Sunday, February 8, 2015

Hagen-Renaker Snow White Figures

The California-based Hagen-Renaker company is a manufacturer of hand-crafted ceramic figurines. When Disneyland first opened in 1955, they supplied the park shops with a variety of character pieces and continued to do so up until 1960. This Snow White with the Seven Dwarfs 8-piece set was created in two different sizes.

In the miniature set, Snow measures approximately 2.5" tall while the dwarfs are about 1.5". Designed by artist Martha Armstrong.

Above image via Hakes.

With the larger collection, the figures stand in different poses. Snow is almost 6", the dwarfs 3.25". She wears a pink bow and a large collar. Snow White was designed by artist Don Winton; the dwarfs by Nell Bortells.

A unique variation in this set has Snow with eyes open, wearing a red bow and no collar. The paint colors are more vibrant and are different on the dwarfs too.


Originally attached to the back of each figure was a black and gold foil sticker which might read, Walt Disney Prod., Hagen-Renaker, and/or the figure's name.

During the 1950s and 60s, Hagen-Renaker had stiff competition from figures being produced in Japan. As a result, they attempted several cost-cutting techniques to remain profitable. One was to lessen the amount of time required for hand-painting. Experts Ed and Sheri Alcorn call these pieces the "dot-eye" versions. Instead of painting white eyes with dark pupils, the artist simply painted the entire eye black. Also note in the comparison photo below, Snow's bow and shoulder puffs lack color details.

Even after the Disney contract had expired in 1960, it appears that some pieces were still being produced and sold at the theme park. This set with yellow Disneyland cards is extremely rare and dates from the mid-1960s. Original retail price: 80¢ each.

Info and images of the sets are copyright Ed and Sheri Alcorn via their Hagen-Renaker website.

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