Welcome to my weekly educational Wednesday feature. Today I have two things for "show and tell". First up we have a huge "diamond" ring. It's from a jewelry store display. Do you remember looking in a jewelry store window and seeing a giant ring as part of the display? I know this will sell quickly at the antique mall.
My "picker", who also happens to be my brother, acquired the giant ring for me. He's always looking for "curiosities", the unique and the unusual. Those are the things I love to offer my customers.
Next we have a little porcelain doll sitting in a chair. The chair functions as a pincushion. The doll is actually two separate parts, the head/torso and the legs.
Now she has a couple friends without legs in the picture below. They are all little "pincushion dolls", or "half-dolls". Usually made in Germany or Japan, besides tops for pincushions they were used as decorative handles for whisk brooms, or tops of scent bottles and powder jars.
Finding a half-doll with legs is always a plus. More often than not, you will just find the top half. In the picture below, the half-doll with the yellow clothing has holes in the base. That's so a "skirt", often a pincushion covered with lacy ruffles, could be sewn on.
Half-dolls were popular from around 1900 through the 1920's. They were commonly made in either Germany or Japan, and will often be marked with their country of origin. The German half-dolls are often of a higher quality with more detailed facial features than the Japan-made dolls.
Value for half-dolls range from about $15 up into the hundreds. My examples above are from a very simple mold, where the arms are "closed" to the body. Dolls where the arms are "away" but "returning", such as a doll with hands on her hips, would be more valuable. Dolls with arms completely away from the body, perhaps holding a mirror or other item, are valued the highest because of the more complex mold required and the tendency for the arms to break off.
I found the example below on eBay. This doll has real hair attached, which will make her a valuable addition to a half-doll collection, but you'll notice right away she has closed arms:
The next doll shows "arms open and returning" with a nice pincushion skirt. She sold for about $74 on eBay:
Photo Credits: eBay seller ladywants66
From my own collection, we have this chalkware example with a wig:
I love her dramatic makeup:
These little half-dolls came in various sizes, from very tiny to several inches high. Besides glazed porcelain and chalkware, they were sometimes made from composition or bisque.
I hope you learned a bit about half-dolls and their relative values. I think they make a charming collection that doesn't take up a lot of space.