Novelty Giant Nutcracker

By mwilcox


This giant Christmas Nutcracker was made by Volkmar Matthes. Matthes was originally from the Erzgebirge region in Soviet-controlled East Germany, but moved to West Germany, near Stuttgart. He produced items based on nutcrackers, such as bar stools and over-sized versions of standard Christmas Nutcrackers from about 1969-1990, the bulk of his sales to American servicemen as souvenirs. Matthes traveled with his truck around the country to the American bases to market to them directly.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall Matthes moved back to the Erzgebirge, and lived there until his death in the late 1990s. There were attempts to keep his shop running, but it is now out of business. Nutcrackers like this remain in production in German by other makers, values for used examples in the secondary market depend a great deal on condition, as large carved wooden items like this are prone to damage from seasonal changes in humidity, which can cause warping and cracking. In the current market new ones retail in the $500.00- $950.00 range, going for about half that amount at auction.