Although the proper term for a large group of rabbits is a colony or a fluffle, it does seem as if it should instead be “a reproduction of rabbits” or “a bonanza of bunnies”! Either of these would apply to the largesse of lagomorphs created in porcelain by Cybis. Indeed, they were such a mainstay that since 1962 there was never a year in which bunnies were absent from the Cybis retail lineup.
All of the Cybis bunnies were open (non-limited) editions. Despite the fact that there were no less than 47 (!) named sculptures, that tally derived from only 14 distinct molds. The population explosion came from the multitude of decorative variants produced from most of those molds; in fact, only six of those 14 molds did not engender a “spinoff.”
I have sorted the bunnies according to the introduction year of the original design; the variants, if any, appear directly below.
The very first Cybis bunny was Mr. Snowball who appeared in 1962 . He is 4” high and was the least expensive item in the Cybis line at that time: only $7.50. Cybis continued to offer him through every year of their existence, at a steadily rising pricepoint: $15 in 1967, $50 in 1982, $70 in 1988, and finally for $99.
This holiday version was a 1980s addition; in 1988 he was priced at $110. His name at that time was shown as Mr. Holly but that was changed to Mr. Snowball with Holly in the early 1990s, by which time he was $135.
This particular Mr. Snowball is a puzzler because normally I would say — due to the complete lack of color on his body, and only the holly leaves being painted — that he was simply an unfinished piece.
However, he is also signed Cybis U.S.A. legitimately, along with the notation w/w in the same paint as well. I can only assume that “w/w” must mean “white (on) white”, i.e. a completely white rabbit plus white holly berries. However, I’ve never seen such a notation on a post-1950s retail Cybis piece before. My guess is that this was indeed an unfinished piece but when the studio began selling directly to the public in the 1990s they applied new signatures to various pieces of old stock. In fact they did exactly that with some of the very early one of a kind pieces, as shown in the 1940s Papka post; those pieces never originally had either the Cybis signature or the copyright symbol on them, until the studio offered them for sale in the 1990s. And they were selling various “imperfect” pieces at that time also. So I suspect that this is an unfinished piece (because the missing color is red, which would have been used for both the berries and his eye area) that Cybis simply signed and sold during the 1990s. The felt circles may or may not have been applied by the studio; the normal Mr. Snowballs never had them.
This floral-decorated Mr. Snowball is an artist’s proof, and reminds me of the decoration on the 1940s Cordey cats.
I confess that when I first saw this photo, my first thought was “Wow, that is a really dirty Mr. Snowball” before realizing that he is actually painted this way. This auction house’s photos were all very overexposed, and so this may be a little bit darker than it appears, but it’s still much lighter than any of the other circa-1990s brown-colorway bunnies shown later in this post. Whether this is actually the same as the piece shown in their November 1993 price list as Mr. Snowball in brown for $95 is debatable. That piece was retired before the end of 1995. I really would consider this as ‘tan’ rather than brown, especially compared to how the other 1990s brown bunnies look, so I do have my doubts. But for now, at least, I’ll call this one the ‘brown’ version until/unless I see another (properly brown) one show up – at which time I’ll rename this to ‘Mr. Snowball in tan’!
This was a mystery rabbit for almost three years until I finally identified it via the discovery of a 1963 Cybis price list. He was probably introduced at the same time as Mr. Snowball but could possibly have appeared even earlier. I have only ever seen this one example for sale. Shown in the price list simply as Bunny, with design code number 629, he sold for $10 and was considered (as was Mr. Snowball) to be a “color” decorated piece because of the red eyes and pink nose. He is 6.5″ high overall. He does not appear on the next price list I have (1967) and so the most we can say about his production timeframe is that he appeared in 1963 or earlier, and was retired sometime between mid 1963 and mid 1967.
Muffet, introduced in 1976 at $85, is one of the bunnies that (to my knowledge) never had a variant. S/he is 3.25” high and was retired in 1981 at $125.
On the other hand (paw?) Pat-a-Cake, introduced in 1977 in color as shown at $90, has three known iterations. He is 4.5” high and was retired in 1981 at $110.
Cybis introduced a white version of Pat-a-Cake in 1978 as a new named sculpture called Bisquit at $60; he was retired in 1984 at $95. The second photo demonstrates how the two vary only in coloration.
However, when in the early 1980s Cybis did this special event piece in an edition of 200 for Brielle Galleries they specifically named it Pat-A-Cake in White with Carrot (not “Bisquit with Carrot”). I am certain of the name because that was how the sculpture was advertised on the event invitation we received. This was one of the fairly rare instances of an event piece being individually numbered, as shown in the second photo.
