History of ANRI Wood Carving

It all began in the late 19th century when Alois Riffeser traveled to the major European cities to sell the wood carved figurines and toys which were bought from the farmers of the Gröden Valley located in the Dolomite region of the Alps. This area in South Tyrol was part of Austria-Hungary at the time until being annexed to Italy in 1919.

In 1912 Josef Anton Riffeser founded the ANRI Company, which he named using the first two letters of his first and last name. After World War I, where he was in a prisoner of war camp in Siberia, he formulated his plan for a woodcarving company. He created his own models which he distributed successfully, mainly in the Alpine region.

Josef’s wife, Carolina Riffeser ran the company during the difficult years of war and the absence of her husband. She was especially influential as her social positions were well accepted and gained the confidence of the home workers. She also inaugurated the first canteen of the region.

When Anton Adolf Riffeser took over in 1945, he transformed the ANRI company, adopting a more industrial model which allowed for better quality control and distribution to new markets. He was followed by Ernst Riffeser who was able to enlist the services of many well known artists including Juan Ferràndiz, Sarah Kay and others. The ANRI company today is run by Thomas Riffeser, and still remains in the same family.

Gröden Valley Woodcarving
Gröden Valley

78 Responses to History of ANRI Wood Carving

  1. Carol Vigil says:

    I bought a pair of Native American bookends and I would love to know what year they were made. The mom is standing outside her teepee with her baby in a papoose on her back and the dad is looking out the teepee and has his peace pipe. They both have two totems on each. They are so cute! Thanks for any help

  2. Paula says:

    Hello I have many Anri pieces and have decided to sell most of them. I just sold an Anri wood carved Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus “Madonna of World Piece” it has the original sticker on the bottom of the base and is in one solid color. The buyer sent me an email telling me he does not think its made of wood that when he feels her face it does not feel like wood. I replied and advised that the item he purchase is an original wood carved Anri with its original sticker on the bottom and that the piece is all wood. Can you help, the item number on the eBay website that I sold is 131141471179 the item may show up as sold just click on original listing and I have 12 pictures I posted including the base with the original sticker. I want to assure the buyer that the piece is made of all wood and that he can be assured he has purchased an original. Please help for I certainly want this buyer to be happy with their purchase. Thank you. Waiting for reply. I don’t have Face Book that is why I have provided the item number you can use when searching for the item so you can see all the pictures. PLEASE HELP.

    • Hi Paula, There were some ANRI pieces made of other materials such as resin, but they are usually immediately identifiable. On the piece you sold, there would usually be the some visual element of the wood grain if you look closely. I can’t tell 100% from the pictures on the auction, but nothing I see would indicate that it isn’t a wooden carving. Leaving myself some wiggle room, I would say it is indeed wood. The sticker is an ANRI mark from 1954.

  3. Melanie King says:

    Are all of the Anri wooden pieces “hand carved” and/or “hand painted” or are they mass produced?

    • Hi Melanie, When people think of ANRI it’s mostly hand carved and hand painted. In their history, there have been some products that were some that were less handcrafted. Mass produced isn’t really accurate but there have been some resin and other products and even some wooden products that were more highly produced. A lot of times they would Madonna statues or even chess sets.

  4. Trish says:

    Hi,

    This is probably a really stupid question as I am just venturing into the world of music boxes. Can you tell me if Anri is still in business? I was not able to locate a website, as I would like to purchase from them if they are still in existence.. thank you kindly for your time.

  5. Robyn says:

    I inherited a cabin style carved wood wall piece . I believe it is musical . On the back it has a foil sticker that says 40 Years 1912-1952 Anri Wood Carvings with another pasted label with the # 1136 “Schau mich bitte nicht so an” Any idea about this piece? I have photos i could submit.
    Thanks Robyn

  6. Cherri Guenzel says:

    I just purchased an Immaculate Heart of Mary Toriart figurine. Can you tell me how old it is likely to be? It is seven inches tall.

  7. Rena says:

    what is Anri Tori Art made of ???

  8. Fabio Gabbani says:

    Hi! I use to be able to go to consult your website to find the old Anri labels; it seems that it is no longer possible. Can you tell me please where to find a compilation of these old labels or Anri signatures, or Anri marks? From the beginning of the fabrication of Anri statues or nutcrackers? Thank you very much, and all the best to you.
    Fabio Gabbani
    Ticino, Switzerland

    • Hello Fabio, that information is on a different website. I don’t see that site as live at the moment. If you have a specific one you need to know you can post it on our Facebook page. If the other website doesn’t come back soon, we will set up a page here with the ANRI labels.

  9. Kathy Sheard says:

    I have an anti with paper label – man sitting on wine barrel with glass of wine. Any idea of how old this is or value?

  10. Carol Sargent says:

    I have a Anri “Miss Murdstone” wooden figure in very good condition still with Anri sticker and I have been unable to find anyone here in New Zealand who can give me an idea of what she is worth can anyone please help.

    • Hi Carol, that is often the problem with ANRI all over the world. The market is so niche there isn’t really an industry standard for the secondary market other than what other pieces have recently sold for. The original ANRI Dickens from around the 1920′s – of which I’m not sure this one is, have been in the $300-$400 range.

  11. laurel says:

    I have a music box that plays Its a small world and has 8 small carved children figurines on the inside. It has anri markings on the bottom of the box aling with numbers. Do you know of its worth?

  12. Sheri Colan says:

    I have acquired what I believe to be a vintage Anri wood carved cork bottle topper. It would have been purchased by my grandparents in the 40′s or 50′s. There are no markings on it anywhere yet I’m fairly sure it’s authentic. Just curios if it is and what it would be worth.

  13. christopher says:

    Holiday greatings! I was contacting you in regards to a piece that I’ve acquired and have not been able to find any information about. Its a hand carved and painted spinning wheel about 22″ talk with the spindle. It still has all stickers and is in perfect working order. I’ve contacted anri and they don’t even have any information. Would love to show someone a photo and to get some information on it. I’m not a collector of anri and would love to provide one a chance to have it but have no idea what is fair.

  14. Mary Oliver says:

    I just purchased a used chess set ANRI toriart roman vs teutons w/o the chess board, in wooden box bottom is marked also with sticker and has felt on it as well the king & queens still have their stickers (that’s how i found u) the black pieces some of the gold paint is worn off and the white pieces the silver is worn down also. can u tell me roughly what this set is worth, for I have seen some prices on ebay etc . 1 question I do have is before words ANRI there is a letter c in a circle -such as when 1 does copy write are these original or copies?

    • Hi Mary, Original ANRI chess boards that are hand carved wood are usually very valuable. That said, there have been several reproductions made. The “c” is probably for copywright. Are the pieces plastic?

  15. Gabe Crotti says:

    I’ve been collecting Anri Dickens characters, the small 3 inch figures. I need three more to complete my set–Jacob Trotter, Mr. Dick and Fat boy. Since these are vintage pieces where can I find them other than ebay or Etsy. Help!

  16. Olga says:

    Hi,
    I have a great collection of wooden thimbles, and some of them are marked ANRI. I know, there is a serie of Anri annual thimbles by Ferrandie, with different limited editionds. Could you please tell me more about Anri thimbles? Any info will be highly appreciated. When and how long did the company produced them, how many editions, what kind of motives etc. I think, there are some records in the company’s history books. Many thanks for your help!

  17. melissa says:

    Hi,
    I purchased a beautiful Anri Madonna figure holding the crucifix and rose shaped rosary beads. The piece is Amazing but is not dated or signed.There is an Anri sticker on the bottom. How do I find out more information on this lovely piece?
    Thanks,
    melissa

  18. Heather Cooper says:

    Hi,

    I have inherited an Anri music box, containing the Thorens movement, The River Seine. The music box is of a girl holding a basket of flowers over each arm, with a flower in each hand. The girls turns in circles when the music plays. Behind the girl is a wall with two cats (one black, one white) sitting atop, and a lightpost on each end. In front of the girl is a howling terrier (dog) and on the ground are two birds to one side, and one on the other side of the dog. The platform is round and the base is octagonal.

    Can you provide information on this beautiful piece? My grandmother had brought it back from her travels in Switzerland if I remember correctly. She always purchased items where they were created. I have enjoyed it since I was a very young girl – I am now 46 years of age.

    Thank you!
    Heather

  19. Deborah Hunt says:

    I have the great pleasure of just buying an Anri Madonna and Child from eBay. The seller is in Belgium and says it was from an estate. She is 24 cm and in perfect condition and has a gold patina added to the carving. Is there anyway you could identify the carver? I hope this image posts. She is so beautiful.
    /Users/deborahhunt/Desktop/Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 10.52.06 AM.png

  20. Elaine Gifford says:

    We are leaving for Italy tomorrow. Would love to find an Anri kneeling king from the Holy Land collection for a friend who has been looking for years. What kind of places should I look that might carry the collection? Vatican museum? Jewelry stores? Souvenir shops?

    Thanks for any help.

    • Hi Elaine, I don’t know of any place in Italy specifically. However, you or your friend can call Chris in our PA store at 215-794-7858 and if that piece is still available or able to be carved, then we can order direct from ANRI and have it shipped to the U.S.

  21. Maureen Reis says:

    I have an Anri Nativity Stable that is a music box which plays “Silent Night”. There is also a light that can be turned on to light up the main figures.
    The Jesus, Mary, and Joseph figures are attached to the stable. Around them are angels on a circle that rotates when the music plays. There are additional figures that I place on the outside of the stable which is made of wood with a little fence around it. The stable and outside are all one piece. There are three wise men, two lambs, and three or four shepherds.
    It has been in my family for about fifty years. Do you know who the artist is?

  22. Teresa Bertone says:

    I have a music box with the stamp anri burned into it. It plays “Talk to the animals” (reuge). The artist name is Jerrandiz. I see where you have listed an artist named ferrandiz. Is this the same person or another? Could you give me an idea of the age?

  23. Laura Scarborough says:

    Hello, I have a statue/statuette of the Madonna and Child that is about 7″ tall and carved in all white sculptulite. I seem to remember an ANRI sticker on the bottom at one time but it is not there now. It is in a battered Toriart box. Can you a) determine if it’s authentic and b) its approximate age? I would appreciate any help you can give me.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v289/BlueMoods/Toriart%20Madonna%20and%20Child/001_zpse13023cb.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v289/BlueMoods/Toriart%20Madonna%20and%20Child/003_zps02d180c8.jpg

    • Hi Laura, I would be under the assumption that it is authentic. ANRI began using the logo on the box around 1958 so I would guess it’s from the late 50s to early 60s. The look of the box would support that I think.

  24. Gabe Crotti says:

    Hi, I have many Anri carvings–mainly barware. I recently bought a religious triptych in gold leaf with a crucifix in the middle panel and the virgin on the left flap and St. John on the right. The label is the 50th anniversary label 1952. The piece measures 9 inches high and the statues are 3 inches high and carved wood and painted. The triptych is on stand and the piece is gold gilded. Is this a rare piece. I have not been able to get any info on this piece . Thanks

  25. Pamela Wheeler says:

    I own a Reuge (Swiss) music box with a beautiful carving of a queen on top–I believe it is a carving of Queen Isabella of Spain. It is like, yet somewhat unlike the ANRI carvings that I’ve seen, and I’m having a difficult time researching this item (ANRI tag on the bottom of the box). I purchased it around 1970 (?), and it is my favorite keepsake to go through life with–so lovely. I would love to know more about it, the artist, how many were made etc. There were other “Queens” where I bought this item, but not all on music boxes. They were all expensive, and being a young woman I paid for it on time. Want to pass this down to a granddaughter with some details. Can you assist? Thank you.

