J.D. Kestner Baby Doll, ca. 1910
This has just been a doll that's been in my family as long as I can remember. It was something I saw as a kid growing up, and the story that I learned later was that my great-grandmother, when she emigrated over from England, she came to the U.S. and they moved to L.A., and she worked for the Salvation Army. So that was probably in the early 1920s, and that's where she picked up the doll. And it's just been around ever since.
Do you know anything else about her?
It's always been in a case that my grandfather made for me, and my mom used to look at it, play with it, and that's it. It's just got beautiful clothes, and its eyes open and close, and never even looked anything up about it.
This doll is from Germany. It's made by a maker called John D. Kestner, made about 1910.
It's an Asian doll or Oriental. It's a bisque head and a composition body. It's a baby doll. It's a five-piece baby body, and the arms are bent, and the legs are bent also. It's also marked on the back of the head, "Made in Germany," and the mold number is 243. And also it's marked "J.D.K," for John D. Kestner. Probably maybe five percent of what they made were Asian dolls. And also, Kestner was a pretty prolific maker, and he did such a good job on making the mold and the faces and the coloring and everything. His dolls are more sought after than other dolls.
If this doll was at auction, it would bring between $3,200 and $3,500.
Wow! (chuckles) That's incredible.
Very nice example of the doll.
Wonderful, I never would have imagined.
Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.
Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."
Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.
Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.
Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.
Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.
Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.