With only one exception, none of the Cybis birds produced after 1960 resembled the early birds of the 1950s in style, and all of them were created in bisque (matte) porcelain. The sculptures below are sorted by decade according to their introduction year.
The bird itself is a Holland Mold Company mold from the 1950s which Cybis did not introduce at retail until 1961. This is the Baby White Crested Sparrow which is also shown as “Baby Crested Sparrow” in a later Cybis publication. This little fellow was produced from 1961 to 1965 and is 3.5” high. His retail price ranged from $25 to $35. It was made only in color (no white bisque version.) In nature there actually no such thing as a “white-crested sparrow;” perhaps Cybis was thinking of the White-crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys, which is found in much of North America.
The Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers on base were sold as a limited edition of only 200 pair from 1961 to 1970. Pricing was $400 throughout. They are both about 6” h x 10” w including the base. The female is the bird perched on a lower branch, the male on a higher one. Although the design for this piece was done by Lynn Klockner Brown, at least one of the original-design birds (the female) was replaced by an existing bird mold, i.e., the one that had been previously used on the Madonna with Bird. See a comparison of the two in the Body Snatching post. The production version of the Gnatcatchers did retain all of the other original Lynn Brown elements, however.
The Carolina Paroquet, Male and Carolina Paroquet, Female were sold as separate sculptures. Both were made only from 1962–1965. The male, shown at left in the upper photo and also in the color image, is 8” h and the female is 6.5” h. It was offered in both plain white bisque for $75 and also in color for $95. Surprisingly, these were open editons! The bird depicted is the “Carolina parakeet” a/k/a Carolina Paroquet, Conuropsis carolinensis which was declared extinct in 1939. A fascinating website devoted to this bird can be found here.
Duckling ‘Baby Brother’ was an open edition from 1962 to 1979 and stands 4.5” high. Initially priced at $35, he was $95 at retirement. Supposedly this is a baby merganser according to the 1965 Cybis catalog, but merganser ducklings are heavily colored, not white. There was a one-of-a-kind sculpture created for a benefit auction in 1978 which added a flowery parasol; that piece was given the special name of April Rain.
The Wood Wren with Dogwood was introduced in 1963 in both white bisque and color. The white one was made for only one year (1963-1964) at $55 and came with an accompanying wood base (but see note below.) The color one was not retired until 1981. The color version started at $70 retail and closed at $395. It is 5.5” high and was also produced with the accompanying base until September 1975, at which time the bases were discontinued. Despite the name “wood wren” given by Cybis, this bird appears instead to be the winter wren, Troglodytes hiemalis. Cybis bending natural history a bit! This same mold was later used for two similar flower studies.
This unusual example differs from the standard colorway in three areas: It has three flowers instead of four, the nest is a different shade of brown, and the color of the wren herself – which I think is more interesting than the typical version! It seems more reminiscent of the birds of the previous decade. I suspect that this colorway may actually have been the first/initial version; why? Because the photo used in the 1960s Cybis catalogs show it with only three dogwood flowers (as the yellow-trimmed example has) rather than four, as is typically found on the brown bird sculptures.
UPDATE, JULY 2018: This all-white example appeared for sale on eBay but I am reluctant to positively identify this as part of the 1963-64 retail edition, because it is not signed or stamped in paint. It does have the block-letter CYBIS mold impression on the bottom of one branch leg, but that is something that would be done during the first firing of that branch mold piece. A sculpture that was sent out for retail sale would have had the Cybis signature added in brown paint in the usual place for this piece, which is on the back of the thickest, rearmost branch leg. (The color is also not the typical Cybis retail bright white bisque, but the piece may be dirty or the photograph may make the color look duller than it is.) Thus it’s possible that this piece may be an unfinished leftover “escapee” from the studio, probably given to or bought by an employee at Cybis’ annual ‘oddities auction’ at year end at any point from 1963 to 1981. But it is useful to see this in order to have an idea of what the all-white 1963-64 retail piece probably looked like. It’s also possible that the 1963 retail edition had only three flowers, because the four-flower Wood Wrens appeared a bit later.
