Kewpie dolls

Kewpie dolls are based on illustrations by Rose O'Neill that appeared in Ladies' Home Journal in 1909. These illustrations,which incorporated words and pictures with the recurring Kewpie characters, are considered to be early versions of the comic strip medium. The small dolls were extremely popular in the early 1900s. They were first made out of bisque and then celluloid. In 1949, Effanbee created the first hard plastic versions.

Their name, often shortened to "Kewpies", in fact is derived from "cupid", the Roman god. The early dolls, especially signed or bisque, are highly collectible and worth thousands of dollars. The time capsule at the 1939 New York World's Fair contained a Kewpie doll. The term "Kewpie doll" is sometimes mistakenly applied to the troll doll.

rare kewpie dolls

Many other articles were made using their images, like coloring and poem books, cups, plates, curios, etc. The incredible success of these characters made their creator rich and famous. It's a rare example of a woman becoming successful in the media business at such an early date. Kewpies should not be confused with the baby-like Billiken figures that debuted in 1908.

Updated: 30 October 2020

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Kewpie value and price guide

What's your Kewpie worth in 2021? Here are some recently sold items.

Item Title Date Price
bisque rose o neill kewpie nurse doll orig stickers exc Bisque Rose O Neill Kewpie Nurse Doll Orig Stickers Exc 06/2021 C $783.74
r john wright kewpie peppermint scottles scootles pal R John Wright Kewpie Peppermint Scottles Scootles Pal 08/2021 C $690.50
6 estate bisque porcelain kewpie dolls 6 Estate Bisque Porcelain Kewpie Dolls 08/2021 C $509.39
r john wright pink easter bonnet kewpie le250 6 felt R John Wright Pink Easter Bonnet Kewpie Le250 6 Felt 06/2021 C $496.81
rare fireman kewpie rose o neill 1900s doll bisque Rare Fireman Kewpie Rose O Neill 1900s Doll Bisque 06/2021 C $503.10
no pictureSee all sold items on eBay for more prices09/2021C $-.--

Kewpie forum

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1 comment
Sherry - May 21, 2014
I have an approx sized 2 inch kewpie doll with wings which is made out of bisque and has a home made cloth dress lying on a home made pillow in a sterling silver baby carriage.