12 Rare Old Antique & Vintage Dolls (Worth & More in 2023)

Dolls have always been kids’ favorite toys. These lifeless figurines with realistic human features become a part of their imaginary worlds. But old dolls weren’t made by machines; they were handcrafted and decorated with expensive, fine materials.

And that’s why some antique dolls aren’t just toys but exclusive treasures worth thousands, in fact, MILLIONS! Yes, the Barry Art Museum of Norfolk purchased a French doll for over $300K!

Hard to believe, right? Well, let me introduce you to the 12 rarest & most valuable vintage dolls that are worth a LOT of money!

Key Takeaways

  • Antique French Bisque and porcelain dolls by makers like Bru Jne, Francois Gaultier, Jumeau, and Etienne Denamur, are extremely valuable ones. 
  • The original, signed branded dolls, such as a Cabbage Patch doll signed by Xavier Roberts and an American Girl doll signed by Pleasant Rowland, can cost up to $5,000.
  • Branded vintage dolls, with their original boxes, outfits, accessories, and jewelry, are quite precious. 
  • The most expensive doll ever sold is the flute-playing L’Oiseleur mechanical doll by Automates Bontemps, auctioned at a whopping $6.25 million!

How To Know If An Old Doll Is Valuable?

Unique Vintage Doll Collection

Of course, old and vintage dolls look more rugged, displaying an old style. But if you want an actual RARE doll, you might want to verify the following special features:

  • Original models with maker’s mark & other authentication marks
  • Signed (by original artists) models 
  • A discontinued range or line of dolls from a prominent brand
  • Unique, unusual features
  • Popular character-themed dolls 
  • Made for specific franchises (like, the Strawberry Shortcake series) 
  • Original box with visible brand and collection labels
  • Original accessories, jewelry, & additional stuff

List of 12 Rare Vintage Dolls to Collect Today

Check out some costly, rare dolls that will charm your collection like nothing else!

1. The Original 1959 Barbie Doll

Original 1959 Barbie dolls are easily one of the rarest and, hence, collector’s favorites! Available with different hairstyles, you can spot these fashion dolls with their slim body, arched eyebrows, and iconic black & white striped dress.

Special Features to Look For: 

  • Hand-painted eyes and red nails and lips 
  • Fixture holes in the feet for the pedestal 
  • Numbers “96,” “Barbie,” &“Mattel Inc.” embossed on the doll’s bottom 
  • Black pedestal with “Barbie” marked on top
  • Accessories like different outfits, shoes, hangers, etc. 
Estimated Cost $7,000 – $10,000
Brand/MakerMattel Inc. (Barbie Franchise)
OriginJapan
Manufacturing Year1959
MaterialPlastic
Item Height11 inches (Approx.)
ThemeFashion Doll (Barbie)

2. Antique French Bebe Bru Jne Bisque Doll

French Bisque dolls are worth a lot due to their high-end style and Bisque and wood composition. This rare and pretty French Bru Jne doll can be spotted with wavy blonde mohair hair (wig), popping blue eyes, an off-white (beige) dress, and an intricate lacy coat.

Notable Features to Spot: 

  • Corset stitched to the body
  • Original antique jewelry, like light blue earrings, matching bracelet and necklace, & antique ruffled layered hat
  • Removable clothes 
  • “Bru J 7” incised on the back of the neck & “BRU JNE PARIS” incised on the bottom of shoes
Estimated Cost $10,000 – $15,000
Brand/MakerBru, Jne & Cie
OriginFrance
Manufacturing Time PeriodMid-1880s
MaterialBisque, Wood
Item Height & Weight19 inches & 3 lbs (Approx.)
ThemeFashion Doll

3. Rare Grace S Putnam Borgfeldt Babykins Doll

One of the rarest finds from the Grace Putnam doll collection; this Babykins baby doll features a Bisque and cloth body with a long white night dress. You will also find big blue closeable eyes, plump orangish baby lips, and painted blonde hair.

Unique Features to Identify: 

  • No artificial hair or wig
  • Cloth thighs & body arms (shoulders), Bisque arms & legs 
  • “BABYKINS Corp. by GRACE S PUTNAM,” “Made In Germany,” & “1435/50” incised on the back of the neck
Estimated Cost $5,000
Brand/MakerGrace S Putnam
OriginGermany
Manufacturing Time Period1931
MaterialBisque, Cloth
Item Height 17 inches (Approx.)
ThemeBaby Play Doll

4. Original American Girl Meet Samantha Doll 

Original vintage 1980s American Girl dolls can be worth thousands of dollars because of their unique American outfits and style. You can spot the classic dolls with their iconic checkered full-sleeve dress fitted with a red ribbon belt.