  26. Luis S says:

    Hello I have a Minnie Mouse carving that is approximately 10″ tall(guessing, I don’t have it in front of me as I type this) I have tried seaching online, but cannot seem to find anything like it. I have found many that are smaller in size. I did find one but it was numbered 163/500. The one I have is numbered 50/250, if I remember correctly, I will check when I get home from work. It is a beautiful piece and I was looking to see if I can get Mickey Mouse as well. I also heard that they are nolonger made, but I would still like to try and gather any information I can find. I like to get as much of the history of items in my collection, it makes for a better conversation about the piece. Thanks in advance for any information.

    Luis S.

    • Hi Luis, Usually with ANRI the limited edition pieces are of smaller runs in the larger sizes, which makes sense. If you really want Mickey, we could inquire with ANRI what the cost and ETA would be for him – if there was one at all and if they didn’t sell all 250.

  27. Erica Wolter says:

    I have a set of Anri dogs – orchestra. No stickers at all but I’m sure they are Anri.
    When were these made and how do I find out more about them.

  28. Deborah A DiTulio says:

    I have a anri carving that appears to be the last super in a enclosed plastic reqtangular block do you know what it is named and the approx. date and value
    Thank You

  29. Dagmar Kubes says:

    I have a chess set with the label of C Anri, it came with the alabaster chess board from Italy.
    The figures have a great detail, but it doesn’t look like carved wood.
    I am searching for C Anri Italy, but all I am getting is the info on Anri Woodcarvings from Tyrols.
    Thank you very much for any info.

  30. Jason Leeb says:

    Does anyone know if this might be an Anri carving.
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/rqltd06dwt2cpx3/2012-11-19%2016.21.59.jpg

    thanks
    Jason

  31. Joanne Ford says:

    My daughter received an ANRI figurine from her Grandpa’s estate but it has now gone missing (we’re not sure how). Would love to get another one for her (same one if possible). I know what it looks like and I believe it would have been made between 1960- 1980 (possible 1975). It was only about 3″ high and a little girl with a teddy bear I believe (possibly Sarah Kay but I’m not sure). Is there a catalogue of all the ANRI figurines that were made? If you could assist that would be great.
    Thanks!

  32. James L. Ouellette says:

    I have a nativity wood carving That is a 1 piece unit with all the figure independently hand carved.and inserted into the house / manger . It measures 23-1/2″ wide by 12-1/2″ tall by 6-1/2″ deep. It is signed
    ANDRI on the back. Is this a rare piece?

  33. Penny says:

    Is every ANRI carved figurine marked? I have a vintage figurine, age unkown, that sure looks like classic Anri, but it is not marked as such. It is an old bearded man in leiderhosen, smoking a pipe and sitting on a stump, about 6″tall and finely painted in a matte finish. On the front if the base it says “Gruss aus Tirol” and on the bottom are the initials P.G. Any clue as to where he might have come from?
    Thank you kindly for your time. :)

  34. ed andich says:

    I HAVE AN ANRI MUSIC BOX AND WANT TO REPLACE THE MOVEMENT CAN ANYONE HELP?

  35. Hi Margaret – Would you be able to leave a picture on our Facebook page?
    http://www.facebook.com/anriwoodcarvings

    It should say “Tyrolian” as that is the region ANRI figures are carved in.

    • Margaret Hamilton says:

      I just realized that it was Tyrolian, there is not a lot of the tag left and that part was smudged. I will try to take a picture and down load it but I may not be able to so here goes my best try.

  36. Margaret Hamilton says:

    I have a wooden Madonna that is approximatly 20 inches high on the bottom on what is left of the tag it says South Syrolian Art hand carved and has Anri made in Italy. It was my grandparents and I was wondering if you might be able to give me some history on this particular type of Anri art work. I also have a 12 inch Joseph and baby Jesus piece. I think they got them in the 1930′s but they also could have been passed down to them from an older generation.

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