The history of puppets goes through time and cultures. Their birth is dated XI before JC, in India, then in all of South East Asia.
Stick Puppets, animated figures and pantomime coexist: their role was improvised on epic mythological Indian themes: the Bala-Ramayana and the Maha-Bharata.
Although these performances were sacred, the comedic spirit was also present. The popular aspect of the puppet show can be attributed to the profane elements in it, giving birth to the jester trend for characters such as Vidouchka the Hindu.
In France, jugglers introduced Puppet Theater from Rome. Conceived as pure entertainment, it was also the first to be authorized, in Christian society, to give Christ human features, usually symbolized as a lamb. It is only after the XIIIth century that puppets entered the Church to give paraliturgical performances. These shows were very popular.
Until the renaissance, the life of puppets is more or less the same all over Occident, but from the XVIth century to the XVIIIth, Puppet Theater came close to acting performances.
Created by Laurent Mourguet at the beginning of the XIXth century, the Guignol character appears as familiar. Guignol is a modest craftsman, often accompanied by Madelon, his surly wife, and Gnafron, a drunkard. They often have troubles with cops. Popular and tongue in cheek, Guignol is the portrayal of the "Lyonnais", prudish and hardworking.
What's it worth? Take a look at this Puppet price guide: sold listings for a value indication.