In 1889, a German company had found a way to improve celluloid so it could be used for toys. The required machinery was developed, and soon Schildkröt dolls with the turtle trademark were sent out into the shops. The company was the 'Rheinische Gummi- und Celluloidwarenfabrik' (Rhenish Rubber and Celluloid Works), founded in 1873, but before long it was better known as Schildkrötwerke (Turtle Works)-Schildkröt, of course, meaning turtle in German.

Turtle mark

Over time the trademark symbol saw several changes, all minor, but nevertheless important for you as a collector to know, because they give clues as to the age of the doll in question... The turtle without the rhombus, marked 'SkoR1' (Schildkröte ohne Raute) with the words 'Germany Schutz-Marke,' was used until approximately 1910.

Very early dolls were made of pale, relatively thick celluloid, and they were rigid. After 1900, they received moveable legs and arms. Eyes were painted, hair was modeled in great detail, and faces and expressions were unique. There was also a noticeable gleam to the material of the early dolls. Schildkröt dolls were always expensive when compared to other contemporary dolls, whether they were made of composition, bisque, or wax.

From SKoR to SkiR

Between 1900 and 1910, 'SKoR' was gradually replaced by 'SkiR' (Schildkröte in Raute, or rhombus). The sequence of words now read 'Schutz-Marke / Germany.' The so-called old sign shows a noticeably slender turtle whose feet are curiously oriented to the front, making it look more like a salamander. In 1930, the trademark was changed again, for the last time. The turtle was drawn more compactly, with a rounded shell like a semicircle, and the rhombus fit snugly around it.

Collectors' literature thus differentiates between 'SKoR' and 'SKiR,' and between the 'new' trademark and the 'old,' meaning the old and new shapes of the turtle.

In 1903, Schildkröt offered the first celluloid socket heads with sleeping eyes. The heads were mounted on jointed bodies of wood, leather, or composition, and these dolls became very desirable worldwide, especially in North America and England.


Over time, Schildkröt grew into a serious competitor for other doll makers. In the Black Forest region of Germany, the cradle of porcelain manufacturers, several makers of bisque heads even feared for their very existence. Schildkröt was now firmly established in the worldwide doll market.

Perhaps the surest sign of their acceptance and success came when some of the traditional and famous bisque-head makers began buying Schildkröt celluloid heads for their own models. Among these were Kämmer & Reinhardt, Koenig & Wernicke, and J. D. Kestner Jr. All three had their main manufacturing sites in Waltershausen, Thuringia.

After 1909, a new doll idea gave fresh impetus to the industry: Kämmer & Reinhardt patented its first 'character doll.' Collectors know about this famous series that began with Baby, Peter and Mary, and Sweet Darling. Many of them were marketed with the 'new and unbreakable' celluloid heads produced in cooperation with Schildkröt.

Serial numbers that had been used on porcelain heads, such as 100, 101, 114, and 117, were changed to 700, 701, 714, and 717 for the celluloid heads. In addition to the incisions 'K * R,' these heads also bore the sign of the turtle. The same bodies of either wood or composition mass were used for both celluloid and porcelain heads. The Kämmer & Reinhardt dolls of the 700 series were extremely popular and are valuable collectors' items today.

After the wars

The World War I and II years were difficult for the company, and it nearly went under more than once. In the 1950s, Schildkröt replaced the still somewhat flammable celluloid with a new polymer called tortulon (Latin: tortula = the turtle) and launched a new and successful family of doll models. Among them, Annette, Yvonne, and Manuela are slim and capricious, and made very mobile with ball-jointed arms and legs. The hair was often no longer modeled but made of new materials such as nylon, perlon, and saran.

Schildkröt dolls 1950s

The year 1955 even saw a cooperation between Käthe Kruse and Schildkröt. These tortulon dolls were incised with the trademark turtle, the words 'Modell Käthe Kruse,' and the letter 'T.' But the very name Käthe Kruse had been synonymous with soft, huggable dolls and heads, and so these dolls were not successful. After a few years, they were discontinued.

