unidentified figurine pottery mark - crossed swords with oval hilts 'hand painted' and 1859

by Linda

unidentified figurine pottery mark - crossed swords with oval hilts 'hand painted' and 1859

unidentified figurine pottery mark - crossed swords with oval hilts 'hand painted' and 1859

unidentified figurine pottery mark - crossed swords with oval hilts 'hand painted' and 1859
unidentified figurine pottery mark - crossed swords with oval hilts 'hand painted' and 1859
unidentified figurine pottery mark - crossed swords with oval hilts 'hand painted' and 1859
unidentified figurine pottery mark - crossed swords with oval hilts 'hand painted' and 1859

unidentified figurine pottery mark - crossed swords with oval hilts 'hand painted' and 1859:- They are a pair of fine porcelain, figurines of a seated little girl and boy. They mainly done in colors of blue, white and light brown are they are very well done. I have searched and I am unable to fine the mark below in any of my reference guides. can you help?

Thank you.


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antique china values

unidentified figurine pottery mark - crossed swords with oval hilts 'hand painted' and 1859

Hi Linda

Many thanks for submitting, and hope you are finding the site useful.

The reason you can't find this mark, in my opinion, is because it is likely a rather made up one by a Japanese importer and probably dates from the 1960's or later.

It is suspiciously similar to the sword fake marks shown on PM&M.com, an excellent website.

Looking at the modeling from a professional point of view, it is not good, sorry to say. If it were German, English, Italian or Spanish in origin, it would be better. That is not to say Europeans are better at sculpting than Japanese or Chinese artists, far from it, but the standard of modeling shown on 1960's cheap imports tend to be inferior and stilted (they look like rushed jobs to me).

Knowledgeable contributors please try to help more with this one (check out the comments section below for replies).

UPDATE by Peter (admin)
This was a long debate as you can see by the lengthy posts below, which make very interesting reading.

However, eventually, this mystery mark was identified by Helen as being Carl Schneiders/Grafenthal production in the GDR East Germany of post war 1950's Europe under the supervision of the ill-fated communist regime with all it's odd topsy-turvy production values.
For more information about Schneiders/Grafenthal, read my reply to Helen below.

{all the rest of the submissions remain unedited, and you can see how the identification of this mark gradually unfolded over time}

Best regards

Peter (Admin)

p.s. The following page is a 'must see' if you are researching fine china - for value and identification:-

Researching the identity and value of antique and vintage fine china.

Please post comments below which you think might be helpful……

Comments for unidentified figurine pottery mark - crossed swords with oval hilts 'hand painted' and 1859

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Unknown mark
by: Kyle

I have the same mark on my piece of porcelain it is of a boy on a rock holding a sailboat. I have had no luck finding it either..... Mine says handpainted underglaze

I have one too
by: Alasdair

I have a piece that exactly resembles the piece described by Kyle (boy on a rock with a toy yacht, marked with crossed swords with oval hilts - handles lowermost - bisecting the date 1859. It also says 'under glaze' and has the number 11 in a cartouche). In my uneducated opinion it is a fine piece. I'd be surprised if it were a 1960s Japanese import, as it used to belong to my Grandmother, who lived in the West of Scotland and died in 1973, but my mother (also deceased, so I can't ask her!) seemed to think it had been in the family for longer than that. On a purely subjective basis - based on the boy's dress and the style of the piece, I'd have thought it dated from the 1920s or 1930s. My mother thought it was Copenhagen, but the valuer who looked at her estate said it wasn't, although he was unable to say what it was.

Not Japanese porcelain.
by: linda

My figurines were also part of a large Copenhagen and B&G fine porcelain collection. I agree that they are not 1950s Japanese, but I have no idea who made them. Possibly Bavarian?

Bing & Grondahl (B&G) Porcelain Figurines
by: Peter (admin)

Hi Guys

Part of my job as moderator and admin to these forums is to keep everything on the straight and narrow.

Below I have posted pictures of real Bing & Grondahl (B&G) Porcelain Figurines together with your figures from the original post Linda.

Please look below to compare and contrast.

In my humble opinion, the artistry of the B&G sculpts are possibly some of the best decorative art I have ever seen (this is my professional opinion as a working sculptor).

Linda's figs look to be made in the style of (in homage to) B&G (or the Danish style) and are not flattered by the comparison.

So the only question is "who were the rip-off" merchants?

They could be East German, made behind the iron curtain, and for me would compare with Lada cars in quality.

However, the markings and lack of quality of artwork are so similar in style to Japanese mass importer Artnart/Homco, they must be made by them in my view.

There are many different entries on Arnart within this site, just use the search function on the homepage to locate them.

