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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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Wallendorf porcelain ballet dancer figurine, made in Germany, No 1764. 21cm H, 13cm W, 9cm D.
May 26, 7:00 PM AEST
Wallendorf porcelain ballet dancer figurine, made in Germany, No 1764. 21cm H, 13cm W, 9cm D.
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD508 Bids
Giuseppe Armani Figurine "On the Road" (1169/C)
May 31, 1:00 PM EDT
Giuseppe Armani Figurine "On the Road" (1169/C)
by Block Auction House
Est: $10- $10,000
$1007 Bids
Lot of Two Ballerina Figurines LOT 164
May 26, 5:00 PM EDT
Lot of Two Ballerina Figurines LOT 164
by Jones Auction House LLC
Est: $0- $0
$84 Bids
Guiseppe Armani Figurine
Jun 08, 11:00 AM EDT
Guiseppe Armani Figurine
by Gulfcoast Coin and Jewelry
Est: $300- $400
$534 Bids
A Hollohala Hungary figure of a seated lady, Height 35cm
May 26, 7:00 PM AEST
A Hollohala Hungary figure of a seated lady, Height 35cm
by Lawsons
Est: AUD40- AUD60
AUD354 Bids
The Simpson's Limited Edition Greetings From Springfield Figurine Collection, Series 1, 2 & 3, in Original Packaging
May 30, 6:00 PM AEST
The Simpson's Limited Edition Greetings From Springfield Figurine Collection, Series 1, 2 & 3, in Original Packaging
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD150- AUD200
AUD1203 Bids
Pair Teplitz-Austria Porcelain Busts
Jun 06, 12:00 PM EDT
Pair Teplitz-Austria Porcelain Busts
by Akiba Galleries
Est: $25- $250
$253 Bids
Konvolut Figuren Zizenhausen
May 31, 9:00 AM CEST
Konvolut Figuren Zizenhausen
by Auktionshaus Zofingen
Est: CHF480- CHF600
CHF5503 Bids
A Goldscheider, Austria Ceramic Figure of a Seated Lady
May 29, 11:00 AM AEST
A Goldscheider, Austria Ceramic Figure of a Seated Lady
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD40- AUD60
AUD353 Bids
1990 Gartlan George Brett Signed Figurine with Original Box 183/2250
May 25, 9:00 AM CDT
1990 Gartlan George Brett Signed Figurine with Original Box 183/2250
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $60- $80
$453 Bids
A collection of figures including Nao, tallest Height 28cm
May 26, 7:00 PM AEST
A collection of figures including Nao, tallest Height 28cm
by Lawsons
Est: AUD60- AUD80
AUD403 Bids
Bow sweetmeat figure, 'Turkish Man', circa 1760
Jun 01, 9:30 AM AEST
Bow sweetmeat figure, 'Turkish Man', circa 1760
by Moorabool Auctions
Est: AUD1,500- AUD2,000
AUD1,8003 Bids
Jo Ann Greenberg (American/Louisiana, 1928-2013)
May 30, 2:00 PM CDT
Jo Ann Greenberg (American/Louisiana, 1928-2013)
by Neal Auction Company
Est: $500- $700
$3503 Bids
(19) Enesco Friends Of Feather Figurines
May 25, 10:00 AM MST
(19) Enesco Friends Of Feather Figurines
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$253 Bids
Fünf Figuren Zizenhausen
May 31, 9:00 AM CEST
Fünf Figuren Zizenhausen
by Auktionshaus Zofingen
Est: CHF160- CHF200
CHF1602 Bids
A Vintage Morrison, England Porcelain Figural Group Depicting Two Nuns
May 29, 11:00 AM AEST
A Vintage Morrison, England Porcelain Figural Group Depicting Two Nuns
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD40- AUD60
AUD252 Bids
Large Continental Porcelain Blackamoor Figure
Jun 06, 10:00 AM EDT
Large Continental Porcelain Blackamoor Figure
by Brunk Auctions
Est: $100- $300
$1002 Bids
Glazed Terra Cotta Wall Plaque. Artist Cantagalli.
May 29, 10:00 AM CDT
Glazed Terra Cotta Wall Plaque. Artist Cantagalli.
by Cedarburg Auction & Appraisals LLC
Est: $200- $300
$252 Bids
Bow Sweetmeat figure, seated lady with scallop shell, C.1760
Jun 01, 9:30 AM AEST
Bow Sweetmeat figure, seated lady with scallop shell, C.1760
by Moorabool Auctions
Est: AUD1,500- AUD2,000
AUD1,8002 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Figures & Figurines


Lion and Unicorn

Lion and Unicorn

Auktionshaus Wendl

Auktionshaus Wendl

Bertolami Fine Art s.r.l.

Bertolami Fine Art s.r.l.

Auktionshaus Zofingen

Auktionshaus Zofingen