Here is the limited edition Great White Heron, posing at 19” high as an issue of 350. The 1979 Cybis catalog gives its issue year as 1964, although Cybis in Retrospect shows it as 1965; the edition was completed in 1973. The retail price started at $850 and ended at $1300. The so-called “Great White Heron” is actually the white morph of the Great Blue Heron Ardea herodia. Cybis is being inexact again, because although they’ve got the leg color correct for this white variant, they neglected to add the long neck and chest feathers that give this heron a somewhat ‘shaggy’ appearance. Artistic license! Like the earlier Little Blue Heron, this too was by Laszlo Ispanky.
Cybis returned to the paired bird studies with the Solitary Sandpipers which was a limited edition of 400 pair. They are 7.5” high. Again there is a slight conflict in its issue year; a Cybis catalog says 1965 while Cybis in Retrospect says 1966. The edition was closed in 1971. Pricing began at $500 and ended at $750. Despite this bird’s common name it does migrate in small flocks.
The first of two such studies, the Penguin was made only in 1966 and 1967. He is 5.5” high and was an open edition selling for $35.
Blue Headed Vireo with Lilac is another limited-edition pair by Lynn Klockner Brown. They are each 12” high. The set was issue in 1967 with a declared edition of 500 but this was reduced to 275 before the studio closed the edition in 1975. The retail price went from $1200 to $2100 during that period.
Although the standard retail edition (pictured in color in the 1979 Cybis catalog) has white lilacs, this example has pink! The piece is not marked as an artist’s proof, so perhaps there was a colorway change at some point — or it may be that this was a custom flower color on request. Notice the variation in the color of the vireo’s plumage between the pink-lilac and white-lilac detail photos; the pink version’s bird appears to be more of a brownish-grey and also have more yellow tints.
The brilliant male Wood Duck was also a limited edition and is 10” high. An edition of 500 from 1968-1972, it was $325 throughout. Cybis artist Rose Barclay painted most of these; the design required 17 different colors, each needing its own separate firing.
The perky wren is showcased in Clematis with House Wren, a 12” high limited edition produced 1969–1976. This was another issue that underwent a reduction, from 500 to only 350, although the price increase was very modest: $1300 to $1350. Designed by Lynn Klockner Brown.
Here is an artist’s proof with white flowers instead of mauve pink.
The American Screech Owl with Virginia Creeper was a limited edition of 500 in 1969. It sold out within a single year despite being priced at $1500. Measuring 13” high, this is the Eastern screech owl, Megascops (formerly Otus) asio.
Perhaps the most magnificent Cybis bird sculpture ever produced was the one-of-a-kind Crown Crested Crane which was made for the 1964 Worlds Fair in New York. Although I would not ‘discover’ Cybis until almost ten years later, I clearly recall seeing and marveling at this sculpture when I attended that same Worlds Fair! Sadly, I have not found any photograph of this sculpture. The actual bird, Balearica regulorum, is shown below; the ‘crest’ actually did look exactly like that, in porcelain.
This is the national bird of Uganda and was displayed in the African Pavilion. I seem to recall, although not 100% positive – after all, this was a half-century ago! – that the Cybis sculpture may have depicted not one but two bird, in a “dancing” pose… in which case the sculpture name should probably be plural. I would love to find a photo of this wonderful Cybis piece.
Nine bird studies were released by Cybis during the 1970s, seven of them being limited editions.
The American Crested Iris with Bobwhite Chick appeared in 1972 at $975. It is 7.5” hight and 10.5” wide. Its declared edition of 500 was cut to 400 by 1979 and it was either completed or closed during the 1980s.. One can classify this sculpture as both a “flower” and a “bird” study. This is another Lynn Klockner Brown design. The bird, Colinus virginianus, is variously called the Virginia quail, northern bobwhite, or bobwhite quail because of its distinctive whistling call.
The colorful Autumn Dogwood with Chickadees was an issue of 500 in 1972 priced at $1100. It measures 8.75” high x 10” wide. It was still in production as of 1979 but was closed during the 1980s. The lively and inquistive Black-capped Chickadee has a British counterpart in the Coal Tit. (Designed by Lynn K. Brown.)