Special Features to Look For: 

  • Big round eyes in different colors
  • American-style hairdos, mostly bangs
  • Included accessories like a hat, locket, purse, handkerchief (with company’s label) & a book
  • “PLEASANT COMPANY” marked on the back of the neck
Estimated Cost $2,000 – $5,000
Brand/MakerPleasant Company (Originally American Girl)
OriginUSA
Manufacturing Time Period1980s
MaterialPlastic
Item Height17 inches (Approx.)
ThemeCharacter-based Doll (Samantha)

If your American Girl doll is signed by the original creator Pleasant Rowland, it can be worth quite a lot!

5. Vintage Mod Era Black Francie Barbie Doll 

Marketed in the 1960s as Barbie’s MODern English cousin, the Black Francie doll is a rare model to collect. This doll can be identified with its darker complexion and unique English style colorful shorts and matching top!

Special Features to Look For: 

  • A shiny broad bracelet
  • Hand-painted eyes with real eyelashes
  • Flexible, bendable legs
  • “c1966 Mattel Inc. US Patented” & “Made in Japan” marked on the back
Estimated Cost $2,000 – $4,500
Brand/MakerMattel Inc. 
OriginJapan
Manufacturing Year1966
MaterialPlastic
Item Height11 inches (Approx.)
ThemeCharacter-based Fashion Doll (Francie)

6. Rare Coleco Cabbage Patch Kids Signed Preemie Doll

Finding a signed Cabbage Patch Kids Preemie doll is a really tough task! And that’s why this signed Coleco doll is rare and expensive. You can spot it by its big blue eyes, plastic and vinyl body, and a white lacy night dress with a hood.

Key Features to Look For: 

  • Hands and legs made of fabric
  • Additional accessories, like outfits, a diaper, bonnets, socks/tights
  • “Original Appalachian Artworks Manufactured by Coleco” marked at the back
  • Signed by Xavier Roberts at the bottom 
  • “Cabbage Patch Kids ™ 1972, 1982” label stitched to the doll’s body
  • Original Coleco box 
Estimated Cost $1,000 – $4,000
Brand/MakerColeco’s Cabbage Patch Kids (Preemie Range)Made by Xavier Roberts 
OriginChina
Manufacturing Time PeriodThe Early 1980s
MaterialCloth, Plastic, Vinyl
Item Height & Weight25 inches and 2 lbs (Approx.)
ThemeBaby Doll 

7. The Rare 1972 Kenner Blythe Dolls 

If a fashion doll has a regular Barbie-size body but a bigger head with round movable eyes, it’s likely a rare Blythe doll from the Kenner! The highlight of this rare doll is its string-pull mechanism that changes the eye colors and movements.

Important Features: 

  • Four different changeable eye colors (& movements)
  • Screws on the back of the body
  • “Blythe,” Kenner Productions,” & “1972” embossed at the back, along with patent and origin details
  • Additional dresses and accessories
Estimated Cost $2,000 – $6,000
Brand/MakerKenner Productions (Blythe Range)
OriginHong Kong
Manufacturing Year1972
MaterialPlastic
Item Height11 inches (Approx.)
ThemeCharacter-based fashion doll (Blythe)

8. Vintage Madame Alexander Cissy Doll Queen Elizabeth 

Madame Alexander’s 1950s range of Cissy dolls, America’s first-ever fashion doll, is definitely worth considering. And one of the collection’s special models is the Queen Elizabeth one, which comes with a gorgeous brocade bustle back Queen Elizabeth dress.

Notable Features to Spot: 

  • “Cissy Madame Alexander” label on the original white dress
  • Vinyl-jointed arms and legs
  • “Alexander” incised on the doll’s neck
  • Original jewelry (double pearl necklace, pearl bracelet, earrings)
  • Additional accessories, like stockings, shoes, garter belt, veil, bouquet, etc. 
Estimated Cost $900 – $2,000 (Lesser for models without accessories) 
Brand/MakerMadame Alexander (Cissy Dolls Range)
OriginUSA
Manufacturing Year1950s
MaterialHard Plastic
Item Height21 inches (Approx.)
ThemeCharacter-based fashion doll (Cissy)

9. French Francois Gaultier Bebe Doll with Double Teeth

Although most antique Francois Gaultier Bebe dolls are quite expensive, you won’t find many with a visible pair of teeth. And that’s what makes this FG Bebe doll rare! Besides, you’ll also see a lacy white outfit, blonde wavy hair, and big bulging painted blue eyes.

