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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.

Down Memory Lane: A Look At Our Historical Figures

Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 10:00AM
Tags: british history, figurines, gifts, historical figures, nostalgia, Royal Doulton, Royal Doulton figurines
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Sir-Winston-Churchill-Figurine

At Royal Doulton, we are without a doubt best known for our stunning ladies figurines. It's been a few months since we took the opportunity to showcase on our blog some of the other gorgeous products we have for sale. In this post, we want to tell you about our historical figurines - a large selection of statuettes depicting real people and professions from days gone by.

These figurines have real nostalgia value, as many of them depict people in professions that don't exist any more. Others portray jobs that have continued, but with different uniforms, equipment and so on.

Take the example of the fireman, who we see in a brass helmet, dark tunic and leather boots and belt, kneeling on a cobbled surface. While a regulation fire-retardant high-vis jackets with a bright yellow plastic helmet might be a safer outfit for the firefighters of today, there's a certain romanticism about the older version.

And with figurines in guises that hardly exist any more, such as schoolmarm, tinsmith, gamekeeper or coachman, we may feel nostalgia for a time we've experienced only through old story books and film.

While part of the attraction of our historical figurines is no doubt fond remembrance for a time when we might believe people perhaps had more respect for their work and for each other, or whatever the reason may be - it's hard to deny the styles of things such as clothing, hair and equipment has an inherent charm that goes beyond a 'rose-tinted' view of the past.

After all, do we really think that a hundred years from now, people will collect figurines of police officers in bright green jackets with a Tazer on their belt, as we so often see law enforcement wearing today?

As well as various professionals, a great number of our figurines also depict great historical figures, including Sir Winston Churchill, Alexander Graham Bell and several British monarchs, as well as more contemporary figures such as Pope John Paul II.

Figurines that bring up a little piece of history make a great talking piece when they take pride of place in your home, maybe on a mantelpiece or in a glass-fronted cabinet.

These pieces also make fantastic gifts - why not give a teacher or veterinarian who's special to you a glimpse of what their work attire might have looked like a century ago?

You'll probably be surprised at the size of our catalogue - we have over 240 historical figures, and that's only one line of products. Take a look too at our storybook characters, and collections of animals of all kinds. There's more to The Doulton Lady than the name suggests - what's your favourite range?

Looking For A Royal Doulton Gift? We've Got Them For Every Occasion!

Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 10:00AM
Tags: gifts, Royal Doulton, Royal Doulton figurines
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The Mother And Baby Royal Doulton gift figurine

When we talk to people who own any number of Royal Doulton figurines, we generally find that their collection has been amassed by them buying the items themselves.

Chances are they'll have received the occasional figurine as a gift for a their birthday or Christmas, but the majority of their collection will have come from their own purchases.

Although this is undoubtedly fantastic - you can guarantee you're always going to get something you love and truly want - it does sometimes make us wonder just how many people are missing out on the wonders of Royal Doulton.

With figurines having been produced for decades, they fill the mantlepieces and cabinets of homes right around the world, but many owners are collectors or avid fans.

However, what about those people who you know would love something from the company, but don't end up buying anything for themselves?

Well from our point of view, this is where our range of gifts for every occasion comes into play!

If you head over to our dedicated gifts page, you'll see a number of fantastic products for a whole variety of different events.

From a particularly general 'congratulations' figurine through to a much more specific 'I Love London' item, the products we have available all come from Royal Doulton and do a fantastic job of showing just how high of a quality their items are.

And as such, they can make for the perfect pathway into becoming one of the many Royal Doulton 'addicts'!

There's something wonderful about Royal Doulton figurines that you don't really appreciate until you own them yourself.  However, if you're not even remotely a fan to begin with, it isn't until you receive a figurine as a gift that your appreciation can begin.

They're high quality, you can see the attention to detail shining through in every respect and they do nothing but look stunning wherever you place them in your house.

Plus, with every figurine telling a story, you can almost become encompassed by them as soon as you look at them - this may sound a little strange for people who don't own them, but we're sure everyone who does will know exactly what we're talking about!

