Are early Kestners your passion? Well this cabinet-sized sweetie gets first prize for her uniqueness and charm, her all antique presentation and her fabulous condition. Add to that her delightful large blue sleep eyes and stunning original antique costume and you've got a first prize winner! Early Kestners with that most desirable early expression are very few and far between. We seek out the finest and rarest examples to offer our sophisticated buyers, and this sweet cherub is no exception! She's free of hairlines, cracks, chips, or restoration of any kind and on her slender original body with straight-wrist cupped hands in original finish condition!
This beautiful German girl of the 1880s was produced by the German firm of J.D. Kestner, aka, " The King of Dollmakers," during the heyday of doll-making. The early square-tooth, slightly open mouth German Bebes were produced to compete with the French innovation of switching from adult looking dolls, like the French poupees to the new "au-courant" bebe dolls. The German doll producers were competing in the world marketplace for a cut of the growing doll demand developing in the rapidly industrializing countries. Many of the dolls were produced for the French and American trade. Being the fierce competitors that they were, the Germans effectively undercut the French producers by making dolls of comparable value to the French dolls and with comparable appeal to the buyers, but producing them at a much lower cost due to their cheaper labor, thereby taking a significant cut of the local and International market (ie--the American market). Eventually they toppled the French market by 1899 when most of the French doll producers had to consolidate into the SFBJ in order to remain viable and, ironically, the SFBJ hired a German director to orchestrate the continuation of the French doll consortium.
With the test of time we see now that the German dolls of this period had sturdier bodies than did the French dolls. So, if you are looking for a beautiful antique bebe doll that won't have the body issues that so many of the French bebe dolls have, this is a doll that will probably withstand another 140 years of wear. This lovely Kestner doll was one of the popular German bebes that stole the hearts of many doll buyers of the day. And I must confess, that she has stolen mine as well. Today, these German bebes are highly prized for their beautiful bisque heads, exquisite expressions and wonderfully crafted sturdy bodies! And priced at a fraction of the cost of a French bebe of the same period, it's no wonder that so many collectors of today seek out the early Kestner bebes like this one!
And she is also available on layaway if you need more time to pay for her. She is definitely worth the wait.
She has a perfect bisque socket head with beautiful blue-gray glass sleep eyes with painted upper and lower lashes, feathered brown brows, an open mouth with two upper square-cut teeth, a dimpled chin, and an attached plaster pate. She wears an antique honey blond human hair wig. She stands at 17” tall on her fully jointed early “Schmitt-type” slender Kestner composition and wood body with straight wrists and cupped hands.
She is dressed in her original blue dress, with a cream windowpane plaid pattern, and royal blue velvet trim at the hem, sleeves, collar, across the bodice in a “V”, and at the waist as a sash. Attached to the sash is a charming gold-tone pocket watch, with a faux clock face and a picture of a dashing gentleman on the inside, attached to a chain with round white beads, on a gold-tone clip with an intricate design and a translucent white glass gem. Underneath, she wears a white cotton full slip with rick-rack trim, and a pair of white cotton pantaloons with lace trim. On her feet, she wears a pair of beige net stockings and antique black leather shoes. On her head, she wears a simple band-shaped brown velvet hat, with blue velvet piping, blue silk trim at the back, and a blue silk bow and white silk flowers across the front. Such a delightful antique presentation!
MARKS: 3 (incised)
CONDITION: EXCELLENT! Wonderful, finest quality Kestner bisque free of hairlines, cracks, chips, or restoration, with delicately painted features, with some inherent marks and a rub on one cheek. She has a a well modeled face with a desirable slightly open mouth with two upper square-cut teeth. The glass eyes sleep well, with good pupil alignment. The body is in fine & shiny original condition with only the most minor and expected age wear! A real darling in the perfect cabinet size with the sweetest slightly smiling expression! A SUPER DOLL!!
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*Gorgeous* 17” Early Square-Toothed Kestner with Original Body and Dress