Criteria for good or bad dolls

The chapter “Why dolls” closes with the statement:

“Now I have come to the point on which I know what is good for me any my collection :-)”

Of course every collector need to find out on its own, which dolls are good for her / him.
I want to show some of my own criteria, which became important during my “collectors-life” and take part by influencing the decision for or against a doll.

No doubt, the most important point of all is the own taste. If you´re drooling over a doll, if you have the wish to own it, all other points may become second-rated :-) .
The different kinds of dolls (baby-dolls, characteritic dolls, playdolls, Barbies) also have their special group of collectors; sometimes the groups mix up and collect dolls out of the other kinds or the complete range.

I want to set the focus on dolls which represent an age-class from 5-6 years and older. For all other kinds of dolls I do not have enough experience to write down my recommendations; in addition the measures for e.g. baby-dolls are different depending on other proportions to meet the age of the molded child.
I will limit myself on porcelain-dolls because vinyl-dolls have another production process which makes them hard to compare.


Although it´s not possible to transfer the proportions of a human being per 100% on a doll - somehow it looks strange - the sizes of the parts of the body should match well...

Sometimes you can adore hydrocephalus or shrinkheads; another difficulty is to find the correct length or shortness of the arms... it would be eligible that the arms of an infantile child-doll have the length to reach half of the thigh...

Certainly one aspect are the sizes of the hands and feet; it would also be wonderful if the doll hasn´t a swane neck or a shrunken neck ;o) .

Another distinctive feature which can be noticed at lots of dolls is the wrong axis of the eyes. This means that the eyes do not have the same height in the face but a slope. I have seen dolls where one eye had been lower for 1/2 " or even more than the other one.

Eye Axis
As an example here Tom's simulation with the 3D-program trueSpace:
On the right pic you'll see, why the modelling "ran out of tune"!


Hardly to find another area with so much ways to fudge ;o) .

Example Hands:
For example the hands: the fingers should be molded separately and should be able to be recognized in this way. Unfortunately there are much dolls where the finishing touches had been economized and the space between the fingers show the so-called “webs”; the fingers are partly just to the height of the middle finger joints reworked.
Also take a look on the finger nails. Is there a plastically modelling of the nailbed and the nail? Or is there only a plane surface area which has only some white marks for the nailbed and the nail?

good molded hand

Another tipp: Look at the ears of your doll :o) .
This could be a difficult part; depending on the modelling and the mould making. However an ear should be more than a bent sausage which has been glued to the head.

Does your doll have a nose or a power - socket? :-)
It´s complex to model nostrils. It´s much “easier” to clock in holes with an awl.

good molded nose and mouth


An important area with lots of ways to look at. I expect a human hair wig at high-class dolls. Even there are differences in qualities but the artists have their individual preferences on selecting.
Which kind of eyes have been used? Less expensive plastic eyes or high quality glass-eyes, maybe mouthblown? Glancy eyebrows on a porcelain doll? The reason might be that there are no or not enough components used to realise a mattfinished porcelain surface - or the glance (as you can see at several manufactured dolls) is simply painted laque colour (that you can easily scratch off!).

The used material shows me how much love for details was spent to equip the doll.

The doll is dressed for sure :-).
Is the clothing handmade or industrially manufactured? Which fabrics have been used, what about the colouring of them? How fine is the workmanship? Sometimes you need to go on a journey with your scissors to find all loose threads... Shoes and accessories are also worth to take a look at.


Done! Some of my important points are now summed up. Maybe it´s now easier to understand that the workmanship, the details of modelling and the correct anatomy need much work and effort and significantly influences the pricing - among other things as a result of huge time exposure.
It would be my wish to give a helping hand for collectors with my list of craftmanship advises. Besides one point has still validity: The own taste is the most important :-)


We would like to have documented the mentioned failures with existing photos of "real existing" dolls. Unfortunately this isn´t possible in this way because the copyright protects the dollmakers and photographers against unallowed publishing of these pictures. Even a manipulation of the photos to hide the origin of the shown doll is a controversal point in law. We´re "only" private siteowners and don´t want to risk any legacy struggle. So THIS form of documentation is impossible.

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