Authenticating Your Walter Bosse: No Black Patina, is my Item Real?

Walter Bosse Elephant Ring HoldersSo you have what you think is a Walter Bosse design, but it is all-gold and doesn’t have an applied black patina. Does that mean it is fake? Not necessarily! Generally there were two factors that led to an item receiving the all-gold “fully polished” treatment. We will outline those two methods below:

  1. The most common fully polished items are usually Walter Bosse’s larger and useful objects made later in his life while he was living in Germany. In the late 1950s until his death in the 70s Walter Bosse was living and working in Germany (leaving his original Austrian company to Herta Baller). He ended up fleeing to Germany because of debts he had in Austria and then started over (in Germany) with all new designs. Since he had no money, he contracted out to other companies to do all the casting for him if he provided the designs. Unfortunately, he ended up not paying some of those casting companies for their work and they started to produce and sell his designs on their own without his authorization (in order to recoup his debt owed to them). Consequently, the patina was a tricky process and the casting firms didn’t always know how to do it correctly. If you do it too long, the patina turns green or greyish. If you don’t do it long enough it turns brown. If you don’t fully clean the oils off, you can get spots that resist the etching process and looks blotchy. So in a lot of cases, these casting firms ended upĀ  just leaving the patina off entirely.
    So how do you know if your item is from this era in Walter Bosse’s life? Items from this particular period usually have rougher looking surfaces. The sand casting process was a lot less precise and often resulted in larger casting flaws and a sandy texture. But it was great for producing larger objects at cheaper prices. Generally these types of items that were possibly cast without Bosse’s knowledge are thought of as Bosse designs because they are using the same masters and molds. It is really impossible to prove whether these were authorized or unauthorized pieces.
    See some examples of his German fully-polished work:
    Walter Bosse Town Musicians of Bremen Wall Hook / Key Rack Walter Bosse RoosterWalter Bosse Elephant Thermometer HolderWalter Bosse Hedgehog AshtraysWalter Bosse Cow Wall Hook / Key RackWalter Bosse Cow Thermometer HolderWalter Bosse Elephant Wall Hooks / Key RackWalter Bosse Fish Dish
  2. The less common fully-polished items are those that were selected to be polished because they were finely cast. It was somewhat rare but not uncommon for Bosse to fully polish items himself and not put a patina on if the casting quality of an item was pretty high. You will see very early models with an all-gold finish, often marked with the large “Bosse Austria” mark. Items had to be ground down and partially polished anyway before applying the patina. So sometimes if an if an item came out looking particularly nice, it was selected to be finely polished. The acid-etching patina process could hide small flaws in the casting process.
    See some examples below of his early fully-polished work:
    Walter Bosse Duck Figurine Walter Bosse Whale Ashtray Walter Bosse Deer Figurine Walter Bosse Hand AshtrayWalter Bosse DoeWalter Bosse Rooster FigurineWalter Bosse Fish KeychainWalter Bosse Hellhound
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