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    

Rare Vintage 1950s Lefton Merry Christmas Angel Kids Candy Cane Sleigh FigurineVintage Lefton's Exclusive Xmas Sleigh With Girl Candy Dish Very 30's-40's.7 Nice Vintage White Persian Cats, Kittens, Blue Eyes, Goebel, Lefton & MoreVtg Lefton 1957 Christmas Candy Cane Girl In Sleigh Signed Vintage Anthropomorphic Lefton/norcrest? Mama W/baby Birds Salt&pepper ShakersVintage Lefton Mr. Toodles Puppy / Dog Bank #1682 - HtfVintage Lefton Holstein Cow Figurine #446 Black & White Dairy Porcelain/ceramic Vintage Lefton Valentines Day Girl W/ Pink Hearts Red Dress Planter FigurineVintage Rare 1950 Lefton Cake Topper China Bride & Groom Wedding Bell FigurineLefton 1956 Angel Blonde Girl With Package Bell Holt Howard Vintage Porcelain China Figurine Lefton #7699 Girl With Valentine Hearts #3Vintage Lefton Set Of 3 Baby Chicks Chicken Figurine Trademark Japan~easter 2 Vintage 50's Lefton Chicks Easter Spring Decor Ceramic FigurineVintage Lefton 1957 May Angel Figurine Boy Angel Flowers Shovel Org Tag #556Vintage Lefton Bell Girl Figurine Lefton Bluebird Egg Cup Vintage Lefton Mary Mary Quite Contrary Storybook Poem Pink Girl FigurineVintage Lefton Signed Fine Porcelain Figurine Parakeet Kw464 Blue Red W/flowersRare Lefton Christopher Collection Music Box Wood Piano With Girl And StoolVintage Lefton Bluebird Anthropomorphic Creamer And Sugar BowlSet Of 4 Vintage Lefton Figurines * 2 Ducks And 2 ChicksVintage 1956 Lefton Christmas Angel Bell/ornament - Hh80112Vintage Lefton Bloomer Girl Blue Dress W/ Flowers Kw4833 Porcelain 4"Vintage Lefton Puppy Dog Figurine Bee On Nose Arm In Sling Spaghetti TrimGeo Z Lefton... Girl Of The Month For JulyVintage Lefton China Pilgrim Boy FigurineLot Of 16 Lefton Figurines Christmas PeopleLefton Vintage Devils Boy Girl Pitchforks Spaghetti Yellow Hair EyelashesVintage Lefton Tommy Tucker Boy Nursery Rhyme Storybook Series Figurine Mint50's Lefton October Birthday Angel Figurine 489 Cosmo & Rosezircon BirthstoneVintage Nursery Rhyme Lefton Hickory Dickory Dock Figurine, Girl Clock Mouse EucLefton Antique March Birthstone Angel FigurineLefton Vintage Angel Candlestick Holders NoelRooster Figurine Miniature Lefton China 00999Vintage Lefton Napco Wedding Bride Figurine W/ Spaghetti Trim On Dress2 Vintage 50's Lefton Chicks Easter Spring Decor Ceramic Figurine2 Lefton Easter Ducks Ducklings On Eggs - RareLovely Vtg Pair 2 Lefton Bisque Ceramic Angel Candle Climbers Huggers Kw389 ExcVintage Lefton Dog Bookends~h5902~excellent3 Lefton Ceramic Dogs – Cocker Spaniel, Wire Hair Terrier, Border CollieLarge Lefton Robin Figurine - Kw1282 - MarkedVintage Lefton Easter Spring Porcelain Bunny Rabbit Figurine, Chick, EggsVintage Lefton Porcelain Persian Cat Kitten Figurine #1514 Japan 5.5" Tall1986 Lefton China Sevilla Hummingbird Figurine - Twa 05482Lefton Duck On Hatched Egg Figure Statue JapanLefton? Porcelain Dog Figurine German Shepard. 6" X 4". Mint Condition!Vintage Lefton Japan May Boy Angel - To Mama (mother's Day)Vintage Ceramic Birthday Angel For June By Lefton, # 3332Vintage Lefton Mozart & Brahms Bust FigurinesLefton Vintage Porcelain Children Busts 1950'sVintage Lefton China Figurines - Scotland/scottish ?? Drummer & Baton Holder?Lefton 1987 Colonial Village Figurine Hay Wagon 2 Horses Man & Woman 06456Lefton Tanager Figurine - Kw1001 - Marked & Foil LabelVintage Lefton ? Angel Playing Flute W/ Bird Ceramic FigurineAdorable Birds On Birdbath Lefton Figurine Statue White W/pink FlowersSmall Handpainted Ceramic Kneeling Winged Angel By Lefton China-1988-tiawan