A bear market with lots of buyers: Conal Gregory on the grown-up demand for toys

CHILDHOOD toys should not be consigned to the attic or village jumble sale. They have become enormously popular with serious buyers, and the London auctioneers have a series of sales starting this week.

'The doll market has not felt the recession,' Bunny Campione of Sotheby's said. German, Swiss and particularly Italian collectors are still much in evidence, although there are fewer Japanese. Bonhams plans a pounds 1m sale of dolls on 10 and 11 November.

The waxed dolls of 1860-1900 were quite difficult to sell until two years ago, according to Julia Harris of Bonhams. Fetching around pounds 400- pounds 600 then, they have jumped to pounds 2,000 if in original costume. Look for Montanari and Pierotti, both English manufacturers despite their Italian names.

'Bisque' dolls are popular and fetch good prices provided they are in good condition. The French firms Bru and Jumeau made good examples, as did the German firm Simon and Halbig. Christie's South Kensington has a 16 1/2 in (42cm) example in a sale on 17 September.

It is estimated at pounds 2,000- pounds 3,000; a similar mulatto doll of circa 1891 made only pounds 352 in 1987.

Post-Second World War dolls are already in demand. The 18in to 20in hard plastic Pedigree examples of the 1950s are pounds 20- pounds 30 each, but the early Barbie dolls are more in demand.

There have been some surprising price rises. A doll obtained by using vouchers in the 1930s, 'Betty Oxo', made by Dean's Rag Book Company, with printed features on her cloth face, is expected to make pounds 400- pounds 500 at Christie's on Thursday. A similar boxed example might have made only pounds 100 five years ago.

Wooden dolls are very sought after. Six or seven years ago an eighteenth- century wooden doll might have realised pounds 1,200- pounds 2,000. Only last year Bonhams sold an 18in one with some costumes, circa 1760, for pounds 7,500 plus 10 per cent buyer's premium. Its next toy sale is on 28 October and doll and bear auction on 14 December.

Doll's houses are holding their prices well, according to Neil-John Leonard of the auctioneers Phillips. Two firms to look for are Christian Hacker and Gosschalk. Six to seven years ago a good Gosschalk cost pounds 250. Today it costs around pounds 4,500 if in good decorative condition and with some furniture.

Teddy bears remain popular, although the price of pounds 60,000 is unlikely to be seen again for some time. This was secured for a 1928 Steiff bear at Sotheby's two years ago. Look for little wear to the plush, dual tone with a dark tip to the fur, a line down the snout, and blue or brown eyes for the best Steiff examples.

Silvery-white 25in Steiff bears make pounds 2,000- pounds 3,000, but 30in honey-gold coloured ones of circa 1910 command pounds 3,000- pounds 4,000. The top prices go for the black teddies ( pounds 8,000-12,000). Check for the Steiff metal disc in the left ear, which should show an elephant design or a plain button for 1904-05, or an embossed Steiff emblem for 1905-06.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
In too deep? Travel cover is among the benefits offered by packaged bank accounts

Claims firms blamed as complaints soar over packaged bank accounts

Many customers complained they were switched to the accounts without their knowledge

Finger on the interest rate trigger: the Bank of England

The best deals on personal loans: Peer-to-peer providers are more competitive for smaller sums

Meanwhile, high-street lenders continue to cherry-pick and be more competitive on larger loans

China stock collapse: Five things you need to know about 'Black Monday'

The market plummeted this week, losing all the gains made for the year

Which? warns sports fans about Rugby World Cup ticket scams

GetSporting.com offers deals that may be too good to be true

Could it be the time to focus on Japan? Some believe the country has no choice but to boost consumption and the economy will get back on track

Investors told to travel the world in the search for higher returns

Assets have risen in value across the board and volatility isn't going away. Rob Griffin asks where we should put our cash
As rising house prices push up demand for renting, so tenants are having to dig deeper than ever

Starter home initiative is urgently needed as rents go through the roof

Rents in England and Wales rose by 1.9 per cent in July to an average of £804

Peer-to-peer lending rates put Nisas to shame

The returns from P2P providers look more attractive than ever

Questions of Cash: Log-in problems turned eDreams booking into one-way ticket to nowhere

The company failed to provide our reader's flight ticket - or a refund

Hot property: business has been booming in estate agents this month, even though it’s the height of the summer holiday season

Heat rises for mortgage deals as UK homeowners sense a rate hike coming

The housing market should go quiet in August but instead people have been acting like cheap loans won't last. Do we really have to rush, asks Simon Read
Phones have now overtaken personal computers as the most used way of accessing the internet

Who you gonna call? The Complaints Busters

Unhappy customers have been given their own Ombudsman to help fight for them.

Undergraduates are being tempted with freebies by banks

Students should give freebies a wide berth and focus instead on cheap borrowing

An interest-free loan far outweighs the value of any of the bank's incentives

The Spanish carrier changed a reader's flight from Madrid – to a time before she was due to land

Questions of Cash: 'A connecting Vueling flight was cancelled and all my travel costs were left hanging in the air'

Our reader encountered problems when flying from London to Ibiza in May to take part in a charity ride

Complacency about rising rates could prove to be costly

Interest rates stay at 0.5% for now - but don't wait to get a better deal on your savings and mortgage

The years of ultra-low rates are coming to an end

The elderly are being targeted by fraudsters with postal scams such as fake prize draws

Fraudsters are bombarding older people with dangerous pension scams: here we reveal the warning signs

Many people are being repeatedly targeted by crooked schemes

Football and credit cards aren't always a good match

A football club-branded credit card could end up being a financial own goal

It may be a great talking point when you get your football club plastic out in front of your mates, but these deals aren't the best option for all fans

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Content Writer - Global Financial Services

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

    Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Consultant - Financial Services - OTE £65,000

    £15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Loan Underwriter

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future