Matryoshka doll, Babushka, Nesting Doll

What ever name you want to call them, these wooden dolls are absolutely addictive. For those who aren’t familiar, they are just hollow wooden dolls that usually come in sets of 5, that fit into each other, decreasing in size.The come in a variety of designs, and while they are usually women, I have found some wonderful Christmas and Vintage ones.

My obsession for this started when a neighbor of mine went to visit his family in India and brought back a wonderful set for me. It is a gorgeous set of women with green saris and a nose piercing! I have also found through my Google search a picture of the same set beside a number of other sets including a woman with a other colored saris, a Santa set, a Tiger set, Penguin set, Elephant set, and frog set. There a number of them that I hope to add to my collection some day! Click on the image to enlarge and see them up close. It is really how this Russian craft has spread to the rest of the world for new interpretations!

After I received my first nesting doll set, of course I had to discover more. My first and foremost obsession is Christmas and there is a ton of beautiful Christmas nesting dolls out there! If you are in Montreal and looking for some of these Christmas ones, you must stop in to the year-round Christmas store Noel Eternel in Old Montreal ( They have a number of them that are so beautiful…though crazy expensive of course. In the gallery below I will put a number of other Christmas nesting doll pictures.

My Second addition to my beginner collection are these Vintage Pirate nesting dolls I purchased today. My boyfriend and I dropped some clothes off at Salvation Army and in their window display I saw these vintage Pirates. We went in to inquire and the told us that the window display is only sold once a month. So today we woke up at 7 a.m and headed out to wait until the doors opened at 9 a.m. Luckily we were the second in line and the People in front of us were interested in cookbooks. I ran in and grabbed the set (despite a very nice girl who came just 10 minutes after us who was also after them :S), grabbed my boyfriends items and ran out. I was so happy to have grabbed them, while people came storming in the window display. After a good polish they came out beautiful. If you research them on the internet they are quite rare and actually come in a set of 5 with a little cook and monkey to complete the collection, so my hunt is not over! They had no price tag so when we got to the till, I was expected 15$ to pop up, but to our astonishment they only sold them for 1.99$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now THAT is a great day! My boyfriend ended up buying an Atari Flashback, and we also purchased a board game called Pirate and Traveler; clearly it was a pirate day (more pictures of purchases below)! I think we have discovered a new monthly tradition.

Now my hunt continues for nesting dolls new and old. I hope there is a set of Lucky Cat nesting dolls out there somewhere. Please look at the gallery below for other pictures of unique nesting dolls floating around the Net and Good Luck with your obsessive Hunting!

*UPDATE* Recently I had received messages regarding my vintage pirates, and got me curious again as to their history. When I started to google them I saw that someone on EBAY was selling a set of 3 pirates, which look like they are from the same producer as my three, but different characters. So I bid on those (and won! YAY), and saw that the seller was also selling a set of 4 of these new pirates, so of course I bid on those too (and won!! YAY!). So now my collection has expanded to 9 wooden vintage pirate nesting dolls!! I am so thrilled with them all. I was surprised at how much smaller they are than my original three, but I am never the less excited about these…and they are even more pirate-y!! If any of you reading this has any information on the history of these guys, please fill me in!! I would love to know where these come from.

*UPDATE 2014* – Thanks to Anthiny who commented below, I received more information that led me to re-search these guys. I THINK I know where they come from. From looking at similar ones (painting style is almost exact despite different themes), I believe the company Authentic Models Inc made these. There are TONS of different themes such as cats, clowns, farmers, etc.



14 responses to “Matryoshka doll, Babushka, Nesting Doll

  1. Hello

    Just seen your site because we were researching the nesting doll set we have. We actually have the five piece pirate set that you have pictured with three. They were collected by my late mother and have come to us. It seems as if they were much loved toys as some are quite worn but they are easily recognisable. Our granddaughter loves them! We have a photograph if you’d like to see it.

    Best wishes,

    Piers and Anne-Marie

    • OH WOW!!! Yes please send a picture or post one on your blog, I would love to see!!! There doesn’t seem to be much information on the internet about them though. I am still hoping one day I will magically come across the little two (chef and monkey right?) in a store. I hope you keep passing them down to your family, what a great set. I think mine are not too worn out so it would be neat to see how much yours have been played with, haha. Thanks for the comment!!

      • Yes, chef and monkey. Bottom half of chef is completely worn away. Don’t know how to send picture on this site so if you send email address I’ll send it on.

  2. wow….where can you buy these nesting dolls…

  3. which nesting dolls exactly?? the Green indian women was a gift from India, and the pirates are all vintage and soooo hard to find!! I found one set at Salvation army and another set (the doubles) from ebay. Christmas ones are scattered all over ebay (or if you live in montreal their is a christmas store in Old Port that sells them–expensive though–). I hope i answered your question, but if not I am happy to elaborate! 🙂

  4. what is a reasonable price to pay from ebay or a seller….the sets seem in good condition, set of 5

  5. Depending on the set, I would say 10 to 20$. I bought my two sets from ebay for a total of 20$ because it was a bid. Depending on the set I would be willing to spend the same thing. For example, if you had a set like these ones only different colours, or a bid different character wise, but by the same artist, i would pay probably max 25$. However, you might find bidders who would buy for more. (if you are selling a set show me please!! im always looking out for these guys 🙂 )

  6. (Ron, that comment was referring to the pirate nesting dolls. I have seen Christmas ones that range from 80 – 100+ $ so I would need more detail as to which type of nesting doll you are thinking of)

  7. very nice… loved it

  8. A few days ago I was helping friends clean a warehouse.. I was given three (five in each set) of these pirates figures you have shown… They are almost the same, but noticeably different. Pirate , farmer and baseball player are the sets. Each piece has a number or some marking in it. MADE IN CHINA ( some sort of symbol two mermaids possibly) AUTHENTIC MODELS on bottom.. just sharing …

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