The Golden Winged Warbler with Andromeda was a surprisingly small edition of only 200 in 1974. It is 10.5” h x 9.5” w and was initially priced at $1075 which stayed at that level until at least 1979. This edition, too, ended in the 1980s. Although this is another of Lynn Brown’s wonderful designs, the decision was made to cast the andromeda (Pieris japonica) flower sprays from a mold instead of forming each bloom by hand as had been done in the other Cybis floral pieces. The result was not as well received by collectors as the previous studies of this type had been.
1975 was the issue year for the Great Horned Owl ‘Koo Koos Koos’, a magnificent piece by Charles Oldham. Created in two separate colorway editions, the brown version was an issue of only 50, at $3250, which closed in 1979 at the same price. There were 150 of the white/albino version (seen in the Owls post) which ranged in price from $1950 to $2250 during the same timeframe. “Koos” is quite large at 20″ high including the base.
A special edition from 1976 was the Eagle Atop the Palisades commissioned by the NJ Bicentennial Commission. The Palisades is a line of high steep cliffs running along the Hudson River in both New Jersey and New York; the leaves and acorns represent the Red Oak which is the New Jersey state tree. The two round medallions are the seals of the State (background) and its Bicentennial Commission. This was originally available for only during 1976 at a price of $150. It is 8.25″ high and the eagle has a wingspan of 7.5″.
It was brought back into the lineup in the early 1990s when the studio launched a “New Jersey Collection.” Its new price as a non-limited edition was set at $575 for this color version.
Unfortunately the special stamp on the bottom of this color version is impossible to read, despite attempts to maximize the image quality. The eagle itself is the same one that had previously been used in 1970 on the limited edition commemorative Apollo 11 moon mission sculpture. Cybis’ bald eagles are shown in Born in the USA.
Returning to the work of Charles Oldham we have the Kestrel, a declared limited edition of 350 introduced in 1977 at $1875. The edition was closed in 1982 after only 175 of them were made; it closed at its issue price. Also called “sparrow hawk”, the American kestrel is Falco sparverius and is a different bird from its European relative. It is our smallest falcon. Cybis has portrayed him about to dine on a plump and obviously doomed grasshopper! This sculpture is 18” high on its base and 14” wide including the wingspread. (The Kestrel in Porcelain, on my other site, is an overview of how different studios have portrayed this lovely bird.)
Another limited edition in 1977 was the Hermit Thrush with Cranberry Cotoneaster. This limited edition of 250 (at $1450) was completed in 1981 at the same price. This thrush is found at various times of the year throughout the USA and shares the habit of its relative the Rufous-sided Towhee of scrabbling about in leaf litter while foraging.
Also introduced in 1977 was the open edition Ducklings ‘Buttercup and Daffodil’ which continued to be made for almost two decades. Five inches high, this piece retailed for $165 at introduction.
Cybis returned to the pair format with Kinglets on Pyracantha (fire thorn) which was produced from 1978–1982. The male is the one with the orange crest. The original declared issue was 500 pair, quickly reduced to 300 and ultimately to only 175 pair. The original issue price was $900 which increased to $1100 before closing. Designed by Lynn Klockner Brown.
Nestling Bluebirds on Cockspur Hawthorn appeared in 1978. Measuring 4” h x 5.5” wide, it was first offered at $235. Another Lynn Brown design, it was retired during the 19809s. The plant, Crataegus crus-galli, is native to eastern North America and although the fall berries are attractive the spring flowers are not very pleasing to the nose; however, these baby bluebirds do not seem to mind at all.
The final 1970s avian piece was Baby Chicks ‘Downy and Lemon’ in 1979. Also by Lynn Brown, they are just a bit smaller than the duckling pair at 4.5” high; its introduction price was $215 and was retired before 1988.
1980s and 1990s Introductions
The stunning Australian Greater Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos study in 1984 was sculpted by Susan Eaton. It was taken from life and based on Mrs. Eaton’s own pet bird. This small edition of only 25 sold for $9850, which works out to about $22,000 in 2016 dollars! It is also one of Cybis’ largest bird studies at 25” high. It was either completed or closed in less than four years; I have heard that it was extremely difficult for them to produce and so it’s likely that the edition was closed early at a smaller final number.
