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JDK, Kestner Dolls 1820-1938 German

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Kestner bisque head Hilda doll mold 245

Photo courtesy of Flozdolz

Kestner King of Doll Makers

 

Johann Daniel Kestner Jr. (JDK) of Waltershausen, Thuringia, Germany began making papier mache and wood dolls and toys as early as 1816.  Kestner eventually went on to employ nearly three quarters of the inhabitants of the Waltershausen region which earned him the nickname "King Kestner".  In 1858 J.D. Kestner passed away and his grandson Adolf eventually took over the running of the company, around 1860 Kestner produced wax over papier mache doll heads, by 1860 they acquired the Ohrdug porcelain factory and began to produce the bisque dolls known by collectors today.  Kestner leather kid bodies may have a green label Celebrated, Excellence, Excelsior, Marvel, Par Excellence or Perfection along with the Kestner crown and streamer label. 

Unique to Kestner is the doll heads plaster like pates.

 Kestner supplied most of the bisque heads used by Catterfelder Puppenfabrik (Carl Trautmann) doll molds 263, 264, also some bisque heads for Roullet et Decamps walking dolls; B??Syst?e and L'Intr?ide B??  Rheinische Gummi und Celluloid Fabrik supplied Kestner with celluloid heads (doll mold 201) and other doll parts. 

 

Kestner dolls were distributed by Borgfeldt, Butler Brothers, Century Doll Company, Horsman, Macy, Sears, Siegel Cooper, FAO Schwartz and possibly others.  Some trade names for JDK Kestner dolls are: Baby Jean doll, Dainty Dorothy doll, Sally doll, Sammy doll (JDK + size number), ** Daisy doll mold 171 only the 18" tall size, Hilda doll molds 237, 245, 1070, Max, Moritz dolls, the all bisque Prize Baby doll mold 208, Siegfried doll mold 272.

 

 

Antique JDK Kestner Dolls For Sale, use the search ebay box to copy & paste or type a specific doll name or doll mold number, this is a category site wide ebay search, so be sure to include your search term plus Doll or anything you may want to purchase. 

 

Good luck we hope you find the doll of your dreams.

 

Antique Kestner Dolls Identified

Items shown below are for reference

Kestner mold 4JDK doll size 4 - A bisque socket head, closed mouth, glass eyes, feathered painted eyebrows, ball jointed composition body, wigged.  Doll shown is 12 1/2", marked Made in Germany 4.  Similar dolls can be marked with a letter or head size number.

Kestner mold 161JDK doll mold 161 - Unique Dolly face, bisque socket head, glass eyes, painted feathered or fur eyebrows, open mouth, chubby cheeks, ball jointed composition body.

Doll shown is 23" tall, marked Made in Germany JDK 161.

JD Kestner bisque doll mold 208JDK doll mold 208 - Character Doll face doll, 10-42"  tall, bisque socket head with plaster dome, feathered eyebrows, painted eyes, closed mouth, wigged on a ball jointed wood & composition jointed body.  Doll mold 208 photo courtesy of ebay seller littlemarz.

Kestner mold 215

JDK doll mold 215 - Unique Dolly face doll, 10-42"  tall, bisque socket head with plaster dome, feathered eyebrows, glass eyes, open mouth, wigged on a ball jointed wood & composition jointed body.  Doll mold 215 shown, is 22" tall.

Kestner Hilda mold 245JDK doll mold 237, 245, 1070 - Hilda, character toddler doll, 10-30" tall, bisque socket head, composition body, molded or wigged hair, glass eyes, open mouth with teeth.  Doll mold 245 shown, is Hilda.

 

Photo courtesy of flozdolz.

Kestner mold 249JDK doll mold 249 - Dolly face, unique character doll, 10-42" tall, bisque socket head with plaster dome, feathered painted or fur brows, glass eyes, open mouth, ball jointed composition body, wigged.

Doll mold 249 shown, is 20" tall, doll mark Made in Germany JDK 249.

