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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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(6) Byer's Choice The Carolers Figures
Mar 02, 10:00 AM MST
(6) Byer's Choice The Carolers Figures
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$454 Bids
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Florence Giuseppe Armani Figurine, Evil Queen 1510C
Feb 27, 2:00 PM EST
Florence Giuseppe Armani Figurine, Evil Queen 1510C
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $200- $800
$1204 Bids
A German Unterweissbach porcelain and crinoline musical figural group (W:33cm)
Feb 29, 1:00 PM AEDT
A German Unterweissbach porcelain and crinoline musical figural group (W:33cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD150- AUD250
AUD303 Bids
Lang & Wise "The Joy of Christmas" Complete
Feb 27, 9:00 AM EST
Lang & Wise "The Joy of Christmas" Complete
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$303 Bids
Lang & Wise "Christmas Tea Shoppe" Complete
Feb 27, 9:00 AM EST
Lang & Wise "Christmas Tea Shoppe" Complete
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$253 Bids
SHADOW BOX W/FIGURINES
Feb 29, 12:00 PM CST
SHADOW BOX W/FIGURINES
by McCurley Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$23 Bids
Three antique English porcelain statues of seated figures, 18th/19th century, the largest 13cm high
Mar 24, 10:00 AM AEDT
Three antique English porcelain statues of seated figures, 18th/19th century, the largest 13cm high
by Leski Auctions Pty Ltd
Est: AUD120- AUD200
AUD1003 Bids
2 Schmid Figurines- 1988 Country Xmas Ornament,
Feb 27, 9:00 AM EST
2 Schmid Figurines- 1988 Country Xmas Ornament,
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$102 Bids
A large German Volkstedt musical rococo figural porcelain group
Feb 28, 10:00 AM CET
A large German Volkstedt musical rococo figural porcelain group
by Ostantix Auctions
Est: €1,500- €2,000
€1,3002 Bids
Halloween Figurine
Feb 27, 9:00 AM EST
Halloween Figurine
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$102 Bids
(2 Pc) Italian Porcelain Male Gnomes Hunchback Figurines
Feb 29, 12:00 PM EST
(2 Pc) Italian Porcelain Male Gnomes Hunchback Figurines
by Akiba Galleries
Est: $25- $250
$502 Bids
ANTIQUE 19TH C RUSSIAN GARDNER PORCELAIN FIGURINE
Mar 02, 10:00 AM EST
ANTIQUE 19TH C RUSSIAN GARDNER PORCELAIN FIGURINE
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$602 Bids
Lang & Wise "Meadowbrook Farm" Complete Village
Feb 27, 9:00 AM EST
Lang & Wise "Meadowbrook Farm" Complete Village
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$152 Bids
Lot (2) Duits porselein met een groepje met twee p…
Mar 02, 11:00 AM CET
Lot (2) Duits porselein met een groepje met twee p…
by DVC
Est: €0- €0
€402 Bids
4 Miniature Figurines by Deb Canham
Feb 27, 9:00 AM EST
4 Miniature Figurines by Deb Canham
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$152 Bids
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The Trail of Painted Ponies Figurine, Earth Angels
Mar 07, 2:00 PM EST
The Trail of Painted Ponies Figurine, Earth Angels
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $10- $200
$101 Bid
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The Trail of Painted Ponies Figurine, Zorse
Mar 07, 2:00 PM EST
The Trail of Painted Ponies Figurine, Zorse
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $10- $200
$101 Bid
A COLLECTION OF GERMAN BISQUE FIGURES
Feb 28, 9:30 AM GMT
A COLLECTION OF GERMAN BISQUE FIGURES
by Hutchinson Scott Limited
Est: £50- £70
£251 Bid
Ushibati
Feb 29, 10:00 AM EST
Ushibati
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$11 Bid
A pair of terracotta figures, early 20th century
Feb 29, 10:00 AM PST
A pair of terracotta figures, early 20th century
by Andrew Jones Auctions
Est: $80- $120
$401 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Figures & Figurines


Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf

Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf

Lion and Unicorn

Lion and Unicorn

Ostantix Auctions

Ostantix Auctions

Auktionshalle Cuxhaven

Auktionshalle Cuxhaven