Metal - Paper - Wood - Papier maché - Plastic - All Others

Nativity scenes or manger scenes are a very important part of the Christmas history. They have been created, and still are, all over the world and in any material imaginary. All the nativity scenes in this collection are brought together here, while most of them are also displayed on their respective “materials” pages, but the postcards are not repeated here.

Information on the history of nativity scenes is sufficiently available on the internet and in literature, so I will not repeat any of this here. Links to some interesting collectors' sites are on the Favorite page.

An églomisé painted by the artist Mihaela Profiriu Mateescu, born in 1945 in Tecuci, Romania. She is well known for these behind glass paintings, also in her works referred to as icons.

On the back is a label with "MIHAELA PROFIRIU MATEESCU PICTURA PE STICLA IN ULEI" (oil painting on glass).

Dimensions, including the frame: 36cm x 40,5cm.


1/13 – Lead Nativity figures.

These are homecast from Schneider molds, a German company, judging by the colors I think of the 1940s. Casting molds and kits were introduced into the United States from Germany during the early 1900s. Most of these molds can be traced to Grubner Schneider. They were sold, usually in pairs, ref. nos. 124 thru 129, for the three kings, Maria, Joseph, Jesus in the crib, star, three angels, shepherd; the cow, sheep and camel under 39 and 40 with other non-nativity figures; no. 97 the camel with an Arab; donkey no. 219 with a cow.
The two standing kings are from the same mold, but one is painted black which makes it less noticeable; the shepherd and the man behind him, with his reddish flesh color does not fit in, also from the same mold. Some of the bases are green and some brown; maybe from a different set or painted by different children at the same time ???

A search on the internet revealed that the molds have been reissued under the same ref. nos, but the links are not working anymore (May 30, 2015).


35: large lithographed cookie tin in the form of the nativity stable ; it opens at the top, with one side of the roof folding back with a hinge and the other fixed at the side. It has been dated being of the 1920s and origin Germany. There are no marks.
Dimensions: 29cm wide x 18,5cm deep and 26cm high.
Below a few metal candle holders used for the nativity; they came with some of the nativity sets I found.

Candle holders made of cast white metal, both ca 7,5cm high, marked on the base "FOREIGN"

Candle holders made of yellow and red copper, both ca 7,5cm high,
base covered with a lead colored metal plate, unmarked

Candle holders made of cast white metal, both ca 8cm high, not part of a set because
only the left one is marked on the base "FOREIGN"

Paper variations:

- Home/self-made creations
- Diorama
- Fold-out créches
- Cut-out "do it yourself" nativity
- Pop-ups
- Kubasta
- Scraps
- Others
Home-made creations
The above four are nativity scenes made by children in school, found together. We think they date from the 1950s. Two have the children’s names on them. "Gino" and "Quick Walter".

Text: "Vrede op aarde" en "Komt allen tot mij!"
("Peace on earth" and "Come all to Me !")

Text:"Vrede op aarde !" and on the back "Gelukkig Kerstfeest"
( "Peace on earth !"; "Merry Christmas")
N38 and N39
Above two others made by school children; two round cards glued together, split at the base to form a stand, not working at all, and scraps used for the nativity; date from the late 1950s, as they were found together with other self-made paper ornaments and gift cards, which were dated.

One of the star paper ornaments with a Nativity scene, which came together with the Nativities N38 and N39 above.
Self-made nativity scene, in a cigar box, painted silver on the in- and outside.
The interior is decorated with a scrap nativity scene, surrounded by scrap angels and stars, pasted on paper, and everything enhanced with glitter, now turning dark grey.
I think it is of the 1940s.
Dimensions open: 21,5 x 16 cm.

The diorama in this collection are all home crafted, usually by beguines and nuns, so I have been told. But I cannot see why they could not have been made by families to decorate their home for the Christmas period.

This is a multi-dimensional crèche scene (diorama) made up of paper scraps (chromo’s called in Belgium) and mounted in a cardboard box, which, in turn is fixed to cardboard back and in front protected by a glass. The back is foreseen with a hook for hanging.
It is entirely made of paper and cardboard, fixed together with glue.
It probably dates from the 1920-1930s.
Other religious scenes, e.g. with the Mother Mary, Christ on the cross, are also found.
Dimensions:  28 x 22 and 5 cm deep.
Another dimensional crèche scene in a box (diorama). The paper crèche and figures stand on top of a platform, beneath which a cave has been created with in the middle a mirror, simulating water.  For the background it looks like they used buildings cut out of a magazine or similar and the plants and trees are painted and further enhanced with dried ferns. I think that the sides have been created with paper, crumpled to resemble rocks, further enhanced with pieces of shells and moss.

