Kestner JDK Dolls 1820-1938 German

Kestner JDK 154 kid body doll 18" face
Kestner JDK doll mold 154 shoulder head kid body doll 18″

King of Doll Makers – Johann Daniel Kestner (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 Ohrdruf porcelain factory and began to produce the bisque dolls known by collectors today.  Kestner was one of the few German doll makers to produce the entire doll – head and body.

Kestner kid leather bodies may have a label; Celebrated “crown dolls”, Excellence, Excelsior, Marvel, Par Excellence or Perfection along with the Kestner crown and streamer label.  Unique to Kestner doll heads are the plaster like pates, also most Kestner dolls do Not have pierced ears.

 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; Bébé Systême and L’Intrépide Bébé and heads for Fischer, Naumann & Company. Rheinische Gummi und Celluloid-Fabrik supplied Kestner with celluloid heads (doll mold 201) and other doll parts. Kestner made all bisque Rose O’Neill Kewpie dolls, including the very rare blind closed eyes or sleeping eye Kewpie, the eyes on these Kewpie dolls were intentionally left unfinished, unpainted at the factory, marked on back of head JDK plus other words.

Antique Kestner Dolls Identified

Note click photos to enlarge to see the details

ca. 1890s Kestner JDK doll mold XI bisque closed mouth doll 13" face

ca. 1890s Kestner JDK Schmitt type XI, 13″ bisque shoulder head doll, feathered brows, glass sleep eyes, closed mouth, kid leather body, wigged, plaster pate, doll mark XI.

Kestner JDK 8AT bisque swivel head doll 15 1/2" face

Kestner JDK 8 AT type, bisque swivel head doll 15 1/2″, feathered brows, glass sleep eyes, upper, lower painted lashes, closed mouth, kid leather body, doll mark 8

Kestner JDK 12S bisque head, closed mouth doll 21" face

Kestner JDK 12S, bisque socket head doll, heavy feathered brows, glass sleep eyes, upper, lower painted lashes, closed mouth, composition jointed body, doll mark H made in Germany 12, 12S

Kestner JDK 103 bisque doll 16" face
Kestner JDK doll mold 103 bisque socket head doll 16″ face
Kestner JDK 143 bisque socket head doll 11" face
Kestner JDK doll mold 143 bisque socket head doll 11″ face
Kestner JDK 151 bisque Kaiser baby doll 14" face
Kestner JDK doll mold 151 bisque Kaiser baby doll 14″ face
Kestner JDK 161 bisque doll 29" face
Kestner JDK doll mold 161 bisque doll 29″ face
Kestner JDK doll mold 162 Lady body 18"
Kestner JDK doll mold 162 Lady 18″ body
Kestner JDK 171 Daisy Lettie Lane doll blonde, 18" face
Kestner JDK 171 Daisy Lettie Lane doll blonde, 18″ face
JDK Kestner doll mold 172 - Gibson Girl doll face
JDK Kestner doll mold 172 Gibson Girl lady doll 14″ face
Kestner JDK doll mold 193 Oriental belton type 11" face
Kestner JDK doll mold 193 Oriental belton type 11″ face
Kestner JDK doll mold 208 Character painted eyes face
Kestner JDK doll mold 208 Character painted eyes face
Kestner JDK doll mold googly eye doll 11" face
Kestner JDK doll mold googly eye doll 11″ face
Kestner JDK doll mold 237 black Hilda doll 19" face
Kestner JDK doll mold 237 black Hilda doll 19″ face
Kestner JDK doll mold 241 bisque 24" face
Kestner JDK doll mold 241 bisque 24″ face
Kestner JDK doll mold 243 Oriental baby 10" face
Kestner JDK doll mold 243 Oriental baby 10″ face
Kestner JDK doll mold 245 white Hilda 18" face
Kestner JDK doll mold 245 white Hilda 18″ face
Kestner JDK doll mold 255 Screamer doll face OIC
Kestner JDK doll mold 255 Screamer doll 12″ face, doll mark OIC
Kestner JDK doll mold 272 Siegfried 13" face
Kestner JDK doll mold 272 Siegfried 13″ face
Kestner JDK doll mold 292 googly eye 10" face
Kestner JDK doll mold 292 googly eye 10″ face
Kestner JDK doll mold 1010 Hilda 16 1/2" face
Kestner JDK doll mold 1070 Hilda 16 1/2″ face, solid dome head, open mouth
ca. 1914 Kestner JDK Baby Jean doll 14" face, Hilda's sister
ca. 1914 Kestner JDK Baby Jean doll 14″ face, Hilda’s sister, solid dome head, open mouth

** Kestner doll mold 171, only the 18″ tall size doll was used as the Daisy doll as 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 to 1912.  Heinrich Handwerck‘s Bébé Cosmopolite 18″ doll was also used.

Kestner dolls were distributed by Borgfeldt , Butler Brothers, Century Doll Co., Horsman, Macy, Sears, Siegel Cooper, FAO Schwartz and probably others. Some named Kestner dolls are: Baby Jean doll (so called Hilda’s sister), Dainty Dorothy, Sally, Sammy (JDK + size number), Daisy doll mold 171 only the 18″ tall size, Hilda doll molds 237, 245, 1070, Max doll mold 186a, Moritz doll mold 186b, the all bisque Prize Baby doll mold 208 of which some labels say Brize Baby and Siegfried doll mold 272.

Kestner doll marks & mold numbers with images

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