Most Common Stoppers
The three most common stoppers ANRI made continuously
from 1912 until 1976, were the Kissing Couple, Hat Tippers, and Drinkers.
If you don't have at least one of each of these in
your collection you must be just beginning!
Here are two old kissing couples that are in wonderful
condition. Notice the detail carved into the coats, shawls, and faces.
You should also look closely at the eyes. In the beginning, most
of the painters who did the finishing touches used a 3 or 4 step process
when completing the eyes. They began with a white background, then
painted the eye color, or iris, then the pupil, and in many cases a "highlight"
dot of white paint on the pupil, too. Some have slightly more or
less detail. In later years fewer pains were taken to give the eyes
a realistic look and many times the steps were reduced to only one or two;
white or black and then a crude dot of paint for eye color.
Once you've studied these two kissers you'll notice
the crude carving, the too bright paint, and the lack of detail. This should
give you a new appreciation for the work that went into the finer ones,
above. Avoid stoppers with plastic heads, like the one pictured on the
right. They have little value.
A kissing couple stopper, in mint condition,
should work perfectly. The man and woman should turn toward
each other with their necks rising and their lips should actually touch.
They should also return to their original position when the lever is released.
Here are three unusual kissing couples from my
collection. The one on the left, with the couple facing each other
to kiss, is the rarest of the kissing stoppers. The middle one is
a combination kissing couple and hat tipper. They kiss and
the man tips his hat. The full-figured couple sitting side by side
is a combination hat tipper/kissing couple.
Speaking of hat tippers, lets go look at the
2nd of the Big Three.