Antiques & Collectibles: Bunny collectibles keep hopping along

Bunnies at Treasures Under Sugar Loaf, Winona.

The bunny, a symbol of Easter, is also a popular piece of springtime decor.

There are so many different kinds to decorate with. Find them at gift and thrift shops, antique malls and craft shows. Here is a look at a few.

Kinds of bunnies

Stuffed, plush toy bunnies are the most collectible of stuffed toys, and usually those made by the German company Steiff are the most highly collectible, since they have been produced since the 1920s.

Ceramic figurines and planter bunnies are highly collectible and cute, such as the Lefton sold in many department stores, such as F.W. Woolworth, after World War II. Lefton figurines and planters are often labeled with the stamps or paper label on the bottom.


Did you know that some bunny planters were even a premium offered by some department stores? I even like the Teleflora Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit planter as a great collectible item.

Plaster and paper-mache candy container bunnies from the 1800s made in Germany, such as the paper-mache with feet and legs that were actually made of wood, are very rare collectibles. Early bunnies of this plaster and paper-mache with glass eyes, depending on condition, can range from $30 on up to a few hundred dollars.

There are tin and plastic cookie-cutter bunny and bunny molds. Did you know that in the 1950s some gelatin companies gave away aluminum bunny molds as freebies? Today they can be used to make dark or white chocolate bunnies.

Also there are tin bunny cookie cutters dating to the 1800s and plastic bunny cookie cutters from the 1950s. Tin cutters start at a few dollars for the small cutters to a few hundred dollars for some large tin collectible bunnies.

Milk-glass bunnies are always unique and date back to the 1870s. They became more popular in the 1940s and ’50s. They’re cute as candy dishes and for keeping eggs warm. Today you can find these bunnies from the 1950s priced from $20 on up, depending on the style, age, area and condition.

Cast-iron bunnies that can look like a doorstop, lawn ornament or a bank can be worth up to $3,000. Reproductions are out on the market but are rare, so make sure you are getting an original.

Plastic candy container bunnies made to carry Easter candy are popular. An example is the bunny with the wheelbarrow or cart. These became available through the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s when novelty companies such as E. Rosen, Irwin, Knickerbocker, and Union Products put out all kinds for the five and dime stores. Today the most valuable of the plastic are those made with intricate parts still intact.

More information: "Plastic Novelties And Toys of the ’40s, ’50s, And ’60s" (Schiffer Book for Collectors) by Jean Rossi and "A Guide to Easter Collectibles, Identifications & Values" by Juanita Burnett (Schroeder’s Antiques Price Guide).


A few places to find collectible bunnies

Ann Collinsof Churn Dash in Rochester: "We have sweet figural bunnies and even lamb planters priced around $15."

Chris Rand Kujathof Old River Valley Antique Mall, Stewartville: "We have vintage chickens and bunnies made out of cotton and we do have ceramic ones, some newer and some vintage, $1 on up. Plastic bunnies ranging from $6 up and the paper-mache from $20 on up. I do sell bunnies all year round."

Sarah Kiefferof Sarah’s Uniques and Jim’s ‘Man’tiques, St. Charles: "I have a lot of Easter items, including chocolate bunny molds, German and American figures, the early vintage paper-mache rabbits and eggs that do come apart, plush bunnies, unique plastic bunnies and Fenton glass bunnies all ranging from $5 on up to $65."

Brenda Jannsenof Treasures Under Sugar Loaf, Winona: "Our bunnies range in price from $2 to $40. Most are ceramic but there are a few cloth bunnies, an onyx bunny, and even a silver/brass bunny. We have some cardboard decorations, planters, figurines, and salt & pepper shaker bunnies. Some of the pricier bunnies are the Jim Shore figurine, the pink Red Wing planter, and the Fitz & Lloyd teapot. We have a bunny for everybody!"

Joan Thilgesof New Generations of Harmony: "We have bunnies of all sizes and a number of Dept. 56 Snow bunnies. They typically range from $10 to $20 depending on condition, rarity and age."

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