An example of the Bunnykins nursery ware range. Credit: royaldoulton.com
First introduced in 1934 as a range of nursery tableware featuring anthropomorphised rabbits, Bunnykins was briefly expanded into a range of figurines in 1939, with six different figures produced, before the outbreak of WWII curtailed production.
Eventually reintroduced in 1969, the variety of figurines increased greatly, with representations of various human activities, sports, historical figures and more, their charm captivating many.
An example of one of the designs introduced in 1939, this early Bunnykins figure Freddie sold for £1,400 in our July 2021 auction.
Now discontinued, the popularity of Royal Doulton Bunnykins figurines is only increasing.
Our Bunnykins World Record
Our July 2022 Fine Art sale began just like any other, and while staff were quietly confident that a certain rare prototype tableau figure was likely to perform well, none were prepared for how it would completely steal the show – and set a new world record!
Produced in 1998 and entitled ‘Celebration Time’, the tableau figure of a bunny family raising a toast around a grandfather clock had been produced in anticipation of the Millennium. Only two examples are believed to exist, making it an ultra-rare piece.
Literally a cause for celebration, the prototype piece Celebration Time set a new world record sale price for any Royal Doulton figure.
Once the lot was offered and bidding started, a hush soon fell over the saleroom. Staff and room bidders alike watched agog, as bid and counter-bid bounced back and forth between online participants.
After some 8 minutes of contest, the price finally settled at a cool £35,500 and the hammer came down. Sold to a bidder in Australia, the piece now holds the record sale price of any Royal Doulton figure!
Rare Bunnykins for Sale in November
A fantastic prototype figurine, Lot 495 depicts a hotel waiter holding a serviette. It will be featured in our November Fine Art sale with an estimate of £600-£1,200.
Our November Fine Art sale will be a fantastic opportunity to buy rare Royal Doulton Bunnykins figures, with a number of limited edition and prototype pieces to be offered.
With a ‘Not for Resale’ backstamp, this Trick or Treat figure will also be featured in our November sale. Lot 476 is estimated at £100-£200.
The popularity of Bunnykins continues to grow, with the charming and characterful figures and tableware appealing to the nostalgia of those who remember them from their childhood.
Depicting a hotel waitress holding a menu, this figure is another lovely prototype piece, to be featured in our November Fine Art auction. Lot 496, estimate £600-£1,200.
Bunnykins are also popular overseas, particularly in parts of Asia, where interests in British culture and items drive an appetite for such pieces, and there is also a healthy demand from collectors in Australia.
Lot 493 in our November Fine Art sale is this Cavalier DB179 figure in a different colourway with gold and silver highlights. It carries an estimate of £60-£120.
As older pieces gradually become rarer through breakages and loss, it’s never been a better time to buy rare Bunnykins!
A further prototype figure to be featured in our November Fine Art auction is Lot 497, which depicts a hotel bell boy holding a telephone and a sign with the words “Paging Mr Bunnykins”. This wonderful piece is estimated at £600-£1,200.
Do you have rare Bunnykins figures to sell?
We hold free valuation days every Tuesday at our Silverdale saleroom, where our team of experts can value your items and help you consign them to auction. To book an appointment, use our online booking form here.