I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

He's not English!

My "English" gentleman is not English. He's German. When I wrote yesterday's post I failed to take a really good look at the beautiful statue before I started writing about it.
On the bottom of one of his feet is an old worn sticker.
It has the words "Marolin" and "Germany"  with Papiermache" written in the middle.
So I have spent the last few hours researching the word "Marolin" and Wow!... no wonder this hare has an attitude.
He's got quite a history.

When  I took the ribbon off to retie it, I noticed that it looked like his head was separate from his body. It was as if you could turn it and twist it off. I turned the head carefully and when I did, some of the brown paint broke away from the body, so I stopped immediately. I got some Mod Podge and started to fill in the neck area with it, to keep the loose brown pieces in place.
That was when I realized that he was looking at me with disdain.
I knew that this was a rare hare.
And I didn't want to do anything to ruin his value. He knew that I knew he was SPECIAL.

Well come to find out... He is!!
It all began in the Thuringian Forest nearly 100 years ago where Mr. Richard Mahr created nativity figurines made out of papier-mache at his parents home. The first figurines had a serene look with a Nazarene style. Later, in 1920, a new style arose when the young talented designer, Mr. Julius Weigelt, joined the company. His style can be seen, even today, on all MAROLIN products. Mr. Richard Mahr was always open for new talents and designers. He supported his new young employees in every way he could. His instinctive sense for business advanced the company even during the years before World War II. MAROLIN became known worldwide as a company for handcrafted Christmas items made from papier-mache until the break of World War II. After World War II, MAROLIN started out with lots of positive promises, but the division of Germany stopped most of these developments.

Their home-business being in the way of the INFAMOUS WALL the family was told by the East German Government at that time, to vacate within 6 days. They were told, that they could only take some personal belongings. The family used their six days to bury all their famous molds underneath their homestead. Than they left, leaving everything behind; business; home; all belongings.
Only after the WALL came down and their papers had cleared and they finally got their property back, were they able to start again.
So, finally, 45 years after the end of World War II, around 1990, the earlier supporters of MAROLIN products began arousing the efforts of their activities with their strong interest in collecting the handcrafted papier-mache items and one-of-a-kind Christmas figurines. The traditional molds used to create these figurines were the most desired and collected German Christmas items. 

And as for the hare's body...

As early as the middle of the 19th century, papier-mache was used to create dolls, animals and figurines. The content of the type of papier-mache used in Thuringian toy and doll areas is still today kept secret. Each cottage industry workshop continues to protect its secret mixtures. The papier-mache contains certain amounts of clay, kaolin, plant-glue and paper pulp. Figurines with a height taller than 4.9 inches are poured into a form to create a hollow body. Since plaster of Paris is the liquid poured into these forms, it sucks up the moisture in liquid and pushes it against the walls of the form. After 6 hours the form is opened and the figurine can be dried. If necessary the figurine can be perfected by modeling dried, pressed material on the imperfect parts of the figurine. Small figurines can also be created this way. The papier-mache material is pressed by hand into the form and then touched up for drying. Large figurines can be additionally fortified by thin wire. The drying process takes place in a stove at 70°C. So it takes two types of artisans to create one MAROLIN figurine: the pourer and the hand-pressed artisan. The two create one figurine, step by step. Lastly, the most important step in the creation of a MAROLIN papier-mache figurine is completed with the delicate skill of the painter. The figure should gain depth, shine and everlasting impression when the coat of a paint called patina is attentively applied. Even today every MAROLIN figure gets the same artisan attention it was given in the past. The cottage industry of the Thuringian area of Germany is proud that the company never lost its original methods established by Richard Mahr and continued to preserve the art of creating papier-mache handicrafts. 
 (Thanks to The Christmas Haus online for this information.)

And then... 
I found another one. He's an Easter Hare. He is suppose to be carrying a cart filled with Easter candy. No wonder he is so filled with determination and importance
His head is a separate mold, so you can turn it from one side to the other. And excuse me... but did you notice the price? I know that my hare doesn't have the cart attached but, holy smokes, I paid $6.00 for this little guy.  Here, with the cart, he is valued at $110.00 I'm starting to trust my eye for valuable antiques.I knew that he was a Hare of importance.
I also found a sitting hare for $140.00 and a large Easter Hare container for $198.00. Same company with a similar sticker. I'm just not sure if he's one of the really old molded hares or a newer one. I think he is an older model because of the sticker and the wear on him.
You just never know what you'll find in a thrift store in Reno, Nevada. 
I'm not going to restore him... for a while, anyway. I think that any antique is more valuable when it hasn't been restored. What do you think?  
Although... he is not going to be sold again. He's mine now.  
Attitude and all.
 I will tie the ribbon around his neck again and set him in a place of honor. He came from Germany and found me. What are the odds? 
It doesn't really matter how old he is or what I could sell him for. I just love this guy. 


  1. Quite a noble hare indeed! What a fascinating history. To think that the mold that made him was then buried for safekeeping. I love that he was once pulling an Easter cart. It is possible that he might do that again next Easter???

  2. Your handsome hare is an important hare and the information on these hares is interesting. I know you will take good care of this hare with his new jaunty ribbon.

  3. what an interesting history your hare has...pretty cool you were able to find all that about him as well...fascinating actually...you have an actual easter bunny in your home...smiles

  4. I think I would have scooped him up as well...what a stance!!
    Sometimes it might be worth restoring something if you think you will sell it but I think a little character adds to him as your personal hare.
    Yup, you never know!
    I will be on the lookout for this sticker now...thanks Connie!

  5. That's so cool! Kinda reminds me of Watership Down, one of my favorite books!

  6. He is beautiful! What a find! I love German-made ornaments and Easter items. These were candy containers; the heads come off and the body would be filled with candy for Easter. You were lucky to find him and in such good condition.

    Thank you for sharing him with us!

  7. That is a very interesting history lesson. Hold your hare tight he is special.


  8. He is lovely and I really enjoyed all the information about him. I like the look in his eyes :)

  9. Lovely hare with a wonderful history! I love it when I find the history behind a treasure I have found.

  10. I love this story of how the hare came into your home! He's a lucky guy. The history is fascinating; thanks so much for sharing!

    Can you imagine burying your business, and then uncovering it decades later? What resolve. What faith!

  11. Oh I feel the same way whenever I find a treasure like this, leave it as is & I cannot part with it!

  12. Your hare is a rare beauty, that's for sure! And what an amazing history of the company and how they came to begin their business once again after the wall came down. Treasure your find, Connie!


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