Googly Dolls are a style of dolls produced with large heads and wide eyes.
Googly-eyed dolls (also called 'Googlies') are a brand of dolls that share similar characteristics – most noticeably being their small statue and large head with wide, googly side-glancing eyes. The smile is generally small and mischievous. Googly-eyed dolls were first produced in 1912 with most bisque ones made in the years 1915-1925.
More recent dolls are made of more common doll making materials such as celluloid and composition. Modern day Animé dolls are considered to be influenced by the Googly-eyed dolls and share many characteristics.
Many companies have produced Googly-eyed dolls over the years. The original classic design dolls are generally credited to German toy manufacturers; included in these are Armand Marseille, Kammer and Reinhardt, Kestner and Heubach.
French and American toy companies have also produced the dolls and the later edition Googlies such as the Campbell Kids were made by American Character and Horsman. One of the more famous Google-eyed dolls are the Kewpies – considered to be the first Googlies these were produced by Ohrdruf and based on illustrations by Rose-O'Neil of the Ladies' Home Journal.
Information for Collectors
Some of the more expensive Googly-eyed dolls were produced by Kämmer & Reinhardt (from 1927 onwards). They were available in three different sizes; 5 inches, 8 inches and 15 inches. As a general guide the smallest of these original dolls which, when released retailed at $1 are now worth between $5,000 to $6,000. The 8-inch doll originally sold for $2 but now is worth anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000. The 15-inch version originally sold for $5 and is now worth $12,000 to $18,000.
Collectors wishing to find a more affordable option to begin their collections can start with the later edition Googly-eyed dolls. Dolls such as the Campbell Kids (vinyl) can be picked up for as little as $100.
The rarest and most valuable of the Googly-eyed dolls is the 15-inch black 131 doll wearing short clothes. This has never appeared in the market but Auction appraiser and collector Richard Wright has promised to pay in excess of $40,000 for it, should it be found!
Some information of mould numbers can be found here.
Collectors wishing to purchase dolls can do so at online auction sites like eBay or directly from private sellers such Lynne's Antique Dolls and Collectibles (UK-based.)
Notable auction sales:
In 2001, in an auction held by Hollister Auction Company in Missouri a 1912 Kewpie doll, signed by Rose O'Neil sold for $6,000.
From an October, 2010 Theriaults auction, held in San Francisco:
- A 13” Kestner doll, 221 model -sold for $8000. A 16” version reached $10,500.
- A pair of A.M 241 Googly dolls – Sold for $3750.
- A Kewpie doll by Kestner with a composition body. Sold for $6,250.
- A 12” 'Our Fairy' Bisque doll – Sold for $1400.
From a November, 2010, Theriaults auction, held in New York:
- A pair of Oscar Hitt dolls: “Virginia, Ginny for short”. Sold for $135,000.
- A 16” Kestners Googly. Sold for $9,500.
- A German Bisque Googly. 8 1/2” “Elisabeth” by Gebruder Heubach. Sold for $3,750.
November, 2011 Bonhams auction: Pair of Googlies, bisque and with original clothes. Sold for £450.Two A.M. Googlies, bisque sold for £525 and £688 respectively. (Prices in GBP)