By the way, I have nothing against Japanese imports as such - their clever ceramic rip-offs of Hummel and other famous collectibles were very industrious and are an interesting point in history as they were building their post war economy to become the industrial power we know them as today.

However, as an artist, I would not want my originals mistaken for their work.

Peter (admin)
p.s. You can see virtually all Bing & Grondahl (B&G) marks by going to this specialist site.

Bing & Grondahl (B&G) Porcelain Figurines

H.C. Andersen - same signature!
by: JOB Denmark

Hi, I inherited a figurine depicting 'The Little Girl With Matches' from H.C.Andersen's fairy tale - it also has 'Hand Painted - 1859 - Under Glazed' and an 8 + the scissors (or maybe they are crossed swords). I know very little about the artistic quality of porcelain figures, because I generelly think they all are pretty bad taste... - My interest is their value, but I can't see that this figure is better or worse than Royal Copenhagen or B & G, Dahl Jensen from the 'fine' league. Anyway I would like to know who and where it was made, so I can price it correctly when I'm selling it...Kindly

Kids Figurines with Crossed Swords and 1859
by: Peter (admin)


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say.

Your figures are in my opinion are mass-produced in post-war Japan without much thought in their design and production and are, literally, not worth anything (this is just an opinion because at the moment and we need some hard evidence of the mark origin - let's say this is the most likely origin of this mark - and has to be confirmed one way or the other).

However, our eyes do not deceive if we know what we are looking for.

B&G child figures are made by highly skilled sculptors at the very top of their profession who create to their own song, not to the whip of a Far East production manager baying for export dollars. The devil is in the detail if only you allow your eyes to see the truth right there in front of them.

The artisans of B&G who make these figures, after the sculptors have done their work, are following a fantastically skilled process of mould blocking, casting, clay body recipe, glaze recipe, and fine decorating technique - each one hand painted by an artist in his own studio which bears no resemblance to a Far East sweat shop production line under a deeply hierarchical and oppressive culture (in my opinion).

To say there is no difference between the two, and each are as bad taste as one another, is to me, like saying "I have a Lada car and frankly, I see no difference between my car and a Rolls Royce. Cars are just all gas guzzling wagons that get you from A to Z. All cars are bad taste and I don't like them much".

Or it's like saying - "that Leonardo painting, the Mona Lisa or whatever it's called, is no different to the Green Lady painting by Vladimir Tretchikoff. All the same to me....."

Each to their own, my friend, each to their own.

Who was it you were saying has bad taste? I would look in the mirror first and foremost. Think on't... as they say in Yorkshire.

Thanks for your contribution, it was entertaining to say the least!!

Peter (admin)

Boy with yacht - crossed swords mark
by: Alasdair

Peter, I'm more inclined to agree with your theory that the pieces could be of East German origin. On the assumption that my piece was purchased in the West of Scotland some time in the mid-twentieth century, there would have to be a limited number of importers. These include the larger Glasgow department stores, which may have had these manufactured to order under their own mark by a German factory. Lewis's (not to be confused with John Lewis) in Argyle Street had a large china department, for example. My grandmother was a teacher, so probably had a 'line' for some of the import/export warehouses that were nominally not open to the general public. The Co-operative was also a major supplier of household goods in post-war Scotland, and, given their political philosophy, it wouldn't surprise me if they had a deal with one of the re-emerging East German producers. All speculation, I know, but my piece just doesn't strike me as Japanese.


GDR Figurines
by: Peter (admin)

Dear Alasdair

Many thanks for your beautifully written and erudite contribution - which is very helpful indeed to inform this interesting debate.

I know Lewis's Stores well (not the be confused with JLP) as I sold to their Northern English stores in the 1980's when I was aspiring to be a professional ceramic sculptor and had a day job working as a Sales Manager for Jaeger menswear wholesale division. Lewis's were a very good account to have. I can see what you are saying about their buying power. Same applies to the Co-op and the public warehouses.

I would most definitely not be surprised if this mark did, in fact, turn out to be from East Germany. Frankly, I can tell B & G production from inferior makes very easily, but I can't say that I can tell post-war Japanese from post-war East German very easily. Clearly some GDR production maintained some kind of quality, but many examples fell well short - and in certain cases Japanese wares were quite well put together. We have examples on different threads on this site (locate by using the in-house search box, top right).

However, the clues which lead me towards Japan are firstly, this crossed swords with looped hilt pottery mark has been identified as by 'Wales China' from Japan; a clue given by German specialist site pm&m.com (look at their fake marks section).

Secondly, there is a history of the Japanese emulating the style of well regarded European makers - for example Kalk, Hummel, Vienna, Rauenstein, Ludwig Wessel, Ludwigsburg etc.