The first of only two multi-rabbit sculptures was Bunnies ‘Cotton, Puff and Snow’ which was made for a relatively short term of 1980–1982. Issue price was $250 – perhaps a bit high for an open edition but I suppose the logic was that it contains three bunnies instead of just one! It was retired at $295. This piece is 4.5” high and never had a variant. It was designed by Lynn Klockner Brown.
Bunny ‘Bon Bon’ and His Offspring/Variants
Bon Bon, introduced in 1981, can claim the prize for the most “offspring” in the Cybis rabbit warren: a baker’s dozen! He is 4.75” high. A 1985 retailer advertisement shows him priced at $65 and so it’s likely that at introduction it was $60. Each variant below was a separate retail edition with its own unique name and price point. The variants first began appearing in 1988 and the population really exploded in 1991.
Bon Bon was apparently a fan of higher education because he celebrated graduations, as Bunny Grad, Male (black mortarboard) and Bunny Grad, Female (white mortarboard). They appeared in 1988 for $125 each, both proudly carrying their hard-earned diploma decorated with either a gold ribbon (male) or a tiny rose (female.) On Cybis’ 1993 price list there was an option to purchase the male and female “grad bunnies” together as a pair for $300; that option was discontinued shortly thereafter.
A brown version of Bon Bon (Bon Bon in brown) appeared in 1992, for $95. I do not have a photo of this one but his color was similar to the others that are shown later in this post.
As per Murphy’s Law, I do not have photos of either of these 1991 introductions in their standard retail versions, although I clearly remember seeing them for sale at the time! One was the Bunny Prince and the other was Bunny Princess with Gold Crown. She is 1/4″ taller than the Bunny Prince because of her royal headgear. The royal rabbit shown above was part of the studio’s liquidation sale and was among several random pieces that were done in this odd and definitely “never-sold-as” unattractive blue glaze. Perhaps they were simply testing the color of various blue paints, because the retail version was never this color. However, this is the only photo I have so far found of either of these. Unfortunately, I am unsure whether the mold shown above was the Prince or the Princess. If any reader has either of these royal rabbits and would share a photo, please contact me via the contact form link at the end of this post.
The Bunny Princess was also noticeably more expensive than her consort. While the Bunny Prince sold for $275, Her Highness cost $495!
The 1991 “Golf Bunnies” themselves have eight separate variations under that title. The variations differ only in their names, trim colors and position in which they hold their golf club. The first/standard versions were $125 each, regardless of color or name. Each golf bunny also had a holiday “with holly” counterpart which was $175.
Golf Bunny ‘Gimmie’ wears an orange cap and carries an orange-handled club. He is 5.5” high; the holiday version was named Golf Bunny ‘Gimmie’ with Holly. Because I’ve not yet found any photos, I’m not sure where the holly was attached but my guess is that it replaces the pompom on his cap.
Golf Bunny ‘Mulligan’ and Golf Bunny ‘Mulligan’ with Holly are the green-trimmed versions.
The blue-decorated version is Golf Bunny ‘Bogie’. Of course there was a Golf Bunny ‘Bogie’ with Holly version, and both were sold by Cybis at the prices noted above.
The final golf bunny, for which I have no photo at all, is Golf Bunny ‘Bunkie’ along with Golf Bunny ‘Bunkie’ with Holly. I do know that Bunkie’s accessory/trim color is yellow.
Each of the Golf Bunnies holds their club in a slightly different position; the photo above compares the three for which I have images. This photo is helpful in case any of these show up with their golf club detached or in the wrong spot.
Puttin’ on the Ritz is Bon Bon with the addition of a black bowtie and two shirt buttons. He first appeared in 1991 at $175.
This bunny is Liberty who is decked out in a red, white and blue colorway. He would look right at home attending a July Fourth parade or a political convention. This is the first/original version, which appeared in 1991 for $175. There was also supposedly a ‘Desert Storm Commemorative’ version which, logically, should have had some sort of different decoration. I have never seen one of those.
The “bunnies with bonnets” appeared in 1993. Bunny with Bonnet (Standing Holding Bouquet) is the Bon Bon version and sold for $295. Due to the bonnet this bunny is 5.25” high.
Bon Bon with Holly finally appeared in 1993, selling for $135. He looks a bit worried about being pricked under the chin by those holly leaves, doesn’t he?
Bunny ‘Patriot’, who is a slightly different colorway of Liberty, was added in the early 2000s; instead of a solid blue tie and boutonniere, his is striped red, white and blue.
Bon Bon with Santa Hat is the tallest of the Bon Bon versions because of his pointy hat. Although the hat is red and white, there were two colorways of it: red with white trim, and white with red trim. Whether there was ever also a green-and-white version is open to conjecture! This variant appeared in the early 2000s and was $140.