Notable Features to Spot: 

  • Visible double (upper & lower) teeth
  • Can be seated with movable hands and legs
  • “F.G.” & “7” marked at the back of the neck
  • Original beads necklace 
Estimated Cost $1,000 – $2,500
Brand/MakerFrancois Gaultier
OriginFrance
Manufacturing Year1870s
MaterialBisque, Wood
Item Height21 inches (Approx.)
ThemeCharacter-based fashion doll (Cissy)

10. Vintage Strawberry Shortcake Banana Twirl Berrykin Doll 

Were you a Strawberry Shortcake fan as a kid? If yes, then you can’t miss this one! One of the rarest models of Strawberry Shortcake Dolls, this Berrykin doll comes with a Banana Berrykin critter. You’ll see a leaf-shaped perfume pouch around its neck.

Notable Features to Spot: 

  • Blonde curly pigtails with two checkered bows, one with banana on it and the other without banana
  • White shirt with half poofy sleeves and a lime yellow skirt with printed yellow leaves
  • Yellow shoes over tights/socks with pastel stripes 
  • Small oval-shaped bright green eyes with tiny lashes 
  • A heart-shaped doll stand with the brand/maker’s mark on it
Estimated Cost $1,000 – $1,500
Brand/MakerStrawberry Shortcake Franchise
OriginN/A
Manufacturing Time Period1980s
MaterialPlastic, Vinyl
Item Height6-14 inches (Approx.)
ThemeCharacter-based Playdoll (Strawberry Shortcake)

11. Duck House Heirloom Porcelain Doll in Pink Dress

A vintage limited-edition doll from Duck House’s Heirloom Doll Series, this special doll features a porcelain body, which makes it rare in itself. With shiny curly light brown hair and a beautiful light pink lace silky dress, this doll is worth all the money!

Key Features to Look For: 

  • Realistic gray eyes with long eyelashes 
  • Pink beads necklace
  • Dress decorated with white & golden pearls
  • A matching vintage ruffled cartwheel hat
  • The original Duck House label in the box with the model authentication number (out of 5,000 copies)
Estimated Cost $300 – $500
Brand/MakerDuck House (HeirLoom Dolls Range)
OriginN/A
Manufacturing Time Period1990s
MaterialPorcelain
Item Height25 inches (Approx.)
ThemeFashion Doll 

12. Vintage 1983 Hallmark Mattel Rainbow Brite Doll & Spark Sprite Plush No. 7233

This special vintage doll from Mattel Inc. can be spotted with its colorful dress and frizzy orange hair. The doll mostly features bright blue eyes, and her hair is originally tied in a high pony with a blue ribbon.

Notable Features to Spot: 

  • The iconic star mark on the left cheek
  • A rainbow printed/stitched on the dress
  • Paired doll “Twinkle Sprite” (in the pack) for more value
  • Original box with brand name and model/serial number 
Estimated Cost $200 – $400
Brand/MakerMattel Inc. (Rainbow Brite Range)
OriginChina
Manufacturing Year1983
MaterialFabric
Item Height6-14 inches (Approx.)
ThemeCharacter-based Playdoll (Rainbow Brite)

5 Most Expensive Dolls Ever Sold!

While dolls are mostly seen as toys for kids, it’s worth noting that old ANTIQUE dolls are not playing items. Especially not when they can cost MILLIONS!

Check out some really precious dolls, some auctioned at sky-high prices while others are still open for sale!

Doll Name with BrandTime PeriodKey FeaturesAuctioned/Sold Price
L’Oiseleur (The Bird Trainer) Doll by Automates BontempsLate 18th – Early 19th CenturyA mechanical doll that plays flute, Movable head, eyes, & torso, Features a 17th-century outfit, Decorate with over 2K polished steel parts$6.23 Million
Madame Alexander Eloise Doll2000sComprises 9c diamonds, Features Christian Dior clothes, Swarovski crystals. Katherine Baumann accessories, Oscar de la Renta fur, Range of only 5 dolls$5 Million (Available)
Character Doll by Kämmer & Reinhardt The Early 1900sWax body with Bisque heads, Realistic facial features, Vintage white dress$400,000
The Rochard Doll by Antoine Edmund Rochard 19th CenturyDecorated with a hand-painted necklace with 28 crystal “jewels,” 24 of which featured tiny micro-photographs of French historic scenes $333,500
Steiff Titanic Mourning Bear by James D. Julia Inc. 1912A teddy with black mohair, a red bow tie/scarf, & tan felt paw pads, Made to honor the victims of the Titanic tragedy, Limited-Edition of 600 pieces$136,000

Now that you know some of the rarest and most exquisite vintage dolls and how to identify those, we hope you will invest your money in the best one! Apart from dolls, some rare antique figurines would be another icing on the cake for your amazing antique collection!

Judith Miller
Judith Miller

Judith is an antique expert with nearly 20 years of experience in the field of antique identification and valuation. She has reviewed over 30 thousand vintage items and has worked with numerous antique shops. She enjoys seeing new places, attending antique shows and events, and sharing her knowledge with people! Know more about me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *