/ History of Richard Sellmer Verlag

Since 1945
Richard Sellmer Publishers
Advent Calendars from Stuttgart to the world

It is such a beautiful product, the enthusiasm for it has been passed on over the generations, ”explains Annette Sellmer, why all family members have remained loyal to the Christmas calendar during the company's 75-year existence.
The nostalgic cityscapes, cozy Christmas scenes, romantic snowy landscapes with Santa Claus and the religious motifs of the Advent calendars, which are particularly popular in England, have one thing in common: They are designed and manufactured with care and great attention to detail.
According to our company philosophy, what is shown behind the door must match the content of the motif on the front of the calendar," says Annette Sellmer.

Even the first Sellmer calendar with the motif "The small town" - which was reissued as a reprint - shows this careful attention to detail and the sophisticated, handcrafted design. Richard Sellmer had made it by hand in the living room of his house on Schmellbachstrasse, opposite today's Sellmer company building.
He was the first German provider where customers could order Advent calendars.

Facts that matter

Success over the years



Motives since the foundation




Years of business


Dianne Russell

Frank Sellmer.


Eleanor Pena

Oliver Sellmer.

Managing partner

Theresa Webb

Annette Sellmer.

Marketing and press work

How it all started

The American occupation authorities granted permission to print in 1945. Although a good part of the Advent season of the first post-war year was already over, Sellmer's calendar was a huge success, so that he gradually expanded the program in the following years.

Richard Sellmer quickly established contacts with American customers through international trade fairs. The advent calendar, which until then had been completely unknown in the USA, also found enthusiastic buyers there. American customers could now also buy Sellmer's Advent calendar. Sellmers Verlag was soon referred to as "The Home of Advent Calendar". So that the impression does not arise that only the Americans have used the Christmas calendar from Stuttgart to do good: Richard Sellmer himself financed the restoration of the bombed church windows of the Stuttgart collegiate church with the proceeds of the motif "Old Stuttgart". The opulent photo albums that document the company's history contain black and white photos from early production as well as some letters from children from all over the world, addressed to the “Secretary General of Father Christmas” or to “Santa Claus”.


The fact that U.S. presidents Eisenhower and Nixon were photographed with their families as part of a charity action with a calendar from Stuttgart-Rohr further increased the popularity of Sellmer products. The fact that a Miss Christmas-Town, the Queen of Advent calendar, was crowned annually as part of that charity in the United States, was visited by the publisher was also seen as a nice recognition. One of the best kept memories is a Christmas card from Bill Clinton: The President personally thanked him for the copy of an Advent calendar special from the 1950s with the "White House" as the motive Sellmer had sent him.

The production

Many were made by hand

The New Age

At Sellmer, around 40 percent of sales now come from the international market.
When it comes to demand, the British are amazing. That is why a sales office was set up near Birmingham in 2001.

But even in countries without a noteworthy Christian tradition, such as Japan, demand is growing steadily. A very important area is now the production of custom-made products. Most of them are promotional gifts that companies send to their customers and employees. The fashion chain H&M, for example, commissioned a special chocolate advent calendar from Richard Sellmer Verlag in a magazine look, printed with a cover girl dressed up for Christmas.

Online sales are increasing among private customers. While buyers and users think of Christmas calendars at the earliest a few weeks before the start of Advent, the production of the paper jewelry at the manufacturer takes the whole year.

From the end of January three major trade fairs will be visited - the Nuremberg Toy Fair, Paperworld in Frankfurt am Main and the spring fair in Birmingham. The first overseas shipments are already on the ship in March, followed by delivery to wholesalers in Europe and finally to retailers and private customers. The calendars for the following year are designed from September and are printed right after Christmas. Pfeil Here you can see how we produce advent calendars.

Production today

In the early days of the publishing house, almost everything was laboriously manufactured by hand. Today, production and packaging run automatically, except for a very few work steps; there is even a machine for applying mica. After Richard Sellmer's death in 1969, his son Tim was responsible for rationalizing production. His measures made the large numbers that are required today possible in the first place. Tim Sellmer died in 2008, his sons Frank and Oliver Sellmer continue to run the publishing house in his sense.

The Sellmer publishing program currently includes around 130 motifs, around 15 newly designed ones are added every year. Some motifs have been in the range without interruption since the 1950s; Reprints are particularly popular - more like advent calendars for adults. Whether in the common A4 format, whether as a postcard, whether three-dimensional with backdrops to set up - as different as the preferences of the customers may be: Silver glitter and nostalgic romance are simply a must for Advent calendars - certainly not just for Americans.

Interestingly, the Advent calendar is a relatively young phenomenon, the first specimen was produced in the 1904 year. It was not even popular until the 1950s. At that time, it became a low-cost mass-produced article, and the Stuttgart publisher Richard Sellmer Verlag, the only publisher in Germany that focuses exclusively on the production of Advent calendars, has a significant share of it.

Millions of copies of the decorative Christmas agendas are delivered annually by the family business to distribution partners in over 25 countries. Richard Sellmer founded the publishing house in the 1945's, and today his grandchildren Frank and Oliver Sellmer run the business. In the meantime, however, the fourth generation is also actively helping. The publisher employs nine employees. About five freelance graphic artists are responsible for the artistic design, the printing orders are awarded outside the house.

Our recommendation: Advent Calendar Domplatz von 1947


Advent Calendar "Cathedral Place"

Price includes VAT, plus shipping
  • Reproduction by 1947
  • Counterpart to set up
  • With plugged-in backdrop
  • Images complete the front page
  • Expensive Turkish cement
  • Turks also in the background
  • Decorated with glitter
  • Size: 43 x 20,5 cm