Although the proper term for a large group of rabbits is a colony or a fluffle, it does seem as if it should instead be “a reproduction of rabbits” or “a bonanza of bunnies”! Either of these would apply to the largesse of lagomorphs created in porcelain by Cybis. Indeed, they were such a mainstay that since 1962 there was never a year in which bunnies were absent from the Cybis retail lineup.
All of the Cybis bunnies were open editions. Despite the fact that there were no less than 47 (!) named sculptures, that tally actually derived from only 14 distinct molds. The population explosion came from the multitude of decorative variants produced from most of those molds; in fact, only six of those 14 molds did not engender a “spinoff.”
I have sorted the bunnies according to the introduction year of the original design; the variants, if any, appear directly below.
The very first Cybis bunny was Mr. Snowball who appeared in 1962 . He is 4” high and was the least expensive item in the Cybis line at that time: only $7.50. Cybis continued to offer him through every year of their existence, at a steadily rising pricepoint: $15 in 1967, $50 in 1982, $70 in 1988, and finally for $99 on their 2008 website.
Mr. Snowball with Holly is the only known variant. His exact introduction year is unknown but was probably 1987 or 1988 at which time he was priced at $110. His name at that time was shown as Mr. Holly but that was later changed to the longer name that appeared on their website; pricing there was $150.
This floral-decorated Mr. Snowball is an artist’s proof, and reminds me of the decoration on the 1940s Cordey cats.
Muffet, introduced in 1976 at $85, is one of the bunnies that (to my knowledge) never had a variant. S/he is 3.25” high.
On the other hand (paw?) Pat-a-Cake, introduced in 1977 in color as shown at $90, has three known iterations. He is 4.5” high.
Cybis introduced a white version of Pat-a-Cake in 1978 as a new named sculpture called Bisquit at $60; by 1983 the retail price had risen to $95. The second photo demonstrates how the two vary only in coloration.
However, when in the early 1980s Cybis did this special event piece in an edition of 200 for Brielle Galleries they specifically named it Pat-A-Cake in White with Carrot (not “Bisquit with Carrot”). I am certain of the name because that was how the sculpture was advertised on the event invitation we received. This was one of the fairly rare instances of an event piece being individually numbered, as shown in the second photo. The two retail versions (Pat-a-Cake and Bisquit) were both retired in the late 1980s.
The first of only two multi-rabbit sculptures was Bunnies ‘Cotton, Puff and Snow’ which was made for a relatively short term of 1980–1982. Issue price was $250 – perhaps a bit high for an open edition but I suppose the logic was that it contains three bunnies instead of just one! It was retired at $295. This piece is 4.5” high and never had a variant. It was designed by Lynn Klockner Brown.
Bon Bon, introduced in 1981, can claim the prize for the most “offspring” in the Cybis rabbit warren: a dozen! He is 4.75” high. A 1985 retailer advertisement shows him priced at $65 and so it’s likely that at introduction it was $60; he last appeared on the Cybis site at $99. Each variant below was a separate retail edition with its own unique name and pricepoint; although their exact introduction years (and issue prices) are unknown at present, they all occurred during the 1980s and 1990s.
Puttin’ on the Ritz is Bon Bon with the addition of a black bowtie and two shirt buttons. The 2008 Cybis price was $195.
Puttin’ on the Irish is the same as Puttin’ on the Ritz except that the bowtie and buttons appear to be a golden(?) green, and a matching hat has been added. I do wonder if this image, which appeared next to the Cybis website listing for Puttin’ on the Irish, is instead a photo of a different variant – not only because the decoration looks more gold than green but also I don’t see anything particularly Irish about it as shown, unless there is a shamrock boutonniere that is not visible in the photo. So there’s a bit of a caveat on this identification at present. Cybis priced him at $125 which also seems odd because “Ritz” was $70 more despite the lack of a hat!
This bunny is Liberty who is decked out in a red, white and blue colorway. He would look right at home attending a July Fourth parade or a political convention. In 2008 he was $195. Patriot is a slightly different colorway of Liberty; instead of a solid blue tie and boutonniere, his is striped red, white and blue. Despite differing only in the color of those two items, Patriot was priced slightly less on the Cybis website: at $125 which is the same as Puttin’ on the Irish. (Confused yet? I am!!)
