Unique and Unusual Cordey Porcelain, Part 2

As a follow-up to my first post on this subject, here are a dozen additional Cordey items that struck me as being unique, unusual, or in some cases downright weird. Like all Cordey pieces that emerged from the Cybis facility, they date from the 1940s or early 1950s.


This first example is unusual because of its colorway, being almost entirely painted in dark browns and dark green. The base section in particular is shaded in such a way as to simulate wood. The lady and her garb are also more ‘tailored’ than most female Cordey figures, even to her hair being short rather than the typical abundance of sausage-curl ringlets. Her mold/model number (4023) is painted in blue on the underside, as well as the number 1949 added in another hand in heavy green paint. Given the era, this could possibly represent a year but could just as easily refer to the colorway. The Cordey name was applied via paintstamp.


Perhaps it’s merely the angle of photography for this Asian lady figure, but her expression coupled with the appearance of holding something in her hands (she isn’t; the design is on her tunic) immediately made me think of someone trying to solve a Rubik’s cube. Weird, I know.. but still…! She is 11.5″ tall.


Staying within the pink/blue theme for a moment, this pair of Regency-styled gents illustrates the difference that slight decorative variations can make within the same body mold. Both are just about 8″ tall. The one on the left is marked 4037P on the underside, while the one on the right (with the ‘skirt’) is marked 4033P. One can assume that the P stood for “pink” as the predominating paint color, but what did the 37 versus the 33 signify? The labyrinthine nature of Cordey production numbers will probably never be unraveled at this late date.


Cordey used a few different Asian/Oriental figure molds but I have to say that this pair made me laugh out loud when I first saw them. Not only do the long index “fingernails” look like claws, but the poses also make the figures look as if they are doing the Hokey Pokey! Add in the heart-shaped fan and the mini-Mickey Mouse ears helmet, and this pair lands squarely in my “weird Cordeys” column for sure. Both are between 11″ and 12″ high and have the Cordey name in the mold. The production numbers are 4069, 5044 and 126 on one figure; and 4070, 3045 and 204 on the other. Mold numbers for paired figures are often adjacent in this way.


This was probably intended as a holder for either letters or perhaps a special greeting card. It is about 8″ wide, 3″ high, and 3.5″ deep back to front, so it’s much too large to be a placecard holder. The slot is 1/4″ wide and the mold number on the bottom is 930 which is a bit odd because the 900 series is most often found on their wall sconces, especially the “lady heads.” Household and home décor items such as this typically had 7000 or 8000 series numbers.


Speaking of home décor items, I can’t imagine the rationale for this “pretzelated” (yes, I just made that word up) swan vase. The contortions of his neck appear almost painful. 😦  The design mark on this is 1027. It’s a hefty piece, measuring 16″ long, 11″ high, and almost 8″ at the widest point…and weighing almost 7 1/2 lbs! But as far as actually accommodating flowers, I don’t know how useful it would be unless the blooms were packed into the opening very tightly.


Another oddity is this handpainted rose plate which is unusual in two respects: There are no applied flowers anywhere  — a rarity in Cordeys! – and it bears an artist signature in addition to the Cordey marks on the reverse. Unfortunately the seller did not mention the diameter of the plate. The back is stamped Cordey in blue paint, with a second blue-paint stamp directly below it, saying Hand Painted.  In another location, but in green paint, is the notation 8A. The signature within the rose motif looks as if it may be F. Fenzh but I suppose might also be “Fench” or “Finch” despite the fact that the fourth letter does look most like a Z. This is the only such Cordey plate that I have seen come up for sale. The gold rim being ‘solid’ rather than accents on white is also a departure from Cordey decorating norms; can’t say I think it improves the look, frankly, as it seems heavy-handed.



This pair of cherub candlesticks made me giggle because of the hand positions: One is giving a thumbs-up while the other is waving. Wouldn’t they look right at home on a Rose Bowl Parade float? They are about 8″ high.

Here’s one of them perched on what’s probably a dresser or trinket dish (seems too pretty to be an ashtray) measuring approximately 6″ x 9″ x 4″ high. He is clearly following the advice of Skipper, the penguin from ‘Madagascar’: “Just smile and wave, boys; smile and wave.”


I doubt that it was the artist’s intention, but this lady’s headgear looks exactly like a helmet topped by a pair of red cabbage leaves.


I’ve only seen a couple of Cordey pieces depicting children, and all of their female figures do seem to be adults, but for some reason this one strikes me as being a little girl — especially a flower girl at a wedding. Her face seems too rounded to be a teen or adult. She’s a tour de force of Cordey dipped lace, handmade flowers, and gold trim. One would expect her to be fairly small, if indeed intended to be a child, but she’s a more typical Cordey adult size of 10″ high. The diameter of her skirt tops out at almost 8 inches.



This almost Gothic-looking Cordey woman displays a very rare paint color (black) for most porcelain figurines, and especially Cordey. Small black accents are not that unusual but to have such a large portion of her dress in that color is rare. The combination of the black dress and the purple-pink flowers give this gal a decidedly sinister air, to my eyes at least. Disney villain, anyone?



This last (13th) item is certainly not a Cordey, although it was described by the seller as being one. My immediate impression was “Mae West” , for obvious reasons! Although she has sausage-curl front hair and her bodice is wrapped in lace, it doesn’t display the typical Cordey workmanship; the headgear especially is not something the Cordey studio would have done this way. It looks as if someone took a small piece of lace doily, folded it into a rectangle, and plopped it on her head with some glue. The lace itself does not appear to even have been dipped, but instead simply glued on. The black-painted underside/interior is also something that Cordey never did. Even the overall height is too small for a Cordey bust; it is only 5″, whereas the smallest Cordey lady bust is between 6″ and 6.5″ high. This bust is, however, a useful example of how not every lace-decorated vintage china figurine was made by Cordey. 🙂

Browse other posts about Cordey

Name Index of Cybis Sculptures
Visual Index (for Cybis human figures/busts only; no Cordey)

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