Stein of the Month: April 2001

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The Gooseman of Nürnberg
by Shierholz & Sohn

The figure of the Gooseman, a well-known symbol of Nürnberg, is taken from a statue in that city. This stein, in typical honey-tan and white coloring, bears the stamped word Musterschutz on its base, along with a tic-tac-toe mark (sometimes called a hash-mark) in blue ink. Although the word literally means "copyrighted" or "patent protected", collectors quite naturally referred to these stein as Musterschutz - until Master Steinologist Ron Fox discovered evidence pointing to the real manufacturer.

In Prosit in December 1986 Ron wrote about an evening spent with a California collector when he was able to examine a stein which he felt certain was by the same manufacturer, but which bore the trademark of Schierholz & Sohn. That article, entitled "Musterschutz and Schierholz: The Missing Link" made the first widely understood connection between these steins and the firm that made them.

With the assistance of Master Steinologist Werner Sahm, Ron was able to uncover five original Schierholz catalog pages that not only show most of the known character steins attributed to them, but also some that have never been seen. One such example is catalog number 107, a stag wearing a monocle and a ribbon around his neck. Another is a head of Ludwig II with a spiked helmet. The mystery was unlocked, but offered new challenges to collectors.

This discovery led to a series of articles which are important to understanding the steins produced by this factory, and they are mentioned here for your reference:

September 1986, "Musterschutz and Schierholz: The Missing Link" by Ron Fox
December 1986, "Schierholz Character Steins" by Ron Fox
March 1987, "Listing of Schierholz Character Steins" by Ron Fox

The Schierholz Reproductions
Cat. #16 - Caroline Cat. #56 - Uncle Sam
Cat. #107 - Stag with Monocle Cat. #59 - Kaiser Wilhelm I
In 1989 the German firm Rastal began to market reproductions of the Schierholz character steins made from the original molds which had been stored for decades in the factory in Plaue in East Germany. The steins were hand-decorated in the same manner as the 19th-century originals, using the same type of china paint, by top decorators. Every attempt was made to be faithful to the earlier pieces, and some very nice steins were produced. In fact, the Gooseman stein shown at the top of this page is one of the reproductions. Because the new pieces carried the same base markings as the originals, collectors naturally found it difficult to tell them apart. In December of 1989 Master Steinologist Mike Wald authored an article for Prosit entitled "Telling the Old from the New: Schierholz Character Steins." In that article he describes both general and specific similarities and differences for collectors to be aware of.

The last article we will mention appeared in Prosit in March 1991 when Master Steinologist Patricia Manusov wrote about "The Schierholz Look-Alikes". She discusses a number of fine porcelain character steins which might at first glance be supposed to have been made by Schierholz, even though they don't bear the normal basemarks.

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