The Magic  of Character Dolls


The eyes are wistful or curious or twinkling or sad. They look out from a face that reflects the emotion of the eyes. They reflect a genuine childish emotion. This is the magic of character dolls .. very special dolls that were produced between the years of 1909 and 1914.

Character dolls were a marked change from the baby dolls or the pretty "women" dolls of the time.Those dolls carried the perfect, expressionless beauty that most people took for granted in dolls. The special charm of the character dolls was in their portrayal of real children... a very definitive difference from the "standard" doll of the time.

The greatest demand for these dolls were the ones made by Kammer and Reinhardt in Germany. They were universally deemed the most beautiful dolls produced at that time.

The intensity of their expressions could be explained by the fact that they were most llkely modeled after the daughter of the artist who sculpted them. They were created with a great personal affection .. thus the dolls became not just dolls.. but small works of art.

Defiance, joy, grief, thoughtfulness, laughter and tears .. all emotions evoked in these beautiful productions.. were greeted with enthusiasm when they were first introduced.

The expressions of the child images in these dolls were most beautiful when a "snaphot of the moment" was associated with some kind of activity... when Moritz no longer stands for all to see with a silent grin, but slyly slips through the neighbor's fence and swipes an apple... when he scratches the ear of a stone figure,, when Peter rolls his eyes at Marie... when a sitting young lady collects flowers... when little sister looks with awe and wonder at her new baby brother.
Despite the beauty of these dolls... heated discussions among doll makers about the "correct" doll expression brought about the decision that the "prettified" modest character doll..... mostly the baby dolls...had the best selling potential.That feeling along with the war and inflation that followed made necessary a more simplified production.

The years of production of these wonderful character dolls came to an abrupt halt overnight

Today these dolls are very hard to find. The ones produced by Kammer & Reinhardt are the ones most in demand. Their value has a wide range.. from $300 to $50,000. The doll makers JD Kestner, Armand Marseille, and Simon & Halbig also made character dolls and the value of those dolls range from as low as $200 to as high as $30,000.

The value of all of these dolls is dependent on their condition... but no matter what condition they are found to be in.. the magic of character dolls is still reflected there. That is not easily dimmed