Georg Leykauf, L. Ostermayr, Wieseler & Mahler, etc.

Character steins with a Nürnberg souvenir theme frequently have names and basemarks that seem to belong to Nürnberg distributors and retailers. These figurals do not carry manufacturers’ marks, but their traits will identify them. Often they carry a familiar basemark like Felsenstein & Mainzer (F & M, N) or Theodor Wieseler (T.W.). At other times, they display marks that indicate a known or unknown dealer. By examining them individually, it is easier to understand the roles played by often familiar, and some unfamiliar, names.


Thanks to the efforts of Kurt Sommerich and Steve Smith, much has been learned about Ostermayr. They were located at 33 to 37 Konigstrasse in Nürnberg and specialized in various Nürnberg souvenir items. Beer steins were only a small part of their line. A stoneware stein exists that commemorates the 1903 Turnfest and carries the L. Ostermayr basemark. A Mettlach stein dated 1935 and carrying their impressed basemark has also been seen. This would indicate that Ostermayr was in business for over 37 years. Steve Smith discovered a catalog dated May 15, 1922. At that time, they offered various cream stoneware Nürnberg Tower character steins. These figurals were supplied to Ostermayr by the Nürnberg pewtersmith and distributor Felsenstein & Mainzer. Character stein bases sometimes carry both the incised F & M, N mark and the incised words L. OSTERMAYR (see figure__). The chapter on Felsenstein & Mainzer explains that they commissioned the ceramic bodies to which they added pewter lids before distributing them to retailers like Ostermayr. It is interesting that F & M also had the ceramic maker add the retailer's name when character steins were ordered.


Another popular Nürnberg souvenir shop was Georg Leykauf. Leykauf was located opposite the St. Lorenz Church. Leykauf sold many of the same souvenir items as Ostermayr, including cream stoneware Nürnberg Tower character steins. Some of the same towers were also supplied by Felsenstein & Mainzer. In fact, some of these towers also carry both the F & M mark and the GEORG LEYKAUF name with both incised into the tower base (see figure__). On occasion, a stein can be found with a Leykauf paper label still intact. As they did for Ostermayr, F & M also ordered the ceramic tower character steins with both their name and Leykauf's incised. There are other landmark souvenir steins believed to be made by S.P. Gerz and marked George Leykauf.


Another prominent Nürnberg souvenir outlet was Wieseler & Mahler. They were located at Karolinestrasse 27. Wieseler & Mahler sold only those character steins that were supplied by Theodor Wieseler. That was only natural as Theodor Wieseler was part owner of this outlet. This souvenir shop offered a blue-grey stoneware version of the Nürnberg Tower character stein that carries an incised T.W. basemark. The name Wieseler & Mahler has not been seen as a mark on any character stein. However, there are steins representing Munich that have a T.W. basemark. Perhaps these were also sold through this outlet.


There were other distributors or retailers in Nürnberg who had special souvenir character steins made especially for them. At least two other incised marks found on character steins lead us to Nürnberg, but the companies’ names are still a mystery. One of these marks was previously identified as Gebruder Brothers. This does not make any sense as Gebruder means Brother in German. The mark is an incised circular mark often found on Munich Child character steins. The circle is split into three parts with Gbr and Br over N. The N stands for Nürnberg (see figure__).

The second incised circular basemark is also split into three sections with J, G over N. This mark is found on Nürnberg Tower character steins as well as Munich Child steins (see figure__). Careful study of figurals carrying these two basemarks suggests that most, if not all, were commissioned from the Höhr firm of M. Girmscheid.