French Bru Jeune Doll, Size 1, ca. 1895

Value (2011) | $28,000 Retail$38,000 Retail
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GUEST:
I was visiting my mother out in Southern California. My mother loved junk shops, and we were wandering around through it, and she saw this doll. She asked the person in charge, "How much do you want for this?" And he said, "Oh, what do you think? Maybe 25 cents?" So we went home with a doll for 25 cents.

APPRAISER:
How many years ago was this?

GUEST:
Oh, that was about 35 years ago.

APPRAISER:
35 years ago.

GUEST:
And I've had it put away ever since.

APPRAISER:
Well, first of all, I want to tell you, you made a sound investment for your 25 cents.

GUEST:
Good.

APPRAISER:
The doll is French.

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
It was made by a company named Bru, B-R-U. Bru made dolls from 1866 to 1899. They reached their zenith at about 1885 to 1890. This was their crowning glory, as far as their dolls go. And to many collectors, the ultimate thing for them is to own a Bru in their collection. And the ultimate Bru to own is this particular style of Bru.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
It's a number one. It's the magic size in French doll collecting. Now, everybody wants a size one: Jumeau, Bru, all the different manufacturers. It has a particular body that's desirable among doll collectors, and it's called a Chevrot hinged body. The legs are carved wood, and they're hinged at the knee.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
Many Bru bodies are leather all the way down. They will also bend from the hips so you can actually seat this doll. Another plus is the shoes are marked "Bru." They have a little "1" on them and they're Bru.

GUEST:
So they're the originals.

APPRAISER:
They are the original shoes. It has the lower bisque arms, which everyone wants. That head, the shoulder, and the arms are bisque. The wig is original-- there's a lot of it that's missing, but it is the original wig-- made of mohair. The eyes are blue and they're glass. She has earrings, but they aren't the original earrings. The original ones would have been a brass wire with probably a pink or a light blue bead on the end of that. You can see where there was an original sticker from one side to the other right across the chest. It would have said the company's name and some awards that the company had won. It's missing, but it's not that important to the value of the doll. The doll is very, very desirable today.

GUEST:
Oh, that's wonderful.

APPRAISER:
And in a retail setting, it would sell between $28,000 and $38,000.

GUEST:
You're kidding.

APPRAISER:
No.

GUEST:
Oh, isn't that wonderful?

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Antique and Collectible Dolls
Folsom, CA
Appraised value (2011)
$28,000 Retail$38,000 Retail
Event
El Paso, TX (June 18, 2011)
Period
19th Century
Form
Doll

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