At the other end of the 1984 introduction spectrum is the diminutive 4” high Woody Owl, a young saw-whet owlet who was $115 originally. He was retired in 1994.
Another non-limlited edition is the 3.5″ high Baby Swan from 1985. Oddly, this does not appear at all in their 1988 price list, which normally indicates that the piece had been retired, but it reappeared at the start of the 1990s at $75 and continued to be available for purchase.
A dove mold from 1986 had three retail iterations, differing only in the position of its wings: upright, slightly spread, or widespread. The sculpture itself was designed by Lynn Klockner Brown.
The Dove with upright wings was introduced in 1986 for $100. It is 5″ high. This is another piece that was introduced, then disappeared for a few years only to reappear in the early 1990s at a slightly higher pricepoint ($115.)
This is the same dove but with holly leaves and berries painted on. There is a Holiday Dove in the 1988 Cybis price list for $100, so this might be it. (It is not shown on the 1993, 1995, or 1999 price lists.) But it’s unclear whether the retail edition had this painted-on decoration or had the usual “applied” leaves and berries made of porcelain, as did all of the holiday animals and bunnies.
Cybis used the same mold but with the wings spread at a 45-degree angle as one of two doves in their 1987 Bridal Centerpiece, shown in Here Come the Cybis Brides. That version was not offered as a separate retail piece as far as I know.
This third iteration, with wings outspread as if in flight, has no year in the mold impression but it was originally used as the other dove on the 1987 Bridal Centerpiece. I suspect it did not become a retail edition until the 1990s. Lacking any reference to it in any of my Cybis price lists, I’ll call it the “Dove in Flight“. It is about 3″ high and has a 5” wingspan. The small round base is unusual in that it’s one of only two I’ve seen from Cybis that do not have a flat bottom; see the photo of it in Base Behavior at Cybis.
Several birds appeared in 1987 including two non-limited editions. This one is the Black Capped Chickadees with Dogwood and is 4.5” high. The issue price was $295. At introduction this piece was described as the “first edition in the Cybis Bird Collection” and continued to be available thereafter.
The Golden Eagle was the other 1987 bird study. It is taller than many non-limited bird editions at 15.25” high; width is 7 inches. Like Koos Koos Koos of the previous decade this was also offered in a color and an albino version designated as “white.” Although these were non-limited editions, some of them are numbered — which can be confusing unless you know why. At introduction these were put into the studio’s special “Constitutional Collection” of new issues but with a slight dfiference: Pieces that were physically created during the four months of special celebrations in Philadelphia (May, June, July and August 1987) were numbered. All of the subsequent pieces are, as is usual for a “non-limited”, NOT numbered. So you may well see one of these eagles with a number next to the signature. I have no idea how high the numbers went but would like to find out. Issue prices are unknown but the following year (1988) the white was $575 and the color $925. Both continued to be available (without any numbers) into the early 2000s.
This is an artist’s proof in a lighter color and with the base formed as a rock instead of ‘grass.’
The Gyrfalcon is a Charles Oldham piece that was introduced in 1987. The introduction brochure lists it as an edition of 25 priced at $8000 each; however, the following year (1988) the edition size was increased to 100 and the price to $8400. This is a large sculpture at 24.5” high and 13” wide. The fact that Cybis continued to offer this piece as late as the 2000s (at steadily increasing pricepoints) indicates that the edition was never fully completed.
The Preening Baby Swan was introduced in 1988; this is the same mold as the Baby Swan from 1985 but with the head/neck repositioned and a tuft of side feathers added. It is 3.75” high and sold for $95 in 1993.
Goldfinch with Violets is a charming nonlimited edition from 1988 at 6” high; issue price was $425. Only a couple of years later it was drafted in to the new “New Jersey Collection” and rechristened The New Jersey Goldfinch with Violets at $675. It continued to be identified that way until the circa-2000s website which returned it to its original name of Goldfinch with Violets (but for $795.)
The Preening Baby Swan with Hat is a variant of the 1988 Preening Baby Swan. This version appeared in 1989 which means some received the special 50th Anniversary backstamp. It could be had with either a pink or a blue hat and is 4” high. This is another swan that disappeared for a few years and then came back during the 1990s — apparantly 1994 for this one — at a higher price (in this case $150.) It continued to be available thereafter.