Dimensions: 23 x 17,5cm, depth 6cm

Another dimensional crèche scene in a box (diorama). The back and sides covered with shells, crumpled paper sprinkled with multi-colored glitter. The figures are all handmade with scraps, cardboard, and dressed with satin and other textiles; the sheep on the left is cardboard covered with cotton wool; old Dutch text on the ribbons at the top, sides held by the angels, and bottom reads : "Ik verkondig U een groote blijdschap. Heden is U een Verlosser geboren", sides "Gloria in excelsis deo" and 'Allelúja, Allelúja" and bottom "Vrede op aarde aan de Menschen van goeden Wil" (I proclaim to you great joy. For today a Saviour has been born for you", "Peace on earth to Men of good Will)
On the outside the creche is covered with antique, imitation leather wall paper, for the roof yellow and clear glass has been used.
Dimensions: 21,5cm wide x 18,5cm high at the back, and 12,5cm deep.

Another dimensional crèche scene in a box (diorama). Glass all sides, the back covered with paper, standing on four small round feet. Die cuts (scraps) figures, with the main figures under a wooden and paper canopy, with above it a banner, carried by two scrap angels, handwritten "Gloria in excelsis Deo", gold stars, paper and dried flowers, shells covered with different colors glitter.
Dimensions: 24cm wide, 31cm high and 14cm deep.
Another dimensional crèche scene in a box (diorama). Glass front, sides and base in cardboard.
The box is covered with thick paper and has a hanger at the back. The crèche scene is made of scrap figures, the sides of crumpled-up brown paper sprinkled with very tiny confetti and further decorated with moss and textile flowers, at the top a paper banner, set between two angel heads, reading "Gloria in Excelsis Deo" and beneath the crèche scene a small paper banner, reading "Agnus Dei" (Lamb of God).
Dimensions: It is 17cm high and the base is 19,5cm x 9cm.
Fold-out créches
Fold-out nativity, dimensions 16cm wide x 12 cm high; “Printed in Belgium”.
Fold-out nativity, dimensions 26,5 cm wide x 14 cm high; “Made in U.S.A.”
Fold-out nativity, dimensions 16cm wide x 12 cm high; “Printed in Belgium”.
This is just a sheet,  to be folded as shown; dimensions approx.  26 cm wide x 12 cm high; no indication of where it has been printed.
Fold-out; dimensions  34 cm wide x  27,5 cm high; printed in Belgium
This is just a sheet, to be folded as shown; dimensions approx. 26 cm wide x 12 cm high; no indication of where it has been printed.
Fold-out; dimensions 34 cm wide x 27,5 cm high; printed in Belgium.
Fold-out; the logo "AR" in a circle and "Imprimé en Italy Printed in Italy A/1" is printed in the bottom left corner; dimensions 28 cm wide x 23 cm high.
Fold-out; the logo "AR" in a circle and "Imprimé en Italy Printed in Italy A/2" is printed in the bottom left corner; dimensions 31cm wide x 22,5 high; by the same printer as the previous one, N9 and the next one N10.
Fold-out; dimensions  29,5  cm wide x 20,5 high; printed in Italy A/3; by the same printer as the previous one.
Fold-out; the logo "AR" in a circle and "Imprimé en Italy Printed in Italy A/3" is printed in the bottom left corner; dimensions 29,5 cm wide x 20,5 high; by the same printer as the two previous ones.
Nativity fold-out scene with the standard figures.
Bottom left it says “Printed in Belgium” and at the right a logo, I think " ???print B" and "C 16”.
Dimensions: 30 x 22,5 cm.
Small fold-out nativity scene. The sheep, which is a separate scrap, is marked in green print “MADE IN GERMANY” and so is the crib scene, while the palm trees on both sides of the front scene are each marked “GERMANY” in brown. So they are two separate pieces, masked by the sheep.
Judging by the quality of the cardboard, it is of the 1920s-1930s.
Dimensions: 15 x 12 cm.
Nativity fold-out scene with the standard manger figures.
Marked in the left bottom corner “Printed in Belgium” and bottom right “….print/B  C 8”.  
Dimensions: 22,5 x 16,5cm.
Fold-out; dimensions  15,5 cm wide x 12 cm high; no indication of where it was printed.
Fold-out; dimensions  21 cm wide x 15 cm high; as on the first scene is printed "imprimé en Allemagne" and on the second "Printed in Germany" this fold-out is probably a marriage; judging by the design the front scene and the inner scene belong together, while the  outer building belongs to another.  For an original set, see the next photo.
Fold-out; dimensions 15,5 cm wide x 12 cm high; no indication of where it was printed.
Fold-out; dimensions 21 cm wide x 15 cm high; as on the first scene is printed "imprimé en Allemagne" and on the second in red "Printed in Germany" this fold-out is probably a marriage; judging by the design the front scene and the inner scene belong together,
while the outer building belongs to another. For an original set, see the next photo, N12.
Fold-out; dimensions 30cm wide x 21 cm high. This is a larger version of the previous one; in the left bottom corner is printed in red “Printed in Germany”.
Fold-out; dimensions 30cm wide x 21 cm high. This is a larger version of the previous one, N11; in the left bottom corner is printed in red “Printed in Germany” and in the right bottom corner in black “Imprimé en Allemagne”.
Small fold-out crèche; no indication of origin or printer; dimensions 14cm x 10,5 cm.
This is a Christmas card in the form of a Nativity fold-out scene.
On the back it has the printed references:
- on the left: the logo “Chromo” and “CHT-671/2”
- on the right: a logo “PAGSA” and
“PRINTED IN SPAIN  Dep. Leg.  B-40069-85”

