With only one exception, none of the Cybis birds produced after 1960 resembled the early birds of the 1950s in style, and all of them were created in bisque (matte) porcelain. The sculptures below are sorted by decade according to their introduction year.
The bird itself is a Holland Mold Company mold from the 1950s which Cybis did not introduce at retail until 1961. This is the Baby White Crested Sparrow which is also shown as “Baby Crested Sparrow” in a later Cybis publication. This little fellow was produced from 1961 to 1965 and is 3.5” high. His retail price ranged from $25 to $35. It was made only in color (no white bisque version.) In nature there actually no such thing as a “white-crested sparrow;” perhaps Cybis was thinking of the White-crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys, which is found in much of North America.
The Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers on base were sold as a limited edition of only 200 pair from 1961 to 1970. Pricing was $400 throughout. They are both about 6” h x 10” w including the base. The female is the bird perched on a lower branch, the male on a higher one. Although the design for this piece was done by Lynn Klockner Brown, at least one of the original-design birds (the female) was replaced by an existing bird mold, i.e., the one that had been previously used on the Madonna with Bird. See a comparison of the two in the Body Snatching post. The production version of the Gnatcatchers did retain all of the other original Lynn Brown elements, however.
The Carolina Paroquet, Male and Carolina Paroquet, Female were sold as separate sculptures. Both were made only from 1962–1965. The male, shown at left in the photo, is 8” h and the female is 6.5” h. It was offered in both plain white bisque for $75 and also in color for $95. Surprisingly, these were open editons! The bird depicted is the “Carolina parakeet” a/k/a Carolina Paroquet, Conuropsis carolinensis which was declared extinct in 1939. A fascinating website devoted to this bird can be found here.
Duckling ‘Baby Brother’ was an open edition from 1962 to 1979 and stands 4.5”high. Initially priced at $35, he was $95 at retirement. Supposedly this is a baby merganser according to the 1965 Cybis catalog, but merganser ducklings are heavily colored, not white. There was a one-of-a-kind sculpture created for a benefit auction in 1978 which added a flowery parasol; that piece was given the special name of April Rain.
The Wood Wren with Dogwood was introduced in 1963 in both white bisque and color. The white one was made for only one year (1963-1964) at $55 but the color one was not retired until 1981. The color started at $70 retail and closed at $395. It is 5.5” high and was issued with separate accompanying wood base, most of which were the medium brown wood seen in the second photo. It’s not uncommon to see this piece offered for sale with its base missing. Despite the name “wood wren” given by Cybis, this bird appears instead to be the winter wren, Troglodytes hiemalis. Cybis bending natural history a bit! This same mold was later used for two similar flower studies.
This unusual example differs from the standard colorway in three areas: It has three flowers instead of four, the nest is a different shade of brown, and the color of the wren herself – which I think is more interesting than the typical version! It seems more reminiscent of the birds of the previous decade. I suspect that this colorway may actually have been the first/initial version; why? Because the photo used in the 1960s Cybis catalogs show it with only three dogwood flowers (as the yellow-trimmed example has) rather than four, as is typically found on the brown bird sculptures.
Here is the limited edition Great White Heron, posing at 19” high as an issue of 350. The 1979 Cybis catalog gives its issue year as 1964, although Cybis in Retrospect shows it as 1965; the edition was completed in 1973. The retail price started at $850 and ended at $1300. The so-called “Great White Heron” is actually the white morph of the Great Blue Heron Ardea herodia. Cybis is being inexact again, because although they’ve got the leg color correct for this white variant, they neglected to add the long neck and chest feathers that give this heron a somewhat ‘shaggy’ appearance. Artistic license! Like the earlier Little Blue Heron, this too was by Laszlo Ispanky.
Cybis returned to the paired bird studies with the Solitary Sandpipers which was a limited edition of 400 pair. They are 7.5” high. Again there is a slight conflict in its issue year; a Cybis catalog says 1965 while Cybis in Retrospect says 1966. The edition was closed in 1971. Pricing began at $500 and ended at $750. Despite this bird’s common name it does migrate in small flocks.
The first of two such studies, the Penguin was made only in 1966 and 1967. He is 5.5” high and was an open edition selling for $35.
Blue Headed Vireo with Lilac is another limited-edition pair by Lynn Klockner Brown. They are each 12” high. The set was issue in 1967 with a declared edition of 500 but this was reduced to 275 before the studio closed the edition in 1975. The retail price went from $1200 to $2100 during that period.
