At the beginning of World War II, an Arcadia, California, artist named Muriel Joseph created Lucite costume jewelry under the business name Muriel of California. Unfortunately, Lucite was needed for the war effort, mostly for windshields in airplanes, forcing Joseph to search for a new material and product line. For a few years she made ceramic jewelry before seizing on the idea of ceramic figurines, which she produced with the help of her fiancée, Tom George, when he returned home from the war (like a lot of other vets, George could not find a job, so he focused on his wife’s business instead). By 1946, Josef Originals was launched, complete with the misspelling of Muriel Joseph George’s maiden name, thanks to a printing error.

Figurines of adorable animals, angels, and children dominated her early lines, as the small company, which was based in the couple’s home, focused on quality over quantity. By the mid-1950s, though, fake Josef Originals from Japan started to appear in the United States. George countered by adding even more details to her pieces, but this just made them more expensive to produce. Finally, a businessman named George Good convinced the couple to fight fire with fire and begin manufacturing Josef originals in Japan. In 1959, they went to the Katayama factory in Japan to personally train the workers there to ensure that the quality of Josef Originals remained high. It did, which made the 1960s and ’70s strong decades for the firm (George retired in 1981).

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

V&A Porcelain Figures

V&A Porcelain Figures

The Victoria and Albert Museum’s online collection of Meissen porcelain figures includes more than 150 pieces, in… [read review or visit site]

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Josef Originals Girl Figurine Black Eyes Mica Glitter & Gold Spaghetti Vintage Josef Originals "india" Little International SeriesHtf Josef Original Marie Antoinette Figurine With LabelsJosef Original Figurine. Girl Holding Blue KittenJosef Originals Kangaroo With Skunk In Pouch & Joey On Head Figurine - Too Cute!Josef Originals~july Doll Of The Month~with Lei Around Her Neck~california FigurVintage Josef Originals Besty Ross Musical FigurineJosef Originals Pink Pie Chick Bird Funnel Vent Rare!Rare Josef Originals Oestrich Figure W/3 ChicksVintage Josef Originals Japan Woman Figurine Plume Fan Original Box Gigi Series Josef Originals Nativity China Or Porcelain.three Shepherds.Vintage Josef Originals Figurines - Mama Penguin W/ Two Babies VhtfVtg 60s Mint Josef Originals The Seventh 7th Year Birthday Angel Figurine W Box!2 Josef Originals Birthday Girl Angels Ages 8 & 9 Signed, Taiwan, Applause EucVintage Josef Originals "germany" Little International Series4 Josef Originals Pig FigurinesLot Of 3 Josef Birthday Girl Porcelain Dolls 1, 2 & 3Vintage Josef Originals Ladybug Buggy Bug Mini Miniature Figurine Ant Sitting 2"Vintage Josef Originals Ladybug Buggy Bug Mini Miniature Figurine Sitting Label Vintage Josef Originals Figurines - Two Young Penguins VhtfVintage California Joseph Original Figurine Four Seasons #j-391 Winter 5.75" Josef Orignials Lion Miniature Lion On Card2 Elephant Figurines Josef Originals Porcelain Figure Holding A Flower At Trunk Vintage Josef Originals Ladybug Buggy Bug Mini Miniature Sleeping Figurine LadyVintage Josef Originals Elephant Writing I Love You LetterJosef Originals September Birthday Girl W Black Eyes Vintage Signed No ReserveDakin Josef Originals Happy Birthday Musical Girl Figurine In Original BoxVintage Japan Josef Originals Big Eyed Owl Figurine With Baby OwlJosef Originals Birthday Girls Through The Years Thirteen 13 Doll AngelJosef Original #1 Birthday Angel Girl Figurine2 Vintage Josef Originals Anthropomorphic Figurine Baby Bird Horn Big Bird Opry Josef Originals Birthday Doll Year 12 In BoxDakin Josef Originals Birthday Ceramic Girl- # 11Josef Original Becky 5" Girl Figurine W/ Purple Dress Blue Flowers Vintage Josef Flocked Striped Cat Fuzzy Brown Kitten Kitty Mid Century KitschJosef Originals Little Tutu Ballerina Vintage Figurine Read DescriptionVintage Josef Originals - Cat Potpourri HolderAdorable Josef Originals Birthday Angel "age 3" LnJosef Original Birthday Girls 11. Excellent W/ BoxVintage Josef Originals Birthday Angel Girl Figure - 3 YearsJosef Originals - Mouse With Top Hat FigurineJosef Originals Ceramic 12 12th Birthday Girl Pink Angel FigurineBone China Miniature Animals - Fairy GardensJosef Originals Ceramic 11 11th Birthday Girl Lavender Angel FigurineJosef Originals Ceramic 14 14th Birthday Girl Pink Angel FigurineJosef Originals Ceramic 6 6th Birthday Girl Pink Angel FigurineVintage Josef Original Flocked Animal Zebra Tiger Donkey Circular Label Japan