Father Christmas doll a delightful rare find

Our antiques expert Allan Blackburn takes a look at one his festive favourites.

Thursday, 20th December 2018, 8:45 am
Updated Thursday, 20th December 2018, 9:53 am
Allan Blackburn with his favourite Father Christmas

With Christmas only a week away, I want to share my favourite Christmas antique with you. It (or rather, he) is a very rare Father Christmas.

He’s absolutely beautiful and he’s mine! I found him in a shop in the Cotswolds, whilst shopping with my wife Gloria, a few years ago and I fell in love with him on sight. Truly, he is the most individual collectable I’ve ever bought.

Christmas is a time for stories, so let me tell you about him.

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He has a porcelain face and, as you can see, he looks precisely how Father Christmas should look.

His expression and features are exactly how, as a child, I pictured Father Christmas.

He is soft bodied, has a lovely long, soft beard and (as you would expect) a jolly red hat and coat! He stands about one foot tall and is on a stick.

I remember picking him up and thinking he was perfect.

I asked the shopkeeper exactly what he was and he said he knew very little about it, other than it was musical and in good working order.

He turned the mechanism and passed me the stick. Before my very eyes, the Santa started turning and beautiful music began to play.

It was magical. I simply had to have him! I recognised immediately that he was German, possibly made by one of the Heubachs. They were famous from the late 1880s for making “bisque” dolls, with soft bodies and delicate “biscuit porcelain” faces. I think he’s easily 100 years old and if I had to be specific I’d estimate about 1910. I know now that he is very rare, I had never seen one like him before that day and even though I’ve kept my eyes peeled, I have never seen one since.

There are lots of collectors of Father Christmases out there, so if any readers have seen something similar, I’d be very interested.

And that’s the joy of Christmas collecting: reawakening childhood memories and stirring that little bit of magic. To me, my Father Christmas is very special.

When he comes out of the display cabinet every year, we put him next to our tree, and Christmas in the Blackburn household begins.

I hope you have a very merry Christmas, and Santa brings you a little Christmas magic as well.