This example is a contemporary reproduction, a newly cast copy of an original 19th century Vienna Bronze. About 50 different companies were making these diminutive collectible bronzes by the end of the 19th century. Popular designs included highly detailed miniature scenic arrangements, like Oriental bazaars, and naturalistic, amusing figural representations of animals involved in human activities, or simply being themselves. Over the decades different bronze designs numbering into the thousands were made, with each bronze being separately cast. Most were cold painted but some designs were patinated or gilded.
In the 1960's the molds of one of the most famous and prolific makers, the Bergman Foundry, were sold to a modern company that continues to produce new 'old' Vienna bronze designs today. Although new examples typically lack the patina of originals, it is still very easy for a novice to be misled by them. Beginning collectors can often end up purchasing modern pieces as 'old' on the secondary market. And for prices much higher than they would have paid had they purchased them direct from the manufacturer's catalog.
Vienna Bronzes are charming and collecting them can quickly become an obsession. But this is another collecting niche where scholarship becomes important if you only want to own antique examples. Besides the pieces currently being reproduced from original molds there are many outright fakes on the market, too. Often the best course of action can be to buy only from established, reputable dealers who value their reputation and avidly seek repeat customers. This type of dealer will be happy to answer any questions you might have in advance about an item and will also guarantee the authenticity of the items they sell.
Measures 2 1/2 inches tall.
Illustrations and Characteristics for Help in Identifying Many Confusing New Items
Item listings in this shop are intended to be viewed for educational purposes, only. Items in this shop are not for sale.