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 3 3/4" "wonderful World" Girl W/heart Figurine, Hangtag&stickerVintage Josef Originals Christmas Girl W/ Fur CollarAdorable Vintage Josef Original Lullaby Girl FigurineVintage Josef Originals Lady In Purple Dress On Couch Planter FigurineJosef Originals "germany" Girl Figurine "little International Series" Hang Tag &Josef Originals "karren" From Birthday Party Series, Ex. With TagJosef Originals Gin Sling Twins, California, Ex.Vintage Josef Originals Ceramic Figurine Elf Pixie PaintingJosef Originals "ireland" Girl Figurine, Little International Series, Stickers &Vintage Josef Originals Ceramic Figurine Sitting Elf Pixie W Bee Vtg Josef Originals Santa Sleeping In Rocking Chair W Sack Christmas FigurineJosef Originals Pansies From Flower Girl Series, Ex.Josef Original Girl With Violin Music Box FascinationJosef Originals California Andre FigurineJosef Originals Miniature Alligator Family Figurine Trio Set - Cute And Rare!Josef Originals "scotland" Girl Figurine "little International Series" Hang TagAdorable Josef Originals Birthday Angel "new Baby" LnJosef Originals "september" Sapphire Birthstone 'doll Of The Month'Vintage Josef Originals "flocked" Gray Tabby Cat EucJosef Originals 4 1/2" "key To New Home" Girl Figurine, Blue Gown StickersJosef Originals "england" Girl Figurine "little International Series" Hang Tag &Josef Original Birthday Girl Angel Doll Figurine For Age 13 13th BirthdayJosef Original Santa Sleeping In Chair. Original Sticker 60'sJosef Originals George Good "yes, I'm Single" "cathy" Figurine Universal Press Vintage Josef Originals Girl Figurine Holds Yellow Flowers Aquamarine RhinestoneJosef Originals "israel" Girl Figurine, Little International Series, Stickers &Josef Originals "holland" Girl Figurine, Little International Series, Stickers &Josef Originals "sweden" Figurine, Little International Series - All Stickers &Vintage Josef Originals April Diamond Girl Figurine *so Cute*