2/8/11

R is for Rare Receptacles


February seems like a perfect time to share my Headvase Collection. 

They made their debut in the 1940's in the Floral Industry as vases for flowers.  How special it must have been to receive one for Valentines.

Back then, few would have anticipated the current popularity of this commodity which, for decades, florists used as inexpensive enhancements for their bouquets. Indeed, what today we usually refer to as "ceramic planters" or "head vases," was often then generically called "florist ware." Neighborhood "five and dimes" were popular sources for the more affordable pieces. 
Headvase Museum Website

During the 1950's, the Floral Arrangements were often Faux Flowers made of plastic and embellished with netting and ribbon.  These are rare finds today, as many people now look upon plastic as cheap, and have thrown away these original flowers. 

My first Headvase was found  behind a toliet in what at one time was a Beauty Shop.  Big Hair and Little Heads is a post about Her. I call her my Potty Bootty.  She is from the 1950's, made by Caffco and today is valued around $400.

Head vases were made in a variety of designs. But it was the elegant, fashion-model look that quickly became among the most popular. Flourishes such as faux-pearl necklaces and earrings, hair bows, eyelashes, and applied textiles became the norm. Glamorous movie stars and beautifully coiffed fashion models inspired many of the designs both here and abroad.

One novel approach, which quickly became commonplace, was the addition of a well-manicured hand.
Positioned so as to be stroking the face, this gave a touch of feminine elegance to the piece.

Today, head vases of all types have become very collectible. Those which originally sold for only a couple dollars each now command many times that. Pieces depicting well-known personalities, such as the popular Jacqueline Kennedy by Inarco or the Disney character series by Enesco, are often most highly prized.  Imagine my surprise to find that this Sweetheart of a vase is  listed as one of the Rare Prizes. 

The market for these ceramic pieces peaked in the mid-60s. By this time, designs had become simpler, often smaller, in order to reduce costs and increase profitability. Whereas many early head vases topped 8" in height, newer ones were often only 3-4" tall.
While many head vases can be identified by their hallmarks (which may be part of the mould itself, painted directly onto the item, or applied as a sticker), others have no identifying marks whatsoever. Often only the style of the subject's hair or clothing attest to the item's age, if not its manufacturer.


Linking To:
Marty's TableTop Tuesday at A Stroll Through Life

Headvase Header

49 comments:

  1. Sue,

    These are wonderful. I saw a lot of these this past summer in Maine but opted for wall pockets instead. Silly me....

    Carol

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  2. Oh my goodness Sue! What an amazing collection! They are all gorgeous and you have photographed them beautifully.

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  3. These are beartiful! I've seen headvases but I had no idea there were so many types. I found your blog while doing research on an EAP oil lamp for my Dad. Thanks for sharing your collections!

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  4. Sue, what a wonderful collection you have..I remember these from when I was a little girl..what a fond memory! Just beautiful!

    hugs
    Barb

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  5. I have a bunch of head vases a friend of mine calls them "pot heads" lol I love love love your collection. The one with the ponytail is gorgeous. Grace xoox

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  6. Oh, Sue! What a wonderful post! I love these vases although I've never had one! I have a cousin who collects these but she lives far away I haven't seen them! I love the eye lashes and their pretty little fingers! :)
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

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  7. I'd never heard of these until one of my very young nieces began to collect them. Now I'm always looking for them.

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  8. OH MY GOODNESS SUE,
    I WOULD JUMP THROUGH HOOPS ALL DAY FOR HEAD VASES...I LOVE THEM SO VERY MUCH AND I ONLY OWN ONE SIMPLE ONE.
    MY FANTASY IS TO COME A LONG A DUSTY ROAD AND FIND A BARN FULL OF THEM, WITH A SIGN SAYING, TAKE ALL YOU WANT...CAN YOU IMAGINE...I WOULD FAINT AND THEY WOULD ALL BE GONE WHEN I WOKE UP AND I WOULD KNOW IT WASN'T A FANTASY BUT A NIGHTMARE...LOL
    THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR STUNNING COLLECTION...SOMETIMES I JUST GOOGLE HEAD VASES SO I CAN JUST ENJOY LOOKING AT THEM
    HAVE A SUGAR SWEET DAY
    SIMPLY DEBBIE

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  9. You really do have the best collection of Head Vases! Love seeing them. hugs, Linda

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  10. You have quite the collection and these are just lovely Sue! My grandmother had one which my sis inherited. She hangs her necklaces off the hand. Her head vase reminds me of Lucille Ball. If she thought hers was worth as much she wouldn't be hanging anything on the hand.
    I always enjoy your post. They are so informative. ~Ames

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  11. Wonderful post.....so informative! You have a gorgeous collection!!!
    Sherry

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  12. These are LOVELY.
    My MIL has one she received with special flowers from her hubby back in the day. . .I've always known "she" was special.
    :)

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  13. Oh I just love them! I've seen them in antique stores and always admired their beauty. You have a wonderful collection!

