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The Swiss watch Vasheron & Constantine is considered one of the most expensive and prestigious in the world. In the second half of the 18th century, Switzerland, from a country…

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Antique dolls

The choice of a profession, let alone a hobby, cannot always be explained logically. Why does a respectable man with a mustache devote himself to carving wooden horses, and does a business madame enroll in courses on the manufacture of papierclay dolls? Or suddenly begins to tidy up the shabby and eyeless little dolls, spend a lot of money on porcelain young ladies and old teddy bears … Maybe the child inside her, who, they say, is napping in each of us, woke up and wanted to play? Dolls older than 75 years are awarded the title of antique Photo: Depositphotos Looking at the collection of antique dolls, you get the feeling that you are in a parallel world, where everything is as we have, and at the same time, surprisingly, mysteriously. Under a magnificent skirt of a German chrysalis made more than a hundred years ago, a bag with wood shavings, sawdust or cotton wool can be hidden. Such bags were often fitted under needle beds or hiding places for small caskets. And the so-called china dolls are not like Chinese women, because they are not Chinese at all – they are simply made of Chinese porcelain. It is the material that distinguishes these dolls from ordinary ones, from biscuit porcelain, matte, slightly rough, as if velvety – this is most suitable for imitating human skin. China Tea Porcelain heads are coated with white glaze.

Usually these dolls are small, but there are also real heroes. China dolls are not like Chinese women, because they are not Chinese at all – they are simply made of Chinese porcelain. Photo: Depositphotos Atypical, rare dolls are especially appreciated by collectors, who are becoming more and more in Russia every year. True, we still look at toy collectors indulgently, while abroad collecting has long been recognized and turned into an entire industry. Antique dolls took pride of place at major world auctions next to paintings by famous artists and precious Faberge eggs. Even venerable auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s are regularly auctioned for antique dolls and accessories. Moreover, accessories are often even more rare than the dolls themselves, because they tend to quickly get lost and wear out.

You can hardly find an antique doll in a dress sewn one hundred years ago, and the doll itself, as a rule, undergoes restoration before taking a place in someone’s collection. Doll before restoration Photo: Depositphotos The question may arise: what kind of antiques is it, if the head is repainted, the dress is fresh, with a needle, and even the hair is replaced? Isn’t it better to leave everything as it is, albeit with scratches, cracks and traces of decay, but in its original form, in order to preserve the precious spirit of antiquity? No, not better. And in order to understand this, it’s enough to take a look at the doll once before restoration: the head peeling off, stained and chipped, lies separately from a body stuffed with straw, dressed in a dirty, faded and wrinkled suit … The doll resembles a zombie from a horror movie, but not a touching child’s a toy or a valuable exhibit from a private collection.

If your inner child asks for a doll, and certainly an old doll, and funds allow him to be pampered, look at the sites of online auctions in America, Europe, Australia. Pay attention to collection value, good condition and reasonable price. The cost of the most expensive antique dolls reaches 15,000 euros – not everyone will allow such a purchase. The paint on the face peeled off, the hair came out, the dress rotted? It doesn’t matter – everything can be corrected. But you should not buy a doll with a broken head in any case. If china beats, it’s forever. If porcelain beats, it is forever Photo: Depositphotos A restorer is able to bring back a doll with damaged eyes, broken hands, a tormented torso. First, he examines the “patient”, assesses the condition, understands what materials it is made of. Then begins work. Takes off and washes a head.

It takes out the eye mechanism, re-draws the eyelids, then waxes it so that the paint does not peel off when blinking. Returns the mechanism to its place and adjusts. It is important to make sure that the eyes match the model. Sometimes dolls come with “alien” eyes that were not used at all by this manufacturer. Following the head, the body is brought into proper shape. If there are small cracks and breaks on it, then it is enough to putty and tint them. Some dolls, unfortunately, have to be repainted completely. The paint is varnished from above to give it a characteristic yellowness, that is, to artificially age … Photo 1900 Photo: Depositphotos If the doll is in an antique dress, you can’t wash it – it crumbles in your hands. Then the seamstress comes to the aid of the restorer, who creates the costumes for the pattern

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