Value of a Royal Doulton Figurine
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May 27, 2006
Having been a dealer in Royal Doulton figurines for the past 30 years, the first question anyone asks me is "what is my Royal Doulton figurine worth?" To answer the question the person must be aware that there are at least three standards of value. The first standard and easiest to understand, is the "Book Standard". When taking about Royal Doulton figurines, the book standard refers primarily to the Charlton Catalog. While other guides are available, the Charlton Catalog provides the most amount of information along with a visual guide as to what the figurine actually should look like. Available at all fine book stores, the Charlton Catalog lists each HN figurine by number, along with identifying it by size, artist and having a full description along with the quoted value dollar amount. While the book is a great reference piece, actual sales of the figurines rarely are of the dollar amount quoted in the book. Usually people will quote the value listed in the book, but will ask for something less than that amount. The second type of value is the "Secondary Market". This refers to all sales of previously owned pieces. The sale could come from an individual, a retail, antique, or collectible shop, or from private auction or Ebay. The amounts realized from the sales are a much more accurate expression of value, but will very greatly depending upon which venue was used to sell them. Retail stores and antique and collectible shops sales will generally be higher than Ebay or private auction. Other factors that will determine sale price are design and condition. Many people point to Ebay to establish value, however here to pricing is dependent upon many factors. Factors that will influence pricing will include the number of like items for sale at the same time, (availability), Age of the figurine, (backstamp), and of course how many people were looking for that particular figurine at that precise time it was being offered, (demand). The last standard of value to be noted is the Sentimental Value. Hard to put an actual dollar and cent amount to this because it can include factors like the figurine is identical to the one my Grandmother had in her curio, or the figurine is named after my Mother, or because you Aunt or relative always loved that figurine. If this is the value you have, then I suggest that you pay whatever you feel it is worth and don't bother to consider what other people think or purchase at. Finally, we need to consider what makes one figurine worth more than another, and again there are many factors to consider. The main factors are Age, (when the figurine was actually made), Size, (height and width of the figurine), Amount of design, (How difficult was the figure to make and how intricate the detail), Artist, (Some molders were more prolific than others), Rarity, (How many pieces are available and/or how long the figurines where made), and of course Demand, (How much does the public want the particular figure). The stand-out case is that of Old Balloon Seller HN1315. This figurine has been made since 1929 and is probably the best known Royal Doulton figure, yet even with so many pieces available, this piece maintains its value. The bottom line is, if you are seeking a piece for your private collection or for long term value, then seek out a popular, limited edition piece at the maximum you can afford, and it will probably grow in value. If you are looking to add a piece because it has sentimental value, then set a price you can afford and buy the piece without care to what others are paying. If you are looking to sell your Royal Doulton figurine, then take the highest quality pictures you can, combine it with an informative description, be sure to include a clear picture of the backstamp, and list for a reasonable amount. If you are inexperienced and don't wish to error in the listing, contact a Trading Assistant to do your work for you, and you will probably gain the most net dollars for your piece. Remember to check the ad when a Trading Assistant lists your item to make sure they have done a complete, accurate, and honest representation of your figurine. After all, you are paying for the service.
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