Four Schoenhut Dolls, ca. 1914

Value (2003) | $3,300 Retail$4,500 Retail

GUEST:
When my mother was about five years old, in the mid '20s, she said she got all of these dolls and that her aunt made all of the clothes for her. And I inherited them about 20 years ago; she let me have them. I know very little about them. I know the importance with the joints, but other than that, I don't know anything about these dolls.

APPRAISER:
Well, they're made by a man in Philadelphia called Albert Schoenhut. And Albert Schoenhut was German-- family immigrated to Philadelphia in the 19th century. He made doll houses, toy pianos, wooden circuses and then, around 1914, wooden dolls. At that particular time period, there were a lot of German bisque character dolls made. And what Schoenhut wanted to do was produce a doll that was both artistic, pretty and unbreakable. So these dolls are actually all wood, all jointed. They have a steel spring in the arm right there. The heads are gessoed over wood. And you had a question about the hair.

GUEST:
The hair looks like it could be real.

APPRAISER:
Well, it's actually goat hair or mohair. And this particular doll has a replaced wig of synthetic material, whereas these dolls have mohair wigs. Tell me something about that one.

GUEST:
This doll was damaged on the leg and her face, so I had her redone.

APPRAISER:
Okay, well, let's do some condition reports on these kids. The worst condition is actually--

GUEST:
Oh!

APPRAISER:
--the one that you fixed. And that's what they call Schoenhut's dolly face-- it's a very normal face. Whereas these guys are all character faces. So she's low man on the totem poll. Then you got the best face over here-- original wig, clothes that, you know, were probably made by your aunt. Then you have the next best one here, in the union suit-- original Schoenhut underwear. Then you have the little American Indian kid. You had a question about that, too.

GUEST:
How do I take off the, uh, material?

APPRAISER:
Buckskin? I'd leave it alone.

GUEST:
Just leave it on him?

APPRAISER:
I would not mess with it whatsoever.

GUEST:
Do recommend putting them in paper?

APPRAISER:
Acid-free paper. I mean, you can put them out, you just don't want them in sunlight. You have to be very careful with Schoenhuts. Too much heat, too much cold, that's where you get some of this little bit of chipping. So keep them out of heat, keep them out of cold, keep them out of sun. I guess you want values on them.

GUEST:
Yeah, it would be interesting to know that.

APPRAISER:
The little dolly-faced girl over there to the left, in that kind of condition, probably $200 to $300. Maybe a little bit more because she has some extra clothes. The girl up here with the sailor hat, nice condition, a very low of $1,000, maybe a high of $1,500.

GUEST:
Oh, wow.

APPRAISER:
The one in the buckskin with the little bit of chipping on there, probably $900 to $1,200. And the other little sailor girl, which is in excellent shape, probably $1,200 to $1,500. So you've got a group here probably close to $4,000.

GUEST:
Oh, that's surprising. I thought they'd be a couple hundred dollars apiece.

APPRAISER:
They're actually a little bit older, so maybe they belonged to somebody else before your mom got them.

Appraisal Details

Appraised value (2003)
$3,300 Retail$4,500 Retail
Event
San Francisco, CA (August 16, 2003)
Period
20th Century
Form
Doll

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.