Therefore, if you know someone who you believe would love Royal Doulton, why not think about getting them one of the many gifts that are available?  With there being something for every occasion, we're sure they'll not only appreciate the gift in general, but will come to fall in love with the wonderful figurines that the company produce.

Is Your Royal Doulton Figurine A Fake?

Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 02:00PM
Tags: Royal Doulton fakes, Royal Doulton figurines
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The 'Congratulations' figurine from Royal Doulton

No matter what it is you collect, Royal Doulton figurines or not, it can be particularly worrying when you're asked whether your items are genuine.

Even if you're sure you've bought them from a reputable dealer or outlet, unless you get them certified by a professional, there can always be a certain amount of doubt in your mind that prevents you from feeling confident the items you own aren't fake.

Now of course, not everyone has the time or inclination to meet with a professional to verify the authenticity of their figurines and as such, a lot of people simply live with this concern.

If you're a collector of Royal Doulton figurines, however, there are certain things you can do to help work out whether you have a fake or genuine item and ultimately put your mind at ease that your investment hasn't been a wasted one.

And the good news is, it's all relatively straightforward and generally just comes back to how the items look.

It might sound obvious, but if your Royal Doulton figurine looks as though it could be a fake in any way, you may want to get it looked at further.

For example, if a colour looks too dull or too vibrant, this can be a great indication that the product has been rushed through production using low-quality paints and although it may look finished (in the sense it's all painted), the incorrect use of colours can make the piece look imperfect.

If the colours all look as they should, the next point to check would be the intricate details; the areas of the figurines that look as though they would be particularly difficult to paint.

If they look perfect and there's no (or only absolutely minimal) blurring, it's highly likely you've got a genuine product - if the lines aren't as clean as they could be, however, it can be a very obvious nod towards a fake.

The actual base of the figurine should be taken into consideration, too, as if the item is supposedly several decades old, yet it has a flawless base with absolutely no marks, common sense should suggest it's potentially not as old as it's being made out to be.

If you're concerned about the authenticity of any Royal Doulton figurine, it's always recommended to get in touch with a professional.  The points above will definitely help to relieve any concerns you may have, but by speaking to a professional, you should be able to remove them completely.

3 Reasons You Need To Insure Your Royal Doulton Figurines

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 10:00AM
Tags: insurance, Royal Doulton figurines
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The 'With Love' Sentiments Royal Doulton figurine

Insurance is one of those topics that people either embrace or shy away from when it comes to discussing it in-depth.

Although it generally means you're planning for the worst case scenario and as such have to think about things you don't want to, the truth is insurance is one of life's necessities - and when it comes to Royal Doulton figurines, that's undoubtedly the case.

Whilst you may not have thought about it, if you have any number of Royal Doulton figurines, be it one or one hundred, you really should consider taking out an insurance policy to cover them, with these three points some of the key reasons why.

1.  You never know what's going to happen

No matter how careful you are with your figurines, you can never protect them to such an extent where you feel confident they're not going to get damaged.

You put them on a high shelf and there's the chance they'll get knocked off when you reach up to bring them down to clean.  You keep them on a fireplace's hearth, low to the floor and there's every possibility a pet or baby will accidentally knock them over.

Even if you stored them away safely in boxes and placed them in a garage, basement or attic, you couldn't guarantee they wouldn't suffer from damage due to a storm, for example.

Having insurance won't guarantee your Royal Doulton figurines stay in perfect condition, but it will mean that should the worst happen, you'll be able to get them repaired or replaced without any major financial outlay from yourself.

2.  You want to enjoy your figurines

The reason we all buy Royal Doulton figurines is because we love the way they look and most of us want to show them off to our friends and family.

We could of course keep them in a room where only we could see them, locked away to prevent any accidents happening, but what's the point in this?

Sure, we could say we have a great collection of figurines, but if we can't show them off, we know it would seem like somewhat of a pointless exercise to many.

3.  You want to have something to pass down to your family

Generally speaking, Royal Doulton figurines increase in value over time.  Or, at the very least, they hold the value at which they were purchased.

