Animal Figurines: Collectibles Guide

Updated June 8, 2022
vintage cat figurines

Collectible animal figurines range from majestic lions and stately elephants to whimsical pigs and adorable kittens. Whether you love jungle wildlife, a particular dog breed, or miniature bears, collecting figurines of your favorite animal is a hobby that is fun for the whole family. Vintage animal figurines can also make a wonderful starter collection for kids.

Animal Figurines Are an Affordable Collectible

Animal figurines are available in a variety of materials and sizes, making them one of the most affordable collectibles on the market. Generally, the prices of animal figurines range from several dollars to several hundred dollars. Many fortunate collectors have found a beautiful addition to their collection at a yard sale for less than a dollar. There are also animal figurines that are priced above the high end of the price range.

If you're browsing at a thrift store or antique shop, it's fun to be able to spot good deals on vintage animal figurines. Antique figurines worth money tend to have some things in common. These may include certain figurines from the following groups:

  • Figurines made of precious metals
  • Figurines decorated with precious and semi-precious gemstones
  • Limited editions
  • Large crystal figurines
  • Antique figurines
  • Figurines with famous designers or brand names

Materials Used in Animal Figurines

vintage bulldog figurine

Another factor that determines the price of these popular collectibles is the material used to make the figurine. Common materials include the following:

  • Glass, spun glass, crystal, and lead crystal
  • Wood
  • Ivory and bone
  • Stone and stone composite
  • Ceramic, clay, bone china, and porcelain
  • Alabaster and alabastrite
  • Metals like bronze, pewter, gold, silver, brass, cast iron, and copper
  • Resin, sandcast, and plastic

Sizes of Collectible Animal Figurines

An animal figurine can be as tiny as a centimeter or as large as the animal itself. Examples of miniature animal figurines are a whimsical tiny glass rabbit, measuring only 1.5 by two centimeters and an adorable penguin that measures only one by 2.5 centimeters. Several websites offering miniature and tiny animal figurines, and you can also find these at many vintage stores.

When you think of animal figurines, images of small replicas of animals come to mind. The definition of figurine, according to Your Dictionary, is a small ornamental figure or statuette. Yet there are websites and collectors that refer to large animal figures and statues as figurines. An example is the life size tiger cub which is part of the Sandicast Wildlife Life Size series at Animal World. Most collectors do not collect full size, or life size, animal figurines. However, there are collectors that do search for these collectibles. Often they may have one or two life-sized collectibles and then fill their collection with small figurines.

Vintage and Antique Animal Figurines

Art Deco style statuette of penguin Rosenthal

Some of the most charming animal figurines are vintage or antique examples. You'll find adorable mid-century figurines that were made in Japan, as well as animal figurines from American glass companies and others. There's endless variation, and you can specialize in collecting a specific animal, era, or brand.

Many manufacturers made these treasures, but these are a few of the popular brands:

  • Wade - Wade figurines were freebies in boxes of Red Rose Tea throughout the late 1960s and into the 1970s. You can find vintage animal figurines by Wade at many thrift stores.
  • Lenox - Animal figurines by Lenox can be some of the most valuable. You'll see examples in the shapes of birds and many other animals.
  • Rosenthal - Made in Germany, the animal figurines from Rosenthal have a special charm. They can be quite valuable if they are in good condition.
  • Fenton - This American glass company is famous for its vases and other pieces, but they also made animal figurines. You'll find adorable cats and other creatures.
  • Meissen - Famous for its porcelain, Meissen made figurines in a variety of styles, including animals.

Where to Find Collectible Animal Figurines Online

The internet has many websites that offer various types of animal figurines, including the following:

  • Russian Crafts - This site offers a beautiful selection of blown glass animals.
  • Hagen Renaker - This is a good resource for miniature bone china and porcelain animal figurines that are highly detailed.
  • Vyshyvanka Ukrainian Gifts - Offering a wide selection of miniature glass animals, this is a good source for figurines, including animals in many whimsical poses.
  • eBay and TIAS - Both excellent sources for finding vintage and antique animal figurines, these are good places to look if you need a specific figurine for your collection.

Using Animal Figurines in Your Decor

vintage porcelain bird figurine

There are lots of ways to include animal figurines in your decorating. You don't have to display them in a case and simply let them gather dust. Instead, try one of these fun and whimsical ideas:

  • Place tiny animal figurines on the spines of some of the books on your bookshelves.
  • Display sea creatures in your bathroom to charm guests.
  • Show off your collection in little vignettes, grouping woodland animals together or arranging pets to look like they are playing.
  • Make a wall display with shelves and rotate your animal figurines so they always look exciting.
  • Place larger animal figurines on end tables or on the floor in your home to create a conversation piece.

How to Limit Your Animal Figurine Collection

For some collectors, the hardest decision is how to limit their animal figurine collection. Many decide to collect only one type of animal, such as tigers. Others collect all animals from a particular group, such as any type of large wild cat. Then there are those who collect pet figurines.

In addition to limiting collections by animal type, there are collectors who only look for tiny miniatures, while others want figurines made from specific materials. Naturally, there are also collectors that will add any animal to their collection simply because they fall in love with it. There are almost as many possibilities of collecting animal figurines as there are collectors.

Enjoy Your Collection

Finding those special treasures to add to your animal figurine collection is a wonderful and satisfying experience. It can be emotional if the figurine stirs old memories of a beloved pet or a special trip to a distant place. If you are already a collector, proudly display your collection. If you are new to the world of collectible animal figurines, enjoy the feeling as you find those special little animals waiting for you to take them home.

Animal Figurines: Collectibles Guide