French Bru Doll, ca. 1880
Appraised Value: $15,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:43)
GUEST: My grandmother gave her to me as part of a doll collection. She got her in 1947. She used to take in ironing and she paid $15 a week to get this doll and she paid $75 for it when she got it.
APPRAISER: And what do you know about her?
GUEST: Well, I now she's a Bru, which is a French doll. I know she's probably the best doll in my doll collection. When I was a child, it was a doll I was not allowed to play with, where with some of her other dolls, I was allowed to play with them.
APPRAISER: Well, you know it's a Bru. It's a very, very beautiful Bru made in France late 1880s. She has a closed mouth, as you see, nice brown paperweight eyes. Her original wig, which you were sort of worried about that a little bit?
APPRAISER: Don't change the wig. Even though it's a little bit worn, leave her wig alone. Completely original clothes, which are wonderful-- her hat, her dress, her shoes. Shoes are not marked Bru; they're unmarked, but they're period shoes from the same time. She has a leather body with wooden lower legs. This head, this shoulder plate, which swivels, pierced ears, solid glass eyes and just a lovely... the face people want to see. Little hint of a tongue there, which the collectors love. The quality of the bisque is very good. And did you have any idea maybe the value of the doll at all?
GUEST: Well, I thought maybe around $5,000.
APPRAISER: That's quite a lot of money. Do you want to hear the good part or the bad part?
GUEST: Let's hear the bad part first.
APPRAISER: Okay, well, the bad part is she's got something replaced on her. Do you know what that is?
APPRAISER: It's her arms.
GUEST: Oh, all right.
APPRAISER: Her arms are actually German bisque arms. Her hands must have broken years and years ago. She probably went to a doll hospital and they put the German hands on. They could have been broken in the 19th century, early 20th century. So, that hurts her value. But she's still worth a little more than $5,000. So, with the replaced arms, her value on today's market at a doll show or a good auction would be around $15,000.
APPRAISER: Now, if you could find the original arms-- which are very hard to find, but they are out there somewhere-- expect to pay as much as $2,000 for a pair of those arms. But it increases her value to $20,000 to $25,000. So it's worth looking for.
APPRAISER: So you've got a great, great Bru doll here.
GUEST: Thank you. I can't believe it's worth that much money.
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