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Is There A Royal Doulton Figurine To Suit All Tastes?

Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 02:00PM
Tags: collectibles, figurines, home, house, ornament, Royal Doulton
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One of the things we think is so great about Royal Doulton figurines is the sheer range of them available. Whether sentimental, touching or nostalgic, each type of figurine is different and has its own kind of character.

And it's because of the sheer number of different figurines available that it's natural to wonder if there really is one for everyone.

People can have very diverse tastes, and some people would say they have no interest in figurines at all. But with a little digging around, seeing exactly what is out there, it's probably possible to find something that even the most fickle person would enjoy.

This is good news for those people looking for a new ornament to put on their shelf, to brighten up their living room, dining room, or wherever.

But it's also really good news for anyone looking for the perfect gift for their friends or loved ones. Figurines make perfect presents, and receiving a beautiful Royal Doulton figurine could mark the start of a new hobby or interest on their part.

Just as many people don't necessarily realise they wanted something until it is provided for them, it may take receiving one of these beautiful pieces for some to see how rewarding collecting and displaying them can be.

That the figurines have such wide appeal is particularly noteworthy when you consider that unlike many consumer goods, the Royal Doulton Company did not produce figurines with broad commercial appeal in the forefront of their minds.

Though they can be, and are, enjoyed by people of all ages, over the years and from all walks of life, it's not as if each piece was designed with the intention that they be easy to sell to a particularly wide audience.

Rather, each one was treated as art, there was not mass production on the scale that one might expect, and each one was a little different - in other words, true collectors items.

Such goods don't normally become as popular and well recognised as have Royal Doulton figurines - it's remarkable that despite being high-quality artistic goods, they can still appeal to anyone.

Whether it's the Ladies or Historical figures collections, or the classic Images of Nature, once you start looking you feel like you have to see them all. So for a good idea of what each figurine has to offer different types of person, there's no better way to find this out than to look through the extensive back catalogue of pieces and decide for yourself!

What Should Every Collector Of Royal Doulton Figurines Know?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 02:00PM
Tags: advice, cleaning, collectibles, figurines, Royal Doulton
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'Buttercup' - Royal Doulton Lady figurine

Collecting Royal Doulton figurines is an incredibly rewarding hobby. But as with any hobby, your experience can always be enriched by a more in-depth understanding or knowledge of what it is you do.

That way, you're best equipped to look after your collection, spot bargains and impress your fellow collectors.

Perhaps you're new to collecting Royal Doulton figurines, or perhaps you're a more experienced enthusiast who would just like to refresh their understanding of their trade. Either way, we're sure you'll spot one or two tips here that you weren't aware of.

Terms of the trade

Collectors of Royal Doulton figurines, like all hobbyists, have their own special terms and vocabulary that might not immediately make sense to the general public.

In particular, there are some terms that might be used one way by enthusiasts, but understood in a different way by the general public.

For example, 'limited edition' and 'limited production' sound similar but actually refer to different concepts. 'Limited edition' pieces are by definition produced in small numbers, but 'limited production' pieces are manufactured for a short space of time. The latter are not necessarily rare (there might be tens of thousands of them available), and so the term might be used misleadingly to indicate wares are more valuable than they really are.

Make sure you study up and look up any terms that you're unsure on before buying.

Check the markings

A seal of authenticity can be found on all Royal Doulton wares. This stamp not only reassures that you have a genuine article on your hands, but also contains information about the designer, the date, and therefore, the value of the piece.

Royal Doulton has used a few different dating systems throughout its history, and the method of interpreting a stamp is far from obvious. We've written a brief primer before on how to read Royal Doulton stamps, but your best bet may be to ask an expert for a valuation.

Cleaning your figurines

Even if they're stored safely in a cabinet, your figurines are almost certain to get a little dusty once in a while.

It's perfect safe to clean them, as long as you use a little care. Use a solution of water with a little soap and use a soft cloth to dab at the figurine. A microfibre cleaning clothis ideal as it attracts dust and will help with all the nooks and crannies on the surface of the figures.

Be certain not to scrub your pieces, as you may accidentally take away some of the paint or chip the surface.

Got any more tips for collectors? Feel free to share them in the comments.