Dimensions: 21 x 16cm.

Fold-out Nativity scene, 5 layers not counting the back.  Red mica behind the comet above the stable, and the moon and stars in the sky in the background. Made of very thick cardboard, and dates from around the early 1900s, judging by the cardboard and the printing.
No mention of country or publisher.

Dimensions: 39,50 x 32,50cm.

Small, postcard size fold-out Nativity scene, 2 layers not counting the back.  On the back is handwritten "Joyeux Noël et Bonne et heureuse Année 1939! A notre chère Alice. Famille Hofman" and the dealer's label is still attached, reading "Papeterie du Parvis Felix De Rey 53, Avenue J. Volders Bruxelles T. 37.28.27".

Dimensions: 13,7cm x 9cm

Fold-out Nativity scene, 3 layers not counting the back.  Red mica behind the three windows of the stable. Made of thick cardboard and still thickly embosses. Marked with a logo "coloprint B" (?) and "C 10" and "Made in Belgium".
There are a few others in this collection with the same logo.

Dimensions: 33,5cm x 27cm.

Fold-out Nativity scene, same design both sides. Signed "Artelius", and is by the Swedish artist Helge Artelius (1895-1989).

Dimensions: total length 87cm and 18cm high.

N45: This is simple stand-up nativity of three windows with a transparent paper back with the nativity scene,
called "Weihnachtstransparent", design by Paula Jordan (1896-1986), 30cm x 14,5cm. With a light or candle behind it the light shines through quite attractively.
On the back are the publisher's, Verlag Max Müller, references:

Still available at Verlag Max Müller under reference "13490"; link does not work anymore, but a reprint of 2009 can still be found on the internet (update May 30, 2015)
The next nativity scene consists of a folder (first and second photo) with three sheets of cut-out figures. The design is by Jacques Gouppy, who also made postcard illustrations, of which some are shown in the section "cards".
Publisher's logo : GBB (Gérard Blanchart, Brussels)
Dimensions: 24,5 cm x 16 cm.
Printed in Belgium.
Nativity published in bookform and to be cut out to form the nativity scene. Illustrations by Imagil.
Dimensions of book, closed: 29 x 28 cm.
"Gordinne", “IMPRIME EN BELGIQUE par la S.I.R.E.C., Liège” (Printed in Belgium by the S.I.R.E.C., Liège) and "Editions Chagor - Liège".
This Christmas folder with all sorts of information for making Christmas decorations,  was offered by the JVKA (Jeugdverbond voor Katholieke Actie) (Youth Union for Catholic Action). The JVKA was officially established on April 11, 1928. “Hernieuwen” (Renew) became the JVKA journal for the Flemish students as of 1932. In the 1960s JVKA and KSA (another organisation, nl. Katholieke Studentenactie (Catholic Students Action)) started working more closely together and in 1965 the journals “Bronnen” and “Hernieuwen” were joined together and the new journal became “Vandaag”.

This folder includes designs for table and Christmas tree decorations - motives for Christmas menus, napkin holders, lantern and wall decorations – drawings for wooden articles that could be used for Christmas presents – models for nativity scenes. It probably dates from 1940s, as in one of the drawings for a Christmas present the number “194 ” is printed with room left for another number, and I should think from 1 to 9.
There are 9 pages, printed both sides. Four are shown here.

Sheets are 21,5 x 27,5 cm, the folder a bit larger.

Nativity cut-out sheet, published for advertising for Karo-Franckovka koffie in 1939.
It is signed below right “VRBAK”, who would be Vrba V., and in the left margin is the ref. “JESLE R 588 VI,39.II.S.”

Dimensions: 40 x 30cm.
A set of Nativity cut-out sheets, published for advertising soap Otta Rakovnik  in 1928 and 1930. Printed by Prumyslova Tiskarna Praha (Industrial Printing House Prague).
Rakovnik is a town in Tsechië.
Drawn by Marie Fischerové Kvěchové, 1892-1984
On the back are the instructions for setting up the crèche; on the other the
heading "Jsme přáteli vaší čistoty" (we are friends of your cleanliness) and various soaps.
Dimensions:each sheet is  31 x 31cm.

