around the world is huge! Although you can buy good quality reproductions today, modern technology has also increased the number of fakes. How do you notice that these fakes are being sold as originals? There are many telltale signs that will sound the alarm. Here are the basics:

Doll Brands
This is a topic for a separate article, let’s take a quick look.

If you are buying in the United States, all dolls made and imported after 1891 must be labeled with the country of origin. Although the shape of the mark can be located on the back of the head, chest, shoulder or soles of the feet, they can also be encoded in the material or simply by affixing a label. The presence of the mark immediately indicates that the doll is dated 1891. The mark usually includes the mold number, size number, patent number and of course the manufacturer’s initial or stamp. No marks MAY means before 1891. If there are no marks on the doll, be sure to check the following:

Take a closer look at your eyes and look for the following signs:

  • Look for glass, not plastic.
  • If your doll needs to have sleeping eyes, make sure they work and not just glued into place.
  • The eye socket or cutout should be symmetrical.
  • The porcelain on the edge of the nest should be thin.
  • Does the color of the eye socket match the color of this doll? Usually, vintage dolls only have eyeshadow.


  • Eyelashes don’t have to be symmetrical.
  • One lash should have more streaks than the other.
  • They should be thin, strokes thin, not thick.


  • Eyebrows need to be painted over finely. Like eyelashes.
  • They don’t have to be symmetrical.
  • Check the location on the face. The doll should not have a surprised face.

Legal china has been around for a while and is most likely made from biscuit biscuits that look realistic. Expect to see petty delusions. Of course, any cracks or signs of repair will affect the cost.


  • Is the doll costume or dress appropriate for the age of the doll?
  • What material is used? There should be no polyester or any other relatively modern material.


  • Mohair or human hair, not polyester.

Most antique porcelain dolls are actually a combination of parts from different manufacturers. Manufacturers usually specialized in heads and supplied them to the larger market. Be sure to check for marks. See above.

It is difficult to quickly assess whether it is a real antique doll or a fake. While the list above is brief, check out the specific dolls you are interested in by visiting museums and other collections to get a closer look at what the real thing should look like. This will give you a good test.

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