Royal Doulton Figurines: An Enduringly Popular British Product

Friday, January 24, 2014 at 10:00AM
Tags: collectable, collectible, doulton ladies, figure, figurines, Royal Doulton
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Union Flag

In the world of British design, few names are as well-respected and valued as Doulton. And one of the things that makes the brand somewhat exceptional is that the figurines, which are no longer being produced, have remained highly sought after ever since their introduction.

Royal Doulton as a brand goes back nearly two hundred years - in fact, the bicentennial will be next year - and that period of time has seen major upheavals in virtually every aspect of British life.

The world of today would be unrecognisable to an observer from the early 19th century. With so many distractions and forms of entertainment, people in this day and age don't tend to place as much value on ornaments as perhaps they used to, and yet Royal Doulton figurines remain very popular.

With the rise of e-commerce and online communities, the number of figurines being sold and bought by enthusiasts remains high, but there must be a reason for this beyond the ease of finding like-minded individuals who can help build a person's own collection.

Everyone has their own reason for collecting, as we discussed in our last post - but we reckon there are reasons why the Royal Doulton brand of figurines has remained so popular throughout its lifetime, into more modern times, and why we can expect it to remain so sought after for some years to come.

When you own a Royal Doulton figurine, you hold in your hand a classic piece of British design; really a potent reminder of a time gone by.

It's not just that the dolls from collections such as Ladies or Characters look nice, though they certainly do that as well. It's that they evoke a time period about which we feel nostalgic, even if we haven't actually experienced that period first hand.

Like many examples of classic English or British products - vintage cars from this country being other examples - the design and craftsmanship are second to none.

Plus, these commodities continue to appreciate in value. There might be a relatively minor number of collectors who indulge their hobby purely for the future financial reward, but of course it is always reassuring to know they will make a nice nest egg.

So there you have it - a hobby that not only reflects the great heritage of this country and its industry, but is valued internationally as well. It's no wonder these figurines have endured.

How Can You Date Your Royal Doulton Figurine?

Friday, October 11, 2013 at 02:00PM
Tags: collectible, figurine, gifts, Royal Doulton, Royal Doulton figurines, valuation
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A figure in a flowing dress known as Wisdom, available through the Doulton Lady

Unlike some other suppliers, The Doulton Lady provides genuine 19th- and 20th-century figures whose appeal and beauty have stood the test of time.

The value of a Royal Doulton figurine depends partly on its age, but on other factors too such as its condition and designer. A valuer will be able to tell you just how much a piece is worth, but there are some questions you can answer yourself just by looking.

Know however that this is not an exact science - the system used changed considerably over the years and some records detailing what certain letter and number combinations might have meant have been lost.

Under the right circumstances however, you can determine a lot about the figure such as its age and designer or painter.

The main giveaway is the stamp, which can vary very much between individual figures, so you need a little more information to understand what it's telling you.

The stamp in fact does tell you more than just the age, as many of them are signed with the initials of the painter. And since the design of the stamp itself changed over time, even just knowing the format can allow you to place the piece within a certain date range.

You can find the stamp on the base of the figure. Firstly, you'll probably see a pair of initials. This identifies the painter of the figure. Harry Nixon (HN) was a prolific figure painter and the first to use his initials in the stamp. That practice started in 1912.

From 1872 until that point, a simple 'Royal Doulton' stamp was used, with no other specific characteristics on the mark. So don't be disappointed if there are no initials - it doesn't mean you've got a fake, but is in fact a pretty good indication that your figure was one of the first made.

If you have one of the more detailed stamps, you may see a number alongside the initials. That number indicates the number of years following 1927 that that figurine was produced. Simply add the number to 1927 to determine the year of manufacture.

This practice seems to have stopped around the 1950s however, and while a dating system continues to have been used, it is not simple to interpret. The number would not simply state the month or the year in the usual format.

While the date tends to be that that the mould was produced, and not when the figure itself was made, moulds wore out quickly, and so this is actually a good indicator of the age of the piece.

So as you can see, there is some guesswork and estimation involved - we don't have the space to go into detail about what all the cryptic marks could possibly mean. Your best bet is to have your figure professionally valued - they will hopefully tell you not just the date but the price you could ask if you were to sell your figure based on other factors too.

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