Collectible Dolls

Collectible Dolls

The firm, Kammer and Reinhardt, like many other German doll manufacturers was founded in the German area of Thuringia during the latter part of the last century and continued in business until the second World War. A designer, Ernst Kammer, founded the firm, together with a business colleague, Franz Reinhardt and after Kammer's death in the early part of the century, an employee took his place in the business.

A factory became available in the early Edwardian period and was purchased by them, where they designed, but did not make, dolls heads (these were actually made by Simon and Halbig). One or two German firms also made heads for them including celluloid ones - those made by the firm

Rheinische Gummi und Celluloid Fabrik carried the mark of a tortoise or turtle and were of very high quality material. When compared with their Japanese competitors the celluloid was much thicker in quality and lacked the 'pink' colour of the Japanese celluloid dolls.

 The dolls' hair was often moulded and the style, especially of the baby dolls, was similar to the characters for which the firm was well known. We also have a celluloid 'girl' doll, which has real hair, glass eyes   and, unusually, a jointed celluloid body - it must be said that the sturdiness of these dolls is quite remarkable.

Collectible Dolls
Dolls heads were also made of materials based on celluloid, which gave the dolls faces a rather waxy appearance as shown by the toddler doll in the photograph. I understand on good USA   authority, this doll is known as 'Baby Shirley', supposedly of Shirley Temple as a tiny child.

The well known toy firm of Bing seemed to be involved with the distribution of a great many Kammer and Reinhardt dolls and by the mid 1920s the company became a subsidiary of the Bing group. Many of the earlier dolls were of the pretty 'dolly-face' type, although later the firm specialised in character faces.

 I think the most famous and costly (and now sought after), were the 'Royal' line which was brought out in the latter part of the Edwardian period.

Family children orf Franz Reinhardt acted as models for this series and the dolls were named after them, ie Peter, Marie, Hans, Gretchen etc. Slightly later, 'Baby' was produced and interestingly, it was available on either a bent limb or a62 jointed body, which for a baby doll was very unusual.

Collectible Dolls

 Another member of the 'family' is Elise, a delightful child doll, which has a rather wistful look and, in common with the 'relations', has painted or intaglo eyes, a closed mouth and hair wig.

She is especially collectible  today, being very rarely found and consequently quite costly - in fact, the value can run into many thousands of pounds, proving that 'oldest' is not necessarily the most expenisve, a fact that often puzzles owners.

The firm produced a great variety of dolls styles and designs and later, both before and after World War II, brought out a number of coloured dolls, they also supplied dolls (both white and
coloured), with googly or flirty eyes - that is eyes that not only opened and closed but also turned to the left or right. Some faces were cheeky others funny or mischievous, sad or smiling and all are delightful acquisitions.

Dolls heads can also be found made of cloth or rubber and attached to an assortment of bodies - they all maintained the high standard for which the firm was known. In the early 1920s K and R acquired the firm of Simon and Halbig and this led to yet more design sizes and styles.

Collectible Dolls

The markings on the backs of the heads varied a little but usually contained the names of Simon and Halbig over a six pointed star, with the letters K R at the sides and the & in the center of the star. Sometimes the word Germany was added to the design. Anyone finding one of these dolls today has a very worthwhile addition to their collection.

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