Lefton figurines have been around since 1941 when George Zoltan Lefton, a Hungarian immigrant, opened his company. The company still exists today, but I am personally fondest of its 1950s pieces.
Lefton’s retro mod pixieware would be the toast of a 50s kitchen. His striped Christmas elves adorn my mantle every year. And then there are the very collectible Lefton angels and devils.
In the series the devil is up to all kinds of mischevious deeds. In one figurine he is trying to sneak a kiss with the angel. In another piece that I have on Ebay, the little angel has knocked the devil on his rear and is glaring at him with her fist extended.
While they are from the 1950s, the Lefton angel and devil remind me of 1930s Campbell Soup kids. They are rounded all over and have rosy cheeks, red lips, and huge, round eyes with eyelashes.
The Lefton angel figurine wears a white dress with puffy sleeves and little wings. She has gold metallic trim on the lace bottom of her dress, her halo, and the creases of her dress. The devil wears a red romper suite with blonde locks poking out underneath and little golden horns.
My piece has the Lefton crown insignia on the bottom, which is a common Lefton mark.
You will also see the Lefton devil figurine doing a solo act – tennis, bowling and playing several musical instruments. Less commonly seen are devils that don’t have the golden locks peecking out.
While the Lefton collectibles angel and devil figurines are hardly scarce, they aren’t completely common either. At any one time you will find a few of each figurine on Ebay.
If these little 50s childlike figurines appeal, be sure to watch out for cracks and crazing. They also seem to be susceptible to paint wear.
Prevention is the best medicine when cleaning them so as to avoid damaging the finish. Putting figurines in an enclosed cabinet and dusting them regularly works for me. I try to avoid touching them without gloves. The oils on your hands get on a figurine and help dust stick.
I use a squeeze bulb to blow off dust, the kind that is used for cleaning a digital camera sensor. That way I am not grinding dirt into the surface of the paint while cleaning.
I have heard many people say they use a gentle soap but I don’t do that. The most I have ever used was a lightly water-dampened soft cloth on a piece that was so incredibly dirty that it was a loss in its current condition.
It cleaned up with gentle persistance but there is no guarantee that what was safe on that figurine will be fine on another. Stick with the dusting and happy collecting!