Find out a little more about the vintage items I am curating in my Etsy Store -


Candy Store Dolls

Made by the same ceramic factories that made dishes and bigger dolls, these little things were churned out and sold by the gross to candy stores, who stocked them alongside their chocolate drops and licorice whips, enticing in little girls with small change. Dolls were referred to by cost, which was associated to their size. The most common ones being "penny dolls," larger ones "nickel dolls," and the biggest of all (curated in my Etsy store and pictured below) "quarter dolls." These dolls might be the only ones for sale in a small town, and were certainly the only ones a child would be able to afford on her own.

Both candy and dolls were shipped primarily from Central Europe -- specifically, from Germany -- during the last decades of the 19th century, and the first decade and a half of the 20th century. The advent of the Great War (as WWI was called then) cut off the supply chain. Even before the United States entered the War, trade in trivialities like candy and dolls had been disrupted. After 1917, it was unthinkable to stock anything manufactured by Germany, yet cheap bisque dolls were an important part of the candystore's stock-in-trade. The candystores needed a new supplier. Japanese ceramic manufacturers needed new international markets.

Bisque dolls were an early example of the Japanese skill at creating "cheap knock-offs", for which they were famous until their technology caught up to and passed the rest of the world's. The original Japanese candystore dolls were made from the same molds as those used by the Germans, but they cut costs and time by using cheaper materials and often by skipping steps -- omitting the extra firing after the doll was painted, for example, so that surviving dolls have often lost much of their paint. Many dolls are not painted at all on the back, only on the front.

This is the wonderful History of the Candystore Doll represented by this beautiful example I am curating in my Etsy store:
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