Below "Crèche de Noël à découper" (a Christmas manger to be cut out) by J. Werner, illustrations by Steffie Lerch, published by Cocorico, Paris, France, in 1953, from the series "Un petit livre d'or". It is a book telling the Christmas story with the figures to be cut out to form the manger.
Below are the pages with the manger figures, which are double sided, showing the cutting and folding lines. When finished, only the cover, the first and last page will remain intact.

Here and there the colors of the back and the front of the figures do not match, but this is also in the book.

Front cover - set-up instructions - Maria was a jong Palestinian girl in Nazareth - angel's message to Maria

Joseph was Maria's husband - Joseph, the carpenter - Bethlehem, where his ancestors lived - Maria and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem

The donkey - the inn where there was no room for them - they show them a stable where they can rest

That night Baby Jesus is born - Baby Jesus in the crib

The stable near the inn - manger filled with straw

They watch over HIM - the shepherds see a light in the sky

The angel's message to the shepherds - the Three Wise Men

The Three Wise Men come to ador the Baby Jesus - Setting up the manger

N44: in the 1949 Uncle Fons's Christmas book "Figuurtjes bij de Kribbe" (Figures for the Manger), to copy, color and cut-out;
very attrictively drawn, but a pity no directions or sample for the children to follow is been shown in the book

A cut-out manger that came with a magazine, with glueing, cutting-out, painting and assembly instructions. It seems that they only used the foliage of the palmtree and "forgot" the trunk. It is a 7-layer construction and looks very attractive on its base of 40 x 25cm. Only part of the instructions remain, design signed "J. FAVOREEL", but considering the text and color the magazine would date of the 1950s, possible "Vrouw en Huis".

Information on Julienne Favoreel:
Born in antwerp on August 1, 1923 and died on October 31, 1997. She was a very talented artist and also very handy in both, crafts and sewing. In 1953 she worked for the editor of “De Vlijt” when they launched the magazine “Vrouw en Huis” (Woman and Home), where she became editor assistant. She not only designed cut-glue and needle work, but also drew for fashion and children’s stories, the one-page strip “De perikelen van Appelsientje” (The perils of Little Orange) being her greatest success. The strip ran from 1960 thru 1965, the magazine “Vrouw en Huis” was no longer published, being replaced by the more trendy "Zie Zondagsvriend", and Julienne Favoreel left the company.

A cut-out crib, No. 228; description is in four languages (English, German, French and Italian. Made in Germany.

No mention of publisher, printer or designer. Any information is welcome.

Dimensions: ca 31 x 21,5cm

N46-47-48 “Religious education material for flannel board”, which, in the 1950-60s, was used in many catholic elementary schools for religious education. They consisted of a significant number of folders, containing figures which were stuck on a flannel board, illustrating bible stories. The figures were drawn by a Father Faustinus sscc (Antonius Hendriks, Rotterdam Dec. 20, 1907 – ‘s Hertogenbos August 26, 1984).
Published by J. De Weijer & Zn., Baarn, Rutgers van Rozenburglaan 3.
Below are folders 7, 8 and 9 illustrating the birth of Jezus.

N46: On the way to Bethlehem (folder 7)

Set-up drawings with title underneath each picture

1. On the way to Bethlehem

2. Arrival in Bethlehem

3. Looking for a place to stay

4. No place in the inn

5. Looking for the stable

N47: The Christ Child (folder 8)

Set-up drawings with title underneath each picture

1. Joseph finds the stable

2. The Child is born

N48: Shepherds and Kings (folder 9)

Set-up drawings with title underneath each picture

1. The angel (appears) to the shepherds

2. A shepherd boy brings a lamb

3. The shepherds visit the Christ Child

1. The Kings travel

Below "Les premiers cadeaux de Noël" (The first Christmas presents), illustrated by D'reen Neeves. This fold-out board book, sometimes also called concertina books, consists of 12 pages with break-out figures, published in 1988.
Together, with the cover of the book for the stable, you can make a crèche, as is shown on the front cover.

The french version first published in 1987 by Lion Publishing, in 1988 by Les Editions Sator.
The english version was published by Chariot Victor Pub. in December 1987.
In the same series "L'enfant de la crèche", in english "The Christmas baby" was also published.

Small fold-out or pop-up nativity, partly made of cut-out figures that have been glued in the stable, which has a detachable roof, which has been replaced, the original one being lost. Another peculiarity are the figures of Child Jesus, Mary lying down in the hay and the group of five admiring figures in front. They do not seem to belong to a nativity, but to another religious event. Also Joseph is missing.
With the roof detached, the nativity folds-up into a small package of 11 x 8,5cm; setup it measures 27,5cm wide x 15cm deep. There are no markings.