Schildkröt dolls 1960s

In the late 1960s, Schildkröt began having difficulties again. Increasingly fickle consumer tastes, financial losses, and changes of ownership marked the beginning of the end of a famous name. In the early 1970s, the factory in Mannheim was closed, and for a few more years Schildkröt dolls were made by Bella in Perpignan, France. By now, additional new materials were being used, such as Demiflex and Tortuflex. Then that factory closed. It was the end.

During the company's heyday, however, the great success of Schildkröt dolls caused many other doll manufacturers to launch their own celluloid lines. Among the Europeans, some other names are Cellba in Germany, Toco (Tondl & Co.) in Austria, and Petitcollin and Convert in France. However, no other maker of celluloid dolls was anywhere near as successful as Schildkröt.

The turtle triumphed for nearly 100 years, and in the eyes of collectors, it does so to this day.

In the aftermath, a year or so after the bankruptcy, German toy merchants Hubert and Hannelore Biemann bought bankruptcy remains, among them molds and manufacturing tools. With that came the famous turtle trademark. They began to make dolls again, in Rauenstein near Sonneberg (now called Schildkröt Puppen und Spielwaren GmbH), using original molds. These dolls are, of course, no longer made from celluloid or its derivatives, but from modern synthetics. Along with the SKiR marking (the turtle within the rhomboid) and the size, they are also inscribed 'R' meaning 'Replik,' or replica in English. For example, the marking on a neck may be 'R 49.'

If you are a schildkrot collector, and you want to search in Germany, don't forget the 'ö' in 'Schildkröt'. Usually in English it's written without 'ö'.

Schildkrot value

What's it worth? Take a look at this Schildkrot price guide: sold listings for a value indication.

Schildkrot forum (33 comments)

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Dianah - November 29, 2018

I have two 22" Schildkrot dolls, one girl one boy. Cloth body and vinyl face, arm and legs. Turtle mark. Bought in the early 80's from Germany. Paid $100 each and now looking to sell. Blond hair, brown eyes with no teeth showing. Great condition. Looking to sell. Any information is appreciated. Thanks so much.
►reply: You have 56 cm. long Schildkrot dolls, so best is to browse German listings to see what they are worth, for example here: Schildkrot 56.

Patricia - October 25, 2018

Mine have f-3 or f-5 on the back of the neck is it a schildkrot looks like one
►reply: Could be something else, like a Steiner. Have a look here for images, maybe you can find yours or a similar one.

Gail - October 20, 2018

I have a Schildkrot doll, approx 6 inches tall, painted face, with leather literhosen on. There is a turtle on the back of his neck and the number 25. How much is this doll worth and can you give me any more information such as the age etc
►reply: The number 25 is the length in cm. Age will be difficult because they made 25 cm. dolls of a period of time and later they made re-issues. Search for Schildkrot 25 and click on 'sold listings' to find yours for an estimation of value.

Michelle - October 1, 2018

I have a doll that belonged to my grandmother with a circle MS made in japan. Its very faint. Shes plastic with five teeth, green eyes. In great condition. Please tell me more

►reply: No idea... one was sold for around 10 USD in May this year, that's all I know.

Wanda - July 25, 2018

My mother bought this doll/puppet in Germany around 1996. The tag says Schildkrot-Puppen GMBH EINER ECHTEN SCILDKROT PUPPE. It has the turtle trademark and a number on the back and neck.
►reply: Probably a repro, reissued in the 1980s or 1990s. You can check on eBay Germany and maybe you can find yours there. Schildkrot made (and still makes) many dolls.

Marian - July 13, 2018

What does the number 11 under the turtle mean?Thank you.Marian
►reply: Hi Marian, sorry for the late reply. The number 11 means the doll is 11 cm. tall (approx. 4.3 inches)

Tjv - June 23, 2018

My doll has the turtle ND UNDERNEATH t-36 sHE IS 13 INCHES TALL with molded hair and glass (?) eyes. Any info on this doll would be appreciated

Cindy - June 19, 2018

Hi there; my mum has one of these dolls with the turtle

Sara - May 24, 2018

I have about 12 of these dolls and would love to find out a little more.

