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; by 1983 the retail price had risen to $95. The second photo demonstrates how the two vary only in coloration. Both of these colorways were retired between 1982 and 1988.
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.
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; his final price was $99. Each variant below was a separate retail edition with its own unique name and price point.
Puttin’ on the Ritz is Bon Bon with the addition of a black bowtie and two shirt buttons. He first appeared sometime between 1988 and 1992; the 1993 price list shows him at $195.
On the same list is Puttin’ on the Irish, described as “with green bow” meaning that his bow is green instead of black. Oddly he is only $125… a $70 difference from “Ritz” merely because of bow color??
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. In 1993 he was $195.
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. Why he was priced at 125, which was $70 less than Liberty at that time, despite being identical except for minor paint details is anyone’s guess!
There are two different Christmas variations of Bon Bon. This one was the first and is called Bon Bon with Holly. He appeared sometime between 1988 and 1990, selling for $135 in 1993 and $150 during the 2000s. He looks a bit worried about being pricked under the chin by those holly leaves, doesn’t he?
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 during the late 1990s and was $140. However, a mid-1970s Acquire magazine article about the studio reported a “Santa bunny with a beard” among several whimsical sculptures in one of the showroom areas. It’s possible that it was a more elaborate version of this much later retail iteration.
Bon Bon was apparently a fan of higher education because he also 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.
The next three Bon Bon variants all appeared between 1988 and 1993; Bunny with Bonnet (Standing Holding Bouquet) is on their 1993 price list for $295. Due to the bonnet this bunny is 5.25” high.
There were two “royal” Bon Bons: one was the Bunny Prince at 5” high. His companion was surely most expensive Cybis bunny ever: the Bunny Princess with Gold Crown, just slightly taller at 5.25″ high.
The one 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 bunnies, which I remember seeing in person at Brielle Galleries during the 1980s. 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 link at the bottom of this post.
A second “Irish Bon Bon” appeared in the 1990s as Begorrah Bunny, which apparently is Puttin’ on the Irish with the addition of a hat. It was priced at $125. 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.
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 colorway was not part of the retail line.
On the other hand, this yellow-orange Bon Bon was almost certainly a test piece.
Bon Bon was also made in a special brown color (see below) for a short time during the early 1990s. Bon Bon in brown sold for $95.
In 1983 Cybis introduced Jellybean who reclines comfortably at 2.5” high and sold for $85 in 1993. 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 1991 or 1992; I don’t have price lists for those two years at the moment. I bought three of the six brown bunnies at the studio in 1992 for $95 each, which was their price on the 1993 Cybis list, where 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 ($85) in 1993. 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 the early 1990s at $95.
Of course there is an Irish version! This is Patrick, introduced in 1986 for $95 but $125 by 1993. 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 and ended at $135.
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 and 1995 price lists was the Bunny with Yellow Ribbon 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 but then at $295 after 1990. 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.
The 1989 “golf bunnies” can boast of eight separate variations from a single mold. This happened to also be the Golden Anniversary year, in which all new introductions were given the special 50th Anniversary stamp if they were also physically produced during that year. The variations differ only in their names, trim colors and position in which they hold their golf club. Each golf bunny also had a holiday “with holly” counterpart. Pricing details are given after the photos.
Golf Bunny ‘Gimmie’ wears an orange cap and carries an orange-handled club. He is 5.5” high and had a holiday version 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.
The final golf bunny, for which I have no photo at all, is Golf Bunny ‘Bunkie’ along with Golf Bunny ‘Bunkie’ with Holly. Bunkie’s accessory/trim color is yellow.
The golf bunnies were all introduced in 1989 but I have no record of their issue prices. On Cybis’ 1993 price list the regular golf bunnies were all $135, and the With Holly versions were $190… although one could purchase all four of the Holly Golf Bunnies for $700 which was a savings of $60 from the “each” prices. This option was ended shortly thereafter. The regular Golf Bunnies sold for $175 from 1995 onward, and the holly versions for $195.
Bunnykins was also introduced in 1989, at $75 and is 3” high x 5.5” long. Sculptures produced in 1989 will have the special stamp but the others will not. 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.
As part of the studio’s early-1990s “pair or set” discount experiment, in 1993 one could purchase all six of the With-Holly bunnies for $750. Because they sold for $135 individually, this was a $60 discount.
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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