Christmas Pyramids, Nutcrackers & Figures
Christmas Pyramids & Nutcrackers & Figures
First a few Christmas pyramids and pyramid houses I picked up when they came along. Pyramids would be a collection theme on its own. Many have been made and still are.
The origins of the Christmas pyramids would date back to the Middle Ages, according to Wikipedia . There you can read the full story. Or in the "Weihnachtsmuseum". Anyway, many different stories about this on the internet.
An interesting book is "Erzgebirgische Weihnachtspyramiden" by Claus Leichzenring.

No.1: Simple pyramid, when mounted it is 32 cm high. There are four different transparent designs to be chosen from for inserting in the frame, behind which  the candle is placed that makes the "propeller" swirl.
On the front of the box is a white label with the Dregeno logo, and giving the following information:
“85/41  ELN 18243433
LEUCHTBILDPYRAMIDE   EVP  M???  MIT Wechselrähmchen und 4 auswechselbaren Scherenschnitten” (Transparent picture pyramid with 4 changeable pictures).

This design is still being sold.

No. 2: Wooden pyramid with a metal turntable upon which 3 wooden dear are placed. Of course other figures can be used or added. There are four candle holders which, when lit, will make the propeller turn. The picture on the box is somewhat different from the actual pyramid. But this is how I bought it. When assembled it is 36 cm high.
It comes from the Erzgebirge region, as is stated on the box. Other references on the box are : “III-31-4 G 002 105 70” and “EVP MDN ???? ohne Figuren”. Is it the original box? Judging by the box it could be of the 1960-70s. Similar design pyramids are still being made.

No. 3: Wooden pyramid with 4 candles, the turntable with Santa pulling a sledge loaded with presents and three angels carrying what could be the three wisemens' gold, incense and myrrh.
The blades of the propeller are missing.
Dimensions: appr. 25cm high
On the base is the Erzgebirge Expertic label:

No. 4: Wooden villa with red mica windows and next to it the turntable with Santa and 3 angels with white metal crowns and carrying presents. In front of the house is a dog and on the dark blue felty background are a metal or foil moon and stars (some missing). One candle holder to make the propeller turn.

I think that the original wooden axle support has been replaced by this straight piece of wood.

No markings or labels.

Dimensions: appr. 25 cm high, not counting the wheel, and the base is 27,5cm by 10,5cm.




No. 5: Wooden nativity pyramid (Christi-Gebürt Pyramide ..), the propeller's axle going through the top. Four candle holders, on the turntable nativity figures, shepherd and sheep, and the three wisemen carrying their presents, while on the platform is another shepherd, sheep and trees. On the base is blue stamped "Made in German Democratic Republic", "VEB Kunstgewerbe Venusberg 9361 Venusberg/Bonn (?)" and Erzgebirge label.

The original box has the original Erzgebirge markings and labels, together with the shop's label; the enclosed control slip of Käthe Wohlfahrt, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, for art. nr. "102.016", dates it 8.9.92 (September 8, 1992).

Dimensions: 28,5cm high, propeller incl., at the base 31cm by 12cm.

No. 6: Wooden nativity pyramid (Krippenkinder), with box, packing slip and assembly instructions; packing slip mentions the firm, "VEB-VERO, 933 Olbernhau, Betriebsteil Seiffen", and on the instructions "VEB Vereinigte Erzgeb. Spielwarenwerke, Olbernhau, Betriebsteil Kurort Seiffen" .

The box is covered with smokers, pyramids, toys and the VERO logo, which is repeated on the label. According to the packing slip it was packed on 19 February 1973, but production reference dates it 1972 as production year.

On the box are remains of an "Expertic" paper tape.

Wooden figures, sometimes used as table decorations or putz figures

Wooden angel missing candle holder stand
Wooden snowman; 6.25cm high.
Wooden snowman; 6,25cm high.

Wooden orchestra angels, ca 6cm high, unmarked, but probably from Seiffen in the Erzgebirge region in Germany.

Wooden orchestra angels, ca 6,5cm high, marked "Made in Italy"

Wooden candle holders with angels, marked "F.U." and "F.U. ???", ca 6cm high and 9cm high;
probably German Erzgebirge and remind of the Wend & Kuhn so called "Margeritenengel",
but cannot find any information on this logo; see help page please

Part of an angel orchestra by Wendt & Kühn; this company label was introduced in 1946, and used up to approximately 1972, when the GDR Expertic label was introduced. According to info on W&K's website they were nationalized in 1972 as the VEB Werk-Kunst Grünhainichenstarted and started using the Expertic label in 1973.
Presently the angel orchestra is still being produced and advertised as "Over 70 musicians play in the grand Grünhainichen Angel® orchestra."