Would appreciate some more information, please visit the help page


Pop-up cover of an LP album; dimensions 63cm wide x 22 cm high. Album: “Ronco presents a Christmas Gift”, P12430 stereo, published in 1974.

N42 Pop-up cover of a Heino LP album, design the same as the one below (N16), but without the fan shaped back; dimensions: 63cm wide x 20cm high. Album : Heino, Deutsche Weihnacht .... und festliche Lieder", 1C 064-29 539, published in 1974.
Pop-up cover of an LP album; dimensions 63 cm wide x 29,5 cm high. Album: “Die schönsten Winter- und Weihnachtslieder für die ganze Familie”. Heino; 1C 088-46 669.
Pop-up cover of a Heino LP album; dimensions 63 cm wide x 29,5 cm high. Album: “Die schönsten Winter- und Weihnachtslieder für die ganze Familie”. Heino; 1C 088-46 669, published in 1982 accoring to info on the internet. See also N42 above.
N17:Nativity which is part of the panorama book “Een boek voor de Kersttijd” (A book for Christmas Time), a Dutch version of Tasha Tudor’s 1979 edition.
Nativity which is part of the panorama book “Een boek voor de Kersttijd” (A book for Christmas Time), a Dutch version of Tasha Tudor’s 1979 edition.
Dimensions: closed 19,5 x 27,5 cm and open 38,5 x 27,5 cm. The advent calendar is shown under the chapter "Paper", page Advent Calendars as A15.

N41   Advent calendar in the form of a Nativity pop-up.
The Advent calendar doors are on the roof, numbered from 1 thru 24, with biblical scenes (I think) behind them. When folded-up the front and the back show the night scene and "Merry Christmas" in different languages and the assembly instructions.
On the front is the signature “H-HF”, while on the back is the publisher’s name “COPYRIGHT JOHN BRADFORD LIMITED TORONTO, CANADA”.

According to the kind assistance of the City of Toronto Archives the earliest it could date is 1943, as this is the first year John Bradford appears as Limited.
Before then it appears as John Bradford Co. rather than Ltd.

The following information I have found on the internet, the earliest being 1968, registered under the ref. CA311580, status expunged, and “Red Farm Studio”;
CA357476, 1972-1976, status Registered, John Bradford Ltd. & Design, with terrestial globes logo.

Dimensions: closed: 27,5cm x 18,5cm, open: 27,5cm x 29,5cm, top of palm tree included.
Is also shown under the Advent calendar sections, under

It appears that this calendar, purchased in 1965, was also produced in Denmark.

It is the same design and also bears the signature “H-HF”, but regarding the publisher: “COPYRIGHT 6208 IF COPENHAGEN  CARLSEN VERLAG GMBH - HAMBURG  MADE IN DENMARK”. The back also shows "Merry Christmas" in different languages, but somewhat different.
Information from and pictures property of Mr. Koskela from Scandinavia
N6: Pop-up nativity, Vojtech Kubasta, Prague 1974; dimensions: 32 cm wide x 21,5 cm high, with “Silent Night” in three languages on the back cover. There is another version where the lyrics seem to have been forgotten, and a larger version with cellophane windows. Additional info on:

View from above
Another pop-up nativity by Vojtech Kubasta : “Gloria in Excelsis Deo". Dimensions closed: 22,5 x 32 cm.
Several versions seem to exist.
This is a middle dark version with cream colored cloth spine; with in the banner printed “ARS Foreign” and Kubasta’s signature; no publication info mentioned on the back. His signature is repeated in the open pop-up and on the white package on the right are the letters “K+M+B”, meaning “Kasper, Melchior, Balthasar”, the Three Holy Kings (ref. Susanne Schmidt). Purple colored cellophane window and die-cut star. The back the same color as the front with all stars.

Here is a description of various versions I found on the internet,
ref site:
a bookshop, so it will not be permanently available and therefore I am repeating part of their description.

Version a)
Illustrated paper boards with blue cloth spine. Front cover depicts an angel holding a flowing banner bearing "Gloria In Excelsis Deo". Lighter colored boards, Kubasta signature printed on the pop-up, "Made in Czechoslovakia" in bold letters across bottom of back board, a purple cellophane window. 32 cm.

Version b)
Illustrated paper boards with blue cloth spine. Front cover depicts an angel holding a flowing banner bearing "Gloria In Excelsis Deo." , a red cellophane window. This copy without the Kubasta signature on the pop-up, darker boards, and a die-cut pattern to the Star of Bethlehem. 32 cm.

Version c)
Gubig 66 illustrates a copy with a red cloth spine (no priority known).

On the other hand I have found three different cover versions: light – middle dark – very dark. The spines also vary in color.

