El Portal Porcelana

"For People Passionate About Spanish Porcelain"

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LLADRÓ
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       (NAO Catalog)
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          (Retired 2008)
          (Retired 2009-10)
          (Retired 20011-12)
   Rosal
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   Zaphir
     (What's It Worth?)
     (Other "Clones!")
      (Zaphir Catalog)
   Golden Memories
       (GM Catalog)
   Hispania
     (Hispania Catalog)
Made in Spain
(No Brand Name)

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Now Out of Print


Latest Lladró Book!

A Collector's Book of Retired Lladró ;
Genuine Figurines & Their Marks

by Peggy Whiteneck
Deals with all Lladró brands!

Click here to order!



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

Click here to order!



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.

Click here to order!

Welcome to the Zaphir Pages!

The Zaphir brand and its connection to Lladró is even more of a mystery than the NAO brand. No one looking at a Zaphir-marked item could fail to note the more-than-passing resemblance not just to the Lladró style but to its quality as well.



This item is Zaphir #584, "Feeding My Colt," which retailed at $275 before the Zaphir brand was reincorporated into the NAO collection sometime in the early- to mid-1980s. The model is no longer being produced. (Photo from an original Zaphir catalog dated 1978.)

As it turns out, the sculptor for this brand was none other than Jose Puche, one of the famous core collection sculptors. (A full-page picture of him at work on a model is found in a 1978 Zaphir catalog in my possession.)

How this came about is an interesting matter for conjecture. Did the Lladró brothers give him leave to begin a new brand on their behalf? Or was he trying to strike out on his own?

In the history and tradition of pottery and porcelain-making, it was not unusual for artists to move from brand to brand and company to company. Similar movement in and out of the Lladró collections would only be surprising if it had not happened. [9/23/07 Update: Actually, I have an official NAO price list from Lladró for the year 1981 that has the intriguing headline "Zaphir (USA) Distribution Corp." So at least as of 1981, we have this circumstantial evidence that Zaphir was a Lladró-affiliated name. This doesn't, of course, rule out that Puche could have started a brand by that name on his own as early as 1978. It's also possible that Puche's company was, at least at that date, serving as the actual distribution network for the NAO by Lladró brand as well as its own Zaphir brand. After all, up until about the mid 1980s, some other company served as the distributor even for Lladró's core brand - whose distributor in those days was Weil Ceramics & Glass, Inc. In any case, this Zaphir distribution header on NAO's 1981 price list brings more mystery than clarity to the question of Zaphir's origins as a brand.]

In any event, the Zaphir collection was a relatively short-lived venture, from about 1978 to the early- to mid-1980s. Post Zaphir, Puche was brought back into the core collection fold, where he continues to this day. The last of the Zaphir models were recycled as NAO models, which kept the same serial numbers as their Zaphir originals. Hence, it is not uncommon to find clones of Zaphir models with NAO marks.

Speaking of the Zaphir mark, it consists solely of the cursive name Zaphir (with the script somewhat difficult to read, so that people sometimes mis-render it as "Laphin" or "Zaphin") and the legend "Hand Made in Spain," all in a green backstamp with no other logo or attribution. (Nor is there anything in the Zaphir retail catalog from 1978 that indicates it has any relation at all to Lladró.)

(What's It Worth?)

Now Available!
A Collector's Book of Retired Lladró

by Peggy Whiteneck
published by
Old Line Publishing, LLC
Hampstead, Maryland

Posted 9/20/10

Ever since its founding in the 1950s and its subsequent, stellar rise to global prominence, collectors have been fascinated with the singular modeling and attention to detail in Lladró Spanish porcelain figurines. Eventually, collectors discovered that Lladró wasn't just one brand, but several. At the same time, other companies began to sprout up all over Spain, particularly around Lladó's own region in Valencia, working "in the Lladró style" and hoping to catch a ride on the tailwinds of its popularity. This book is written to acquaint readers with retired figurines in all the Lladró and Lladró-affiliated brands and to help distinguish them from the work of other Spanish companies. The book features substantive chapters on the Lladró "core brand," NAO by Lladró, Zaphir, Golden Memories, Rosal, and Hispania, complete with representative photos for each brand.

Retail Price: $29.95
S & H: $5.95

Click Here to Order!

Also available at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com
or through any bookseller by ISBN order #13: 978-0-9845704-6-1.


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