Kestner mold 255JDK doll mold 255 - Character baby, 10-16" tall, bisque head with flange neck, cloth body, solid dome with painted hair, glass eyes. 

Doll mold 255 shown, is 16" tall with open crying mouth, doll marked 255 O.I.C.  or marked Siegfried 272.

Kestner mold 260

JDK doll mold 260 - Character child doll, 8-42" tall, bisque socket head with plaster pate, glass or painted eyes, open or closed mouth, jointed composition body, wigged.

Doll mold 260 shown, is 18" tall with glass eyes and open mouth. 

 

** Kestner doll mold 171, only the 18" tall size doll, was used as the Daisy doll for a mail in premium magazine subscription, introduced in 1911 as Lettie Lane's actual doll, from the paper doll series Lettie Lane, that ran in the Ladies Home Journal magazine from 1908-1912.  Heinrich Handwerck's B??Cosmopolite 18" doll was also used.

 

JDK, Kestner Doll Marks

JDK Kestner doll mark G made in Germany 11 171

JDK Kestner doll mark G made in Germany 11 171

JDK Kestner doll mark G Germany 11

JDK Kestner doll mark G Germany 11

JDK Kestner doll mark G made in Germany 11 243 J.D.K.

JDK Kestner doll mark G made in Germany 11 243 J.D.K.

As you can guess from the length of their history, Kestner used many different doll markings; a letter only, a size number only, Kestner, initials of J.D.K., K & Co., Made in Germany, a mold number, symbol of a crown with JDK or JD Kestner on the crown rim or on ribbons trailing beneath, Excelsior (trade name for USA distributed dolls) or any combination.

 

Kestner Alphabet series Doll Mark - Bisque Socket Head Size Circumference Inches

  a Made in Germany 4 = 7" b Made in Germany 3 = 6"  
A Made in Germany 5 = 8" B Made in Germany 6 = 8 1/2" C Made in Germany 7 = 9" D Made in Germany 8 = 9 1/2"
E Made in Germany 9 = 10" F Made in Germany 10 = 10 1/2" G Made in Germany 11 = 11" H Made in Germany 12 = 11 1/2"
I Made in Germany 13 = 12" K Made in Germany 14 = 12 1/2" L Made in Germany 15 = 13" M Made in Germany 16 = 13 1/2"
N Made in Germany 17 = 15" O Made in Germany 18 = 16" P Made in Germany 19 = 17" P Made in Germany 20 = 28"

Note: There are also marks; D 1/2 Made in Germany 8 1/2 = 9 3/4", (adding a 1/4" should be the approximate head size circumference)

Some marks may only have the alphabet initial or the initial + Germany and the number.

 

 

Kestner Doll Mark - Bisque Shoulder Head Size Circumference in Inches

 The alphabet letter + Made in Germany + number is located on the lower back edge of the plate and run slightly larger than noted above. 

Note: Other German doll makers may have used these same letters or mold numbers, too. 

Kestner dolls should also have a red ink kid body stamp, but these sometimes are faint or may have rubbed off.

 

Additional Kestner Doll Mold Numbers

Kestner began using mold numbers in 1892, dolls prior were marked with the size number or a letter only.

Note: other doll makers may have used some of these mold numbers, use our search box to find them, too.

X

XII

XIII

11 12 72

103

111

112

120

121

122

123

124

125

126

127

128

129

130

131

132

133

134

135

136

137

138

139

140

141

142

143

144

145

146

147

148

149

150

151

152

154

155

156

159

160

161

162

163

164

165

166

167

168

169

170

171

172

173

174

177

178

179

180

181

182

183

184

185

186

187

189

190

192

195

196

199

200

201

203

206

208

210

211

212

214

215

216

218

219

220

221

226

234

235

236

237

238

239

240

241

242

243

245

246

247

249

250

254

255

257

260

262

263

264

267

272

277

281

282

292

408 409 1045 1070

7043, 70685, 70686, Kestner doll mold 172 is Gibson Girl, doll mold 195 has fur eyebrows patented in 1910,

Kestner doll mold 221 is an Googly Eye doll

 

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