Light blue version with light blue cloth spine; Kubasta signature in the banner and on the pop-up; no mention of Ars Sacra; below left in black print "101" and on the back cover "FOREIGN"; red cellophane window.

Another deviation between these two is the way the pop-up figures are inserted:

- dark blue above: figures are inserted in slits resulting in parts of the design not showing, such as the stones under the dog, the hat the man is holding and on the right the curled-up dog sleeping.

- light blue left: figures are glued in cut-out fields, showing the stones, hat, sleeping dog.

View from above

Another pop-up nativity by Vojtech Kubasta, sometimes called “Star of Bethlehem”.
Dimensions closed: 22,8 x 32,3 cm.
Blue cloth spine.
On the front in the left bottom corner Kubasta’s monogram; the pop-up is signed below right; on the back in black heavy print “DESIGNED AND PRODUCED BY ARTIA PRAGUE Printed in Czechoslovakia” and in the right corner the number “206". I have seen one marked "206/2".
Missing 1968 carollers.
This is another crèche by Vojtech Kubasta. It is a fold-out scene. Signature is on the right side.
This is the 1968 version, and it has the separate carollers stand-up missing.
Dimensions: approx.50cm folded out and 26cm high.
There is also a 1967 and a 1991 version, with different carollers.
1967 version: Text on the back and the carollers.
N30 : Double sheet of 8 different glossy nativity die cut scraps. Marked “MPL” logo, “Made in England” and “No. 918”.
Info found on the internet:
Scraps marked MPL and Made In England were produced by a firm Mamelok and dating from the 1960's or 1970's.
Mamelok Press was founded in Breslau, now Wroclaw in Poland, in the first half of the 19th Century. As one of the first commercial colour printing companies, it began to develop as a publisher by selling religious pictures (often known as oleographs) and embossed scraps.
The firm re-incorporated as a British company in 1940 and operated from London, before moving to the historic East Anglian town of Bury St Edmunds in 1968.In that same year, Mamelok Press acquired a German company, Heilbronn und Pinner (known as H & P Decorations), to enhance its paper engineering capabilities.
Others and Cards
Some postcards are shown, more are under the page Paper-Cards

Booklet  “RELIGIOUS STAMP ALBUM SERIES C” with 15 sheets with 10 stamps per sheet, with two different designs.
On the back it says:
“LITHO IN U.S.A.” and “COPYRIGHT 1942 WM. J. HIRTEN CO., INC., N.Y." (WM = William ?)

Dimensions Booklet: 16 x 9cm

N36 A sheet, with two nativity pictures, on the left Maria and Joseph in front of the stable, and the right the adoration by the Kings; printed in Rome, November 3, 1909, it says according to text at the bottom.
Translation of the Latin text, supplied by Frank Paul:

"The beginning of the Gospel according to John"
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.  He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Nativity Linocut print, signed (?), dated (19)'49

(GMD possibly early GM Milano-Dep.?), Imprimé en Italie, Produzione Italiana, Printed in Italy,
pop-up nativity crèche, sent 24/12/1929

(b déposé) 1019

(b déposé) 1020

GBB, signed J. Gouppy

GBB, signed J. Gouppy

(J.D.A.) Paris, 639, IMPRIMÉ EN FRANCE
some glitter and nativity is in 3D

(J.D.A.) Paris, 639, IMPRIMÉ EN FRANCE
some glitter and nativity is in 3D

E. A. Schwerdtfeger, sent 1907

Maria and Christ Child in white metal

Schlesinger, sent 1910

Import, 1260, sent 19??

Sent 19??

Schlesinger, sent 1910

Celluloid ?, Dresden stars, scrap

Celluloid ?, plastic ?, light blue ribbon,
Wooden nativity set, made in Africa, probably in the 1950s. It seems it is made of ebony. The kings are about 13cm high.
On the internet I have seen similar sets described being from the Makonde, an ethnic group in southeast Tanzania and northern Mozambique.
Wooden nativity, with the figures also made of wood and painted very attractively. The stable is 20cm high, 30cm wide and the base 7,5cm deep. The stable is made for hanging because of the hole in the back. This comes from Belgium: on the base is written "Leopoldsburg 1949" and "30/7/49 Aandenken van onze Lieve zuster † Zaliger Marieke Leuven" (Rememberance of our Dear † Late sister Marieke Leuven)

German nativity music box all made of wood, musical instrument in the box at the back to be activated by turning the key, melody "Holy Night", only the figure of Jozef is stamped "Made in Germany";
completely handmade, probably Erzgebirge region judging by the way the figures and angels are made, probably Steinbach; the yellow komet on top of the roof is a replacement;
dimensions 17cm high, green base is 20cm x 11cm, but total depth incl. the instrument box 14,5cm.

