Whimsical figures are flights of fancy

BY ANNE McCOLLAM Published: May 7, 2012
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Q: This is a photo of a small figurine that my mother had for about 70 years. It stands around 4 inches tall, has little blue wings on its back, and is in excellent condition. It has a matte finish and is marked on the back with the number "M 6540."

Anything you can tell me about my figurine will be appreciated.

A: You have a Kewpie figurine. Kewpies were the creation of American illustrator and author, Rose O'Neill. They first appeared as whimsical illustrations in the magazine, Ladies Home Journal, in 1909.

They were small, chubby elf-like figures with tiny blue wings. It is thought O'Neill's baby brother and classical cupids from ancient mythology were her inspirations.

Early bisque figurines were made in Germany and not all were marked with the name of the manufacturer.

As popularity and demand grew, Kewpie dolls and many related objects were produced. Collectors are most interested in those that have a maker's mark and are in unusual poses. They have been reproduced by several companies, including Lefton and Ardalt. Many are still being made today.

Your circa 1940 Kewpie would probably be worth $125 to $150.

Q: I have enclosed the mark on the bottom of a water pitcher that I have. The pitcher is decorated with blueberries, apples and pears, has a lid, and is in perfect condition.



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