Some of the most highly collectible and notorious items when it comes to handcrafted pottery are Royal Doulton figurines. These quirky, bone china figurines are based on a whole range of famous characters from history and popular culture, and animals.
The Royal Doulton company has been producing well-loved pottery items for over 200 years, including over 4000 figurine models and entire figurine series. Royal Doulton is based in England which is why you’ll often see the words “Made in England” included in the company logo stamped on the base of figurines.
We have compiled a guide to the top 10 most valuable Royal Doulton figurines, including some of the rarest and most sought after examples today. The value of a Royal Doulton figurine depends on several factors including condition, rarity, and maker’s mark. Whether you have inherited a figurine or have become interested in forming a collection of your own, join us to find out more!
Round-Up List: 10 Most Valuable Royal Doulton Figurines
Changing tastes and fashions over the years have influenced the value of antiques and collectibles. While some items are deemed to be old-fashioned and charming, others have lost their appeal over time. However, some of the most outstanding Royal Doulton figurines have kept their value and others continue to increase in both price and popularity!
Here, we have listed 10 of the most valuable and rare Royal Doulton Figurines in no particular order. Join us to discover more about the most popular, recognizable, rare, legendary, dynamic, striking, fairy-tale, majestic, unusual, and impressive figurines out there!
Prices are accurate as of August 2022.
1. Bunnykins Series (Most Popular)
These cute and incredibly varied figurines boast enduring popularity since their release in the 1930s. They were even reproduced in the 1960s by popular demand! You can find bunnykins figurines in an incredible number of outfits and situations including footballers, musicians, and even entire tableaus of historical figures such as the Tudor king Henry VIII and his 6 wives!
In total, 150 different bunnykins figurines were produced. Please note that those containing the designer Barbara Vernon’s signature tend to be the most valuable.
The newer figurines from the 1960s are usually priced at around $25-$45 USD at auction. Older bunnykins in good condition can consistently fetch around $1000 USD, while limited editions and desirable models in good condition reach more than $2000 USD at auction!
Some of the most valuable models in this series include:
- Royal Doulton Bunnykins “Freddie” – this sold for around $1400 USD in 2015!
- Royal Doulton Bunnykins Jazz Band Drummer – this sold for a stunning $2075 USD in March 2022!
- Royal Doulton Bunnykins Uncle Sam – this patriotic edition sold for $1723 USD in March 2022!
2. 1930s-1940s Human Figurines Series (Most Recognizable)
Perhaps the most distinctive pieces that most people will recognize as Royal Doulton pottery are the classic human figurines produced between the 1930s and 40s. Figurines produced later than this will fetch a considerably lower price at auction.
Realistic coloring, costume design and proportions mark these figurines out from the rest. The models often featured women in artfully flowing dresses. Many of these were given ladies’ names. Due to this, Royal Doulton figurines are often colloquially referred to as “lady figurines”.
Some of the most notable and valuable examples of these human figurines include:
- Royal Doulton Pretty Lady – the Pretty Lady series was a whole series in itself! Most of these classic models in good condition sell for perhaps $200-$400 USD like “Camilla” which sold for $306USD. Rarer editions such as the Pretty Lady with model number HN0070 can reach over $2000 USD!
- Ladies based on real figures (also known as “Ladies names” figurines) – some models such as Lady Anne Neville which fetched $860 USD at auction this year can have a very high value depending on rarity.
- Themes depicting activities or occasions – Some models had specific themes such as this model “The New Bonnet” which sold for around $1000 USD.
3. La Victoire Crowing Cockerel (Most Rare)
Made in 1900, this rare and limited-edition figurine is in fact a stoneware piece rather than bone china. La Victoire Crowing Cockerel was hailed in particular for its realistic style, showcasing impressive feather texture and life-like movement.
The renowned designer John Broad included his initials on the base of the figurine rather than the standard Royal Doulton stamp, marking this out as a rare and highly sought-after model for collectors.
The price of this model is largely unknown because there are very few examples in circulation. While one site values it at around $5387 USD, one auction site estimated its price at between $940-$1410 USD. See here for a glimpse of this rare figurine.
