Saturday, December 5, 2009

Give It Up for the Josef Elves!!

If you saw these elves in person, you would really give them a standing ovation.

These cheery little elves were made in the '50s or '60s by a company called Josef Originals. (They are best known for their birthday dolls.) Several years ago a friend found a few of these while cleaning out an estate in preparation for a house renovation. They did not appeal to her (one woman's kitsch . . . and all that) and since I liked them, she gave them to me . . . and thanks to eBay, that was just the beginning!

We were not familiar with these elves and wouldn't normally collect this type of knick-knack, but our original two elves were just so cute that we did the natural thing - looked on eBay, and discovered that there was a whole collection so over the years we've purchased . . .

and sold . . . and upgraded, until we have almost all the elves and with one exception the ones we now have are in great condition.

The one above is the exception - he's broken and chipped and has a stain on his face (or her face - who can say with elves?). But, whenever we've seen this one (The Sitter), he's broken due to the precarious manner in which he sits (notice that his seat today is a stack of miniature cupcake cups).

There are two rare ones that we'd like to own - one is stirring something in a large mixing bowl (I believe the bowl is an acorn cap!) and the other is pouring tea into a tiny cup - unbelievably cute! And as we all know, cute comes with a price - and so far we've been outbid on the few that have surfaced on eBay. (The more typical ones go for $10-20 in good condition. Broken and poorly repaired ones can be snapped up for under $5.)

The ones with labels are more valuable to some collectors. As a side note - the picture above is closer to the actual green color - in many of the pics the green looks faded and dusty (they are, in fact, very clean!).

And here's a picture we like to call "Elves on Camo". So now you've met the Josef Elves - I hope the pictures capture their whimsical nature. They are one of my favorite Christmas decorations and always bring a smile. (Be careful if searching for these online - Josef made other types of elves that are pretty scary . . . some have 'real' troll-type hair ~ shiver~!)

And if you have little ones who would appreciate a non-breakable elf, check out the Elf on the Shelf book. It's a fun book with an elf doll - the elf hides each night and your child can find him in the morning. We know kids who get almost as excited about the elf as Santa!

Have an elf-tastic weekend!


  1. What a charming little collection! I've never seen anything like it but it is adorable and so fun. :)

    By the way, my boys found the elf on the shelf this morning at Barnes and Noble!

  2. There is something very appealing and also cheerful about these elves. I understand completely why you collect them.

  3. I love the garden Elves alsmost as much as i love my "Christmas" Josef's. Since I was a little kid I've coveted and protected them (mind you my brother sister and I still managed to knock almost every one off the shelf at least once when we were little). I only had three - but since Ebay and antique shows were a passion - I've now gott 6 pieces. I wish there was a catalogue of exactly what the sets originally included. :o) Thanks for sharing yours.


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