The Century Doll Company of New York made bisque and composition dolls from 1909-1928. The company is best known for their Bye-Lo Baby dolls with Kestner bisque heads. According to Coleman’s Encyclopedia, Volume II, page 227: “1926--Kestner bisque heads were used on baby dolls, Mama dolls and -child doll bodies made in America. Some of these (bisque) heads had eyelashes”. Page 228 says the dolls (I think meaning the child dolls) wore ‘silk trimmed dresses, silk socks, and leather single straps slippers. Some of them had a ribbon bandeau in their hair. The child doll came in 18 to 30 inches…” end quote.
This wonderful Century Company girl follows the criteria mentioned above, except for the clothing, which are gorgeous. That white lace dress is to die for. It's early 20th century. There are a full set of unders, too. But they are not original. The shoes are not antique, but the stockings are in keeping with her age.
Her coloring is lovely. She has blue sleep eyes with dark mohair lashes as well as painted ones, which just brings her chubby character face to life. She is a bisque shoulder head with a beautifully made leather body stuffed with cork. This makes her very light for a child to carry.
This girl doll does fall into the rare category. Even though they were being manufactured at this time, bisque dolls were going out of style. WWI with Germany ended bisque doll importing. Fulper Pottery Company and Century Doll Company filled in the gap for bisque dolls, albeit Century used Kestner heads. After the war, bisque dolls' popularity waned in America and composition dolls were the rage. So, but a few of these bisque child dolls were made, compared to the Byelo baby.
Her number—if I’m reading it right with the fancy German curlycue writing—it is '281/5' under 'Kestner Germany' with 'Century Doll Co' above that.
She is the last of her kind. Wonder what she thinks of Barbie?
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