Although the standard retail edition (pictured in color in the 1979 Cybis catalog) has white lilacs, this example has pink! The piece is not marked as an artist’s proof, so perhaps there was a colorway change at some point — or it may be that this was a custom flower color on request. Notice the variation in the color of the vireo’s plumage between the pink-lilac and white-lilac detail photos; the pink version’s bird appears to be more of a brownish-grey and also have more yellow tints.
The brilliant male Wood Duck was also a limited edition and is 10” high. An edition of 500 from 1968-1972, it was $325 throughout. Cybis artist Rose Barclay painted most of these; the design required 17 different colors, each needing its own separate firing.
The perky wren is showcased in Clematis with House Wren, a 12” high limited edition produced 1969–1976. This was another issue that underwent a reduction, from 500 to only 350, although the price increase was very modest: $1300 to $1350. Designed by Lynn Klockner Brown.
Unfortunately there are no photos at present of the following two 1960s bird studies, although I hope to one day locate images of both.
The American Screech Owl with Virginia Creeper was a limited edition of 500 in 1969. It was still being produced in 1971 but its actual closing year is unknown. Measuring 13” high, this is undoubtedly the Eastern screech owl, Megascops (formerly Otus) asio.
Perhaps the most magnificent Cybis bird sculpture ever produced was the one-of-a-kind Crown Crested Crane which was made for the 1964 Worlds Fair in New York. Although I would not ‘discover’ Cybis until almost ten years later, I clearly recall seeing and marveling at this sculpture when I attended that same Worlds Fair! The actual bird, Balearica regulorum, is shown below; the ‘crest’ actually did look exactly like that, in porcelain.
This is the national bird of Uganda and was displayed in the African Pavilion. I seem to recall, although not 100% positive – after all, this was a half-century ago! – that the Cybis sculpture may have depicted not one but two bird, in a “dancing” pose… in which case the sculpture name should probably be plural. I would love to find a photo of this wonderful Cybis piece.
Nine bird studies were released by Cybis during the 1970s, seven of them being limited editions.
The American Crested Iris with Bobwhite Chick appeared in 1972 at $975. It is 7.5” hight and 10.5” wide. Its declared edition of 500 had already reduced to 400 by 1979, although its final closing year is unknown. One can classify this sculpture as both a “flower” and a “bird” study. This is another Lynn Klockner Brown design. The bird, Colinus virginianus, is variously called the Virginia quail, northern bobwhite, or bobwhite quail because of its distinctive whistling call.
The colorful Autumn Dogwood with Chickadees was an issue of 500 in 1972 priced at $1100. It measures 8.75” high x 10” wide. It was still in production as of 1979 and probably closed in the early 1980s. The lively and inquistive Black-capped Chickadee has a British counterpart in the Coal Tit. (Designed by Lynn K. Brown.)
The Golden Winged Warbler with Andromeda was a surprisingly small edition of only 200 in 1974. It is 10.5” h x 9.5” w and was initially priced at $1075 which stayed at that level until at least 1979. Closing year and final edition size/pricing is still being researched. Although this is another of Lynn Brown’s wonderful designs, the decision was made to cast the andromeda (Pieris japonica) flower sprays from a mold instead of forming each bloom by hand as had been done in the other Cybis floral pieces. The result was not as well received by collectors as the previous studies of this type had been.
1975 was the issue year for the Great Horned Owl ‘KoosKoosKoos’, a magnificent piece by Charles Oldham. Created in two separate colorway editions, the brown version was an issue of only 50, at $3250, which closed in 1979 at the same price. There were 150 of the white/albino version (seen in the Owls post) which ranged in price from $1950 to $2250 during the same timeframe. “Koos” is quite large at 20″ high including the base.
A special edition from 1976 was the Eagle Atop the Palisades commissioned by the NJ Bicentennial Commission. The Palisades is a line of high steep cliffs running along the Hudson River in both New Jersey and New York; the leaves and acorns represent the Red Oak which is the New Jersey state tree. The two round medallions are the seals of the State (background) and its Bicentennial Commission. Originally this was available for retail only during 1976 at a price of $150, but the studio still shows it as available on their website for $575. The eagle itself is the same one that had previously been used in 1970 on the limited edition commemorative Apollo 11 moon mission sculpture. Cybis’ bald eagles are shown in Born in the USA.
Returning to the work of Charles Oldham we have the Kestrel, a declared limited edition of 350 introduced in 1977 at $1875. The edition was closed in less than 10 years after only 175 of them were made; it closed at its issue price. Also called “sparrow hawk”, the American kestrel is Falco sparverius and is a different bird from its European relative. It is our smallest falcon. Cybis has portrayed him about to dine on a plump and obviously doomed grasshopper! This sculpture is 18” high on its base and 14” wide including the wingspread. (The Kestrel in Porcelain, on my other site, is an overview of how different studios have portrayed this lovely bird.)
Another limited edition in 1977 was the Hermit Thrush with Cranberry Cotoneaster. This limited edition of 250 (at $1450) was completed in 1981. This thrush is found at various times of the year throughout the USA and shares the habit of its relative the Rufous-sided Towhee of scrabbling about in leaf litter while foraging.
Also introduced in 1977 was the open edition Ducklings ‘Buttercup and Daffodil’ which continued to be made for almost two decades but is now retired. Five inches high, this piece retailed for $165 at introduction.
Cybis returned to the pair format with Kinglets on Pyracantha (fire thorn) which was produced from 1978–1982. The male is the one with the orange crest. The original declared issue was 500 pair, fairly quickly reduced to 300 and ultimately to only 175 pair. The original issue price was $900 which increased to $1100 before closing. Designed by Lynn Klockner Brown.
Nestling Bluebirds on Cockspur Hawthorn appeared in 1978. Measuring 4” h x 5.5” wide, it was first offered at $235. Another Lynn Brown design, it is now retired. The plant, Crataegus crus-galli, is native to eastern North America and although the fall berries are attractive the spring flowers are not very pleasing to the nose; however, these baby bluebirds do not seem to mind at all.
The final 1970s avian piece was Baby Chicks ‘Downy and Lemon’ in 1979. Also by Lynn Brown, they are just a bit smaller than the duckling pair at 4.5” high; this too is a retired open edition and its introduction price was $215.
The stunning Australian Sulfur-Crested Cockatoo study in 1984 was sculpted by Susan Eaton. It was taken from life and based on Mrs. Eaton’s own pet bird. This small edition of only 25 sold for $9850, which works out to about $22,000 in 2016 dollars! It is also one of Cybis’ largest bird studies at 25” high.
At the other end of the 1984 introduction spectrum is the diminutive 4” high Woody Owl who was $115 originally. Depicting a young Saw-whet Owl, he remains on the Cybis site as an open edition at $295.
Another open edition still being produced is the Baby Swan from 1985. Introduction price is unknown but is currently $99 from Cybis; height is 3.5”.
The Dove followed in 1986 for $100. This was one of the later Lynn Klockner Brown designs while she was still at the studio. It is listed on the current Cybis site as being 5” high although some online sellers have it as 4.25”. Current pricing from Cybis is $125.
The Dove with Holly may only have been made for a few years; the one shown above was produced in 1989 because it has the 50th Anniversary stamp. It may also have been sold as ‘Holiday Dove’; under either name it is now retired. It’s likely that it sold for $125 while available. It looks as if the holly berries and leaves are painted on rather than being the typical applied decorations, however.
Several birds appeared in 1987 including two open editions. This sculpture is the Black Capped Chickadees with Dogwood and is 4.5” high. The issue price was $295 and it is $395 currently. At introduction this piece was described as the “first edition in the Cybis Bird Collection.”
The Golden Eagle was the other 1987 bird study. It too is an open edition although quite a bit bigger at 15.25” high; width is 7 inches. Like Koos Koos Koos of the previous decade this was also offered in a color and an albino version designated as “white.” Issue prices are unknown but the following year (1988) the white was $575 and the color $925. The Cybis site has the white/albino now at $995 and the color at $1195.
The Gyrfalcon is a Charles Oldham piece that was introduced in 1987. The introduction brochure lists it as an edition of 25 priced at $8000 each; however, the following year (1988) the edition size was increased to 100 and the price to $8400. This is a large sculpture at 24.5” high and 13” wide. The Cybis website currently shows a price of $14,975.
The Preening Baby Swan was introduced in 1988; this is the same mold as the Baby Swan from 1985 but with the head/neck repositioned and a tuft of side feathers added. It is 3.75” high and is currently priced a bit higher than its precursor, at $125.
Goldfinch with Violets is a charming open edition from 1988 at 6” high. Originally $425, it is currently $795.
The Preening Baby Swan with Hat is a variant of the 1988 Preening Baby Swan. This version appeared in 1989 which means some received the special 50th Anniversary backstamp (if they were actually made during that year); it was priced at $75. It can be had with either a pink or a blue hat and is 4” high. Current Cybis pricing is $195.
Nestling Owls ‘Harriet Hank and Hoot’ appeared in 1988 as well (it was apparantly a good year for avians) as an open edition for $325. Seven inches high, they are currently $695 from Cybis.
The other late-1980s owl study was Screech Owl with Siblings; I grouse (no pun intended) about its awkward nomenclature in the Owls post. A completed edition of only 100, its last known price was $3925. Additional views are also available in that post.
Another misnomer is Golden Crown Kinglets with Crab Apple Blossoms; Cybis spells it as “Crown” which is ornithologically incorrect: it should be “Golden Crowned“. The spelling was probably intentional in order to avoid possible confusion with the early 1960s Golden Crowned Kinglets which is an entirely different piece. This was another 1989 introduction and has the special backstamp on those actually made that year (later ones will not have it.) It is 4.5” high x 5” wide. An open edition originally $375, it is currently $395. Stylistically this reminds me of the 1987 Black Capped Chickadees shown above and may quite possibly have been by the same designer.
The Baby Duckling is entirely different from the 1960s Duckling ‘Baby Brother’ although they are posed similarly with their little wings outspread. This duckling is 5.5” high and is also a 1989 introduction. It an open edition, originally $150 but currently $175.
This was definitely a late-1980s introduction, possibly 1988 or 1989. The Cybis site description for it states “Although shown in black and white, this sculpture is colored in true Cybis fashion.” I’m assuming that the name as shown on the site – “Little Chic” – is a typo, even though the description goes on to say “Nothing says spring like a new little chic.” Of course the correct word for a baby chicken is chick, not “chic” (although I’m sure that a baby chicken wearing Versace would look very chic indeed.) So I am listing it here correctly spelled as Little Chick. He/she is 4.5” high and is currently listed at $150.
A mysterious sculpture which was not originally intended to be a retail edition was the Phoenix, an issue of 100 that was priced at $950. This was a sculptural representation of the two-dimensional stylized upright Cybis Phoenix logo that was introduced in 1980 to replace their former horizontal-phoenix logo. I have never seen a photo of this sculpture but was told by an artist who worked for Cybis at the time that it was plain white bisque and was supposed to be a gallery promotional item rather than a retail issue. It does not appear in the 1982 Cybis catalog which specifically includes pieces that were introduced from 1980-1982, so perhaps it was copyrighted in 1980 or 1981 but not brought to retail until later. I do not recall ever seeing it for sale at any of the east-coast Cybis retailers during the 1980s, so it’s strange that a single 2003 collectibles price guide would have listed it as a normal retail edition. According to the Cybis artist, this was not a naturalistic bird but instead a literal in-the-round representation of the stylized Cybis logo. If anyone happens to have a photograph of this unusual bird to share, please let me know via the direct-contact form on the About the Cybis Archive page; many thanks!
1990s and 2000s introductions
The sculptures below were introduced after 1989 although I do not at present know their exact years. If anyone does have an advertisement or other item that pinpoints the year, please let me know because I’d love to date these pieces more accurately.
The second of their two penguin pieces is Penguins, Steppin’ Out; this dapper pair is 6.25” high and appears on the existing Cybis site for $395 as an open edition.
And last but not least, I would not be at all surprised to someday learn that this gorgeous 1988 study had been sculpted by Charles Oldham. According to the Cybis website the “unique base allow[s] swans to be displayed together or apart” and it is listed in that format as Swans in Motion (pair). When displayed together as shown in their photo it measures 21.5 ” high and 38″ wide. I am a bit confused as to the issue size, because under that name heading it says this is an edition of 100 which I assume means 100 pair. The price for the Swans in Motion is shown as $16,000 currently; it was $12,500 at introduction.
However, the current website also lists the separate sculptures Swan (wings out) and Swan (wings up) with their own individual prices and as an edition of 100 for each. They were not offered separately at the time that Swans in Motion was first introduced. The wings-out swan is 12” high x 23” wide and is priced at $9975; the wings-up swan is 21.5” high and 15” wide for $7775. Thus the ‘pair price’ of $16,000 represents a “discount” of $1750 versus purchasing them individually. It looks to me as if the total number of potential swans is meant to be 400, were they all to be spoken for in all selling formats (although at that price, in this economy, they are unlikely to be flying – sorry! – off the shelves.) It’s a shame that the Cybis photo is so dark and doesn’t show much detail, especially of the bases, but my guess is that they are curved and contoured in such a way that they can be placed against each other and still look naturalistic.
See the Cybis Early Birds post for the birds that were produced from the 1940s through 1960.
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