There are two different Christmas variations of Bon Bon. This one was probably the first and is called Bon Bon with Holly, selling for $150. He looks a bit worried about being pricked under the chin by those holly leaves, doesn’t he?
Bon Bon with Santa Hat is the tallest of the Bon Bon versions because of his pointy hat. Although the hat is red and white, there were two colorways of it: red with white trim, and white with red trim. Whether there was ever also a green-and-white version is open to conjecture! Last known Cybis price was $140.
Bon Bon was apparantly a fan of higher education because he also celebrated graduations, as Bunny Grad, Male (black mortarboard) and Bunny Grad, Female (white mortarboard). They appeared in 1988 for $125 each, both proudly carrying their hard-earned diploma decorated with either a gold ribbon (male) or a tiny rose (female.)
Four other Bon Bon variants were listed on the studio’s 2008 site but without images. One was Bunny with Bonnet (Standing Holding Bouquet) at $295. I do recall seeing this sculpture, as well as its companion mentioned later, during the 1990s. The bonnet had a slightly ruffled edge but I don’t remember the colorway. The cited 5.25” height correlates with this added accessory.
Also listed but unpictured was Bunny Prince at 5” high, for $295 which corresponds to the other late Bon Bon versions pricewise.
Likely the most expensive Cybis bunny was the Bunny Princess with Gold Crown; it’s too bad there was no website photo! Cited as 5.25” high, she was listed at $695 from the studio in 2008. So, what made the Bunny Princess considerably more expensive than her consort? (assuming that the website price was not a typo) I do vaguely recal, from seeing it back in the 1980s, that she had an additional item of clothing but cannot recall exactly what it was: a robe? an Elizabethan ruff? perhaps a scepter? If any reader has either of these royal rabbits and would share a photo, please contact me via the form at the bottom of the About the Cybis Archive page.
A final confusing Irish Bon Bon showed up in the late-2008 Cybis website price list entry clipping below.
The sculpture described as Begorrah Bunny, wearing a green bow tie and straw hat, is almost certainly a Bon Bon variant; unfortunately that list gave only the name and price – no sculpture heights. The $125 pricing hints that perhaps this is the bunny that actually corresponds to the photo shown on the existing website next to Puttin’ on the Irish….. but then we’d necessarily be missing a photo of a (hatless) Bon Bon wearing a green bowtie. ‘Tis rather frustrating; excuse me a moment while I hit myself over the head with a carrot!
In 1983 Cybis introduced Jellybean who reclines comfortably at 2.5” high and sold for $70 during 1988. The 1990s holiday version Jellybean with Holly appeared on the 2008 website for $150, while the regular Jellybean was $99.
Jellybean in Brown may have been a gallery event exclusive; I purchased mine at the Cybis studio in the early 1990s after they began selling directly to collectors there. The brown color was never a regular retail edition. Unfortunately I cannot locate my original receipt but I seem to recall paying $125 at that time for this special and very realistically painted bunny.
Moving on to 1985 we find Snowflake, an appropriately white bunny who was priced to match Jellybean ($70) in 1988. She is 3.75″ high and had five known spinoffs, including Snowflake with Holly who matched Jellybean with Holly in price.
Here is the special Snowflake in Brown from the studio.
Of course there is an Irish version! This is Patrick, introduced in 1986 for $95. He is all ready for the big parade in his green bowler hat and munching on a shamrock.
One of the two Valentine themed bunnies is Heartfelt who appeared in 1987 for $95 and ended at $135.
Once listed on Cybis’ site but not pictured was Bunny with Bonnet, Sitting which – like the bonneted Bon Bon described earlier – I definitely recall seeing for sale in the 1980s. The 3.75” height of course matches with Snowflake; this variant was $195.
A six-inch-tall member of Cybis’ animal band is Huey the Harmonious Hare from 1986, selling then for $225. He was part of the series which was designed by Steve Zuczek and shown in the Music and Opera post.
Another of the single-version rabbits was the Ski Bunny from 1987 at a price of $250. He shares his headgear with Bon Bon with Santa Hat, albeit in a different coloration and an applied texture to suggest knitwear. He is 6” high overall.
