Quick Guide to Collectible Piano Babies
Have you ever heard of a piano baby? These small bisque porcelain figurines may catch the eye of a collector because of their adorable resemblance to babies, boys and girls, but many of them have much more to offer than simply being cute. If you want to delve into the world of collectibles, you need to learn as much as you possibly can about the figures to help you find the valuables amongst the many piano babies out there.
The piano baby was originally manufactured during the Victorian age as a weight for the dust covering on a piano. While this may not seem like a necessary item today, back in the late 19th century, most homes had a piano in them and that piano was protected from dust by a silk shawl. Small figurines were produced to stop the shawl from slipping. Most homeowners didn’t want their prize possession decorated with ugly shawl weights, so the collectibles were given an attractive appearance.
The original purpose of the piano baby was to add to the protection of a piano. However, it didn’t take long for function to take a backseat. These collectibles started gracing bookshelves, vanities and mantels because of their unparalleled cute factor instead of their ability to hold a piece of fabric in place. Many bisque porcelain models were made to look like romantic couples mooning after each other. They were decorated in bright pastels to increase the joyful feeling of the statuettes. These marketing tactics made them really popular from the 1880s until the 1910s.
Not all piano baby statues had the same level of popularity. In fact, the most notable figurines were made by a single German company, Heubach Brothers. The company produced sculptures with quirky features, unique hairstyles, soulful eyes and expressive faces to make them more appealing to the consumer. The creators behind the Heubach Brothers statuettes were actually trained at a school started by the company to ensure each figurine met the high standards expected by the brand.
When searching for valuable collectibles, what characteristics are important in a figurine?
- Heubach Mark: Pieces marked with one of the Heubach symbols are often worth more than an unmarked counterpart. One common mark was the letters “HEU” over “BACH in the upper right corner with a series of dots forming a right angle above the letters. You may also find statuettes marked with the initials H and G with a circle with a rising sun above them.
- Size: The size of a figure can affect its worth. Most piano babies measure somewhere between three and 18 inches.
- Appearance: The appearance of the piano baby can also affect its worth. Dimples, expressive eyes and other realistic features were common traits of a Heubach baby. Quirky figurines in cheerful colors may be popular collection pieces.
Finding statuettes with any of the above qualities can mean getting your hands on a valuable figurine.
When you take the time to learn about collectibles like the piano babies, you can find out what puts these items in the valuables category. You can also gain a better understanding of why the figurines were originally produced and how they grew in popularity.