A Brief History of Harmony Ball Pot Bellys
Based in Columbus, Ohio, Noel Wiggins and Lisa Yashon had built a business of importing silver chiming balls from Mexico, and in 1991, formed the Harmony Ball Company. Sometime after forming a business relationship with Martin Perry in 1994, and the creation of Harmony Kingdom, they commissioned a group of talented sculptors to create the Pot Belly line.
The original models were carved at Martin Perry Studios in Gloucestershire, England where they were cast using Martin’s crushed marble resin then hand-painted and tinted. Crafted with amazing detail and roughly two inches tall, their heads or backs lift to reveal a hidden compartment that contains tiny interior carvings and just enough room to store tiny mementos. Cookie jar box figurines that were much bigger than the rest of the collection (to make room for the cookies), were also part of the collection for a limited time.
Since their inception, many different timed collections have been created and retired. Collections have included: farmyard animals, zoological animals, baby animals, calendar cats, historical cats, historical people and others. Until sometime around 2017, all pieces were accompanied with information and collector registration cards. As of 2019, all Pot Bellys have been retired and no new designs are being created. Sadly, this looks to be the end of these delightful collectibles.
My first exposure to Harmony Ball/Kingdom; and the reason I offer these delightful creations to my customers now; was the Animal Pot Bellys, a panoply of fauna depicted in charismatic miniature. Since their inception, many different timed collections have been created and retired. The collections include: Zoologicals, Baby Animals, Blue Eyed Babys, Farmyard, Dinosaur, Lil’ Mousers, Dog Days, Calendar Cats, and Birthstone Cats.
The Historical Pot Bellys, miniature renditions of kings and queens, presidents, statesmen, writers, scientists, artists, and philosophers... those who have shaped our existence, have been popular with a different type of collector. Historians, teachers and students, architects and designers, are among the people who now populate their desks and book shelves with these diminutive sculptures. No longer being produced, these commemorative effigies, especially those with low production numbers and are hard to find, continue to increase in both collectible and monetary value.