Teresa - May 21, 2018

Hello, I inherited a very pretty doll which I'm finding really difficult to identify. She has the turtle mark and the numbers 36/37. She is all-celluloid with molded (very, very short) hair and straight legs -- a bit similar to Christel but not quite. I'd love to know her name and year of manufacture.

Georgiana - April 17, 2018

Good Day!!! my German mother sent me a baby doll, original from Germany, nr.45 (below the turtle in diamond). I believe that my uncle sent it to us in America in the 1950's. actually the doll is in pristine condition except for a small hole in the right hand finger. My mom put a band aid over it. otherwise it is intact. I would appreciate any information on where there might be a collector or sales avenue for this particular doll. thanking you in advance.smilesgeorgiana
►reply: Probably around 80 to 120 USD. Best is to sell these dolls on eBay, that's where the collectors are :-)

Rose - April 3, 2018

I have a turtle mark doll nr. 56 in excellent condition. Could you please tell me its worth Thanks

Janet - February 14, 2018

Hello, Please can you advise me, I have inherited a Schildkröt doll in very good condition. On the lower back of the head is a tiny diamond with a turtle inside. On the dolls back it says 46 REP. The dolls hair is painted on and she is wearing a red outfit with red shoes and white socks.Thank you
►reply: Hello, REP stands for Repro, so your doll is probably made in the 1980/1990s. Value approx. 30-80 EUR.

Helen - December 12, 2017

I have an original crying baby nr.45 (below turtle) in mint condition that I received in 1953 from Germany. She has her original clothes along with many hand knit sets from that time also in mint condition. Also shipped from Germany with her was a wicker buggy with leather interior, detachable hood and fancy wheels that could hold a real baby. What would my doll and buggy be worth to-day? Thank you for your assistance.
►reply: Wow, you got a nice treasure there! Best is to let it appraise by a professional, for example here:

Nick - November 27, 2017

Hallo, I have a baby doll with a turtle mark within diamond and the numbers 117/40 underneath. It has white cream clothes, hat and body and a mechanism in chest (not working). Would you know the age approximately? Thanks a lot!
►reply: Sorry, I could only find Schildkrot 107/40 dolls. Check eBay Germany and search for similar dolls you have.

Rebecca - November 8, 2017

I have a character doll ,she is black with the turtle mark . under (1)turtle mark is 35/39 on her neck . On her upper back, is another turtle mark with the number 41 under the turtle. She is 16 inches, glass eyes, very pretty, very good condition your assistance in evaluating her monetary value is very appreciated
►reply: I've seen one a few days ago on eBay and it was sold for around EUR 50. So value is probably around EUR 50-100.

Nathan - September 13, 2017

I have a doll with turtle mark 70. It stands about 27 inches with glass blue eyes the hard 'plastic' hair. Any idea of its value?
►reply: Yes, the 70 is the length in cm. so 70 cm is about 27 inches. Difficult to say the value because there were many made with this length. Probably around 40-70 USD.

Janet - May 22, 2017

I am in Australia. How do I send a photo of my doll's mark to obtain a Valuation? she has the turtle mark within a diamond shape and the number is 350.49?Please? I'd love to obtain a value.Thankyou for this page.
►reply: Hi Janet, the schildkrot 350/49 can fetch between 90 and 150 AUD. Hope this helps!

Nicole - May 22, 2017

I received my doll when I was 6 in Belgium. The elastic that is holding her arms and legs is broken. Remember my mom replacing it when I was little but I cannot figure it out. Where can I go to get it replaced? Would like to give it to my granddaughter
►reply: Hi there, I suggest writing an email to this website, maybe they can help.

