Double Trouble: Dual-Signature Cordey/Cybis Porcelains

Despite the pieces having been produced in the same studio, it’s usually easy to distinguish Cordey and Cybis from each other by sight; their styles were very different. Most Cordey items were Old World/European/Dresden in flavor, while the first-decade Cybis retail pieces were either religious (most) or animals and birds (some.) They were also marked differently: Cordey pieces were impressed and/or paintstamped “Cordey” while Cybis pieces were marked as shown in the Signatures and Marks post.

Or at least most of them were marked differently.

Every once in a while a piece shows up bearing both Cordey and Cybis markings. It is invariably one of the retail pieces rather than the artsy 1940s genre that Boleslaw Cybis himself was so fond of.  Because the typical Cybis retail pieces didn’t launch until the studio moved to Trenton in 1950, it’s likely that these “says Cordey but also says Cybis” pieces are from the late 1940s when the studio was in transition from the Cordey to the Cybis lines.

There are two types of dual-signature pieces, depending on how the Cybis mark was applied (hand painted or stamped.)

Cordey + M.B. Cybis painted signature

This lavender-and-gilt man and woman are both marked Cordey and also M.B. Cybis in blue paint. They are 11” tall. I am confident that all Cordey pieces that also have a blue-painted M. B. Cybis signature are from the late 1940s. My Marja Cybis post includes three Cordey-esque items bearing only that same signature.

The Cordey impression on the female underside was not shown in this photo but the seller’s description cites it as being there.

The Cordey mold impression is clearly seen on the underside of the man.

The painted design codes 200 and 200A are puzzling because, as shown in Decoding Cybis and Cordey Design Numbers, human Cordey molds were usually in the 3000s-5000s range. The 200s were almost always Cordey home décor items. But on the Cybis side, the 200 series was reserved for religious figures when they began producing them in the 1950s. The use of that number on a dual signature piece suggests that this was made before the normal Cybis retail line made its appearance.

Cordey + Cybis stamp

Cordey pieces that also bear the stamped (not hand-signed) Cybis name are most likely from between 1949 and 1953 (I’m arbitrarily drawing the line at 1953 because the Cordey operation was sold in the mid 1950s by which time the Cybis retail line was in full swing on its own.)

Cordey cats pairBoth of these cats have the Cordey mold impression but only one (the smaller of the two) is also stamped Cybis. (This is one of the few Cybis signatures that I have seen applied with black paint. The other one was a 1960s Wendy, by which time this stamp was no longer used.) The Cybis stamp dates the cat to the 1950s and the Cordey impression dates it to the first half of that decade.

Next we have a pair of Cordey busts commonly found in various types of decoration, headgear, and gender. “Gender” because the head molds were androgynous, depending entirely on the chosen decoration as to whether they ended up as the lady or gentleman of the pair!

The Cordey design numbers for these busts were 4013 (male) and 4014 (female.) Sometimes a letter such as P or B was added to indicate whether the dominant colorway was to be pink or blue. They are about 7” high if not wearing hats.

Here is a hatless pair. Although at first glance they appear to be only stamped Cybis, photo enhancement reveals that on the opposite side of the hole both have a faint Cordey impression, indicated here by red circles. And these are without doubt typical Cordey busts. Note the difference in the face shapes. Here the woman’s face is slimmer and the man’s rounder.

Below are some additional examples of this same bust pair. All of these are marked only Cordey but they are good examples of how the dual-signature pair fits right in with these.

This pair is essentially the dual-marked one with the additon of hats although the face shapes appear to be reversed; the man’s is slimmer and the lady’s is rounder.  This was easy to do because the heads and busts are separate molds. I’ve seen many online sellers describe a 4013 Cordey as being a woman, especially if ‘dressed’ in an elaborate lace front!

Here’s a slim-faced pair practically smothered in green lace.

This is the exact same lady bust but in pink this time and with yellow roses.

And lastly a blue-hatted male bust 4013.

Inexplicably the 1978 and 1979 Cybis catalog’s Appendix does not include either of these earliest Cybis signatures (M.B. Cybis or the first Cybis stamp.) This is a serious omission because almost every Cybis piece produced during the 1950s bears that same stamp. However, this isn’t the first error or omission discovered in that source and so I’m not entirely surprised. The Signatures and Marks post here in the Archive does illustrate every known Cybis mark.

As for the dual-signature Cordey/Cybis pieces, it’s possible that these were produced before Boleslaw and Marja Cybis had fully decided what the Cybis retail line was going to contain. They may have briefly considered using Cordey only for lamps and switching all the figurines to the Cybis branding, or even discontinuing the Cordey name altogether in favor of Cybis (see the 1940s Retail Cybis post for a 1945 department store ad clearly showing two Cordey busts “by the artist Cybis”.) So, things may have been in a state of flux in the late 1940s regarding their retail focus. It was eventually decided that the 1950s Cybis line would use mass market (commercial) molds in primarily the religious genre while Cordey pieces would continue as lamps and the Euro/Old World style. In fact I have seen only ONE religious piece marked Cordey, and it was a mold that Cybis re-used in 1957 as the House of Gold madonna and child. (The Cordey example is not dual-marked.) A small madonna in a past eBay sale may have also been marked Cybis but there was no photo confirming it; many sellers include the name Cybis in their Cordey listings in case shoppers happen to collect both. There is a photo of that madonna in the first section of the 1950s madonnas page.

If anyone has additional examples of dual-signed Cordey + Cybis pieces, I’d be delighted to add photos to this post. There is a direct-contact form on the About the Archive page.

Also, my Unique and Unusual Cordey posts contain various Cordeys that strike me as being somewhat out of the ordinary, or – in some cases – more than a bit “over the top”, even for them! 😊

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