Nestling Owls ‘Harriet Hank and Hoot’ appeared in 1988 as well (it was apparantly a good year for avians) as a 7″ high non-limited edition for $325. They kept hooting all the way to the 2000s.
Another 1980s owl study was Screech Owl with Siblings; I grouse (no pun intended) about its awkward nomenclature in the Owls post. A completed edition of only 100, it was priced at $3925 in 1988. Additional views are also available in that post.
Another misnamed piece is Golden Crown Kinglets with Crab Apple Blossoms; Cybis spelled it as “Crown” which is ornithologically incorrect: it should be “Golden Crowned“. The spelling was probably intentional in order to avoid possible confusion with the early 1960s Golden Crowned Kinglets which is an entirely different piece. This was another 1989 introduction and has the special backstamp on those actually made that year (later ones will not have it.) It is 4.5” high x 5” wide. This non-limited edition sold for $395. Stylistically this reminds me of the 1987 Black Capped Chickadees shown above and may have been designed by the same person.
The Baby Duckling is different from the 1960s Duckling ‘Baby Brother’ although they are posed similarly with their little wings outspread. This duckling is 5.5” high and is also a 1989 introduction. It was a non-limited edition, originally $150 but finally $175. It was apparently made in two colorways (white and yellow) although the price lists did not indicate this; most seen today are white. A close comparison of the mold shows that this is not the same upright duckling that was used in the 1970s Buttercup and Daffodil pair although the pose again is similar.
Little Chick was a Spring 1990 introduction at $125 according to a text-only price list at the time; it is 4.5″ high. The one official Cybis photo (top) was printed only in black and white and so until one of these came up for sale on ebay I had no idea what color the piece was. Obviously at least some of these, and possibly all, are yellow. By the way, all of the Cybis lists (and website) misspell this title as “Little Chic” which is enough to make any grammarian gag and Daniel Webster start spinning in his grave; it is wrong, and I refuse to follow Cybis down that particular rabbit hole!
A mysterious sculpture which was not originally intended to be a retail edition was the Phoenix, an issue of 100 that was priced at $950. This was a sculptural representation of the two-dimensional stylized upright Cybis Phoenix logo that was introduced in 1980 to replace their former horizontal-phoenix logo. I have never seen a photo of this sculpture but was told by an artist who worked for Cybis at the time that it was plain white bisque and a gallery promotional item rather than a retail issue. It does not appear in any of the catalogs or any price list that I have seen. According to the Cybis artist, this was not a naturalistic bird but instead a literal in-the-round representation of the stylized Cybis logo. If anyone happens to have a photograph of this unusual bird to share, please let me know via the direct-contact form on the About the Cybis Archive page; many thanks!
The second of Cybis’ penguin pieces was Penguins, Steppin’ Out; this dapper non-limited pair is 6.25” high. My best guess for issue year is 1990; price was $325 in 1993.
And last but not least, I would not be at all surprised to someday learn that this gorgeous 1988 study had been sculpted by Charles Oldham. According to the Cybis website the “unique base allow swans to be displayed together or apart” and it was listed in that format as Swans in Motion (pair). When displayed together as shown in their photo it measures 21.5 ” high and 38″ wide. It’s a shame that the Cybis photo is so dark and doesn’t show much detail, especially of the bases, but my guess is that they are curved and contoured in such a way that they can be placed against each other and still look naturalistic. The price for the Swans in Motion as shown was $12,500 at introduction with the edition size listed as 100.
However, Cybis’ November 1993 price list also includes the separate sculptures Swan (wings out) and Swan (wings up) with their own individual prices and as an edition of 100 for each. The swans were not offered separately at the time that Swans in Motion was first introduced, so it’s likely that the spinoffs happened in 1990. The wings-out swan is 12” high x 23” wide and was priced at $9750 on that list; the wings-up swan is 21.5” high and 15” wide and was offered at $7500. Frankly I doubt that more than a few of any of the swans were made and/or sold at any of these pricepoints.
See the Cybis Early Birds post for the birds that were produced from the 1940s through 1960.
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