I have been bidding my time before tackling the question of 19th century German bisque figures. There are so many of them! Almost every antique shop or mall will offer a few good examples, many of them in pairs, and a surprising number of these holding a frame drum! In the past couple of years, we have collected a fair number, some in pairs, but occasionally a single figure. They are usually painted in soft pastels and some are very richly decorated.
I usually think of pre-World War I Germans as stern followers of Bismark, but these figures clearly appeal to the romantic side. They are so very sentimental! Pink and baby blue are favourite colours, even for some of the male figures.
The pair I would like to feature today has an interesting back story. I found them in a small shop called Acorn Farm Country Store on a rural property outside of Carmel, IN last October. They stand 15 inches tall, making them the tallest pair in our collection. When I found them, they carried a tag which read; "Bisque Boy and Girl / Wonderful Painting / Number on Base H.15 Circa 1890 (Price is for Girl ---- Boy is damaged and included at no cost)" When I read the price, I gulped as it was well over my usual spending limit for Bisque, but then it was the undamaged girl who was holding the frame drum! Here was a situation where where I would have to bargain. Thankfully it was a small shop and I was soon speaking to the proprietor.
I began my appeal by complimenting her on her shop and her collection. Getting down to the figure I was interested in, I remarked that while the price she was asking would seem appropriate if the pair was in good condition, the boy had been repaired, and bisque figures were at their most valuable when one had a matched pair without damage or repair. After hearing me out, she asked how much I would be prepared to offer. Thinking fast, I came up with a figure which I hoped would be acceptable. I offered her roughly 2/3rds of her asking price. She hesitated and then said that she would have to consult her notes. She brought out a binder which clearly must have recorded the prices she had paid, scribbled out something, and looked up. I was expecting her to make a counter-offer, but instead she said that she could accept my price. So I had them. By the way, I would read the mould number on the back of the boy as 5175 (not H. 15). The figure on the girl is too faint to read.