Whether you're a serious Royal Doulton collector and have shelves full of their decorative pieces or you just want a couple of cute Toby Jugs to decorate a corner of your desk with, having an up to date Royal Doulton price guide can help prevent you from getting swindled by arming you with the company's piece's current market values.
Royal Doulton: A Company Overview
From its early beginning in 1815, the London-based Doulton Company grew to become one of the most well-known pottery companies in the world. For almost 200 years, Doulton products have been considered to be among the finest in quality and craftsmanship.
Since its inception, the company started by John Doulton, did business using the following names:
- Jones, Watts and Doulton - 1815
- Doulton & Watts - 1821
- Doulton & Company - 1854
- Royal Doulton - 1901
- Doulton Lambeth - ended in 1956
The Royal Doulton Name
The beautiful ceramic pieces being produced by Doulton & Company in the late 19th century were noticed by the British Royal family, including Queen Victoria. The Queen liked the pieces so much that in 1887, she knighted Henry Doulton for his contributions to England's ceramic art. Fourteen years later, King Edward the VII issued a Royal Warrant to the Doulton factory, partnering with the company for future commissions and giving them the right to be called Royal Doulton.
Royal Doulton Today
Today, Royal Doulton's part of the Waterford Wedgwood Group, operating as part of Doulton Home. There are three brands that make up Doulton Home:
- Royal Doulton
- Royal Albert
The Importance of Royal Doulton Identification and Price Guides
For almost two centuries, Doulton has produced a wide array of different products, often causing confusion among collectors. The company has used numerous backstamps, marks, and logos over the years. Many of the antique figurines worth money have the artist's initials stamped on the bottom, and other figurines were signed by the artist. However, there're also a large number that don't have any artist identification at all, and only feature a back stamp. Due to this, the antique and collectible world of Royal Doulton products is often complex and confusing. Many seasoned collectors consider their identification and price guide an invaluable reference and refer to it often.
Price Guides for Royal Doulton Antiques and Collectibles
Just as there are many different types of Royal Doulton products, there are also different kinds of price guides. For example, there are individual price guides for specific types of antiques or collectibles such as Character and Toby Jugs or Figurines. Comprehensive identification and price guides include all types of Royal Doulton items, such as:
- Series Ware
- Decorative plates
- Character Jugs
- Toby Jugs
Specific Price Guides for Royal Doulton Collectibles
Published by the Carlton Press, the following are a series of price guides for Royal Doulton antiques and collectibles:
- Royal Doulton Figurines by Jean Dale
- Royal Doulton Series Wareby Louise Irvine
- Royal Doulton Jugs, 10th Edition by Jean Dale
- Royal Doulton Animals by Jean Dale
- Beswick Collectibles by Diana and John Callow
- Beswick Animals by Callows and Sweets
- Royal Doulton Bunnykins by Louise Irvine and Jean Dale
- Storybook Figurines: Royal Doulton, Royal Albert and Beswick by Jean Dale
- Bakertowne's Price Guide For Popular Royal Doulton Figurines by Lou Kahn, Tammy Kahn Fennell and Matthew Fennel
Additionally, there's a huge compilation price guide that boasts over 5,000 separate listings from the company:
- The Antique Trader Royal Doulton Price Guide by Kyle Husfloen
If you don't need the extensive amount of research provided in these printed price guides, then browsing a few online price guides might be a better option for you. In fact, there're several excellent free online price guides that have extensive listings for Royal Doulton antiques and collectibles as well as information on how to get the most out of them if you've never used one before.
Today's Most Valuable Royal Doulton Pieces
This historic decorative porcelain and china company is beloved by people around the world for its delicate and whimsical pieces. Individual pieces from their antique and vintage catalog can sell (depending on a variety of factors including their series, condition, artist, and so on) for upwards of $2,000, though you're far more likely to find them listed at auction for around $25-$50, give or take. Given that these figurines and tableware have been popular since the early 20th century and there's been a constantly shifting market in terms of what's popular and what isn't, these are a few of the most valuable series today:
When it comes to collectible Royal Doulton figurines, the Bunnykins series is by far the most popular today. These cute bunny characters in various themed scenes and stylistic variations have been manufactured by Royal Doulton (Doulton & Co. at the time) since 1939. These early pieces are particularly rare given that the company reintroduced the series in the 1960s. Most of the Bunnykins that're currently for sale are those from the mid-century and later. In good condition, the most desirable of these Bunnykins have consistently sold in the low $1,000s, while less desirable (and newer) bunnies are listed between $25-$45.
Here are a couple of the more valuable Bunnykins that've recently sold at auction:
Human Figurines From the 1930s-1940s
Along with the company's Bunnykins series, the various human figurines produced in the company's early years have higher ticket prices at auction than those from the mid-century and later do. You can easily find individual figurines from the 1930s and 1940s in excellent condition, bringing home somewhere around $1,000. These figurines have realistic proportions and coloring, and were made stylistically similar to the 19th century porcelain figurines.
Here are a couple of these human figurines that've recently been put to auction:
Of course, as is the case with so many of the company's competitors, Royal Doulton frequently partnered with artists, film makers, and other organizations to release specialty series. Since each of these series had a limited run, there's a moderate market for them among Doulton collectors. One of these collectible series, for instance, is the Gone With the Wind partnership. Despite being made in the 21st century, pieces in this series are still worth around $500, such as with this Scarlett O'Hara figurine that's listed for $658.78.
Another example of this is the Six Wives of Henry VIII series. These pieces, in excellent condition, can sell for around $500-$1,000; for example, Catherine Parr's figurine with the original certificate is currently listed for $693.45. Similarly, this Cleopatra figurine from the Les Femmes Fatales series of 1979 is listed for $1,005.51.
How Do Your Royal Doulton Figurines Stack Up?
While Royal Doulton figurines are known for their delicate and artistic designs, you're not on the fringes if you're mostly curious about what your grandmother's old curio cabinet full of them is worth. Getting collectibles appraised by a professional is the best way to assess an item's market value, but there are a few things you can check at home to get an idea of just how valuable your Royal Doulton decorative pieces might be:
- Check for cracks, stains, and broken pieces - Condition is a make or break factor for value, and pieces that have the least amount of damage have the greatest chances of selling for top dollar.
- Reference recent sales - Looking through eBay's recent sales of your specific piece, as well as general listings on other retail and auction websites, can give you a good awareness for what people are actually paying for the ones you're thinking of parting with.
- Look at HN numbers on the figurine's bottom - Older Royal Doulton figurines are harder to find and thus more valuable; the lower the numerical value beside the HN on the underside of any of these figurines, the older the piece. For instance, the HN 17 was first released in the 1910s and through the 1930s, while the HN 2331 premiered in the 1970s.
You Can't Put a Price on Your Favorites
Determining value isn't something that you want to flub on, and making sure that you have a Royal Doulton price guide that's up to date can be an essential way for both buyers and sellers to make the most educated purchases for their needs.