Appraisal Video: (2:51)
GUEST: I've brought a doll that belonged to my grandma. Her name was Vivian Reese; she lived in Lamars, Iowa. And the doll came from an old woman who lived in the neighborhood. Her name was Molly Dore, and so we always referred to it as Molly's doll. Molly was born in 1865, and it's from her childhood, we believe, and it's all the original clothes.
APPRAISER: Right, and where was she from?
GUEST: Uh, Molly was from Galina, Illinois. Her mother was from Germany, and her father was from France.
APPRAISER: Any idea as to where the doll was originally made?
GUEST: No. Grandma at one time had said it was a Biedermeier, but that doesn't mean anything to me because I don't know anything about dolls.
APPRAISER: Very nice doll. It's a German china doll, completely all-original ethnic clothing, original wig, a lovely, lovely face, nice shoes and it's from the Biedermeier era. It's from, you know, probably early 1850s, maybe as late as 1860. And not very many of these dolls show up. Most German china's have molded hair, painted eyes and normal child-type clothing. I mean, this is completely all-original, lovely, lovely clothes, lovely wig, but it's very, very rare to find a German china with glass eyes. Some French chinas later on had glass eyes, but not German chinas. Another rarity on this doll-- this doll's eyes actually sleep because normally, they don't. There could be stationary glass eyes, so that if you turn her around here, her eyes move. She's got a leather body, wooden arms and legs. And did you ever have her valued at all?
GUEST: Grandma had her appraised in the 1960s, and they wanted to offer her, like, $400 for it.
APPRAISER: Well, $400 in the '60s was, you know, quite a lot of money. I mean, dolls were bringing $100, $200, $300, so somebody was probably being very fair then. Uh, on today's market, she's gone up a little bit. I mean, the last one I saw like this-- much smaller-- sold for $4,000. Yours is probably in the $4,000. on maybe a really good day, maybe up to $6,000.
APPRAISER: Lovely little blanket. What's with the blanket?
GUEST: It was just one of her doll blankets that I wrapped it in.
APPRAISER: She was all wrapped up in this lovely, early. It's a beautiful, early-American blanket from, again, the 1860 period. You know, the value of that's probably $200, $300.
GUEST: Oh, really?
APPRAISER: So don't wrap her up in it. Put her under a nice glass dome, not a lot of sunlight, not a lot of cold, and she'll last forever.
GUEST: Grandma always said to keep the sleeping dolls face down.
APPRAISER: Yeah, what happens, the lead weight in the eyes shifts, the eyes can fall out. You want to keep her flat. If you don't have her out, keep her flat. But if you have her up like this, that's fine. Her eyes aren't going to be moving around.