Anita Jo Intenzo
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French Bebes

Bebes, or dolls made to represent children, were quite revolutionary for their time (starting about 1850), since most dolls until that time were made to represent adults. 

Eventually, Bebes would overtake fashion dolls in popularity, and would lead to their demise.  French Bebes, made by the master doll makers Jumeau, Bru, Steiner, Rohmer and others would have their ascendancy from the 1860's to the 1880's, followed by the German doll makers, who basically took over the industry with their quality, but lower priced products in the 1890s.

French Bebes were at the pinnacle of the dollmaking industry.  These dolls, with their kid or composition bodies, fine bisque heads and beautiful expressions, were again expensive toys made for upper-class children.  Bebes were usually sold exquisitely dressed, in doll-sized fashions worn by children of that era. 

Today, prices for French Bebes vary widely, depending on their quality.  A buyer can expect to pay several thousand dollars, at minimum, for a Jumeau or Brus.  Later dolls, the, French Bebes by the S.F.B.M. (which was formed by French doll makers in 1899 in response to the threat from the German manufacturers) are not as fine quality, with more heavily tinted faces and lesser clothing.  These dolls can be purchased for several hundred dollars, especially for post-WWI examples.