Figures & Figurines

One of the most beloved antique genres is that of the ceramic figurine, which can be found in a remarkable array of styles and treatments. Capturing real figures from history as well as imaginary folks, these typically porcelain figurines reflect the finesse of porcelain painters and the vibrancy of the tradition that dates well back in time.

Ceramic figures appear among the identified artifacts of some of world’s earliest prehistoric cultures, but it was not until the early 1700s in Europe that ceramic figurines for sale approached those that we recognize today. It was around this point in history that German innovator Johann Friedrich Böttger discovered the formula for hard-paste porcelain, already known by Eastern artists as a means of creating pieces impenetrable to water and high temperatures.

Böttger’s realization led to his development of the Meissen Porcelain Manufactury, where production of highly decorative porcelain figurines established a worldwide tradition of collecting. This tradition continued into the 20th century, with famed figures such as Bruno Merli, known by his iconic signature "B. Merli," making these figurines a perennial favorite among collectors.


Quick Facts

  • The oldest documented ceramic figurine is that of the "Venus of Dolní V?stonice," found in the southeastern regions of the Czech Republic. It dates to roughly 25,000 B.C.
  • A record for Meissen figurines was set in 2011 with an auction at Bonham’s London. Depicting a reduced-scale version of the classical "Farnese Hercules," the mid-18th century figurine sold for $1,004,166
  • Figurines are typically adorned with the stamp of their maker. Usually featuring the initials of the name of the creator, these marks can also include references to the place of manufacture through city initials or symbolic motifs

Recommended Items at Auction

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Large Sitzendorf German porcelain figural group, 16 x 39 cm. (6.30 x 15.35 in.)
Oct 18, 7:00 PM AEDT
Large Sitzendorf German porcelain figural group, 16 x 39 cm. (6.30 x 15.35 in.)
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD13011 Bids
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Unterweissbach Porcelain Lace Figurine
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Unterweissbach Porcelain Lace Figurine
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $250- $450
$1809 Bids
Italian Triade Benacchio porcelain figural group. 24 x 28 cm. (9.45 x 11.02 in.)
Oct 18, 7:00 PM AEDT
Italian Triade Benacchio porcelain figural group. 24 x 28 cm. (9.45 x 11.02 in.)
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD607 Bids
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FREDERICK HART FOR LEVENGER MARK TWAIN BUST
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
FREDERICK HART FOR LEVENGER MARK TWAIN BUST
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$406 Bids
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Vintage Porcelain Lace Figurine, Lady Dancer
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Vintage Porcelain Lace Figurine, Lady Dancer
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $50- $100
$706 Bids
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Vintage German Style Figurine Grouping, Family Gathering
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Vintage German Style Figurine Grouping, Family Gathering
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $200- $500
$506 Bids
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Large Vintage German Style Porcelain Figurine Grouping
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Large Vintage German Style Porcelain Figurine Grouping
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $50- $250
$905 Bids
LLARDO FIGURINE GIRL LOT 1078
Oct 17, 5:00 PM EDT
LLARDO FIGURINE GIRL LOT 1078
by Jones Auction House LLC
Est: $0- $0
$185 Bids
Große Prunkkkutsche. Aelteste Volkstedter.
Oct 29, 9:00 AM CEST
Große Prunkkkutsche. Aelteste Volkstedter.
by Auktionshaus Wendl
Est: €0- €0
€7503 Bids
Kuznetsov Russian Gardener Porcelain Figure
Oct 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Kuznetsov Russian Gardener Porcelain Figure
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $100- $1,000
$1003 Bids
LLARDO FIGURINES LOT 1078
Oct 17, 5:00 PM EDT
LLARDO FIGURINES LOT 1078
by Jones Auction House LLC
Est: $0- $0
$163 Bids
ART DECO HEREND NUDE WITH FLOWER
Oct 21, 1:00 PM EDT
ART DECO HEREND NUDE WITH FLOWER
by Elite Auctioneers, LLC
Est: $30- $50
$403 Bids
Wallendorf porcelain figurine of a ballerina, Length 19.50 cm. (7.68 in.)
Oct 18, 7:00 PM AEDT
Wallendorf porcelain figurine of a ballerina, Length 19.50 cm. (7.68 in.)
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD353 Bids
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ENS Karl Volkstedt German Porcelain Figurine, Parrots
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
ENS Karl Volkstedt German Porcelain Figurine, Parrots
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $300- $550
$803 Bids
A set of polychrome porcelain figures of Fu-Lu-Shou (Decorative art) 
Oct 17, 6:00 PM ICT
A set of polychrome porcelain figures of Fu-Lu-Shou (Decorative art) 
by RCB Auctions
Est: ฿15,000- ฿20,000
฿5,0002 Bids
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Ernst Bohne and Sohne Porcelain Figure, Gentleman with Hat
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Ernst Bohne and Sohne Porcelain Figure, Gentleman with Hat
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $150- $300
$152 Bids
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Florence Ceramics Figurine, Madame Pompadour
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Florence Ceramics Figurine, Madame Pompadour
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $80- $350
$152 Bids
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Vintage Ceramic Figurine, Woman With Flowers
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Vintage Ceramic Figurine, Woman With Flowers
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $50- $150
$302 Bids
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Vintage European Porcelain Figurine Grouping, Family Time
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Vintage European Porcelain Figurine Grouping, Family Time
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $150- $350
$402 Bids
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CERAMIC SHELL
Oct 17, 12:00 PM EDT
CERAMIC SHELL
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$62 Bids
2 CHRISTMAS DEER FIGURINES
Oct 23, 9:00 AM CDT
2 CHRISTMAS DEER FIGURINES
by Dees Auction Company,LLC
Est: $15- $25
$32 Bids
LARGE PAIR 19TH CENTURY CHANTILLY BISQUE FIGURINES
Oct 21, 1:00 PM EDT
LARGE PAIR 19TH CENTURY CHANTILLY BISQUE FIGURINES
by Elite Auctioneers, LLC
Est: $100- $1,000
$502 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Figures & Figurines


Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Auktionshaus Wendl

Auktionshaus Wendl

Lion and Unicorn

Lion and Unicorn

Historia Auktionshaus

Historia Auktionshaus