“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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