Vintage European Disneyana
German Porcelain Manufacturers
by Didier Ghez
I mentioned in my latest article that France would have been a real dream-land for figurine collectors in the '30s. What would be the appropriate word to qualify Germany from 1931 to 1934, then ? A "Land of Milk and Honey" ?
No fewer than 60 different manufacturers of Disney porcelain figurines invaded the market in those years, producing all kinds of conventional or rather odd items. From perfume bottles to potties, from salt and pepper shakers to mustard pots, from ash trays to cork-holders, from plates to knife-holders, candy boxes and sand-glass, all sorts of kids related and unrelated objects were produced. A real bonanza mainly originating from non-licensed companies.
However, a few well identified licensees also contributed and not in the least interesting manner.
The Rosenthal Porzellanfabrik, based in Selb, appears as one of the most fascinating examples. It was granted a license by William B. Levy in 1931 and through its subsidiary, Rosenmark, it produced from 1931 to 1934, some of the most perfectly designed and crafted Mouse figurines. "Gunman Mickey is probably one of the most desired of these. Even though none are none to have survived, Rosenthal also seems to have produced menu-holders with Mickey playing the saxo, pepper shakers, banks, ash-trays, cork-holders and perfume bottles.
The motto of Rosenthal's Disney items certainly proved very true as it was: "Mickey brings happiness to your home".
Rosenthal did not possess a license to export to the US., so very few items ever came to the New World.
The porcelain manufacturer, Richard G. Krüger, from Bavaria, on the contrary, was allowed to export to the US through Geo. Borgfeldts.
One should finally mention three other very talented German companies.
Koenigszelt, first, that specialised in porcelain products ornate by Mickey Mouse images from Südfilm A.G.
Carl Schumann Porzellanfabrik A.G., then, from Arzberg, which used a very beautiful add created by Zereiss & Co. to promote its porcelain products, featuring little Mickeys performing a traditional German dance.
Finally, Karl Ens from Volkstedt-Rudolfstadt that presented a large series of very nicely crafted figurines from 1931 on.
The activity of all those creative companies ceased untimely in 1933 or 1934, after Hitler came to power. One of them, at least, had time to produce a 3 little pigs figurine series, but most only gave birth to Mouse items.
The Mouse of porcelain, which was not even as ferocious as a Tiger of paper, was terminated by the 3rd Reich. Most products were destroyed from 1934 to 1945 and are therefore among the rarest European pre-war Disneyana collectibles.
One should expect to pay between $200 and $1500 per item according to condition and scarcity.
I wish to thank Mr. J.D. Nappey for translating all the German data I needed for this article, as well as Mr. David Corcos, from the shop Borcéliande, 20 passage Verdeau, 75009 Paris, phone/fax: 33-1-44-83-07-13, for letting me photograph his amazing collection.
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