4. One Of The Forty Thieves (Most Legendary)
Between 1921-1936, Royal Doulton produced a whole series of the 40 thieves from the classic novel Arabian Nights, Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves. These limited-edition figurines end up fetching a high price when in good condition.
Collectors tend to call these mischievous, rare figurines “One of the Forty”, and they have a legendary status among those in the know. There are various designs – some thieves are holding pots, bags or vases, others have long flowing cloaks. All include a Royal Doulton, black backstamp on the base.
Some of the most valuable include this figure which was left unpainted and sold for $2056 USD, and any figures which have been maintained in good condition like this listing which was estimated at between $3,000-$4,500 USD.
5. Prestige Matador And Bull (Most Dynamic)
The infamous Prestige Matador and Bull is the first item on our list so far that comes with a model number – HN2324 – something that was included in later Royal Doulton models for easy identification.
This flamboyant piece depicting a matador with a swinging muleta and a muscular, charging bull. Allegedly it took the craftspeople a whole year to perfect this model! It was released in 1964 and designed by Peggy Davies.
6. Suzhou Monkey (Most Striking)
The Suzhou Monkey is an example of a very rare, limited edition model which was produced by Royal Doulton in collaboration with other companies – in this case Hummel Figurines. It was given a unique model number: BA40.
Models like the Suzhou Monkey are particularly notable for their flambe glaze which was unusual for Royal Doulton figurines and based on traditional Chinese glazing techniques.
Although figurines like the Suzhou Monkey are the most contemporary on our list, they are still highly valued for their rarity and symbolism. For example, monkeys represent good luck and fortune in Chinese mythology.
The Suzhou Monkey is valued at around $1200 USD. Other flambe figurines tend to fetch between $200-$500 USD when in good condition, depending on rarity, such as this Samurai Warrior which sold for $450 USD at auction.
7. Butterfly Ladies (Most Fairy-tale)
The Royal Doulton Butterfly Ladies series was launched in 1925. Leslie Harradine was the designer responsible for these intricate, whimsical figurines depicting women dressed as butterflies. Newer versions are valued at around $700 USD.
The very rare Butterfly figurine with the model number HN720 is one to look out for – these can sell for up to $5500 USD at auction if in good condition! However, they are mostly listed at around $2000 USD.
8. Bluebeard (Most Majestic)
Also called “Bluebeard with plume on turban”, this is another rare, limited edition figurine based on a character from a 1910 production of Sheherazade which itself was based on the One Thousand and One Arabian Nights stories. The model number is HN75.
Bluebeard was released in 1917 but produce for only a short time and is believed to have been designed by Charles Noke. The value is estimated to be between $5000-$8000 USD.
9. Boy On Crocodile (Most Unusual)
This extremely rare figurine incorporates 2 figures – a naked boy and a crocodile. It was produced in 1920 by famous designer Charles Noke. Apparently, less than 6 of these figurines were produced! This makes it so rare and valuable that it almost never appears on the market. Definitely one to keep an eye out for!
10. Alexander The Great (Most Impressive)
An example of the speciality figurines produce by Royal Doulton over the decades, Alexander the Great is part of a series called “Men of History”. Alexander, the Macedonian king, is depicted astride his noble steed, a black horse named Bucephalus.
Alan Maslankowski designed this model in 2002. It is highly valued as very few individual Alexander the Greats were produced. There have been very few auctions including this unique model, but Seaway China Company value it at $30000 USD perhaps thanks to the details which have been crafted in 22-carat gold!
Royal Doulton Figurines: Price Guide
All Royal Doulton figurines have something special to offer, and while some may fetch a higher price than others, it does not mean they are not valuable!
These pieces, renowned for their elaborate and refined designs, are highly collectible and should be properly valued before being bought or sold.
