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 and decorative eggs appear in their own separate posts.)
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 lovely Egg Box dates from the 1950s as well. It is 4.5″ long x 2.5″ wide, and is 3.5″ high with the lid on. Notice the delicate handpainted leaves below the applied foliage, stem and flowers. One of these also appeared in the 1971 museum exhibit.
This Ring Box, issued in 1987, may be cast from the same mold as the 1950s powder box, because it is the same height. When originally issued, there were several color options; a choice of white, pink or yellow for $225, or a “variety of other colors available (shadings may vary” for $250. During the 1990s Cybis limited the colors to white, pink or yellow (shown) at a price of $350 for any of them.
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 initially. During the 1990s the “wedding box” disappeared and only the “with flowers” one was available, at $325. 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. It was only offered during the 2000s, on the Cybis website, for $395.
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. Its price in 1987 and 1988 was $235. It was retired shortly afterward and remained so until the 2000s when Cybis made it again available on their website for $495.
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. It was part of the studio’s new “Heritage Collection” in 1983, and was retired before 1986. It sold for $395 while available. The other five “Heritage” introductions were the Bacchus Vase, Daisy Vase, Iris Compote, Gemini Bowl and the Spring Flowers plate (seen in Plaques and Decorative Plates.)
The Bacchus Vase (also described as a carafe) is 6.5” high and sold for $295 when introduced in 1983; it was retired by 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, appeared in 1984 and was retired before 1988. Price history is unknown. 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. It does not appear on their 1988 price list which normally would indicate that it had been retired (that was fast!) …. but the November 1993 list shows both colorways as available again, probably from unsold stock. On that list the white is $175 and the color is $375. 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. This white version remained in their lineup at $95. For a while, 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 and was retired shortly thereafter.
Adam’s Vase was apparantly renamed the Eden Vase. It is 12” high. It was introduced either in 1994 or 1995. On the Fall 1995 and Spring 1999 price lists it is shown as “Adam’s Vase” with design number 20964, for $975. However, on their circa-2000s website it was listed (with this photo) as the “Eden Vase.”
The Daisy Vase is a petite 5.5” high. Originally $225 when introduced in 1983, it remained available into the 2000s for $295.
An early 1990s item was the New Jersey Vase with Violets. The size was given as 5.25” high and 4.25” wide, an open edition priced at $295 in 1993. I suspect that this was a variant of the Daisy Vase above, but with violets in the center and perhaps a NJ-specific design on the back. A future post will examine the circa-1990s “New Jersey Collection” in more detail.
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 originally produced for five years or less. Pricing details from the 1980s are unknown.
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 these two ginger jar designs were retired at the same time (pre-1988) but the Bluebells version was later brought back into the Cybis line under a modified name.
The Virginia Bluebells jar mold was resurrected in the early 1990s and their 1993 price list shows this Ginger Jar (varied color, glazed with gold) although there seems no gold in evidence in this photo. Perhaps the titling meant to say that the jar was available in various different colors with a glazed finish AND also a plain white with gold accents that was also glazed?? On the 1993 list it is priced at $145 but in 1999 it was increased to $395 and then $495 on their ca-2000s website where this photo appeared.
The most well known of these is the very Art Nouveau style Gemini Bowl from 1983 which is 3.75” high ad 7.5” wide across the handles. Issued at $225, by 1988 it was selling for $275, for $375 in 1993, and $495 in 1995.
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! It sold for $265 at introduction but was retired before 1988.
There is a Garden of Eden (Bowl) on Cybis’ Fall 1995 and Spring 1999 price lists at $975, with dimensions of 5.5″ high and 9.5″ wide. Price lists have no photos, and although this item was later listed on their website there was no picture accompanying it.
This was titled Cupid Bowl, Original Famous Cybis Award on their late 1993 price list under the Hall of Fame heading, for $850 and cited as being a 6.5″ high non-limited edition. On the Fall 1995 list the price increased to $975. However, on their May 1999 it is now an eye-popping $1975 (!!!) which was also the price shown on their ca-2000s website. Unless the addition of the “1” was an error that then got carried over onto the website, I simply cannot imagine any possible justification for such a pricepoint for this piece. (The Cybis website had no photo; this is the only one I’ve been able to find, other than the 1982 snapshot below.)
The bowl 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 the gaudy white-and-gold 1990s 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 until after the studio began selling directly to the public in 1990.
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.
Another 1980s Zuczek/Ivers collaboration was the Eagle Bowl issued in 1987. It is 4.75″ high and about 8.75″ wide, offered in both white bisque ($275) and color ($450). Additional views of this bowl are in the Born in the USA post. It was retired before 1993 but Cybis resurrected it a decade later and put the color version on their website at $495.
Cybis offered 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 1977. 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. Cybis resurrected this piece, renamed as Baptismal Font, in the 1990s for $250 in 1993; possibly from backstock, especially if the 1970s retirement was due to lack of collector interest.
Lullaby Baby on Moon appeared in 1986 at $125, rising to $150 by 1988 and $175 in 1993. 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 the baby Jesus element in the retired 1980s Adoration sculpture shown in Angels. This “baby commemorative” version appeared in 1990 or 1991 for $95 and remained so. For some odd reason Cybis never indicated the size of this piece but based on the scale of Adoration is it probably about 2.5″ high.
These final giftware items are best described as tableware or general home décor.
The Fan Card Holder appeared on the studio’s ca-2000s website for $50. 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 pink-bow colorway was marketed by Cybis as the Ribbon of Hope Fan for breast cancer awareness although it does not have the typical crossed pink ribbon applied to it. None of the sources cited a height for this piece but is must be relatively small, probably 2″ or less. I would like to find out the copyright year of this piece because I have a hunch that it may have been originally designed during the 1980s, quickly retired, and then resurrected a decade or more later.
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 which is the year after the introduction of the stylistically very similar Bacchus Vase. I suspect this was another item in the so-called “Heritage Collection.” The cups are 3″ high, plain white bisque, and are glazed on the interior. They were retired before 1988.
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, and retired before 1988.
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, it was $175 by 1993.
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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