Update: A similar one on the internet had the label:

Wooden stable with figures in jigsaw work, with die-cuts glued to them; dimensions: 19cm x 15,5cm high and 4cm deep

Wooden stable with figures, also cut in wood, with metal halo.
There is a hole in the back for hanging on a wall. It comes in a white cardboard box.

The white label reads:

"SPÓŁDS. zrzeszenie CHAŁUPN. I WYTW. PRZEM. LUD. I ART. w WARSZAWIE" (Google translation: SPÓŁDS. CHAŁUPN association. And generation. Ent. People. AND ART. in WARSAW)

Besides the name of the supplier, product name, symbol (1267-64-99), date of purchase is given "IV 1965".

Made in Poland
"Wisla", zam. 547. 150.000

Small wooden nativity with figures cut in wood, and a wooden star as a center piece for the crib as shown on the lid of the box. Possibly it was a do-it-yourself kit, all hand-painted. There is no halo and it was never there, certainly not attached to the star because there are no break-off points.

A few dimensions: height: Joseph 7,5cm, Maria 6cm, smallest sheep 2,2cm; the box is ca 16 x 16cm.

No markings.


Nazaire Beeusaert

The first set I bought was in Ghent, some 15 years ago, from a person whose parents used to have a toy shop. He still had an invoice from Nazaire Beeusaert, Gentsche Steenweg 19, Deinze, on which he thought the Christmas set was invoiced, dated 1949. On the base of these figures is an impressed mark “NB Belgium”.
I have been able to find the following information on this firm:

From the book “Speelgoed – Made in Belgium”:

Nazaire Beeusaert is known for the production of toys. I have not been able to find when the firm was precisely founded, but in the 1920s and 1930s they produced horses, soldiers, fortresses, farms, ranches and figures for nativity scenes.
The “NB” was first used on soldiers in papier maché. Those produced for the warehouse “Le Bon Marché” were marked “BM”.
Figures for nativity scenes were produced in several formats (I know of at least two). They were marked “NB”. Each series was decorated with the same colors and patterns.

From the Email, received from Archief Deinze:

In 1921 a Mr. N. Beeusaert started a factory, producing cardboard toys.
At present there still is a firm “Beeusaert”, wholesale trade in toys situated in the Ommegangstraat no. 60, in Deinze (Petegem-aan-de-Leie) with its registered office in the Gentse Steenweg 19, in Deinze. So this must be the same firm, still in existence today.

Thanks to:
The above information I have been able to gather due to:
- the kindness of the Communal Archives of the city of Deinze, Mr. F. De Graeve
- the book “Speelgoed – Made in Belgium” by Paul Herman.

Mrs. Beeusaert, the widow of the eldest son of the founder and now an old lady, has been kind enough to confirm that the above is correct.
This was several years ago and she also told me that some old molds were still about and now I am delighted that recently several of these original molds are shown on the Torck pedalcars site under "NB".

Recently, Mr. Luc Van Wanzeele, grandson of Nazaire Beeusaert, has written a book on the history of the Belgian toy factory; for information and ordering see his website

This stable is also a Nazaire Beeusaert product. Judging by the base it is probably made of hardboard, covered with plaster (?) and the base secured with three wooden slats. It is 25cm high. The round paper label on the base reads "39/52", being the model number but usually mentioned as "3952", while the round stamp reads "NB 04 MADE IN BELGIUM", also being a mistery because this stamp was used for the NB horses, the "04" referring to the size. (ref. Luc Van Wanzeele).

This stable is also a Nazaire Beeusaert product, judging by the base, the colors and the pave to the inside. The only marking is on the base, in pencil, what looks like "WE/95".

The figures came as a complete set, except the camel and attendant, being a separate addition.
Dimensions: ca 40 x 23cm and 32,5cm high.

This is another Nazaire Beeusaert stable, with straw roof. It is marked on the base with the number 3973.

Dimensions: 50 x 30cm and 34cm high..

The above two sets are of different height. For comparison we take the figure of Jozef: in the top set he is 9,2 cm high and in the second photo he is 12 cm high. In both sets there are figures with green bases and brown bases; animals standing up and lying down.

Above are the three sheep, one large and one small set. Except one, all have the black hooves, so I am not sure of its NB origin.
Only the two lying down are marked.

It was thought that one of the NB sheep features was the yellow patch in their eyes.
Here are two, without the yellow, while the one lying down is marked.

These two figures have been found separately. The left one is qua paint and decoration similar to the sets above. The right one is somewhat different in coloring and seems to have been done with an airbrush.

Above are three bases with the "NB BELGIUM" mark. The white one is from the shepherd in the photo on the left.. Notice that the base is not painted. The green one is from the old man: notice the hole. All the figures with a green and brown base in the two sets above are marked as the brown one.

None of the baby Jesus are marked, although there is one with the pricing label of the Bon Marché still attached.

