Antique metal head doll is a unique and valuable collectible.
In the 1930s, my sister and I got identical dolls with tin heads and soft cloth bodies. Though I’ve looked in many antique stores, I’ve never seen any like them. Can you tell me more?
—M.F. Rake, Iowa
What’s it Worth?
Metal head dolls, molded from a sheet of tin, were advertised as unbreakable, unlike dolls with porcelain heads. The 1907 Sears, Roebuck catalog even guaranteed them to be indestructible. The metal head was sewn right on the cuddly soft cotton or kid leather body; a 21-inch body with head sold for about a dollar. Limbs were purchased separately; the buyer stuffed them and sewed them to the body.
Manufacturing of the Metal Head Doll stopped in the 1920s. Surviving tin head dolls tend to be marred with flaked facial paint, pitting and rust. But your charming sleep-eye, open-mouth doll, with softly painted hairline, rosy cheeks and a face in excellent surface condition, is valued at about $125.
—Barbara J. Eash (Country Woman Magazine’s Antiques Expert)