Founded by Hungarian sportswear designer George Zoltan Lefton, Lefton China of Chicago, Illinois, imported porcelain decorative objects such as figurines and head vases, as well as kitchen wares such as cookie jars and salt-and-pepper shakers, from postwar Japan. From 1945 through 1953, these pieces were stamped with the words “Made in Occupied Japan.” Figures from 1946 to 1953 may also bear a red sticker with either silver or gold trim on their bases, which reads “Lefton’s Exclusives Japan.” Objects made after 1953 added the words “Reg. U.S. Pat. Off,” while those made after 1960 swap that phrase for the simpler “Trade Mark.” Unfortunately, during the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s, the use of these stickers (and others) overlapped, so they are not a perfectly reliable way to date a piece of Lefton.

Beginning in the 1970s, Lefton began contracting with potteries around the world, from China and Malaysia to Italy and England. Fortunately, this global diversification had little impact on the quality of Lefton pieces, which is generally better than that of direct competitors such as Nike NAPCO and ENESCO. More variable is the look of Lefton figurines. For example, there is no such thing as the quintessential Lefton dog. Some are realistic, capturing the appearance of poodles, German shepherds, terriers, and basset hounds. Others are a good deal more syrupy and sentimental, such as the numerous versions of big-eyed puppies with bows around their necks. And then there are the figurines that are just plain silly—how else to describe a puppy wearing a hunting cap and carrying a shotgun, looking down at the innocent duckling that’s staring up at him from inside the canine’s bag?

Christmas figurines were a perennial favorite; Santa and Mrs. Claus, of course, but also adorable elves, angels, and children, some of which resembled candy canes with faces, arms, and legs. Especially popular is a character called Little Miss Mistletoe, whose cherubic face and short ponytail are tilted as she leans down to tie her red slipper. In fact, recurring characters were a big part of the Lefton catalog, so much so that Lefton had a number of lines devoted to them, from the secular Doll House Originals and Bloomer Girls to the religiously inspired Christopher Collection, which featured within it a group of Heavenly Hobos. In particular, many people gravitate to Lefton’s angels, which are often marked with the name of a month or a day of the week.


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 Valentine Girl Planter, Holt Howard Lefton EraVintage Valentine Lefton Boy And Girl Planter, Holt Howard Napco EraLefton Figurine Vintage 1990 Valentine Girl Musical My Funny Valentine ExcellentVintage Lefton Angel Devil With Trident Pitchfork Valentine Figurine Some FlawsVintage Lefton Valentine's Day Girl Holding Red Heart February 14 Figurine BowLot Of 4 Vintage Porcelain Lefton Rabbit Figurines Easter JapanVintage Lefton Valentine Hearts Girl Figurine Bell Spaghetti Trim PorcelainVintage 40-50's Christmas Angel Lefton Figurine Bell RingerVintage Kissing Angels Figurines Red Valentine Hearts Japan Lefton Napco ?1950's Lefton Ceramic Bluebird Blue Bird Creamer & Sugar Set KitchenwareVintage Christmas Napco Lefton Era Large Thames Angel Girl Stocking Candy CaneVintage Lefton Miss Priss Kitty Cat Tea Bag Holder #1506 Made In Japan2 Vintage 50's Lefton Chicks Easter Spring Decor Ceramic Figurine2 Vintage 50's Lefton Baby Ducks Easter Spring Decor Ceramic FigurineVintage Lefton March Angel Figurine Birthday Shamrocks Sticker 1987 Free Us ShipVintage Lefton Japan *april Angel* Spaghetti Trim Bunny In BasketVintage Lefton Napco St Patrick's Day Irish Girl Holding A Hat Of Shamrocks Vtg Geo Z. Lefton Xmas Red & Green Candy Cane Stripe Elf Ornament Figurine 4"Vintage Lefton February Birthday Valentine Girl Heart Bell Figurine Vintage Lefton Valentines Day Girl Figurine Cake Topper Decor Heart LoveVintage Christmas Lefton Lady Holly Planter She Holds Santa DollLefton Bluebird Blue Bird Egg CupLefton Valentine Girls Set Left & Right #376 Beautiful Condition 1 Cent L@@kVintage Lefton Irish Pixie Leprechaun W/jug FigurineVintge Lefton Miss Priss Cat Japan Mug Esd 8189Nice Vintage Pair Of Lefton Christmas Boy & Girl Kissing On Bench W/ Box Vintage Christmas Geo Z Lefton Fallen Angel Bell Little Girl W Doll Japan As IsVintage Lefton? Giraffe's Wearing Hats Attached With Chain FigurinesNice Lot Of 3 Vintage Lefton Christmas Santakins Santa Kids W/ Hang Tags & BoxVintage Lefton Valentines Day Girl Angel Figurine Cake Topper Decor Heart LoveVintage Mint 1950s Chase Blue Blushing Ceramic Cat Kitty Teapot LeftonVintage Christmas Display Figurine~mr Mrs Santa In Sleigh~planter~napco? Lefton?Sweet Vintage Lefton June Birthday Angel June Bride WeddingVintage Geo Lefton Bluebird BowlsVintage Lefton Kewpie Blue Wing Unicorn Bisque FigurineVintage Lefton Valentine Girl With Pink Roses Planter Figurine D4182 Vintage Valentines Day Girl Figures China Head Lefton Napco Howard Holt ?decorVintage Geo Z Lefton Bunny Rabbit Girl Pixie Figurine 1950s Red Polka DotVintage Lefton Bluebird Sugar Bowl No. 290Vtg Japan *kissing Boy/girl Angels W/ Heart Planter* Valentine Figurine Lefton?Vintage Lefton Irish Blonde Ponytail Girl Musical Figurine D529Vintage Lefton Collie Dog Figurine Laying 6" Porcelain W/ StickerVintage Lefton China Bloomers Girl Figurine Bonnet Japan K1412 Bending Over PinkLefton Vintage 2 Yellow Baby Chicks / Chickens Figurines Miniature Siamese Cat Lot Of 4 / Lefton - OthersVintage Christmas Lefton Ceramic Shopper Girl Angel Holding Candy Canes Japan Vintage Christmas Lefton Ceramic Shopper Girl Angel Holding Candy Wreath Japan Vtg 1986 Lefton Christmas Village Collection Singing Carolers #05828 FigurinesVintage Lefton Boy January Angel Holding Red Skies Red Gold LabelLot Of 12 Lefton Figurines Occupational Christmas PeopleVtg Lefton *girl Holding 2 Hearts Figurine* Ceramic Valentine Lady Figure JapanVintage Porcelain Lefton Bunny Girl Figurine SignedVintage~lefton Japan~christmas Shopper Girl Figurine~green Coat W/ Muff #724Vintage Lefton Scottish Girl Lassie Playing Bagpipes Plaid Kilt #3930 ExcellentLefton Colonial Village Figurine- Eberhardt Family Woman With PoodleVintage Lefton Dog Figurines - Poodle W/ Two Small Poodles On ChainLefton China Jack And Jill FigurineVintage Lefton Valentine Angel Trio With Musical InstrumentsVintage Lefton Figural Dutch Girl Egg Cup EggcupLefton China Set Of 3 Nurses Figurines 5 In Tall