Rare doll with striking resemblance to a young Boris Johnson could fetch £17,000 at auction
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A rare doll bearing a striking resemblance to a young Boris Johnson could fetch up to £17,000 when it goes up for auction soon. The Kammer & Reinhardt Walter 102 bisque antique character, dating back to 1910, shares the same blonde locks and chubby round face as the former British prime minister.
The toy, which was passed down through generations and kept on a family’s sofa, was almost thrown in a skip before its current owners realised its astonishing value. And though its foot was once chewed by a "naughty puppy", the 22-inch (56cm) “older boy” figure remains one of the only examples of its kind still in existence.
Speaking about the doll, the unnamed sellers said they had no idea how special the toy was until they sent it to curators at Vectis Auctions, where it will be sold in June.
They said: “The doll belonged to my grandmother who passed away 30 years ago. Since then he has been in my mum’s possession. He has always lived in the living room on the sofa for as long as I can remember and our late dog chewed his foot off when he was a naughty puppy.
“My mum unfortunately is now unwell and emptying her house we found him again. Due to having so much furniture and mementos to sort out, we were having to be quite ruthless with what we were keeping so I put him on the pile of things to be skipped.
“However, my husband remembered the doll fondly and decided to put him in the ‘to keep pile’ and afterwards we realised how special he was.” The doll is clothed in an original knitted ecru cotton singlet bodysuit, with a hand-made contemporary cotton checked shirt, navy woollen shorts, navy woollen cape with hood and cotton checked trim.
An identical sculpture, Knabenbuste, was modelled by the German artist Arthur Lewin-Funcke in 1898. And then, in 1910, it was transformed by Lewin-Funcke into this rare model for the Kammer and Reinhardt’s art character reform series.
Few examples are known to exist, and the doll is one of the world’s rarest in a larger size with fine modelling, an intense expression and translucent painting. It comes from the 100 series, which have been sold by Vectis Auctions in the past, although this particular number, 102, is extremely rare.
The doll will go under the hammer on June 6th as part of Vectis Auctions Doll and Teddy Bear sale and is expected to sell for between £12,000 - 17,000.