"Bergmann und Engel" (miner and angel), about 30 cm high, both in their original boxes, on which a label "VERO Betrieb Schneeberg 5264 360/259 EVP M  Art.Nr. 701 and 702". VERO= Vereinigte Erzgebirgische Spielwarenwerke Olbernhau. I have not been able to find out the year of production, but to me it is certainly post-WWII.


“Expansion X’mas Ornament” : These were made with different figures.
I have seen them with Santas, praying monks, Santa and reindeer, snowmen and Santa,
sometimes with different trees or houses. Dimensions: about 8 cm  high and expanded 20cm wide.

Wooden nutcrackers, in german "Nussknacker" have been around for a long time and are also a collector's item. Many have been made, and still are. I just picked-up a few as they came along or were presents.
I have no idea when they were made .

I think the two on the left are the oldest, more handmade and rabbit fur hair, mustache and beard,
all have movable arms;
from left to right: ca 32cm, 37cm and 33cm with imitation hair; no markings

Both imitation hair and beard; from left to right: ca 38cm & movable arms, 35cm fixed arms,
no markings remain

Two with rabbit fur hair and beard, middle one imitation hair; from left to right: ca 37cm Expertic label,
movable arms; 36cm, label Made in China, fixed arms; 34cm marked Hönick, fixed arms

All three received together as a present; the middle one has a label, reading "Expertic";
label on the box, reading "309/2. Made in Germany", but no mention of Expertic.
They were purchased together from the same person. Sizewise the box fits the middle one.
From left to right: Vero, 40cm high, eyebrows, mustache/feet missing, imitation hair, fixed arms, soldier rifle missing;
33cm, rabbit fur, fixed arms;37cm, no hair, movable arms.

About 43cm high, imitation hair and beard;

Small, ca 23cm high, rabbit fir hair and beard;
marked but I cannot read it

Expertic ® was the brand name of a trade association in the GDR, which had as goals, to make known the numerous products of handicrafts enterprises and to preserve the rights of producers.
Products with the red Expertic logo are still considered collectibles.
Since 1968 the protected mark was for the Trade Association for Crafts and Arts and Crafts Association of the GDR (Warenzeichenverband für Kunsthandwerk und Kunstgewerbe e.V. der DDR) in Olbernhau and expired on 29 August 1995. Since April 2004 a West German company has the name rights and the German Patent and Trademark Office (ref. Wikipedia)
Several different labels have been used and here a few I have found:


Smokers (Räuchermänner or Räuchermännchen)
These also, as the nutcrackers, have been made in abundance and still are, in all shapes and sizes. Here also just a few that came my way. I have no idea of their age.

Very attractive smoker with his barrel and measering cup, rabbit fur hair and imitation leather apron;
stands ca 17cm tall

A simple smoker,
and who is he ? with a rag in one hand a his pipe in the other;
his feet are missing; no markings, he is 17cm tall

This figure is called a toy peddler, having wooden tree, houses, figure, on his tray;
has textile (?) hair and mustache, pipe is missing; he is ca 14,5cm tall; no markings,
but the red/white VERO logo and label on the box with ref. nos. HSL 525470/129/253 and EVP M 8,45

This is a soldier with textile (?) hair and mustache, blue felt coat and feather on his cap;
he is ca 17cm tall, no markings, but the red.white VERO logo's are on the box,
and the label with stamped ref. 526470 129/254

Chimney sweep smoker, with his tools in wood, gold braid and iron, but the "pipe" is missing;
painted in lacquer; label on the base reading "STEINBACH-GERMANY WESTERN-ZONE"; he is ca 19cm tall

(real India Know incense cones, green with pine scent
), so the dark ones are not original;
WZ. ges. gesch. Schl.-Nr. 14864700 EVP -,45 Made in Germany

Package with "Original Crottendorfer Räucherkerzchen" "Tannnenduft"
(original Crottendorfer incense cones, pine scent), the green cones will be original;
Schl.Nr. 148 65 70 0