It's because of this why they can make great items to hold onto, so to pass down through the family as time passes.

You could very easily pay thousands of pounds over the course of a lifetime for Royal Doulton figurines and it would therefore be particularly welcomed if they were passed on, even if they were simply to be sold.

But if your collection is damaged and you have no insurance, you've not only essentially lost the money you've invested, but you have no items to hand down through your family.

We all love our Royal Doulton figurines and the truth is, no matter how much you're for or against insurance, a policy that covers you in the event of the worst happening can make owning your figurines all that more enjoyable.

Got An Interesting Royal Doulton Story? We'd Love To Hear It!

Friday, July 26, 2013 at 10:00AM
Tags: collector stories, collectors, Royal Doulton, Royal Doulton figurines
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The Annabel Royal Doulton lady

As you may have guessed, we're huge fans of Royal Doulton figurines.  Don't get us wrong, we have a love for all similar figurines made by the English Potteries companies, but we've always had (and likely always will have!) a soft spot for those from Royal Doulton.

With no one specific reason why, it's a combination of a whole host of different factors, from the wonderful array of items that have been produced over the years through to the fact everyone seems to know someone who collects them and as such, there's always an interesting story to be told.

And it's these stories that we want to reach out and ask you about today.

Just as much as we love the Royal Doulton figurines we own, we love the stories of all the other collectors right around the world.  Whether it's a small family story or one that's been covered in the newspaper headlines, we adore them all - and we want you to tell us yours!

It really doesn't matter how big or small it may be, as we're sure we'll find it nothing short of fascinating, even if you don't think it's that interesting yourself.

Take this story from June as an example, whereby a collection of over 2,000 figurines was built up over the course of 50 years.  When the couple came to move house, they couldn't face having to spend time packing them all up safely and securely and decided to auction them off instead, with the total lot estimated to sell for around £30,000.

As great as this story is on the surface, what fascinates us about it is the couple are unlikely to have realised just how valuable of a collection they had.

This isn't to say they would have done anything different if they did (there's always the fear people will pack them away in such instances, which is understandable to a certain degree, but how can you enjoy them when they're in boxes?), but it must have come as a lovely surprise when the lot was estimated at such high value.

We're fully aware that this isn't the only type of story like this out there at present and so if you have any story related to Royal Doulton, we genuinely would like to hear it - and if you're happy to, we'd love you to tell us about it by leaving a comment below, so all of our blog readers can enjoy it, too!

Do You Need To Know The Value Of Your Royal Doulton Figurines?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 10:00AM
Tags: Royal Doulton, Royal Doulton figurines, Royal Doulton ladies, valuation
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The Mary Jane Royal Doulton lady figurine

Over the past couple of weeks, we've talked about a few different topics related to the value of your Royal Doulton figurines - back in early April we talked about the importance of getting your figurines valued, whilst earlier in May we discussed whether Royal Doulton figurines make good investments.

Today, we want to talk once again about Royal Doulton figurines and their value, but in a way that some may not have thought about previously - and we want to raise a few questions as to whether it's actually beneficial knowing how much your figurines are worth.

In some ways, this contradicts what we said in our post from April, where we talked about why it's important to get them valued.

However, after we received a few comments recently about certain items and asking for our advice on valuing them, we began to question whether such information is actually useful to have.

If we were to speak generally, we'd say that everyone should get their figurines valued, for the reasons we listed previously.  But it's always interesting to look at topics in different ways and we believe there could be some instances where knowing the valuation of a figurine, whilst not detrimental, could not be worthwhile.

For example, let's imagine one of your older relatives had a collection of Royal Doulton ladies they'd amassed over the years.  They'd never been valued and they were all on show, taking pride of place in the living room.  It's unlikely these figurines are ever going to be sold and they're simply going to be handed down through the family once the relative passes away.

Now getting the figurines valued would obviously mean they could be accurately insured (they'll no doubt be covered on the home insurance policy, but they may be under / over insured), but there's also the likelihood that should they find out the figurines were worth more than they thought, they would box them all away for fear of them being damaged.

