Antique Half Dolls
Antique half dolls are dolls that feature the upper half of a figure's torso, without the legs.
History & Description
Half dolls were produced so that they could be attached to various household items, such as tea cozies, brooms, pin cushions, or items that were commonly found on a ladies’ dressing table, such as powder or jewellery boxes.
Although there are some half dolls that date to the first-quarter of the nineteenth century, they were typically produced during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.
Antique half dolls are generally constructed of porcelain, although there are some rarer models made in unglazed bisque. Some of the more expensive models are hand-painted and contain real human hair. Half dolls have been made from a number of materials, such as wax, plastic and wood.
Guide for collectors
Collectors should took out for antique half dolls that were produced in Germany, as these represent the most sought after examples on the market. A few notable German toy companies that manufactured half dolls include Bohne & Sohne, Heubach, Ernst, Stiefel, Dressel & Kister and F. W. Goebel.
Antique half dolls regularly appear at national and international auction houses. However, records show that the most valuable examples of antique half dolls have been sold on eBay.
Notable auction sales
On February 28th 2012, a rare porcelain German half doll, made by A. W. Fr. Kister, circa 1920s, was sold on eBay for $2,225.
On March 20th 2012, a rare porcelain German half doll, made by Dressel & Kister, circa 1920s, was sold on eBay for $2,275.
On May 3rd 2006 at Christie’s in London, a selection of early-twentieth century porcelain half dolls realised a price of £1,080.
On May 1st 2007 at Christie’s in London, a rare porcelain half doll, made by Dressel & Kister, realised a price of £540.