How to pack antique bisque porcelain head dolls

Views 325 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful
Antique dolls need to be specially packed or they usually end up with shattered glass eyes or porcelain heads.
I have been very dissapointed in the past because I have received many broken dolls and this can be avoided if they are packed correctly.
Here is some info you can print out, give to your packers, or to use when you are packing them yourself:
If an antique doll's head gets damaged, cracked, chipped or broken in any way the value of the doll is lessened by 60-70%.
Antique dolls are very delicate and usually have glass eyes inside their heads with a metal weight mechanism that allows their eyes to open and close (sleep eye mechanism). When being shipped and the box is moved around their eyes may be violently opened and shut. This usually results in shattered glass eyes inside the head and this may also break the porcelain.
When layed on their backs most antique doll's eyes close. When sitting upright their eyes open. To stop their eyes from opening and closing is simple. All you need to do is stuff their heads with paper, tissues or paper towels all the way to the top of their heads. Here are 2 pictures of inside the head of an antique doll:
Most antique dolls have a wig and a lid on the top of their heads made of cardboard or plaster. This is called a pate. It is easy to stuff the head if the wig and pate aren't glued down to the lid of the head. If the wig is glued to the head than carefully take each edge and gently pry off slowly until you work it off. Remember to be very careful and handle this task with the ultimate care. If the wig is stubbornly glued down, you can wet a rag with some water and soak the area & little by little the glue will give way and weaken.
When you get the wig off, and the pate (lid) is also glued down you can carefully take a serated edge knife or exacto knife and cut a small hole in the pate and stuff the head. Please ask a customer if this is ok with them first because some doll collector's wouldn't want the pate to be cut to insure originality of the doll. However, if the eyes break and shatter the doll is worse off. That is why many collectors including myself ask for this to be done when a doll is being shipped.
Here is a picture of a doll with the pate glued down:
After the head is stuffed, please use plenty of layers of bubble wrap on the head and make sure it is very padded. Another tip to pad a delicate porcelain doll head is padding the head with a few baby diapers (unused of course~lol). The diapers are very soft and pad nicely.
Then comes the doll's body. If a doll's body is made out of wood or ball jointed composition (which is posable) make sure you wrap all of the extremeties with bubble wrap. Then place the arms at the doll's side, and keep the legs straight. Then roll the bubble wrap around the whole doll's body to keep the arms, legs and hands kept in place.
Here is what a jointed wood/composition body looks like:
If the doll's body is made out of leather or cloth the packing of the body is much easier. If the body is cloth or kid leather with porcelain hands or feet just bubble wrap them to protect them and then place a sheet of bubble wrap over the whole body to keep it padded and in place. Never bend a doll in half to fit it in a box because you cannot find a long enough box. You can usually find the long rectangular shaped boxes perfect for shipping dolls for free at your local florist or lamp store. You can also find low priced rectangular lamp boxes at your local UHaul or moving store for a few dollars.
When it comes time to put the doll in a box please make sure to use one 3 inches or or more than the doll on all 4 sides. Place the doll face down inside the box (relieves pressure on the glass eyes) and make sure to use plenty of packing peanuts and foam filled to the top of the box so the doll cannot rattle around and move inside the box. Do not use newspaper padding or balled up paper in place of styrofone packing peanuts. Paper padding gets compressed and compacted from the weight of the doll and serves very little padding inside the box. If you can double box it and make sure to use peanuts to the top of the box so the inside box cannot move around. That would be even better.
I recommend shipping via USPS Priority mail as I have had bad luck with UPS Ground in the past. UPS usually stacks heavy things on top of each other in their hubs resulting in smashed packages, and heartache. Remember the longer an item is in transit and the more handling they get the more likely they will be broken. This is why Priority Mail is better as it is handled much less and is in transit for less time.
I hope my info on packing antique dolls has helped you.
Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides