Cybis Porcelain had a long history of making giftware items, dating all the way back to the very first days of the studio in the late 1930s. Their varied designs can be roughly divided into the categories of covered boxes, vases and jars, and decorative tableware such as bowls and compotes. (The wedding-themed items appear in their own separate post.)
Leaving aside the heart boxes which are examined separately, with only one exception the other Cybis covered boxes all date from before the modern (1960) studio.
This circa 1939 ornate floral rose box is 7″ long x 5.5″ tall x 5″ wide. This very ornate box foreshadows the Cordey items soon to appear, and is lined with a blue fabric which may or may not be original to the piece. It is signed M.B.Cybis 1939 in blue.
A small circa 1950s Cybis/Cordey dual signature rose box bearing the Cordey mold impression (at left) and the Cybis signature stamp in blue at the right. The blue painted model number of 6038 also appears as a faint mold impression below “Cordey.”
These three 1950s small boxes appeared in the Cybis in Retrospect museum exhibition. From left to right they are the Heart Box (small) which is 3” high; the Powder Box (round with bird) also 3” high and 3” in diameter; and the larger Heart Box which is 4” high. These were made in both white bisque and decorated (color).
The first image is the same 1950s Powder Box with bird that is shown in the center of the previous photo; these were signed Cybis. The second photo is an earlier Cordey signed round box with bird for style comparison. The Cordey box is much larger, however: 7” in diameter and 6” tall including the decorated lid. The bird itself is slightly more than 2” high and 3.5” long beak to tail.
This Ring Box, issued in 1987, may be cast from the same mold as the 1950s powder box, because it is the same height. It is an open edition currently offered on the Cybis site for $395 in a choice of white, pink or yellow colorways. When originally issued, there were more color options; a choice of white, pink or yellow for $225, or a “variety of other colors available (shadings may vary)” for $250. Because Cybis is no longer actively engaged in production, only the existing backstock colors are available nowadays.
Cybis issued two (possibly three; see below) different lidded heart box molds, starting in the 1970s with their Lidded Heart ‘Thinking of You’ which may have been originally intended as an annual piece. The 1979 Cybis catalog shows two of them issued in 1975: Lidded Heart ‘Thinking of You’ (ivory) for $75 and Lidded Heart ‘Thinking of You’ (pastel) for $80. The dimensions of this heart are 3” high, 4” long and 4” deep. However, there were actually four colorways of these hearts made: a pink/red, a pink/blue, a sort of golden beige, and a red white and blue. This pink-and-blue colorway may be the one Cybis described as Pastel. If so, it was made only during 1975 and 1976.
Is this golden/beiege version the one described as Ivory by Cybis? If so, it was only made during 1975. The third photo shows the underside of the lid, which was the same (plain white bisque) regardless of a box’s exterior colorway.
I once owned this pink and red colorway and that confuses me a bit because had the pink/blue one been available at the time I would definitely have chosen that one over this! Perhaps the other colorways were no longer available.
Although offered only in the Bicentennial year of 1976 (for $85), the 1979 catalog does not say “Bicentennial” but only Lidded Heart ‘Thinking of You’ (red, white and blue). However, everyone calls this the “Bicentennial Heart Box” and the fact that it was made only in that year, like all their other Bicentennial introductions, makes that name far more logical.
After the Thinking of You hearts were all retired, there were no heart boxes in the Cybis lineup until 1987 when they introduced the Romance Heart Box with Flowers and its wedding theme variant, the Romance Heart Box with Rings. Both were priced at $275. This heart box is 2.5” high and about 5” wide.
This is the Romance Heart Box in Pink colorway, in support of Breast Cancer Awareness. Its last known Cybis retail was $395 in 2008.
The 1987 Stars and Stripes Heart Box is often misnamed the “Bicentennial” heart by online sellers even though it has a copyright year of 1987 (rather than 1976) in the mold. This has the same dimensions (2”high x 5” wide) as the Romance/Wedding heart box and may have started out from the same blank mold. Issue price was $235.
The 1974 Cybis catalog includes a text-only list of verified sculptures; only the names are given, with no other particulars. The list includes a Jug Vase; a Modern Vase; a Chinese Vase available in small, medium and large size formats (were all three the same except for the size, or were they all different?); a Chinese Round Bud Vase; a Chinese Square Bud Vase; and a Chinese Hexagonal Bud Vase. I have not yet found images of any of these; most of them may date from the 1950s.
The Cybis name-stamp on this white bisque floral gold-rimmed vase indicates that it is a 1950s piece. Its name – if it did have one – is unknown. It is 11″ high; the top opening is about 3.75″ in diameter. This strikes me as a woodland-plants motif vase, given the fernlike fronds and trillium-like flower design; it certainly doesn’t suggest either “modern” or “Chinese” to me. If I had to give it a name I’d probably call it a “woodland vase.”
All of the following vases date from the 1980s; there were no vases produced during the 1970s and apparantly there were none in the 1960s either.
The Chrysanthemum Bud Vase is between 9” and 10” high (sources differ). It was introduced in 1983; pricing history is unknown.
The Bacchus Vase appeared in 1983 or 1984 (copyright date in the mold is 1983) and is 6.5” high. Retail price history is unknown, and it was retired before 1986.
This Iris Vase also had a matching pair of candlesticks and a dish, both of which are shown below. The vase is 10” high and appeared in 1984. It is likely that this was also available in plain white bisque although I have not yet found a photo of one.
The Bluebird of Happiness Vase is also 10” high. Introduced in 1987 in white for $140 and color for $225. The white bisque version shown above has not yet had any highlighting glaze applied to it, and was ‘fresh from the kiln.’
The Bud Vase with Doves is also 6.5” high and appeared in 1988 in two colorways. The white version remained on Cybis’ 2008 website for $95. For a time Cybis called this the “Wedding Vase.”
This colorway was called Black Vase with Ribboned Doves and was part of a short-lived category called the “Midnight Collection.” It was priced at $85 in 1988 but was probably retired shortly thereafter because to my recollection there was little interest in the black colorway pieces generally.
Adam’s Vase may or may not have been originally named the Eden Vase. It is 12” high. Its issue year and pricing are not known but I would bet on this being a mid-1990s design.
The Daisy Vase is a petite 5.5” high. Introduction year and pricing are unknown but Cybis sold it in 2008 for $295.
Listed but not pictured on the 2008 Cybis site was New Jersey Vase with Violets. The size was given as 5.25” high and 4.25” wide, an open edition priced at $395. I do wonder if perhaps this was a variant of the Daisy Vase above, with violets in the center and perhaps a NJ-specific design on the back.
Cybis first offered a covered jar during the 1970s. The Rose Jar was made for three years, 1975–1977, in white bisque for $75 and in color for $95. It is 5” high overall. As the third picture shows, there was some variation in the color version; this one has a green background on the panels, and a white rose on the lid.
Each of the six sides has a different rose motif on it, as shown in this composite photo.
A different design, called the “ginger jar”, appeared in the early 1980s. There are two known designs using the same blank body mold. It is slightly more than 6” high.
This is the Virginia Bluebells Ginger Jar which has a copyright year of 1983. As shown in the first detail photo, there are touches of gold on the inside of the flowers. There are no jars of any kind on a Cybis price list from 1988, which means that this was produced for five years or less. Pricing details from that time are unknown.
However, the mold was resurrected at some point thereafter because the 2008 Cybis website listed the same jar in a cobalt blue glazed finish, priced at $495. The name given was Ginger Jar (varied color glazed with gold) although there seems no gold in evidence in this photo. The titling probably meant to read “various colors, glazed, with gold” in order to indicate the availability of different finishes.
The Rose Ginger Jar was cast from the same blank mold as the Virginia Bluebells version and may have been released during the same year (1983) or the year afterward. The lids on the two models are exactly the same and the central medallion is very similar although not exactly. This jar is described as being a combination of bisque and glazed (the glaze being on the relief designs). It’s likely that the two ginger jar designs were initially retired at the same time (pre-1988) but apparantly only the Bluebells version was later brought back into the Cybis line under a modified name.
The most well known of these is probably the very Art Nouveau style Gemini Bowl from 1983 which is 3.75” high ad 7.5” wide across the handles. By 1988 it was selling for $275.
Introduced in the same year (1983) was the Iris compote. It is 5” high and 7” wide across the top. It does seem odd that Cybis would name this the iris compote when the iris is only one of multiple elements and flowers on it; I’d have thought something like “Garden compote” or “Spring Dream compote” would be more appropriate! Price history unknown, it was retired in less than five years.
Cybis again used the “garden” theme in naming the Garden of Eden Bowl. According to their 2008 website it is 5.5” high, 9.5” wide, and was priced at $975. There was, however, no photograph of it.
This piece was titled Cupid Bowl, Original Famous Cybis Award on their website, where it was not pictured at all but cited as being 6.5” high. The price was shown as $1975 which is an eye-popping amount for something that was described as being an open edition and a relatively small-scale one to boot! Unfortunately I have only found this single photo and although zooming reveals the signatures “Cybis USA” and “Trenton N.J.”, I do not see a sculpture number which normally would be adjacent to the Cybis signature. So it appears to indeed have been an open (nonlimited) edition, which leads me to think that the website price was a typo, probably meant to be $975.
The piece was originally created in 1981 and then presented in June 1982 to the actor Tony Randall, at an event held at Brielle Galleries in New Jersey. In this photo Joseph Chorlton and Dorothy Kaminski present the bowl to Mr. Randall; the third photo is a detail zoom showing that it was affixed to a base and that was tinted in pastel rather than being white-and-gold as in the later retail version.
As reported in the Asbury Park Press,
The party was under a green-and-white-striped tent on the rear parking lot. Inside, guests were enveloped in the garden party atmosphere amidst greenery, fountains, flowers and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of delicate porcelains. A cupid-adorned porcelain bowl was given to Randall, who was selected for what was billed as the First Annual Cybis Award for creative imagination and outstanding achievement in the arts. The movie-TV performer confided, however, that he knew much less about porcelains than opera.
During the next few years, additional copies of the Cupid Bowl were presented to various other personages under similar circumstances, but it was not put into retail production at that time. Sometime during the 1990s the decision was made to bring this piece into the retail line. It is the same size as the early 1980s Tony Randall award piece.
This white bisque prototype is a low cachepot that was designed in the early 1980s by George Ivers and Steve Zuczek. The birds and flowers design on the side is typical of the detail work that George Ivers preferred to do. Its dimensions are unknown and this is the only known photo of it; this piece was never produced as a retail edition.
Cybis offers three baby-related giftware items (see Here Come the Brides for the wedding sculptures and giftware). Two of them date from the 1980s; one is a 1970s piece that was brought back from retirement.
The Bonbonniere Baptismal Shell was introduced by Cybis in 1975 and retired in 1975. It was made in both pink and blue and was priced at $50 during all three production years. Its size is given in the catalog as 1.75” high x 6” long x 3″ wide. Its name was intended to show that this piece could be used as a bonbonniere (small candy dish) or as a baptismal font.
Lullaby Baby on Moon appeared in 1986 at $125, rising to $150 by 1988. It is 6.5” high and was offered in a choice of blue, pink or ivory decoration. It was designed by Lynn Klockner Brown.
Baby in Cradle was also available in either blue, pink or ivory. This was originally used as the baby Jesus element in the 1981 Adoration sculpture seen in Angels. This standalone “baby commemorative” version probably appeared in the 1990s. The 2008 Cybis website did not give its dimensions but it is probably about 2” high. At that time it was priced at $95.
These final giftware items are best described as tableware or general home décor.
The Fan Card Holder is from the 1990s and sold for $50. Height is not known but would have been small. The second fan (white with pink rose) is puzzling because the trim appears to be silver instead of the normal gold; I have never ever seen anything but karat-gold paint on a Cybis piece. The fan with with the pink bow, rose and trim was marketed as the Ribbon of Hope Fan for breast cancer awareness although it did not have the typical crossed pink ribbon applied to it.
These grapevine candle cups (at least I’m guessing that’s what they are, because I’ve not discovered any modern Cybis pieces specifically intended for food or drink service) are dated 1984 in the mold. Perhaps they were meant to coordinate with the Bacchus Vase. They are 3″ high, plain white bisque, and are glazed on the interior.
The Iris Candlestick from 1984 matches the Iris Vase that appeared the same year and was likewise retired before 1988. This candlestick is 4.75” high and is the only modern era Cybis candlestick.
Two very early candlesticks (circa 1940–1942) created in papka composition with fresco decoration and mentioned in Cybis in Retrospect were a Blossom Candlestick decorated in yellow, blue and pink and a Candlestick, Bird on Branch about 9” high, described as “mauve/blue with pink flowers.” Another papka candlestick was in the form of a 7″ high winged horse, the Pegasus Candlestick seen in the 1940s Cybis Papka post.
Another match to the Iris pieces was the Iris Pedestal Dish which is 2” high x 5.5” wide x 11” long. This probably dates from 1984 or 1985 and has also been known as the Iris Footed Dish. It appears that all three of the iris-pattern pieces (vase, candlesticks and dish) were produced in a plain white bisque version as well as color.
I decided not to put this Cupid with Heart into the Mythology post because it is so different in style from any of those pieces. Lynn Klockner Brown designed the Cupid and basic overall shape, after which George Ivers designed the detailed decorations on the heart and base. Six inches high and introduced in 1987 at $150.
This unique Partridge in a Pear Tree was an experimental/sample item created by George Ivers during his final years at the Cybis studio and is probably a prototype for an holiday ornament series that was never put into production. (The studio did eventually create a Twelve Days of Christmas series but not until 1989 which was some years after Mr. Ivers retired and they are not anything like this piece.) This initial sample seems to have been the only one made. It has a flat back, like a paperweight, and so possibly was intended to be mounted as a miniature framed plaque because there is no ‘hole’ to accommodate a hanger. No subsequent ones are known to have been created, and so it is one of a kind. It is 4″ in diameter and resided for several decades in the personal collection of Cybis artist Lynn Klockner Brown.
Other giftware/décor items included in the 1974 catalog list are a Tulip Cup, a Mint Tray, and a Lizard on Tray. There was also an Oval Basket Tray available in three size formats: small, medium and large. There is also an entry for Cupids (pair). Like the early vases also listed, these undoubtedly date from the 1950s.
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