1880 J.D. Kestner XI Doll
Appraised Value: $3,000 - $4,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (3:13)
Dolls, Toys & Games
GUEST: I don't really know too much about her. I had her in a closet, like, for 30 years. And she's not marked.
APPRAISER: Is it a family doll?
GUEST: It's been around in the family, yeah. Nobody really was interested in her, and I'd take anything that you handed out, I'll take it. But, uh, it's just been kicking around.
APPRAISER: Have you ever done any research about the doll?
GUEST: Someone recommended a doll book, and I think she... I think, now, I'm not sure, but I think she was in that doll book, and the museum...
APPRAISER: A doll museum that you contacted?
GUEST: A doll museum in Pennsylvania, yeah. I think they have a doll like her, similar.
APPRAISER: It's made in Germany. It was made in Waltherhausen, Germany. And it was made by one of the most prolific and highest-quality doll manufacturers in Germany-- by Kestner. It was a company that started in early... 19th Century. And they made papier-mache dolls in their early period and furniture and other doll things. And then around 1880s, they made this doll. And this doll is sort of trying to mimic the look of a French doll. Now, this doll is unmarked and Kestner didn't mark in this period. But the mark that you can see-- and let me turn it around here-- and we lift up the wig, and right under there, do you see the Roman numerals X and I?
APPRAISER: What "XI" stands for is the size number. Now, there would have been a size "X," and there's also a size "XII" and collectors today now refer to this doll as the "XI." And it's what we call a "closed-mouth Kestner." Now, a closed mouth is better than an open mouth in dolls. So it has a bisque head and a lovely original mohair wig. And what's great about an "XI" that make them sought after is that wonderful pouty mouth. And then she has her original straight-wristed body. Now, a straight-wristed body is earlier than a jointed-wrist body. That's another thing that tells us it's an early Kestner. And it's a typical Kestner-quality body. They were very, very high quality. And then she has her original underclothes. Now, her original dress is not here. It also has the original shoes with one missing rosette. But those are very good shoes and very nice to have. Preservation wise, I really wouldn't do anything. You might want to find a nice dress for it. And I see, like, there is a little bit of crackling... or maybe it's dirt. And that's typical wear on a composition body.
APPRAISER: In this condition, without the original dress $3,000 to $4,000.
GUEST: Oh, you're kidding me. Oh, my God...
APPRAISER: Isn't that wonderful?
APPRAISER: And that's an auction value. If it had the original factory dress, the retail value could be $5,000 fairly easy. Now, the most valuable part of the doll is the head, and that is perfect, in this doll is perfect. It doesn't have any hairlines, it doesn't have any chips or cracks or anything like that.
GUEST: Thank you so much.
APPRAISER: Oh, you're welcome.
GUEST: Wow, I was afraid it was going to be a fake. (both laugh)
APPRAISER: Definitely not fake.
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