The most efficient way of checking the value of a Royal Doulton figurine is to get it appraised by a professional antiques and collectibles appraiser. Ideally, take the item to show an expert in person. If this is not possible there are plenty of appraisal services online – just make sure you find a reliable one! Bear in mind that appraisal will incur a fee. You may want to try and value a figurine for yourself before seeking professional help. Here are some simple steps you can take:
Check the whole piece for cracks, chips, stains, faded areas, and repair work. Items in good condition will fetch top prices while those with damage are valued much lower. However, very rare items may still sell for a lot of money even when damaged.
2. Research Recent Sales
Searching through eBay and other online auction sites will give you a good idea of how much the item is selling for currently. Try to find the same model number in the same kind of condition as your piece.
3. Check The Base
Look underneath your figurine for the model number, Royal Doulton backstamp, and any designers’ initials. Most models include a Royal Doulton logo and the words “Made in England”.
HN model numbers are the most common and can be easily searched for online or in Royal Doulton figurine catalogues such as this specialised catalogue.
Some items were given unique model numbers such as BA. This indicated limited editions and/or collaborations with other companies and designers.
4. Discontinued Date
Many of the older Royal Doulton figurines have been discontinued, and this usually adds to the price depending on the discontinued date. For example, figurines with HN model numbers from 1-99 were discontinued in 1938, making them older and thus more valuable. Those without a discontinued date are still in production.
Royal Doulton Figurines: Buying And Selling
Whether you want to start a beautiful Royal Doulton figurine collection or sell a figurine that has come into your possession, we have assembled the best resources for doing so.
Before buying or selling, make sure you research the average market price for the particular figurine you are buying or selling. Search thoroughly for the model number, and try to find examples which have been sold in the same condition as your piece (or in your desired condition).
Check out Collector’s Weekly for useful background and live listings across different auction sites. Sellers and Royal Doulton enthusiasts share their stories and rare finds on this site.
The Royal Doulton section of eBay is a great place to get a gauge for the right price of your figurine. Filter the search results by condition, keywords, year produced, and collection (or series).
Etsy sellers often list whole collections as one lot, allowing you to purchase a “starter set” if you are interested in forming a collection. Otherwise there are a great range of unique and rare models on offer here.
How do you know if a Royal Doulton figurine is valuable?
As with all collectibles, the better the condition, the higher the value. Check for a backstamp or maker’s initials underneath the figurine. This can help you search for the model and establish its rarity and antiquity. If your piece has chips, cracks, is fading, or has been badly repaired, the price will be considerably lower. The best way to check is to locate the model on auction sites and research the price it has fetched recently.
Where is the best place to sell Royal Doulton figurines?
Online auction sites such as eBay and Collector’s Weekly are the best places to sell these items. Some sellers also use Etsy which specialises in vintage items. You can track down a local antiques specialist and ask them to sell the figurine for you, but keep in mind that they will charge an admission for this service which is usually a percentage of the sale price.
What is the oldest Royal Doulton figurine?
While the origins of Royal Doulton lie in 1815, the company went through many transformations and partner changes. The first actual figurines were manufactured from the 1880s and onwards. These first decorative pieces were made from stoneware or terracotta. The oldest figurine is not entirely known and may not have survived to this day. But some argue that the Merry Musicians – a set of around 40 miniature stoneware figurines of different boys playing musical instruments, designed by George Tinworth.
What do the numbers mean on Royal Doulton figurines?
The numbers, often printed along with 2 letters such as HN, represent the model number. These will indicate the period it was made in (for example, low numbers mean an early model). This can be searched for online or in Royal Doulton catalogues to find the exact model. You can then find out the year it was produced, who it was designed by, the number produced, and the market value.
Do Royal Doulton figurines increase in value?
This is a difficult question to answer as market prices are notoriously difficult to predict. Perhaps an easier question would be “do Royal Doulton figurines make a good investment?”. Depending on the model and condition, Royal Doulton figurines are a good investment for the future, and unlikely to depreciate in value considerably for the foreseeable future. If you want to collect these items as an investment for the future, make sure you keep an eye on current market value and sell when the time is right!
Are Royal Doulton figurines still produced today?
The Royal Doulton backstamp is recognized all over the world was first used in 1920. This company is still in production and often develops limited edition figurines to celebrate occasions such as royal weddings. See more here at the Royal Doulton website.