But what benefit would this have?  The relative adores the figurines and loves looking at them on a daily basis - hiding them away would greatly reduce the satisfaction they got from them, simply because they've been turned into objects of value, rather than enjoyment.

We're in no way saying you shouldn't get your Royal Doulton figurines valued, but we do feel it's important you don't take it as a requirement as a lover of the items - knowing how much your collection is valued at can be fantastic, but if you aren't a professional collector or investor and believe knowing the value could greatly reduce the enjoyment you get from them, it has to be questioned whether having this information - in some instances - will actually be worthwhile.

Do Royal Doulton Figurines Make For A Good Investment?

Friday, May 3, 2013 at 02:00PM
Tags: collectables, investment, Royal Doulton, Royal Doulton figurines
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A number of different papers about investing

Whenever we buy any type of collectable item, no matter how much we like it and want to own it for this reason, for many people, there's always going to be a part of them that's considering the investment side of things.

Just by watching TV programmes such as The Antiques Roadshow, we know that collectable items can rise in value considerably the more time passes.  Of course, it does depend on the item in question, but many items you'd expect to be worth a high sum of money so often are (and some you don't also are!).

A lot of it comes down to the manufacturer of the item in question, as the more popular an item is, the more it's in demand and therefore the more money it's potentially going to be worth.  In this sense, it can therefore be a good move to invest in certain collectables.

But are Royal Doulton figurines a perfect example or should they simply be collected out of the love and adoration for them?

In most instances, the answer is actually yes, figurines produced from Royal Doulton can make for a great investment.  However, you do have to consider certain points to ensure you're buying them for all of the right reasons.

For example, if you buy a Royal Doulton figurine today, most people would say that if you came to sell it at any point in the future, you're going to at least make your money back.

Whether it cost you £10 or £1,000, it's highly unlikely to see it depreciate in value considerably over the coming years.

What's more, over time, it's likely to only increase in value.  Perhaps not substantially or in a way that means you could sell it and retire, but at least so you'll see a return on your initial investment.

And it's this point about 'over time' that you need to keep in mind when looking at Royal Doulton figurines as an investment opportunity, as although you will almost always see a return at some point, it could be many, many years down the line.

Therefore, buy a figurine for an investment on a short term basis and you might recoup your initial spend.  However, buy a figurine for an investment to be handed down to your children, for example and there's every chance it will sell for considerably more than you purchased it for.

Of course, this is only looking at the topic on a very broad basis and there are some figurines out there that are almost guaranteed to make for fantastic investments, but the simple fact is, we'd always recommend you buy a Royal Doulton figurine because you love it - if you do decide to sell it and you make a profit, then fantastic, but it won't be a disappointment if you don't.

What Should You Do When You Crack Or Chip A Royal Doulton Figurine?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 10:00AM
Tags: damaged figurines, Royal Doulton, Royal Doulton figurines, Royal Doulton repairs
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The Anniversary figurine from Royal Doulton

A couple of weeks ago, we published a blog post all around the options open to you if you damage one of your Royal Doulton figurines.

As we mentioned in the post, generally speaking, what you can do all depends on how much damage has been caused - a chipped figurine is repairable, but one that's been smashed into hundreds of pieces is unlikely to be.

Today, we want to look at what it is you should actually do when you damage your figurine; as in what steps you need to immediately take after you've noticed a figurine has been damaged.

Look at what's happened

And the first point we'd say is that you need to assess the situation.  We know this might sound a little 'over the top' for some, but we're fully aware of just how much value Royal Doulton figurines can hold and so it's vital you don't do anything that could jeopardise their repair or damage them further.

You need to look at the area and determine what's happened before you move forward, as only once you know this will you be able to understand how best to respond.

For example, if a figurine has been knocked over and a limb has been cleanly snapped off (as in, there are just two parts - the figurine and the limb - and no smaller parts), it could just be a matter of picking the two pieces up.

If there are lots of smaller pieces, however, you need to take a much more careful approach, ensuring you collect each and every piece, no matter how small it may be, as this way you can be confident you've got the best chance of fully repairing the figurine.

