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For those interested in glass figurines, Fenton Art Glass Beasts, Birds & Butterflies is another of Peggy's books!

Also for those interested in glass, Fenton Art Glass Fairy Lamps & Lights is Peggy's latest book! It focuses on small, candle-lit "lamps" that were first used in the Victorian era to light dark hallways before the invention of gaslight or electricity.

The publisher for these Fenton books has gone out of business, but I am pursuing other publishing options for revised and expanded editions. Stay tuned! In the meantime, you may still find advance-ordered and used copies of these books at online booksellers.

The Curious Cases of Zaphir Clones of Models in the Regular Lladró Collection & Zaphir Models with Old NAO marks

It is known that some of the Zaphir models can be found with later NAO marks because, when Lladró closed the Zaphir brand around 1982 or so, any Zaphir models then in production were brought over into the NAO brand. (Many of these were, in fairly short order, also retired from NAO production as well.) I do not consider these items "clones" in the sense I have used that term to describe NAO clones because, in the Zaphir to NAO evolution, we are talking about a natural phase-out of one brand into another. In discussing "clones," then, I am talking about a more episodic "twinning" phenomenon in which a few items made in NAO or Zaphir have also been found with old, impressed core collection marks.

For some time, veteran collectors have also been familiar with the phenomenon of NAO-marked clones of older Lladró pieces, including some of the core collection pieces catalogued as rare in company sources (items usually numbered with a decimal point).

I scanned this picture of Zaphir's "Elf" #601 from a 1978 Zaphir retail catalog. Having seen this item in the Zaphir catalog of this web site, a collector recently contacted me to say that he has a nearly identical item marked with an old, impressed Lladró mark. (Under the circumstances described here, I'm not at all surprised!) The only difference, he says, is that his Lladró-marked item has a quiver of arrows tucked into that space between the figure's body and the branch of the tree stump.

Once again, sculptor Fulgencio García appears to have been the link in this mystery of models shared among the three brands. As is the case with all the NAO clones of core collection items, García was the core collection sculptor of record for all the Lladró models that have been found with Zaphir marks (see table below). Thus, even though a 1978 catalog for Zaphir identifies Jose Puche (also a famous sculptor of the core collection) as "the" sculptor for the Zaphir collection, it now appears that at least a few of the Zaphir models were sculpted by García and others. Stranger still, a few Zaphir-marked items of core collection pieces have also been found - again, including at least two of the decimal-point numbered rarities. Recently, also, I was contacted by Gill Billington of the United Kingdom, who sent me photos of the model and base of what is the first example I've come across of a Zaphir model with an older NAO mark (the original brown backstamp), an item that does not appear otherwise to have been catalogued in the NAO line.

What makes all this especially intriguing is that there is no evidence that Zaphir is as old as either the NAO collection or the regular Lladró collection. As far as I've been able to determine, Zaphir was not on the scene much before the late 1970s, giving the other two collections a good ten years or more of a head start on its production. How, then, Zaphir would have been recycling older Lladró and NAO models is something of a puzzle.

Gill Billington of the UK supplied me with these photos of what is clearly Zaphir model #558, "Little Shepherd." Thing is, though, this one has an original NAO backstamp! So it can't have been subsequently produced as a NAO with the same serial number (which is more generally the case with NAO marks on Zaphir models) because the NAO mark is an older one that predates the Zaphir line and its model numbering. This is the first example I know of in which the NAO model was made before the Zaphir of the same model. [Photos courtesy of Gill Billington.]

Whenever I come across another of these odd connections, I find myself wishing I'd been a fly on the wall to know how this all got started - and how it eventually sorted itself out into three different brands!


    Zaphir Number
  • #729, "Satyr" (#1) [with cymbals]
  • #730, "Satyr" (#2) [with pan flute]
  • #731, "Satyr Group"
  • #732, "Athena" (later made as NAO #732)
  • #733, "Aristotle"(later made as NAO #733)
    Lladró Number
  • #1006, "Pan with Cymbals"
  • #1007, "Pan with Flute"
  • #1008, "Satyr Group"
  • #343.13, "Greek Shepherdess"
  • #342.13, "Greek Shepherd"

Notes: Zaphir #731, Satyr Group, is listed in the Zaphir price list for 1981 and is presumed to be the same model as Lladró #1008 based on the pattern established by the individual satyr models.

It is also fascinating to know that the "Athena" and "Aristotle" models are the only items known to have been made under all three brand marks, as these were also made as NAO!

At Last - A New Lladró Book!

The Lladró Guide; A Collector's Reference to Retired Porcelain Figurines in Lladró Brands

My most recent Lladró book has revised and expanded content and remains the only book in print on this topic that isn't just a catalog. Covers all Lladró and Lladró-affiliated brands (regular collection, NAO, Zaphir, Golden Memories, Hispania, Rosal, and Tang) and tells how to distinguish them from imitations and counterfeits. Revised and expanded content includes many new photos and a new chapter on future directions for collectors and the company now that it has passed from family hands. The book is in hard cover, which eliminates that annoying curl-up that happens with paperback books. You can order the book directly from the publisher, Schiffer Books, on Amazon, or from your favorite bookstore using the ISBN 13 number 978-0764358395.

Warning: If you're looking for a catalog of every retired figurine Lladró ever made, this is not the book for you. If you're looking for beautiful, full-color photos of representative models and more in-depth and well-researched information about Lladró and its history and production than you can get in thumbnail photos with captions, this book is what you're looking for.

Retail Price in Hardcover: $45

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