There were two Irish-themed Bon Bon variants that probably also appeared in 1991 or 1992. One was called Puttin’ on the Irish, described on the later Cybis website as being “with green bow.” This variant sold for $125.
This second “Irish Bon Bon” appeared as Begorrah Bunny, which apparently is Puttin’ on the Irish with the addition of a hat. It was priced at $125 as well. Although this looks like gold paint to me, the Cybis website once described him as “with green bowtie and straw hat”. Your guess is as good as mine!
This blue-trimmed Bon Bon is probably an artist’s proof, or could possibly have been a gallery event piece. It was never sold at retail but was in the studio’s 2019/2020 liquidation auction.
Bon Bon in orange and black looks well-dressed for Hallowe’en! He could have been a gallery event issue or simply a test piece. This piece was a liquidation-sale item also.
On the other hand, this yellow-orange Bon Bon was almost certainly a test piece.
We now return you to our chronologically-sorted bunny introductions! (non-Bon Bon) 🙂
In 1983 Cybis introduced Jellybean who reclines comfortably at 2.5” high and sold for $85. The holiday version Jellybean with Holly appeared in 1990 for $125.
Jellybean in Brown was one of only six bunnies who were ever offered in this lovely realistic shaded brown color. Their first appearance was either in late 1991 or spring 1992; on Cybis lists of the time, they are indicated as the “c” [color] versus “w” [white] version. They were no longer offered by the time the fall 1995 price list came out. (The brown-variant bunnies were Mr. Snowball, Bon Bon, Jellybean, Snowflake, Bunnykins, and Cuddles.)
Moving on to 1985 we find Snowflake, an appropriately white bunny who was priced to match Jellybean at $85. She is 3.75″ high and had five known spinoffs, including Snowflake with Holly who matched Jellybean with Holly in price.
Here is the short-lived but lovely Snowflake in Brown from 1992 at $95.
Of course there is an Irish version! This is Patrick, introduced in 1986 for $95. He is all ready for the big parade in his green bowler hat and munching on a shamrock.
One of the two Valentine themed bunnies is Heartfelt who appeared in 1987 for $95.
Here is Heartfelt in brown (the same shade of brown as the other studio-retail versions.) The only difference between this and Snowflake in brown is the addition of the heart locket.
However, this particular piece (a Heartfelt in dark brown) was almost certainly a color test.
The companion bunny to the straw-hatted bunny in the Bon Bon section above was Bunny with Bonnet, Sitting which is a spinoff of Snowflake. It sold for $195 in 1993 which was $100 less than the ‘Bon Bon version.’
An intriguing Snowflake spinoff on the 1993 price list was the Bunny with Yellow Ribbon (Desert Storm Commemorative) at $125. The spring 1999 list does not include this, nor did the Cybis website. Luckily the price list gave the height which at 3.75″ matches only Snowflake. My guess is that this was one of three known non-limited editions that were given a yellow ribbon to honor the returning Desert Storm troops in 1991 or 1992.
A six-inch-tall member of Cybis’ animal band is Huey the Harmonious Hare from 1986 for $225. He was part of the series which was designed by Steve Zuczek and shown in the Music and Opera post.
Another of the single-version rabbits was the Ski Bunny from 1987 at a price of $250. He shares his headgear with Bon Bon with Santa Hat, albeit in a different coloration and an applied texture to suggest knitwear. He is 6” high overall.
An unusual dual-purpose bunny piece was named Bunny ‘A Tisket, A Tasket’ even though it contains not one but two rabbits. Designed by Steve Zuczek, this bunny-cachepot sold for $295. As seen in the photos above, the bunnies are the ‘front men’ for a porcelain basket. It is 4” high to the top of the basket’s handle.
Bunnykins was also introduced in 1989, at $75 and is 3” high x 5.5” long. Bunnykins’ prices for the white, holly, and short-lived brown versions tracked with that of the Snowflake, Jellybean, etc.
Bunny with Carrot was another 1989 introduction and thus some will have the 50th Anniversary backstamp. He is 5.75” high and sold for $195 during the 1990s. He is extremely similar to the golf bunnies but is not the same mold. There’s also a size differential: the golf bunnies are listed at 5.5” high including their cap, and this bunny is listed at 5.75” without any headgear. But even if he is not from the identical mold, he certainly is a very close relative.
Cuddles appeared in 1991 and is 3″ high. He is the last of the “white/holly/brown” group and tracked with them in price points. I do not have a photo of the brown version of Cuddles, Bon Bon or Mr Snowball but hope to add them someday.
Cybis did include a bunny as a secondary element in one sculpture: Melissa, a young girl cradling a white rabbit in her arms. She can be seen in her retail and special-edition colorways in Pink and Blue.
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