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Antique figurines: how to find one-of-a-kind ornaments


The beauty of antique figurines is not only their distinct beauty, but the wide variety of examples that exist today. There really is something to suit every  collector.

With such varied scope, shopping for antique figurines can be a minefield. But the rewards for finding a gem are generous - nothing tells a story quite like antique figures.

It’s this depth and history that make them genuinely special, whether you’re buying to add to your own collection or gifting an antiquarian you’re fond of.

Finding valuable figurines: Antiques to look out for 

The ticket to spotting quality antiques is knowing what you’re looking for. As always, it’s the decorative beauty and talent that’s gone into antique figurines that make a collector’s heart go a-flutter - but the manufacturer is a huge part of its value. So when you’re inspecting a piece, look for the maker’s mark first.

The detective work involved in finding one-of-a-kind antique figurines is part of the joy of collecting. If you’re buying a thoughtfully selected piece for you or a loved one, you can’t go wrong with a Royal Doulton. Everything from their famous Bunnykins to Dickens antique figurines are available today - something  for all kinds of tastes and always at reasonable costs.

Another distinct maker of figures antiques lover’s have a soft spot for are Wade Whimsies. There’s a wide range of quaint characters to choose from - buying them can be a thoughtful way to kick off a Christmas tradition.

Meissen antique figurines sit in a significantly higher value tier - providing the gift of investment. The German manufacturer has a strong reputation for its superb quality porcelain and delightful designs. Early designs are the most sought after. A 1732 ‘Great Bustard’ piece by designer Johann Jakob Kirchner sold at auction for £842,500 in 2015.

Other figurines antiques buffs will pay good money for (making them glorious investments, should you ever land upon a ‘sleeper’) are those from Italian porcelain company Capodimonte, Dresden lace figurines (even small damaged examples can fetch around £80) and rare Sevres figures (a 12-inch, 18th-Century piece titled ‘The Flute Lesson’ sold on eBay for $1,000).

What if antique figurines are damaged? 

When it comes to figures, antiques do not need to be in perfect condition to hold value or to be enjoyed. Which is great news, since the materials used to make antique figurines (looking at you, delftware) are often prone to chipping. If you’re prepared to purchase imperfect pieces, you can build up an enviable collection at a low price. That said, if antique figurines are a real rarity, even damaged examples will hold great value.

Where to buy antique figurines for sale

It’s not just knowing what to look for in figurines, antiques need to come from reputable dealers, too. You’ll find some truly arresting pieces at Hemswell  Antiques Centres - dive into our collection of antique figurines for sale and you’ll find everything from Royal Doultons to Staffordshire spaniels. Or, visit our Lincoln centres to explore the treasure trove itself and find the perfect antique gift. Keen hunters might also spot a “sleeper” in the most unexpected places: car boot sales, flea markets, charity shops… you just have to keep a trained eye peeled. Of course, that’s all part of the fun.

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