So the debate is still open, but many thanks for helping us with your thoughts and your 'window' back to the mid 20th Century sourcing policy of the Scottish stores. Truly fascinating and informative.

Peter (admin)

My Own Crossed Scissors Children's Sculpture - Boy Holding Yacht
by: Alasdair

Dear Peter

On the principle that a picture is worth a thousand words, I thought it would be useful if I sent send you a photo of the piece in question.

It does bear more than a passing resemblance to one of the pieces in your own post (give or take a yacht!), though I feel it is maybe of better quality: the fingers and toes, for example, seem better defined, but I make no claim to being an expert or even an informed critic - suffice to say I still like the piece, whatever its origins!

Best wishes,


crossed scissors 1859 pottery mark

Reply by Peter (admin)


Many thanks for sending in the photo. I still do not yet have the technology to allow commenters to upload their own photos (I am working on it!). So I will add this manually into your posts.

I agree with you this is a much better example, with a good face and better natural human fluidity to pose - but to me there is a glaring give-away to the piece and that is, if you observe the folds on the boy’s shirt, they are done quickly with a basic tool with no regard to how real folds of a shirt would fall in real life. The B & G modeler would tend to observe from life how see the folds fall and lovingly recreate this on the piece. Having been a professional sculptor for very demanding clients much of my working life, I can see the difference.


Little match girl
by: Norma ovenden

I also have a little match girl figurine with the same markings.but mine says hand runted and I have looked at this closely and the letters have not worn off and mine has the no 5 on it.After looking at the pictures of the other figurines the one I have looks more delicate also the colours are much softer the hair markings look more natural and so do all the folds on the clothing.Not sure if this helps

Boy with yacht
by: Helen

This figure (Boy with Yacht) is from Carl Schneider's Erben factory. Schneider is german for tailor hence the scissors. I believe this figure was mass produced.



Reply by Peter (admin)

Why goodness me, another one solved, many thanks Helen!

Yes, now I look on the various references for Carl Schneider's Erben factory, I can see you are totally right.

These scissors marks seem to date from the 1950's when Schneiders joined with Grafenthal, both of which companies were situated in the Soviet controlled GDR (East Germany). The 1859 date co-incides with the date of the establishment of the original factory of Unger, Schneider & Cie.

So yes, they are mass produced behind the iron curtain, designed to be easier to make, and much cheaper than the exquisite Bing & Grondahl (B&G) porcelain figurines which they are trying to emulate, which is why my eye tells me the details of the sculpting are no match. Remember, this is the same regime which gave us Lada cars. I am not saying these figures are that bad, but you can spot the difference if you just look properly.

My comments about the scissors mark being made by Wales China of Japan, as identified by excellent site www.porcelainmarksandmore.com, are correct, but when I double checked, I saw the Wales China mark is not quite the same.

Whilst I was doing this, I noticed other similar scissors marks by Arnart of Japan - who made a habit of copying the makers of older established German porcelain companies like Kalk and others. Wales China, may well just be another mark of Arnart. Who knows?

The ironic thing for me is - B&G are copied by East German (GDR) Carl Schneider, who, in turn, is copied by a cheap Japanese import. Wow! That's mad!

Peter (admin)

unidentified pottery mark with oval hilts hand paited and 1859
by: phillip

hi , just to say that i purchased a n item bearing the same marks , it is of a girl working in the feilds holding a sheath of wheat. about 7" high .it was purchased at an auction in colchester essex for the sum of £16 , and i would have paid a lot more . auctioneer expected at least £80 so i think i done ok.

I'm truly impressed...
by: JOB

...Regarding the way this 'investigation' has ended up with a conclusion, and we now all know the origin of the 'scissors' figurines...I regret my arrogant remark calling all these figurines 'bad taste', and as you say, Peter, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so my excuses to all you lovers of porcelain figurines! - I got the answer I originally looked for, and thank you for that! - Kindly JOB in Denmark

Carl Shneider mark
by: sara

hi, the mark is carl shneider and it is a pair of scissors probably around 1952-72

I have the same range - but this has a 1825 mark not 1859?
by: by Debbie (Apple Valley, MN, USA)

{this comment moved here from another thread as this looks to be part of the same range, but has a different mark - thanks to Debbie for this}


Figurine of a Boy in Lederhosen with 1825 on the Pottery Mark:- I received this from a relative who passed away. It is a boy sitting with his leg to the side and to the back. He has blocks he is holding in one hand and stacking blocks with his right hand. He has dark grey (?) looking hair which matches the straps on his Lederhosen (? ) with the shorts being blue. I can only make out the number 1825 stamped in the bottom.

