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.

Competitors

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'.

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Comments (57)
Nick - October 26, 2019
I hope somebody can help me as I have two questions regarding my Wifes doll. on the back of the doll is a Diamond with the turtle inside and the no 46 underneath it. I have found out this is a schildkrot doll. can anybody date this doll for me please. sadly the dolls head has been broken and I am looking for a replacement body. if anybody can point me I the right direction I would be most great full thank you
Hi, the number of the doll is the length in cm. So your doll is 46 cm. Have a look here at the German auctions of Schildkrot 46 dolls to see if you can find yours for more info and perhaps a body.
Natalie - October 25, 2019
Hi I have turtle stamp on my doll. T 40. Legs and arms move very good condition. Could you let me know what year roughly
It depends which one you have :-) Take a look at the German listings to see if you can find yours. Maybe there's a mfg year in the description.
Veronica - October 21, 2019
I have a 10" turtle mark marked T 28 1/2 it has wind up ( no key) in back, arms appear to go around and around ?
Hi, I might have found your doll on eBay Germany, have a look here: Schildkrot T 28.
Deborah - October 18, 2019
I have a black doll with 34 under a diamond shape with a turtle inside on the back and the turtle diamond logo on the neck with the numbers 32/34 and is dressed as a chimney sweep with two outfits. It was to me from my German grandmother. I would like to sell this doll but would like to know how much it is worth please?
I could only find a few Schildkrot chimney sweeps on eBay Germany, have a look here, maybe one of them is the same as you have.
Carmen - September 14, 2019
Hi I’m just wondering if the doll I have is rare Schildkrot turtle marking, 34 REP all in or Gigi also clothes and shoes and socks
I saw one on eBay Germany for 89 EUR.
Ingrid - September 14, 2019
I have a 1966 Schildkrot doll. She says mama when you tip her forward and her eyes close. She has longish blonde hair. Can't find her on any website
Google for images 'Schildkrot mama' and you might find some more info: Schildkrot mama pics.
Nick - July 15, 2019
I am looking for a Schildkrot Doll number 56, but I cannot find it anywhere online. My grandmother got it in Germany when she was a baby (around 1938) from her grandmother. Is number 56 a rare/uncommon doll? My grandmother's smashed and I want to be able to have another.
There are not many 56s for sale right now: Schildkrot 56.
Connie - June 10, 2019
I have a Schildkrot Tortuflex 5634/30/109 Doll given to me from my grandmother in 1963, still in the yellow box, doll is like brand new. On her upper back it says Schildkrot GERMANY 30, I can not find any dolls on line that look anything like this doll? She has black hair. I was wondering if you knew anything about this doll? I am not a collector, and am hoping to sell it. Thank you so much.
I couldn't find much, sorry, only a boxed Tortuflex 5614/40 which was recently sold for EUR 61.
Greta - June 7, 2019
Hi, I have a schildkrot doll with an composition ball jointed body. Can I send you some photos to get more information about it? I can't find anything on her
I'm afraid I'm not an expert on these dolls. You can look up your doll by trying Google Images with the number which you can find on the back of the doll. This is the length in centimeters. Schildkrot made so many dolls, it's hard to identify them. There are also some links on this page which could help.
Ruthina - June 1, 2019
I have a schildkrot doll that came with a tag that says first master copy of the original doll produced in former years. only 20,000 made. It has the turtle in the diamond and the number 0596. Can you tell me when this doll was made?
Hi, does the tag mention a name? Replicas are still made and on their official website for example I found one named 'Inge', a limited edition doll of 20,000 which is sold new for 129 EUR.
Cheryl - June 1, 2019
My boy doll is marked GERMANY (turtle mark) 16 1/2. He has wavy curly hair, inset blue eyes with eyelashes, unblinking and teeth. Definitely celluloid/plastic as he's cracking and crazing. Head is about 13 inches around. Full head and shoulder plate mold. The celluloid is very darkened/discolored. Might you know who he is, or era made in and how to clean/care for the celluloid/hard plastic?Thank you!
The 16 1/2 stands for height, so your doll is 16.5 cm. tall. You could try Google images to see if you can find yours. I read somewhere you can clean it gently in lukewarm water with a little pine solvent. Celluloid disease or 'celluloid rot' can be stopped by soaking it in a solution of baking soda and water.
Kate - May 23, 2019
I inherited my mother in laws schildkrot doll . She was 80 . I am not sure if it was hers or her mother's . It has the turtle in a diamond at base of head and at top of her back with 41 . It's hair is blonde and eyes hazel coloured . It has arms and legs attached by an elastic string . Hair is molded . And eyes shiny but don't move . In perfect condition. Molded hands and feet . Wondering if you might be able to tell me an approximate value .
They made so many it's really difficult to say. Take a look here at the German eBay and scroll through the sold Schildkrot dolls which are 41cm. tall. Maybe you can find yours. Probably 50-100 EUR.
