Kestner dolls

The German J.D. Kestner doll company made dolls in Waltershausen (Thuringia region) for almost 100 years. The earliest Kestner dolls were wood and papier mache, and then china, but the dolls that Kestner is best known for are the bisque dolls from the late 1800s into the early 1900s.

The Kestner company produced dolls of many molds and types: child dolls, character dolls, all-bisque dolls, lady dolls, baby dolls, and many others.

The Kestner doll company started producing dolls in the 1820s (some say as early as 1810) and produced dolls until approximatedly 1938.

Unfortunately, little is known about the early history of Kestner Dolls. The company didn't start to mark dolls until well into the production of bisque dolls. It is known that Johann Daniel Kestner Jr. began producing papier mache and wood dolls at least as early as the early 1920s. Kestner's production changed with the times, and the doll factory produced china dolls, then bisque dolls, as tastes dictated. Johann died in 1858, and his grandson Adolf took over operations in 1863. Adolf died in 1918,and yet the Kestner company continued for another 20 years after. The factory was one of the biggest employers in the region.

Marks

Early Kestner bisque dolls are just marked with a number or a size. Later dolls are usually well marked with the mold mark and Made in Germany; some of the baby dolls are marked JDK. There are many variations on Kestner marks.

The original dolls were papier mache and wood. Then china dolls (glazed porcelain) were made, and finally the dolls that Kestner are best known for: -bisque dolls. The Kestner doll factory was very large, and Kestner made doll heads for many other doll companies as well. Kestner not only made heads, but they also made bodies of many types, which was unusual since many companies only made doll heads, or only made doll bodies in the 1800s.

Other doll collectors also search for:
Armand Marseille Simon Halbig Kammer Reinhardt Sfbj Porcelain Doll Victorian Doll

Kestner value and price guide

What's your Kestner worth in 2021? Here are some recently sold items.

Item Title Date Price
beautiful amazing kestner hilda 245 doll 27 inches just Beautiful Amazing Kestner Hilda 245 Doll 27 Inches Just 07/2021 $6 500.00
porcelain head doll kestner 221 Porcelain Head Doll Kestner 221 07/2021 $3 800.00
german bisque rare early kestner doll open mouth 2 German Bisque Rare Early Kestner Doll Open Mouth 2 08/2021 $1 850.00
silk dress for 28 30 french or german doll bru jumeau Silk Dress For 28 30 French Or German Doll Bru Jumeau 08/2021 $1 750.00
20 german bisque head kestner 172 gibson girl gorgeous 20 German Bisque Head Kestner 172 Gibson Girl Gorgeous 08/2021 $1 530.00
no pictureSee all sold items on eBay for more prices10/2021$-.--

Kestner forum

"Ask questions or share your stories." - John, Fabtintoys

Doll forum temporarily closed... Sorry for the inconvenience (9 September 2021). Scroll down the comments to see if you can find answers you're looking for.

Comments (7)
Helene - September 6, 2021
I want to sell my doll my doll. JDK Krestner/ Germany crown on the chest of a leather body fully intact. Porcelain head fully intact as well / hair piece removed but I have it still have the whole wig. No clothes
Ted - July 14, 2021
Looking for price kestner 171-33",167-22",152-20" Simon and halbig 1079-33"
You can look here to see if you can find yours: Kestner 171.
Michele - December 7, 2020
Looking for information and possibly time frame...this doll has a leather body...legs and arms...marked with 166...blonde hair...moving glass eyes...thank you so much!
Hi, there is one for sale right now on eBay: Kestner 166, also try the Facebook page "Let's ID Our Dolls", there might be some experts who know more.
Cheryl - October 4, 2020
This is an old family doll and was told it was Kestner about 1890. It is all paper mache with bisque head. I researched and it said the paper mache were some of the first Kestner dolls and wondered if the date was close. I have someone interested in buying it but the prices are all over the place and have no clue as to its value. Thank you for any response!
What a beauty! Unfortunately, I have no idea how to value your doll... If you're on Facebook I recommend joining the group 'Let's Id Our Dolls'. There are some collectors in that group whose expertise might help you further.
Jacinta - April 23, 2020
Hi I have a kestner character doll set were would I take it in a.a to sell it
I always suggest eBay :-)
Jacqueline - March 8, 2017
I would like to see a picture of 218 googlie. I'm looking for her legs. She is 6 inches
Best is to search for kestner googlie and compare the dolls with the one you have.
Denice - January 3, 2014
My husband got me a Kestner doll for Christmas but I don't know if it is a reproduction. On the back of the head it states made in Germany J.D.K 237 It is 16' and very heavy, because the body is made with the same stuff as the head.
No idea, maybe you can ask this dolls shop.