Olga - May 22, 2017

Hello, I have the hard plastic schildkrot doll "Inge" marked "turtle" 29 . Could you please tell me the approximate release date? Thanks for your answer.
►reply: I'm not an expert on these dolls but your doll can be made between 1935 and the 1950s. Best is to look at Googles images to find yours.

Jill - April 27, 2017

I received a turtle doll around 1960. She has real brunette hair and the number 48 under the rhombus. I would appreciate learning more about her.

Suzanne - December 27, 2016

What year was the "Hans" doll remade? I purchased a replica of a Hans doll that my Mom had when she was a little girl back in the 1930s. It came with a tag/certificate that said it is a reproduction and that it is limited to 20,000, but I cannot find a year that he was made. He is about 13.5" tall, wearing Lederhosen, a gray sweater and socks, and came with a hat. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
►reply: Very difficult to find info when they were remade. I can find enough blogs and websites about the reproduced Schildkrot dolls, but no specific dates are mentioned. I read something about the 1980s and 1990s... You can try locate yours through Google Images: Schildkrot Hans repro.

Michelle - August 1, 2016

I have one schildkrot doll that says 9 1/2 10 1/2 and another schildkrot doll that says8 1/2. Could SOMEONE please tell me what the value of these dolls would be and some background on them? They are also both in schildkrot puppenwagens of their own. I am trying to find out for my mother who bought these a long time ago while she was in Germany.

Michelle - July 19, 2016

Could someone please help me with answering what the value would be for a 1. Rose' and White carriage
►reply: Difficult to find info on Schildkrot carriages. Maybe try in German: 'Schildkrot Puppenwagen'.

Sena - March 8, 2016

It took me a while to find out the Juwel dolls were from this company! I have a Juwel 64, but she needs a new eye. Her voice box doesn't work either, but otherwise she is in wonderful shape.
►reply: Nice doll Sena!

Pabboo - September 24, 2014

I have black turtle mark doll with a 40 under it and a 40 on the body she is about 18 inches tall and is hard plastic with blue flirty eyes does anyone know who she is he has a brown wig on

Hayley - August 25, 2014

I found a Schildkrot Turtle mark 44 doll in a charity shop. She is in relatively good condition although the elastics are starting to perish. She has no clothes. What would she have been dressed in originally? and what is she worth?
►reply: There is one for sale right now with a price tag of 80 USD.

Bea - April 16, 2013

We have need for turtle 55 body or complete doll. Our daughter received one from her grandmother for her first birthday and the shoulder was broken when we moved. It was her greatest treasure!
►reply: Difficult because many sellers don't mention the number.

Mrs - March 8, 2013

I have a Schildkrot doll,Turtle 40, sent to me from Germany in 1944/5. She has a bisque head and arms, long natural hair,moving eyes

Gudrun - February 14, 2013

I have two Schildkroete dolls, one marked with turtle 45 and th other turtle 49. They are in relatively good condition except for he elastic in the arms. Would you know the approximate value? G. Nordby
►reply: One 45 was sold this month for about 50 USD and the 49 for 200 USD. But it really depends on state I guess.

Siobhan - February 3, 2013

I have a dark haired Schildkrot doll from the 1950's that I think is a Kathe Kruse doll. The doll has the turtle mark on neck and she is very spanish looking with white blouse and red velvet toreador pants and sandals. Does anybody know the name of this doll? Thank you!
►reply: Kruse, Kathe (GER), made cloth dolls first, then celluloid dolls, doll mark Schultz KK (1st K is backward). More info on identification:

Nadia - November 26, 2011

I have a doll that I would have received in the late 1950s, early 1960s. She was dressed as "Gretl" (my memory). She has hair, sleep eyes, her back has one of the older turtle logos (no leg raised), model 40 and what looks like Kathe Kruse. Can you tell me about her and if I can get clothes for her? Thank you.
►reply: I tried but couldn't find anything, maybe someone else?

Peter - November 24, 2011

I have a Schildkrot Co. German speaking doll in for repair, speech unit is Mattel
►reply: Maybe you can find someone to repair it on this page about repairing dolls.