Camel and driver; driver is only for the small set and is marked;
the camel is unmarked

These are a few figures of the airbrush version;
with the exception of the shepherd with the sheep and the small crib, I found them together in a box from an estate.
Below a few other Nativity scenes.
I do not collect them specially, but they came with other Christmas items or they took my fancy.

This small nativity set stable I found as is, complete with the papier maché figures and a foil/tinsel star/flower on top;
stable is ca 20cm high and Joseph, here kneeling, 5,5cm high.
Ref. information from Sheila Bundy, 8/2017: It appears in the 1920's catalog of the firm Rudolph Apel in Oberlind and Tiefenlauter (1950), Germany.
There were more figures available. The Three Kings however belong to another set.

I think this stable is jigsaw work from instructions from a magazine or such;
it is ca 40cm high, the base is 50cm wide by 34cm;
the "NB" figures set did not come with the stable.

This set I found as is, complete with the papiermaché Marolin figures (thank you Stefan for this information),
some are marked "4", "516" and "265/6", Jozef is 12cm high; stable is ca 36cm high

This small set I found as is, complete with the papier maché figures, Jozef is 7,5cm high; stable is ca 21cm high

A few old nativity figures, the first two clearly from the same firm and marked "LINEOL";
while the others, unmarked but judging by the colors and especially the base are of the same firm

Italian nativity set found together. They are all marked "Italy" or "Italy C", except the small sheep. Largest figure is 11,5cm high.

The one on the left is marked "Made in Italy - ?MIA??" or "MILA?", ca 12cm high,
while the two others are unmarked
and although similar colors, not of the same production

Small boxed set, unmarked and tallest is 7,5cm high;
peculiar is that there is no ox, only the donkey and one sheep;
the box has a label with the number "058400"

This nativity set was a present. The stable is marked "Made in Italy", while the plaster figures are not.
It was bought around 1955 .

Plastic nativity figures, I think some in Polystyrol, which came in packed food.
Most of these are marked at the base "Heudebert", while a few with a different model base are unmarked. Dim. from 3 - 7,5cm.

Small plastic music box, nativity made of polystyrol (?) on a brown plastic stand in which the music mechanism is placed, melody is "Silent Night", key turned;
the back is transparant when a light is put behind it; total height is 11cm and base is 10cm x 7,5cm; no markings

Small plastic music box, nativity on a white plastic turntable which activates the music mechanism, melody is "Silent Night";
decorated with silver glitter; total height is ca 10cm and dia base is ca 12cm ;
markings on the base with logo"ETM", "MADE IN HONGKONG"; the mechanism is marked "SANKYO JAPAN", the box "Hand Painted Nativity Set with Movable Stage Music" "Made in Hong Kong" and logo plus "EM 252"

Small plastic nativity decorated with silver glitter; total height is ca 12cm and dia base is ca 10wide ;
markings on the base "MADE IN HONGKONG"; the box "Nativity Set " "MADE IN HONG KONG " and "NO. 348"
For variations of the main figures (Maria, Joseph and manger), see Birte's site

Small plastic music box, nativity on a light brown plastic turntable which activates the music mechanism, melody is "??";
decorated with a large candle in the middle; marked on the base "R" in a circle and "MADE IN ITALY" "MOD.DEPOSE";
total height, candle included, 18cm, base dia 10,5cm

All Others

Small nativity set with tragant figures under a glass dome on a wooden stand. I have seen several of these and although the figures are often from the same mold, the set-up varies.
the "cave" also often being similar and the nativity glued to the, in this case, wooden base, sometimes being of cardboard.
So I presume it was homemade craft from an instruction page in a magazine or such.
Dimensions: ca 13,5cm high dome included, the base is 12cm wide.

Nativity made of a synthetic substance (resin?) with the holy family under a glass dome; no markings; it is ca 26cm x 15cm and 21cm high

Crib marked "LAB" or "LHB" and "DÉPOSÉ" and the number "I" I presume; ca 9cm wide. How I would love to have the complete nativity set!

Porcelain candle holders which came with one of the nativities;
marked on the base with green Téco logo and several other impressed marks

Téco, Bois de-Breux, Belgique

Oil painting of a nativity scene, signed by Jos Deswert.
There is no date, but considering the style and the frame, possibly 1910-1930.

It is here shown without the frame.

Dimensions: 46 x 50cm.

N57 Nativity woodcut engraving, signed "Weihnacht" and the artist "Gg. Ledbanair"
or something like that.

HELP for the correct name of the artist!

It is not dated, but considering the framing I would think 1900-1920s.

Dimensions of the engraving: ca 8,50 x 11cm.

Nativity scene made of mother of pearl and mounted in an abalone shell. I believe it comes from Bethlehem, probably made for the tourists. I have no idea of its age.

It is ca 16,5 cm high.