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Uncovering the Rarity: Which Royal Doulton Figurines are rare?

Uncovering the Rarity: Which Royal Doulton Figurines are rare?

  • 5 min read

The world of Royal Doulton figurines is a treasure trove for collectors and enthusiasts alike. The beauty, artistry, and intricacy of these handcrafted pieces have captured the hearts of generations. Yet, some figurines are more than just a collector's item; they're rare gems that are sought after by collectors worldwide. These rare figurines have a special quality that sets them apart from the rest, be it a unique design or limited edition production.

Discerning collectors understand that professionally restored figurines hold value and are considered acceptable in the market. Given the rarity of certain figurines, collectors often have limited opportunities to acquire them. Therefore, it is advisable not to hesitate when presented with the chance to purchase a professionally restored figurine, especially if its price reflects the restoration work invested.

Join us on a journey through the world of Royal Doulton as we explore which figurines are rare, and what makes them so special.

Rare & Unique

When Royal Doulton began selling their archive collection in the late 1990s, many prototype figurines entered the market-place. The figures epitomized the imagination and creativity of the leading artists, who were given freedom to express themselves in clay without restrictive marketing issues or cost engineering. Early prototype figures are marked in variety of ways. Some designs have just a standard Royal Doulton lion and crown backstamp. They might also be marked "Design Sample" 'Factory Proof" or "Survey Figure". Occasionally, the figure has been allocated an HN number indicating that it came very close to production, Later prototypes usually have a "Property of Royal Doulton Tableware produced for sale" backstamp. From time to time, prototype figures are found without a Royal Doulton mark and these can be authenticated with reference to the archive pattern books.

Prior to the closure of the Nile Street factory in 2004 and the destruction of all the prototype molds, Doulton directors decided to produce a few figures in editions of just 3 pieces. Designs by leading artists of the past, such as Peggy Davies and Mary Nicoll, were chosen for decoration by the prestige artists and clearly marked. These special editions of three, which were taken from prototype molds, are dated on the bases 2004 or 2005 and numbered 1/3, 2/3 or 3/3.To own one of three pieces in an extremely limited edition is very exciting for collectors.

How to Spot a Rare Royal Doulton Figurine?

Collecting Royal Doulton figurines is an art that requires knowledge and experience to differentiate between a rare piece and a common one. Here are some tips to spot a rare Royal Doulton figurine:

  1. Limited Edition: Look for figurines that have a limited production run or numbered edition, as they are often rare and highly sought after.
  2. Unique Design: Figurines with a unique design or uncommon color are often rare and highly valued by collectors.
  3. Condition: Rare figurines are often in excellent condition, with no chips, cracks, or repairs. Collectors prefer pieces that are in their original state, with no signs of restoration or damage.
  4. Manufacturer's Markings: Check for the manufacturer's markings and stamps on the figurine, as this can give you information about its age, designer, and rarity.
  5. Provenance: A figurine's history and provenance can also indicate its rarity. Look for pieces with a documented history or those that have been part of a notable collection.

Ten Exceptional and Rare: Unveiling the Most Sought-After Royal Doulton Figurines and Character Jugs

First Figurine: RailRoad Guard

RailRoad Guard is a Royal Doulton figurine that depicts a man in a uniform, standing alert with a whistle in one hand and a red flag in the other. It stands approximately 9 inches tall:

Second Figurine: Virginia HN2844

This creation, crafted by the gifted designer E.J. Griffiths, was introduced in 1978 and is limited to a total of 350 pieces worldwide. Standing 14.25 inches tall, this figurine is a detailed representation of a sergeant from the Virginia 1st Regiment Continental Light Dragoons, circa 1777. This striking figure is a part of the sought-after Soldiers of the Revolution Collection, making it a highly prized piece for any collector: 

Third Figurine: Rose Garden HN4559


The "Rose Garden HN4559" is a beautifully crafted figurine by Royal Doulton. This piece, which stands 9.5 inches tall, was designed by V. Annand and introduced in 2004. With a limited run of just 250 pieces worldwide, it holds a special place among collectors. Exquisitely modeled by Valerie Annand, this figurine showcases the renowned artistry and attention to detail for which Royal Doulton is celebrated: rose-garden-hn4559 


Fourth Figurine: Tete a Tete HN799


The "Tete a Tete HN799" was crafted by designer L. Harradine and captures a tender moment as a stately colonial gentleman courts his sweetheart: tete-a-tete-hn799


Fifth Figurine: Juno & the Peacock HN2827


The "Juno & the Peacock HN2827" is an exquisite figurine by Royal Doulton, designed by the talented R. Jefferson. Introduced in 1984 and limited to a run of only 300 pieces worldwide, it stands 11 inches tall. This unique piece showcases a mythical scene from the Myth & Maidens Collection. Its artful design and limited availability make it a prized possession for any collector of Royal Doulton creations:


Sixth Figurine: Wife Of Bath, Prototype

This unusual prototype figurine was never put into production. Based on one of the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, The Wife of Bath has a flat back as if it was to be used as a bookend. This is extremely rare, as only three pieces are known.

Seventh Figurine: Wisdom HN4166

The "Wisdom HN4166" is an elegant figurine brought to life by Royal Doulton and the talented designer, Tim Potts. Introduced in 1999 and standing an impressive 19 inches tall, this piece is limited to just 500 editions worldwide. "Wisdom HN4166" is a part of the sophisticated Art Deco Collection, serving as a testament to the timeless style and craftsmanship of Royal Doulton:

Eighth Figurine: The Proposal HN725

The "Proposal HN725" is a charming figurine by Royal Doulton, released between 1925 and 1938. This piece stands 5.25 inches tall and captures a touching moment in time. Even though the designer's identity remains unknown, the finesse and detail showcased in this figurine reflect the exemplary standards of Royal Doulton's craftsmanship:


Ninth Figurine: Princess Of Wales HN2887

The Princess of Wales HN2887 figurine is a rare and sought-after piece, featuring Diana in her iconic wedding gown from her royal wedding. Designed by E.J. Griffiths, this figurine was issued in 1981 and has become even rarer and more difficult to find after the wedding of her son Prince Charles to Kate Middleton.

Tenth Figurine: Leda & the Swan HN2826

The "Leda & the Swan HN2826" is an enchanting figurine by Royal Doulton, intricately designed by R. Jefferson. This limited edition piece, introduced in 1983, was created in an exclusive run of only 300, standing 9.75 inches tall. Depicting a scene from the Myth & Maidens Collection, this figurine elegantly encapsulates the mythical narrative, making it a highly coveted piece in any Royal Doulton collection: 

At Pascoe & Company, we are proud to be experts in the world of Royal Doulton collectibles and fine art. Our passion for these pieces drives us to offer the finest and rarest figurines available. We have an extensive collection of rare Royal Doulton figurines and Character Jugs, including some of the most sought-after pieces that are rarely seen on the market. Whether you are a seasoned collector or just starting your collection, we have something unique to offer. Visit our store to find your perfect addition to your collection.