I have a lot of these little fellows in a Antique Sterilizer cabinet. They are from ______ and were used in Arc's or just sold separately, usually for a penny each.
The town of Seiffen is located in the district of Erzgebirgskreis, which is the south-center of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. The earliest record of the town is from 1324 when it was referred to as "Cynsifen".
Seiffen sits in the heart of the Erzgebirge, or the Ore Mountains, which are famous for many Christmas traditions. As the silver and tin deposits declined, former miners had to look for new ways to feed their families. In addition to lace making and weaving, the inhabitants went into wood carving. Nutcrackers, "smoking men", "pyramids" (carousels with figures of the Christmas story or from mining) and Schwibbogen (wooden arcs with candles in the windows, symbolising the opening of a mine) are some of many Christmas goods made in the Ore Mountains. Seiffen is a centre of the wooden toy industry.
The history of Seiffen started when miners opened up the district 700 years ago. With the recession of ore-mining in the area, Seiffen turned to wooden toy manufacture as a matter of economic survival. In 1699, Seiffen resident Johann Friedrich Hiemann took Seiffen toys to market at Nuremberg. Nuremberg was a toy distribution market for much of Europe at that time. Seiffen was able to break into this large toy market due to two factors. First, the low cost of living and economic depression in the Erzgebirge allowed prices much lower than the rest of European toy manufacturers selling at the Nuremberg market. Second, the high quality of toys being produced in Seiffen.