Laurie - May 23, 2019
I have a set of dolls with traditional German clothing; they both have the diamond with the turtle in it with the number 29 on their backs. I'm wondering around what year they were made and maybe about how much they're worth.
Take a look at the German auctions here to see if you can find the ones you have. 29 means 29 cm.
Claire - May 9, 2019
I have a turtle stamped number 40 doll. Painted on hair eyes that open and close a blue dress. Do you know anything on this doll.
Jill - May 2, 2019
I have a black doll with 55 under a diamond shape with a turtle inside. It was my late Mothers you from during WWII so roughly around 1939/1940. I would like to sell this doll but would like to know how much it is worth please?
Around 50-100 GBP.
Gale - March 20, 2019
I have 2 Schildkrot dolls boy and girl Nr. 663 and 3693 in orig. boxes. They are 45 cm.
You could try Google images: schildkrot 3693 to identify yours.
Richard - March 20, 2019
I recently purchased a small doll which I believe to be a Schildkrot (a turtle mark and the number 26). The has sleep eyes, mohair wig, is fully jointed (shoulders, elbows, wrists etc). She has a German dress and ornate vest. I was posting to see if I could find some history on her. Thank you.
They made so many dolls, difficult to say! First try Google images to see if you can find yours.
Diane - March 10, 2019
I have a turtle marked with triangle around turtle T43 when was she made ? Beautifully dressed wooden shoes absolutely Beautiful Doll and what would be her value ? Thank you so much i have many of your dolls.
Hi, Schildkrot made many different (T)43 dolls. There are a few of them on the German ebay, maybe you can find yours here.
Nina - February 25, 2019
I have a small doll with painted white legs and black feet wearing a white shirt with a blue pinafore dress. She had light brown plaits in bunches folded back up onto the head. There is a turtle mark in her back plus the numbers 13 1/2 14, which is her size in cm. Her inside leg joints also have numbers - 13 1/2 on both then 15 on the right and 23 on the left. Could you tell me her age and worth please? Thanks
Kathi - February 12, 2019
Hi, I have a small mechanical baby doll on wheels. The celluloid head is marked with the turtle, the nr.6 and "Shute-Marke". The mechanical base however, has the Lehmann mark on it. Did Lehmann use the Schildkrot doll head for their mechanical toys?
Sonya - December 31, 2018
What does it mean if the doll has a turtle in a diamond mark and then underneath that it has T44. This mark is on both the head and the torso, near/on the neck on both. Doll has fixed blue glass looking eyes and molded hair painted. It has open mouth showing 2 teeth. ? Can you tell me what year name of doll and maker of this doll please
Sorry for this late reply... The name is probably Ursel, produced in the 1950s, I see them for EUR 25-50.
Sylvia - December 30, 2018
I have 2 Schildkrot dolls. My mother gave me one and my sister one. I've had my doll as long as I cam remember (I'm 61). They both have the turtle in the rhomboid, one is roughly 14" tall, nr.36, painted eyes and hair, 2 front teeth. The other is 16" tall, nr.44, glass eyes, painted hair, 2 front teeth. I'm wondering if they came with names. Thank you.
Marguerite - December 28, 2018
I have a 16.5" Turtle Mark nr.42 girl doll from the 1930s. Celluloid with blue painted eyes and blond hair. Not sure, but I think the clothes are vintage as well. Looking to sell, any information is much appreciated.
Cathy - December 19, 2018
Hi,Today I found a little Schildkrot Chimney Sweep Doll at my local thrift store. He has the turtle mark along with 13 on his back as well as a turtle tag looped onto his wrist. Was just wondering about his age and worth. Thanks.
Sorry for the late reply. Probably 1930s, I've seen them betwee 15-50 EUR. Also look at the German listings here: Schildkrot Schornsteinfeger.
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.
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
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
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

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.
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
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
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
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.
Wow, you got a nice treasure there! Best is to let it appraise by a professional, for example here: antiquechild.com.
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!
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
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?
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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.
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?
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!
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
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!
Kruse, Kathe (GER), made cloth dolls first, then celluloid dolls, doll mark Schultz KK (1st K is backward). More info on identification: dollreference.com
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.
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
Maybe you can find someone to repair it on this page about repairing dolls.