Oak Lawn, IL
I am a 28+ year Kewpie collector beginning w/ a visit to Branson and the Bonniebrook Estate of Rose O'Neill, creator of Kewpies. Over the years I have compiled manyI am a 28+ year Kewpie collector beginning w/ a visit to Branson and the Bonniebrook Estate of Rose O'Neill, creator of Kewpies. Over the years I have compiled many books about Rose and a few hundred items of Kewpie figurines, dolls, and other.
I feel I have researched sufficiently to know original from reproduced Kewpies, and who has the current license to produce Kewpies from the original.
That is the difference between legitimate Kewpie reproduction and someone who makes a Kewpie mold and produces from that. Those should be signed and labeled as an "Artist made kewpie" when for sale, to alert the public that it is not an original or from a licensed manufacturer. In that research The German Doll company has the latest license to produce Kewpie figurines.
Sometimes Danbury Mint will produce Kewpie figurines, but always with permission. I have some of these in my collection and really appreciate them.
One other thing to know about Kewpies is about Joseph Kallas (who was the art student commissioned by Rose O'Neill in 1913 to make a mold according to her drawing of a Kewpie.) Upon that completion and Rose's approval, she accompanied the mold to Germany to one of the finest porceline manufactures and oversaw the production of those Kewpie figurines. That was the beginning of hands on Kewpies. During WWI that factory was taken over by the Nazi regime for their own use and many of the original Kewpie molds were lost or destroyed. From photos however, some molds have been recreated for reproduction.
Joseph Kallas eventually started his own Kewpie company called Cameo Doll company and started to produce his own line of Kewpies. Both he and Rose had copyrights for protection.
In 1972 The Cameo Doll company was sold to the Strombecker Corp. and Kewpies were reproduced in the original molds by Strombecker.
When Joseph decided to retire he looked for someone to take over Cameo and be true to the originality he had created. He chose Jesco who took over the Cameo company and began making Kewpies in all vinyl. All Cameo dolls are labeled Cameo, usually at the base of the back of the head.
In my updating on Kewpie production I have learned that Jesco has the authority to license different doll companies to produce Kewpies under a signed contract.
Well readers, that is the extent of my Kewpie collection knowledge. With computer and online knowledge availability one can do their own research. Some of mine came from books written by people who knew Rose O'Neill personally and often quoted from that relationship. But you can always check me out, I am not by any means perfect, but to be an able collector, I feel I ought to know my 'product' and collection. Collect all the information you can so you KNOW what you are looking at to buy. Research the current market so you have a 'feel' for an adequate price when you see something you are interested in. No one has money to spend unwisely.
Also to those who are sellers, know your product so when you advertise so you are advertising it correctly. I read some ads or look at some so called Kewpie stuff and wonder where the info came from. Also, be advised: "Irwin dolls are Irwin dolls" in their own right, and have absolutely no connection with Kewpies, though some may advertise "Irwin Kewpie". There is no such thing in the Kewpie world !!
Like I say, do your own research so you know what you're about in collecting. Wishing you fun and enjoyment in your collection of Kewpies. cuippy (Read more)