Martin Luther is the Most Popular Playmobil Figurine Ever

Hannah Keyser

Frank Boxler/Convention and Tourist Centre Nuremberg

You read that headline correctly. Yes, that Martin Luther, the 16th century theologian who wrote The Ninety-five Theses and launched the Protestant Reformation. And yes, those Playmobil figurines with the eerily flat faces and two-pronged hands.

The toy was released in Germany as part of the festivities during the run-up to the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation next year. And all 34,000 first edition mini Martins—each equipped with equally diminutive quills and German-language Bibles—sold out in the first three days. "That's absolutely the fastest we've ever experienced," spokeswoman Anna Ermann said.

Although more little Luthers have already been ordered from Playmobil's factory in Malta, the company demurred on the issue of giving him his own miniature Wartburg Castle, despite a Facebook campaign to create a themed set.

"I like the fact that Playmobil Martin Luther is smiling, because usually he’s portrayed as a crabby fellow, which he was," Seth James, a practicing Lutheran and the son of a Lutheran minister, told Slate. “Having him have a cute little smiling face and a cute little hat makes the infamously angry reformer a lot more approachable." Which might help to explain his sudden popularity.