The Only Porcelain Doll Buying Guide You’ll Ever Need

Porcelain dolls are usually thought of as the ‘historical past’ come to life. There are many doll manufacturers today that make these dolls for collectors, and plenty of people choose to decorate their home with lifelike displays – or buy them for their daughters, like me! However, buying a more modern porcelain doll is very different to buying an antique doll made from vinyl. This guide is the only one you’ll ever need when it comes to choosing a porcelain doll, whether it’s a gift for your daughter, yourself, or somebody else:

Before You Buy a Doll

Before you even look at porcelain dolls, you need to decide what you want to get out of the doll. A buyer needs to know whether the doll will be a collectors item, a decoration, or a toy. Knowing the purpose of the doll will help you pick the perfect one in terms of price, material, and brand. In my daughter’s case, some of her dolls are decorations and others are toys – I choose the kind of doll accordingly. If you’re looking for an original antique porcelain doll, you need to make sure you get proper documentation when you purchase it, so you know that it’s genuine. There are many collector’s editions out there as well as certificates that will prove their authenticity.

Choosing the Perfect Doll

When looking to buy a porcelain doll, it’s important that you buy an authentic porcelain creation – meaning the doll is really made from the material it’s supposed to be made from. Check the doll for markings, material and design, damage, and characteristics – these should help you distinguish the doll genuine from fake.

Identifying Authenticity

There should be a mark from the doll maker on the doll showing it’s authenticity, as doll makers want credit for their work. You may find this on the head, shoulder, neck, or foot. You will also get a certificate for the doll if it is authentic.

Check Material and Design

An antique doll will have painted on hair, while newer dolls will have seemingly real hair rooted on to their heads. Older doll’s clothing styles will be made of leather, while newer dolls will have stuffed bodies with Victorian style outfits.

Check for Damage

Any damage to the doll will bring down the value, so make sure there are no cracks, holes, or rips before purchasing, if doing so second hand.


You’ll be able to tell if a doll is antique or more modern quite easily by looking at the characteristics. Eyes that are set into the doll and don’t move are a characteristic of an 1800’s doll. The characteristics of a doll from the 1800’s and a newer doll will be very different – newer dolls tend to look more lifelike.

With this guide you should be able to decide on the perfect porcelain doll, whatever the occasion. Buying for display purposes means you can afford to buy a fully porcelain, perhaps even antique doll, whereas buying for your daughter like I do will mean you have to be a little careful and choose a soft bodied doll!

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