Store the figurine safely

Once you've assessed the situation, understand what initial steps need to be taken and have picked up the figurine and any broken pieces, you need to truly put them out of harm's way - the last thing you want is to place your figurine on the table whilst you ensure no other items have been damaged, only for someone to come in, knock the table and cause further damage to the figurine.

Where you store the damaged figurines will obviously depend on your own individual property, but we'd advise you choose somewhere where there's a minimal chance of further damage occurring - this could even be on the floor of another room where the door can be locked.

Package the figurine up

After you've put the figurine safely out of harm's way and are certain no other items have been damaged, it's time to package the figurine up so it can be taken to a company for repair.

If you have a number of large pieces, we'd advise ideally wrapping these in bubble wrap separately.  Take care here to wrap them in a way that's going to ensure the repairer doesn't damage them when trying to open the packaging.

A great way to do this is to wrap the item up by laying it on the bubble wrap on one side of a table and slowly rolling it towards the other.  This way, all the repairer has to do is unravel the bubble wrap in the opposite direction.

For smaller pieces, your best option is going to be to use a small container (ideally a plastic one) and place the items directly into it.  If you can put something soft (bubble wrap, cotton wool, etc) on the base of the container, as well as on top of the pieces, this should be enough to ensure no further damage is caused in transit.

And from this point on, it's simply a matter of taking it to a repairer and letting them work their magic.

Damaging your Royal Doulton ladies - or in fact any product from the company - can seem like a nightmare situation, but the reality is if you take the right approach as soon as you realise the damage has been caused, it could very easily mean you have a figurine that soon looks as good as new.

The Importance Of Getting Your Royal Doulton Figurine Valued

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 02:00PM
Tags: Royal Doulton, Royal Doulton figurines, valuations
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The Royal Doulton 'Bunny' child figurine

Last week, we received a comment on our blog post '7 Interesting Facts About Royal Doulton', which came from a lady who was looking to find out the valuation of a Royal Doulton figure she had.

Happy to answer the question and provide an idea of how much the figurine was worth based on the information we had, we actually receive a lot of e-mails asking similar questions regularly.

And as you may have seen, we also offer a full range of services to assist with any insurance claim, including providing a valuation of the figurine in question for replacement purposes.

Now we know that plenty of owners of figurines take the time to get valuations for various different reasons.  Sometimes it's just for their own knowledge and other times its for insurance purposes.  Whichever it is, however, it's always good information to have to hand.

There are many more, however, who don't have any idea how much their figurine is worth. Perhaps they received it as a gift or maybe it has been handed down through the generations.  They may have even picked it up at a second-hand market and bought it because they liked how it looked and not for any other factor.

Whilst there's no obligation to get your figurines valued, it is advisable to do so so at the very least you have an idea of what they're worth, for various reasons.

For example, when we know how much something costs, we treat it in a certain way.  If it's an expensive ornament, we may put it in a display cabinet rather than having it on the hearth of a fireplace, in case it accidentally gets knocked off.

If it's a valuable piece of jewellery we may only wear it on special occasions, for fear of losing it.  Even if it's something like a designer handbag, as much as we might want to wear it regularly and show it off every day, we often refrain from doing so, in case it becomes damaged and we can't wear it at all.

If we don't know how much something costs, even if we have an idea it may be valuable, we're not usually as careful with it.  An ornament may be placed in the most prominent area in the house, even if it's at risk of being knocked off and jewellery may be worn constantly and during everyday tasks, no matter how ruined it may become.

We're not saying that if we find out something's expensive, we treat it with the utmost care and attention, but we generally look after it a little more.

Now imagine you had a Royal Doulton lady that got knocked over by your children playing and it was only afterwards you discovered it was worth several hundred pounds - there's a good chance you'd have made an effort to at least put it out of the way whilst the children were growing up!

Getting a valuation for your Royal Doulton figurine can be quick, easy and extremely beneficial - and the truth is, you may just be surprised at how valuable your figurine actually is.

You may not decide to do anything different with your figurine when you know how much it costs, but it's always good to have the information to hand so you can decide what - if anything - you are going to do moving forward.

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