Playmobil say Martin Luther is their fastest-selling toy

By Amelia Butterly
Newsbeat reporter

image copyrightTwitter/@Nuernberg_Info

A German religious scholar, born more than 500 years ago, seems an unlikely candidate for a best-selling toy.

But Playmobil, the German-based company which makes small figurines, says that its Martin Luther toy is its fastest-selling in history.

The 34,000 tiny plastic dolls sold out in about three days and new orders won't be sent out until April.

Martin Luther challenged the Catholic Church and helped start the Protestant Reformation in 1517.

The toy shows him with a quill and a Bible, written in German.

image copyrightPlaymobil

The Bavarian city of Nuremberg has already started its preparations to mark 500 years since the Reformation in 2017 and the Martin Luther doll is being sold as part of the celebrations.

The Nuremberg tourism website has thanked customers for their interest in the "small Luther" and says because of "overwhelming demand" the toy is out of stock.

It invites people to pre-order the figure for when it is delivered in April.

image copyrightTwitter/@Nuernberg_Info

According to Newsweek, a similar toy on sale - a model of the German artist Albrecht Durer - has sold 80,000 units over three years.

Astid Muhlmann who is in charge of the preparations for the anniversary of the Reformation says that there is an "interest in looking back" at German history.

"Parents want to make sure their children grow up knowing who he is because he had such an impact on how society evolved in Europe," she said.

"I'm very happy with the news because it shows people are interested in history.

"On the one hand, Martin Luther was a totally normal person in the 16th Century who believed in demons and witches and was afraid of them. He shared the belief of the majority of the people of the time.

"On the other hand he had very modern ideas. He believed every person had the right to an education, including women and girls.

"In this aspect, he was a very 21st Century man."

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