“What is my Royal Doulton figurine worth?” To answer that question we need to be aware that there are at least three standards of value. The first standard and easiest to understand, is the “Book Standard”. When valuing Royal Doulton figurines, the book standard refers primarily to the Charlton Catalogue. While other guides are available, the Charlton Catalogue provides precise information along with a visual guide as to what the figurine should actually look like. Available at all good book stores, the Charlton Catalogue lists each HN figurine by number, along size, artist and having a full description along with the quoted value dollar amount. While the book is a great reference, actual sales of the figurines rarely make the dollar amount quoted in the book. Usually people will quote the value listed in the book, but will ask for less than that amount. The second type of value is the “Secondary Market”. This refers to sales of previously owned pieces. The sale could come from an individual, a retail, antique, or collectible shop, or from private auction, eBay or other on-line auction sites. The amounts realized at these sales are a much more accurate expression of value, but will vary greatly depending upon which avenue was used to sell them. Retail stores and antique and collectible shops sales will generally be higher than on-line or private auctions. Other factors that will determine sale price are condition, design and rarity. Many people point to eBay to ascertain value, however here too pricing is dependent upon many factors. Factors that will influence pricing will include the number of like items for sale at the same time, (availability), age of the figurine, (backstamp), and how many people were looking for that particular figurine at that precise time it was being offered, (demand). The last standard of value to be noted is the Sentimental Value. Hard to put an actual dollar and cent amount to this because it can include factors like the figurine is identical to the one my Mother had on her dressing table, or the figurine is named after my Gran, or because your Sister or relative always loved that figurine. If this is the value you have, then my advice is that you pay whatever you feel it is worth and don’t bother to consider what other people think or purchase at.
Finally, we need to consider what makes one figurine more valuable than another, and again there are many factors to consider. The main factors are Age, (when the figurine was actually produced), Size, (height and width of the figurine), Amount of design, (How difficult was the figure to make and how intricate the detail), Artist, (Some moulders were more prolific than others), Rarity, (How many pieces are available and/or how long the figurines were produced), and of course Demand, (How much does the public want the particular figure). The stand-out case is that of Old Balloon Seller HN1315. This figurine has been made since 1929 and is more than likely the best known Royal Doulton figure, yet even with so many pieces available, this piece maintains its value.
At the end of the day it boils down to the following:
If you are seeking a piece for your collection or for long term value, then select a popular, limited edition piece at the maximum you can afford, and it will grow in value. If you are looking to add a piece because it has sentimental value, then set a price you can afford and purchase the piece without care to what others are paying. If you are looking to sell your Royal Doulton figurine, then take the highest quality pictures you can, combine it with an informative description, be sure to include a clear picture of the backstamp, and list for a reasonable amount.
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There are a few hints when determining the age of a piece, the backstamp, the shape and colour. Bunnykins was originally designed by Sister Mary Barbara Vernon, and her name is seen on wares up until the mid 1950’s. Waltar Hayward took over during the 1950’s until the mid 1980’s, adding many of his own designs.
1.This is the first backstamp dating 1937-1953, which featured the bunnys under the Royal Doulton logo with the word “Bunnykins” below. Early pieces occasionaly have the green Royal Doulton ‘A’ backstamp as well as shown here during 1930’s and 40’s. Early examples from 1934-1937 may just have the Royal Doulton backstamp on its own with a number next to it, or just the word “bunnykins” below. An impressed date mark was also used on early Royal Doulton ware, which makes the piece easy to date – eg 9.39 denotes a production date of September 1939.
A black outline in monochrome bunnykins backstamp was used from around 1942-1948.
2. This backstamp was used from 1954-1958.
3. The registered trademark, R in the circle was added below the bunny’s and dates the piece to between 1959 and 1975 on earthenware.
4. This backstamp is usually found after 1967, English Bone China was added as earthenware was dropped in favour of bone china. These pieces are also noticeable by the change in colour, as the bone china is more white compared to the cream colour of earthenware.
5. This backstamp has the copyright 1936oRoyal Doulton (UK). People often make the mistake of thinking because it has the date 1936 on it that this is when the item dates to. This is incorrect, this backstamp with the copyright is seen on later pieces (1976-1987). After this, the copyright date 1988 is seen from 1988-1993, then it reverts back to the copyright 1936 post 1993.
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