Occasionally I receive inquiries from people asking for advice on pricing or valuing a piece of Cybis that they have received or wish to sell, and they sometimes ask why I do not include an indication of the actual current market value in my description of each piece in the Archive.
The simple answer is that until the final closure of the Cybis studio (the sale of the building and the liquidation of their remaining stock) in late 2019, an agreement had been in place between myself and the owner that restricted me from doing so. As of May 1, 2020 there is now an Archive post that goes into detail about how to determine the average current market value of Cybis sculptures.
Because that method is based on a percentage of what a given sculpture originally sold for in a certain decade, the historical individual-sculpture information contained in the Archive remains useful. In order to give as complete a market-value history as possible, I include each sculpture’s original Cybis issue price at introduction if it is known at the time of writing; if unknown, and I later find — from an official piece of Cybis literature, not from a seller’s online listing! — this information, I update the post. Cybis retailers were prohibited from running “sales”, and the studio never reduced their retail prices either; thus if a piece was currently priced at $395 there was no way to buy it at retail at that time for less.
The final Cybis price of a limited edition sculpture is provided in a format such as “introduced in 1968 at $450, completed [or closed] in 1974 at $825.” ‘Completed’ means that Cybis did make the full number of sculptures that they said they would; ‘closed’ or ‘closed early’ means they stopped making it before that number was reached. For the open (non-limited) editions whose production stopped before 2000, the ending price is shown as “retired at ($whatever)”.
Some sculpture descriptions include an interim retail price. For example, it may say “issued in 1979 at $495, which rose to $550 by 1988; closed [or retired] before [year.]” This gives an idea of the price trajectory and shows that the (unknown) final price was at least as much as the interim one.
With the cutback and eventual cessation of active ongoing production at the studio, all existing open editions became Retired and all existing limited editions became Closed. Most items sold by the studio in the 1990s and 2000s were existing backstock or were occasional to-order pieces that took multiple weeks (or months) for the buyer to receive.
A note regarding some of the final-Cybis-price citations regarding 1990s pieces: This is usually whatever price was shown on an early- or mid-1990s price list, rather than the one that appeared on their website during the 2000s (the site disappeared in late 2018.) Those Cybis-website prices were identical to the ones on their printed 1999 price list, and were so many times higher than what people were actually paying for the same pieces everywhere else, that to include them in the Archive would be grossly misleading. On the rare occasion that I must mention a 1999 or “Cybis website” price, I include the caveat that very few, if any, people were paying that price for that sculpture. In other words, the final Cybis MSRP/prices were irrelevant.
A separate post addressing the question of “Where can I sell my Cybis?” can be found here.
From a purely financial standpoint these sculptures should be bringing more on the secondary market than they currently do. Take for example the closing price of Scarlett: $825 in 1974. Plug those figures into any online inflation calculator and you’ll get a late-2019 equivalent value of $4,337! Ironically, using that method the 2009 Cybis website prices weren’t actually too far off: Eros, who sold for $135 in 1974, ends up at $710 today using the same inflation calculator. His final price on the Cybis website during the 2000s was $695; but nobody would have paid that price for him then, simply because one could be had for a fraction of that amount on eBay. A good example is the open edition child clown head Funny Face whose average selling price on eBay is approximately $40 even in mint condition, and has been so for more than 15 years.
Another detail you may see from time to time in posts is the notation “sculpted by (whoever)”. Cybis never advertised the designers of their pieces, and so in those instances where I do know the sculptor’s name I will add that information. Often these artists worked for different studios and/or in different mediums (both ceramic and bronze, for example) and collectors of their works may be interested to know which Cybis pieces these artists produced. Because I believe in giving credit where credit is due: the Cybis Honor Roll contains a list of all the Cybis artisans that I have been able to find; this is an ongoing effort that I hope to someday complete. There is also a series of Cybis Artist Profiles showcasing specific artists.
[This post was updated in May 2020 to include the most current information regarding prices and market values.]
Images of Cybis porcelain sculptures are provided for informational and educational purposes only. All photographs are copyrighted by their owner as indicated via watermark. Please see the copyright notice in the footer and sidebar for important information regarding the text that appears within this website.