There is some blue marking or writing just below the number.

Any suggestions? Same range, different mark? Why 1825 instead of 1859?



Girl with open umbrella and goose or duck
by: Christine

I have a figurine with this symbol. I bought it on holiday, probably in Dorset, as a gift for my mother during the Mid 70's. She loved it and I love it too! It is of a little girl holding an open umbrella shooing a goose or duck away. Apart from a chip on the side of the base, which happened before glazing, I think my figurine is nicely made and in good condition. The colours are white, grey, light brown, pale blue and darker blue.

Girl with 2 geese
by: Anonymous

Odd but there are several numbers on the one I have as well as letters and numbers. 1859 yr and weird thing is it has Koben Haven? I am currently researching and seen your site. Thought if another is out there like this, it would be interesting to see what the one I have is all about.

Girl with 2 geese
by: Terry

I almost forgot. The numbers are not in ink, they are actually engraved in the pottery. Still looking into this and hope to find some great answers :)

girls with 1 goose and umbrella
by: smj

I have a piece a little girl with an umbrella and 1 goose always been interested to know where it is from and is it worth anything.

Similar figurine, Apr, 2013
by: Deb

My figurine is a Dutch girl and a cow drinking from a bucket, same marking on the bottom and also says KOBENHAVN. Also in Minnesota

by: Anonymous

Your figures were made in germany by Carl Schneider Erben. You will find his work all over the internet. Look at this site. http://www.porcelainmarksandmore.com/thuringia/graefenthal_3/00.php

Details and quality...
by: Anonymous

I followed author's link to own Work, and it gave me a better understanding of author's definitions of different levels of quality concerning these Little collectables...I even begin to really respect the art of porcelain figurines...your own line of figurines are lovely made...I'd even say finer than any I ever saw...I still have my Schneider figurine...not many seems to want those...Kindly

Why, Thank You!
by: Peter (admin)

Many thanks for that kind comment.....

german porcelain mark
by: Anonymous


crossed swords in green
by: david

I have one with similar marks it also has probe fabe written in green
Girl playing mandolin with two "rabbits " or "dogs"
looks very Art Deco

unidentified pottery msrk
by: Anonymous

I have a piece marked the same way but with a paper sticker saying MADE IN EAST GERMANY. It is of a male brick layer. We purchaed some items marked East Germany in 1958 in West Germany.

Fake or genuine
by: Anonymous

I also have a figurine with crossed scissors 1859 - a boy and girl in the hold dancing position - compared with the children figures photos my detailing is very bland and not sharp - how much would you price mine at?

little match girl 1859
by: eva

Hello i bought the little match girl from Denmark,obviously not Bing & Grøndahl as i saw the original and the position of the girl on the stairs is different,the colours more vivid and so..I have also the scissors stamp.The figure itself it's very nice done but i was wondering of the origin of the imitation..A lot of figures with this sign here in Denmark..Any suggestions?

Carl Shneider mark
by: Peter (admin)

Hi Eva

As Sara identified in her post above, the mark is Carl Shneider. The scissors mark probably around 1952-72

Peter (admin)

by: Anonymous


Carl Schneider perhaps? I have seen this mark attributed to thuringia from 1790 for a short time.
by: Penny

I have a girl in a blue skirt sitting with her arm around a German Shepherd Dog which is lying beside her. It has the green crossed swords with oval hand guards (scissor mark?) 1859, hand painted under glaze. The colours and the girls features bear a strong resemblance to the boy with yacht shown on this site.

porcelain figurine nude woman with dog
by: Anonymous

I have a 6" fwhite/grey igurine of a nude woman with a dog, possibly an airedale or greyhound; the marks on the bottom appear to be 2 swords with an S through the middle; does anyone have any info they would like to share? My email address is kattroll@lsol.net
Thank you.

scissor marking on figurine
by: Anonymous

Any numbers stamped in the bottom are not a date, but the number of the figurine, so 1825 means the 1825th figurine made. I have a figurine with the scissors in the bottom. I know it is not as expensive as the Royal Porcelain or B&G, but I believe it is German, not 1960's Japanese as stated above. The reason I say this is because I am from Denmark. My mother was born in 1933 Copenhagen. She remembers this figurine from her childhood home. It was from before my grandmother could afford any of the Royal Porcelain figurines. I know this is a cheaper version of figurine but it is still old and European. I was hoping for more information, but it would seem that I know more about this marking than this website does.

Crossed swords with oval hilts
by: Joyce

I have peace been handed to me ,after my farther died ,.he had it long befor 1950 it is well paited .The figurine is of a young gairle with arms around a sheep and her head resting on the sheeps head .

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