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    

Josef Originals Rare The Flirt Lady 2 Blue Ribbons Rose Bonnett Dress FigurineVintage Josef Originals Music Box Three Girls Holding HandsVtg Josef Originals Winter Series Blue/white Angel-gift Box/tiny Flowers, MarkedJosef Originals Charmaine Lady Holding Roses Purple Dress Figurine3 Josef Originals Bride Groom Ring Boy Wedding FigurinesVintage Josef Originals Patriotic Belle 4th Of July Bell Figurine Josef Originals Sugar & Spice Ginger Bread Man Skirt Young Lady FigurineSweet Older Josef Originals *girl Hugging Sheep Dog* Figurine Josef Originals Porcelain Girl Playing Piano Humoresque Music Box Figurine JapanVintage Josef Originals Christmas Santa Sitting In Chair Japan1952 Josef Originals Wee Ching & Wee Lin Oriental Boy & Girl W/ Dog & CatVintage Josef Originals Figure 4th Of July Girl Music Box God Bless America FlagJosef Originals "joy Of Motherhood" Revolving Music Box Play "always" MintVintage Josef Japan Family Of Four Ostrich Birds - Comical Cute Characters!Josef Originals "little Pet Series" Bess Figurine 1960 - 62 Htf Stickers Josef Originals Mama Lady Reading A Book FigurineVintage Josef Originals Deer FigurineVintage Josef Originals "april" Figurine W/umbrella Made In California 4-½"Vintage Josef Originals Birthday Girl Age 3 Figurine Angel Black Eyes Blue DressJosef Originals George Imports "professions" Series "the Dentist" 1960 - 1962Vintage Josef Originals Birthday Angel 10 Black Eyes, Hang TagVintage Josef Originals Kitten Cat Figurine PairVintage Josef Originals 14th Birthday Angel * So Cute *Josef Originals Vintage # 3 Birthday Girl Angel Porcelain Figurine New In BoxVintage Josef Originals "holiday" Figurine W/apple Made In California 4-½"Vintage Josef Originals Puppy/dog FigurineVintage Josef Originals Shepard Girl As Is * So Cute *Josef Originals 18th Birthday Angel Porcelain Doll FigurineVintage Josef Originals Pig Toothpick HolderVtg Josef Originals Pixie Elf Spirit With A Flower Telephone Original LabelJosef Originals "first Formal" Series "debby" W / Hand Mirror Repaired WaistJosef Originals Bell Girl In Green Dress Holding A Dance InvitationJosef Originals Baby Hippo / Hippopotamus W / Frog Sitting On It's HeadCute Josef Originals Bunny Figurine - W/original StickerVintage Josef Original Santa Ashtray In Original BoxJosef Originals Birthday Girl Angel Year 5 Vintage With Abc School Book JosephVintage Josef Original Birthday Girl Angel 2 With Hang Tag And LabelJosef Originals 10th Birthday Angel Porcelain Doll FigurineJosef Originals * Scotland & SunnyVintage Josef Originals Girl Yellow Dress Nursing A Plant Back To Health