Four Schoenhut Dolls, ca. 1914
Appraised Value: $3,300 - $4,500
IMAGE: 1 of 5
Appraisal Video: (2:57)
GUEST: When my mother was about five years old, in the mid '20s, she said she got all of these dolls and that her aunt made all of the clothes for her. And I inherited them about 20 years ago; she let me have them. I know very little about them. I know the importance with the joints, but other than that, I don't know anything about these dolls.
APPRAISER: Well, they're made by a man in Philadelphia called Albert Schoenhut. And Albert Schoenhut was German-- family immigrated to Philadelphia in the 19th century. He made doll houses, toy pianos, wooden circuses and then, around 1914, wooden dolls. At that particular time period, there were a lot of German bisque character dolls made. And what Schoenhut wanted to do was produce a doll that was both artistic, pretty and unbreakable. So these dolls are actually all wood, all jointed. They have a steel spring in the arm right there. The heads are gessoed over wood. And you had a question about the hair.
GUEST: The hair looks like it could be real.
APPRAISER: Well, it's actually goat hair or mohair. And this particular doll has a replaced wig of synthetic material, whereas these dolls have mohair wigs. Tell me something about that one.
GUEST: This doll was damaged on the leg and her face, so I had her redone.
APPRAISER: Okay, well, let's do some condition reports on these kids. The worst condition is actually--
APPRAISER: --the one that you fixed. And that's what they call Schoenhut's dolly face-- it's a very normal face. Whereas these guys are all character faces. So she's low man on the totem poll. Then you got the best face over here-- original wig, clothes that, you know, were probably made by your aunt. Then you have the next best one here, in the union suit-- original Schoenhut underwear. Then you have the little American Indian kid. You had a question about that, too.
GUEST: How do I take off the, uh, material?
APPRAISER: Buckskin? I'd leave it alone.
GUEST: Just leave it on him?
APPRAISER: I would not mess with it whatsoever.
GUEST: Do recommend putting them in paper?
APPRAISER: Acid-free paper. I mean, you can put them out, you just don't want them in sunlight. You have to be very careful with Schoenhuts. Too much heat, too much cold, that's where you get some of this little bit of chipping. So keep them out of heat, keep them out of cold, keep them out of sun. I guess you want values on them.
GUEST: Yeah, it would be interesting to know that.
APPRAISER: The little dolly-faced girl over there to the left, in that kind of condition, probably $200 to $300. Maybe a little bit more because she has some extra clothes. The girl up here with the sailor hat, nice condition, a very low of $1,000, maybe a high of $1,500.
GUEST: Oh, wow.
APPRAISER: The one in the buckskin with the little bit of chipping on there, probably $900 to $1,200. And the other little sailor girl, which is in excellent shape, probably $1,200 to $1,500. So you've got a group here probably close to $4,000.
GUEST: Oh, that's surprising. I thought they'd be a couple hundred dollars apiece.
APPRAISER: They're actually a little bit older, so maybe they belonged to somebody else before your mom got them.
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