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Playmobil 'Martin Luther' finds a big following

February 11, 2015

A plastic figurine of Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation in Germany, has enjoyed something of a sales miracle. Made by popular German toymaker Playmobil, it sold out within 72 hours.

Deutschland Vorstellung Playmobil-Spielfigur Martin Luther in Nürnberg
Image: Congress- und Tourismus-Zentrale Nürnberg, c/o Frank Boxler

Nearly 500 years after his death, the German monk who symbolizes the Protestant Reformation movement, has his own Playmobil figurine.

Playmobil, maker of plastic toy sets that are a staple in German nurseries, said on Wednesday that the "plastic" Luther, clutching a German-language Bible and a quill, is its fastest-selling item ever, selling out within 72 hours. "That's absolutely the fastest we've ever experienced," spokeswoman Anna Ermann said.

The northern Bavarian company has sold 34,000 "little Luthers" during that time, and more have been ordered from its factory in Malta.

The Nuremberg Tourism Center says the toy serves as "a miniature ambassador of the Reformation." Although some fans have called for Little Luther to also get his own miniature Wartburg Castle via a Facebook campaign, Playmobil has decided against a special kit, much to the chagrin of Luther's most dedicated fans.

Martin Luther, a German monk and professor of theology who lived from 1483 to 1546, is the founding father of the Protestant Reformation in Germany. He challenged the authority of the Catholic pope and translated the Bible from Latin into the vernacular for the first time, with his translation serving as a blueprint for other countries.

The little Playmobil Luther is part of preparations for the 500th anniversary of Luther's "95 theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences" - widely regarded as the basis for the Reformation movement. In his work, he criticizes the practices of the Catholic church, which led to his excommunication in 1521.

ng/rc (epd, KNA)