Dating Royal Doulton Figurines today could not be more easy with the additional cyphers they started adding to the backstamps in the late 1990s to the backstamps. The earlier pieces it can get a bit tricky as there is so little information out there that is accurate and from I have found a lot of wrong information.
This section will deal only with the HN# line and not the earlier stoneware figurines , most of which the dating of those can be found in the Burslem and Lambeth Sections in this website.
The HN# line began in 1915 with the very first Figurines called Darling, almost all of the backstamp other than the crown and lion was hand written on as you can see from the photo below. This style of markings was used until the late 1940s, with small variations, early pieces will have the artists names. When the practice of dropping the artist name was stopped is unknown.
Most pieces that you will come across will look like this one below ,
Or like this one below and above , with the lion backstamp with the missing crown 1930-1940 .
The practice of adding a Registered number was started in 1932 and was used up into the late 1950s
Royal Doulton Figurine Backstamp 1932-1945 (above)
backstamp 1945-1959 (above)
From 1927 to about 1958 on some pieces a date code was added to upper right hand side of the crown and lon back stamp. Starting with 1927 being 1, if you add that number to 1927 you can tell the exact year the piece was produced. Sadly this practice was dropped sometime in the very late 1950s. (see example below, 1942)
In the 1960s we start to see the dropping of the registered marks and the crown and lion backstamp and the name and HN# typed in (transfer), like this one below,
In the 1970 and 1982 a copyright date appears under the name, usually the following year was the actual issue date.
In early 1980s the backstamp changed again to this style below , which was used up into 1998.
In 1999 Royal Doulton started a wonderful practice of adding a cypher symbol to the bottom of each new figurine, They are as follows,
|1999 Top Hat|
|2001 Waistcoat, appears on 2002 Figures|
|2004 Bottle Oven|
|2005 Henry Doulton Profile|
|4 ds 2008|