An unusual dual-purpose bunny piece was named Bunny ‘A Tisket, A Tasket’ even though it contains not one but two rabbits. Designed by Steve Zuczek, this was introduced in 1987 for $250. As seen in the photos above, the bunnies are the ‘front men’ for a porcelain basket. It is 4” high to the top of the basket’s handle. As seen in the photos above, the bunnies are the ‘front men’ for a porcelain basket. It is 4” high to the top of the basket’s handle.
The 1989 “golf bunnies” can boast of eight separate variations from a single mold.This happened to also be the Golden Anniversary year, in which all new introductions were given the special 50th Anniversary stamp if they were also physically produced during that year.
The variations differ only in their names, trim colors and position in which they hold their golf club. Photographs of two of them have shown the 50th Anniverary stamp but without having such photos of the other two I can’t say for certain whether all four colorways appeared in that year. The original issue price for the golf bunnies is unknown at present.
Golf Bunny ‘Gimmie’ wears an orange cap and carries an orange-handled club. He is 5.5” high; some will bear the 50th Anniversary stamp indicating it was physically made in 1989. This standard “Gimmie” was shown on the 2008 Cybis site for $175. At the same time they also offered an unpictured Golf Bunny ‘Gimmie’ with Holly at $225. All of the “holly” bunnies appeared during the 1990s and so none of them will have the Anniversary stamp.
Golf Bunny ‘Mulligan’ is the green-trimmed version. Some examples will have the 50th Anniversary stamp. Cybis’ circa-2008 prices for the standard and Golf Bunny ‘Mulligan’ with Holly were likewise $175 and $225. Although I have never seen a photo of the “holly” golf bunnies, my guess is that the white pompom normally decorating the golf cap was probably replaced by a holly sprig.
The blue-decorated version is Golf Bunny ‘Bogie’. Of course there was a Golf Bunny ‘Bogie’ with Holly version, and both were sold by Cybis at the prices noted above.
The final golf bunny, for which I have no photo at all, is Golf Bunny ‘Bunkie’ who was eventually followed by Golf Bunny ‘Bunkie’ with Holly. Bunkie’s accessory/trim color is yellow. His exact issue year is unknown. It’s quite possible that all four original (non-holly) bunnies were issued in succession: Spring 1989, Fall 1989, Spring 1990 and Fall 1990 — or even all at the same time in 1989.
Bunnykins was also introduced in 1989, at $75 and is 3” high x 5.5” long. Sculptures produced in 1989 will have the special stamp but the others will not. The holiday version Bunnykins with Holly was priced at $150 during the 2000s; no Anniversary stamp will be on those.
Bunnykins in Brown, purchased from the Cybis Studio during the early 1990s. None of these three brown bunnies have the 50th stamp.
I do not have a year for the 3” high Cuddles, although this bunny and the holiday version Cuddles with Holly both were on the early 2000s Cybis site at $99 and $150, respectively.
Bunny with Carrot was another 1989 introduction and thus some will have the 50th Anniversary backstamp. He is 5.75” high and was last priced by Cybis at $195. He is extremely similar to the golf bunnies but is not the same mold. There’s also a size differential: the golf bunnies are listed at 5.5” high including their cap, and this bunny is listed at 5.75” without any headgear. But even if he is not from the identical mold, he certainly is a very close relative.
Cybis did include a bunny as a secondary element in one sculpture: Melissa, a young girl cradling a white rabbit in her arms. She can be seen in her retail and special-edition colorways in Pink and Blue.
The final entry in this rabbit retrospective is a real mystery, so I am going to call him the “Mystery Rabbit”. He is 6.5” high and about 6” long. I have only seen this one example and might have discounted it as actually being a Cybis except for the presence of a Cybis signature that appears genuine, the painting technique on the eyes which does match the others. On the minus side, confirmationwise, is the shape of the ears which seems a bit off compared to the others; also, the lack of any mold impressions. It’s possible that this was a study or test piece (the seller did mention that the surface felt “rougher” than that of Mr. Snowball who accompanied it) that never made the cut for retail release, which would explain the lack of copyright impressions but on the other hand, then why bother signing it Cybis if the design never left the workroom? It certainly was not a retail release from the 1960s, 1970s or early 1980s, and all of the mid-80s-and-later rabbits are still being offered by Cybis. So this is one befuddling bunny for sure!
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