How to Collect Kewpie Dolls

Everyone knows what the BarbieâÂ?¢ doll looks like. It’s known as the most popular doll that was ever made. But, other dolls have also become popular too. They hold a place in collectors’ cabinets as well. One of these collectible dolls is the Kewpie. Kewpie dolls didn’t need fancy marketing campaigns like Barbie dolls had. Their adorable looks alone attracted people to buy them and collect them. If you’re looking for a doll that you’re sure to fall in love with, find out
how to collect Kewpie dolls.

An American artist by the name of Rose Cecil O’Neill originally designed what would later become the “Kewpie” doll. Her dream was to design a doll that was completely irresistible. O’Neill wanted everyone to fall in love with it. So, she started out by making it look like a chubby child who had a round, protruding tummy. Then, Rose Cecil O’Neill added a pair of tiny blue wings, a shock of hair, and webbed hands. She completed her “irresistible” doll by giving it an impish smile and eyes that looked to the side.

Unnamed at first, depictions of O’Neill’s creation were first seen in the Ladies’ Home Journal in the years from 1905 and 1909. In 1909, the impish-looking doll finally got named “Kewpie.” It got its name from the mythical matchmaker named Cupid. You can see the likeness between the Kewpie dolls and Cupid. In 1910, drawings of the Kewpie doll appeared in the Women’s Home Companion.

Finally, in 1913, Rose Cecil O’Neill brought her designed dolls to life. She patented her design and began to sell actual dolls to the public. The Kewpie doll was so popular that it made O’Neill a millionaire in no time at all.

The original Kewpie dolls were made from china or bisque materials. They were produced in Europe. Once doll manufacturers like the Mutual Doll Company started producing these impish-looking dolls, they were also made of fabric, porcelain, and plastic. If you want to collect Kewpie dolls, you’ll need to know that they were made in a variety of sizes. Some of the dolls were only a few inches tall, while others were around eighteen inches tall.

Rose Cecil O’Neill went on to expand the looks of her Kewpie dolls by giving them some of them occupations. She dressed her dolls as gardeners, cowboys, musicians, bellboys, firemen, and as United States, German, and French soldiers. If you ever see a black Kewpie doll, that is known as a “Hottentot”.

Kewpie dolls were mass-produced, and they were used as prizes given away at street fairs and at carnivals. To collect Kewpie dolls, you should check estate sales to see if you can find them there. Since they were readily given away as novelty items many years ago, you might find a doll that was stuck away in an attic by its original owner. If the Kewpie was wrapped and packed correctly, it can still be in excellent condition.

Besides the actual dolls, O’Neill put images of her impish Kewpies on products such as clocks, dishes, wallpaper, flower vases, picture frames, and even greeting cards.

In order to collect original Kewpie dolls, and not get stuck with “look-a-likes”, you need to look for two distinct features. First, if you find an impish-looking doll that resembles Cupid, and it has a red and gold paper heart on its chest, then it’s probably an original Kewpie. If you check its foot and find the name “O’Neill” on it, then that’s the second sign it’s an original. And third, companies such as Cameo, Jesco, Kestner, King, and Krueger are known to have manufactured the original Kewpie dolls.

Before you search for the first Kewpie doll to start your collection with, you should check around and find out what prices they are going for. That way, you won’t pay too much. (Kewpie dolls are
highly sought-after items that are hard to find, but you still don’t want to pay more than you have to.) It would be a good idea to join Kewpie doll collecting clubs. If you can’t find any in your neighborhood, check out the Internet for organizations you can get involved with. The “International Rose O’Neill Club Foundation” at is a great place to start.

Not only will you learn about the current prices for Kewpie dolls, you’ll also learn tips on how to properly store your doll collection, and more.

To start collecting the impish-looking dolls, you may want to buy Kewpie dolls that aren’t in the best of shape. The prices you’ll give for dolls that aren’t in “excellent condition” won’t hurt your budget, and you can restore them later. Or, you can pay a professional to restore them for you.

Check offline at garage sales, yard sales, auctions, flea markets, and at antique shops for Kewpie dolls you can buy and collect. Online, you can check auction sites such as eBay� to find these collectible dolls.

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