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  14. The vases are really fun Sue! I've only seen a few of them at antique shops, always thought they were pretty though:@)

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  15. You don't see these around blog land very often. So glad I happened upon your wonderful collection. I only have one stored away from the sixties. You've inspired me to get it out and renew her head dress. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. WOW! Beautiful collection! You have so many. I love them as well but don't have that many. SOO special!! Winona

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  17. Sue, I remember your potty find. You know I adore these, and yours always reminds me how much I would like one. I've looked for years, but I just never seem to find one I love.

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  18. Fantastic , what a fabulous collection. Love them. Thanks so much for joining TTT. Hugs, Marty

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  19. You have the best collection I have ever seen in one place! Thanks for posting!

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  20. Oh my...I have a new "would love to have"!!! These are all so sweet...I just love them! Especially the last, sweet face with bonnet & hand & ring close to face ... she is so pretty! Thank you for sharing, I'm going to have to keep my eye out!!!

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  21. You have quite a collection of these georgeous women. Love them all.

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  22. What a unique collection, Sue. I've never seen so many together and such fine one. I remember receiving one from an aunt in the early 70s. Have no idea what happened to it. Perhaps it's one in your group now. LOL
    ~ Sarah

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  23. Hi Sue...

    Ohh my...you really do have a lovely collection of head vases...they are all gorgeous! Thank you for sharing them with us today...as well as the history of these pretty pieces! I really enjoyed!

    Warmest wishes,
    Chari @Happy To Design

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  24. You have brought back some beautiful memories for me. Your collection is WONDERFUL!!! My grandmother and great grandmother's houses were FULL of the beautiful ladies, I was fascinated by their elegance when I was very little. I kick myself right square in the bootie now for rejecting my mother's offer to give them all to me many years ago (before I became such a collector) ;) because they are not easily found and usually out of my price range when I do. LOVE LOVE LOVE yours!!!

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  25. Fascinating! The faces remind me of my first Barbie. She was a hand-me-down and her head kept falling off.

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  26. You have an amazing collection of rare receptical ladies, and the history in interesting.

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  27. Lovely headvases.. haven't seen them around here..
    Visiting from alpha thursday.

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  28. these are rare indeed.
    beautiful photo shots, your words are perfect in describing them.

    way to go.

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  29. Oh you lucky dog, what a fabulous collection! I have always loved these but have never been able to find any that I really like that I can afford. Thank you for sharing! Nan

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  30. You have some real beauties there. My grandmother had one or two but I have no idea where it ended up.

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  31. Hi Sue

    I remember when you first posted about these. I was so excited that I knew someone else who had them! I love your collection and thanks for the link!

    Leann

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  32. I bet is it fun to arrange flower in them and make them appear to be wearing hats.

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  33. Wow, what a great collection of what I call "THE GIBSON GIRL HEADS." My mother loves them, but I have yet to find one that is not too pricey...maybe I will stumble across one at an estate sale. She would like to start a collection. Thanx for the history lesson also. Visit me at thecrankyqueen.blogspot.com Leave a comment and sign up to follow. Thanx

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  34. These are just so beautiful! You know so much about them, and that really makes the history come to life.

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  35. WOW! That is quite a collection. I think my grandmother had some of these. Thanks for the memory.

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  36. You have an amazing collection there. I love the details on the pieces and the hand is certainly a beautiful flourish.

    Best wishes,
    Natasha.

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  37. They are absolutely beautiful holding a nostalgia of the 40's within them and yet lending thenmselves so well to the 3rd millenium.
    gorgeous

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  38. Wow! what a lovely collection you have! those vases don't look rare at your house : )

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  39. Wow - you have a stunning collection! I'm sure they are worth a pretty penny now - what got you started collecting them? I always love seeing what others collect.

    xo
    Claudia

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  40. Dear Sue,
    The first part of my blog today is dedicated to you and your lady head vases. I show you a picture of the only one I own. I thought you would be interested.
    Have A Sugar Sweet Day.
    Simply Debbie

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  41. Wonderful collection! I had no idea how valuable these are...remembering an aunt who displayed several...

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  42. Head vases, huh? Pretty neat.

    =)

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  43. well I didn't even know what these were, what a unique collection. I say everyone needs potty booty....mmm maybe not? ;)

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  44. I had a few of those once and was trying to cut down on collecting everything I seen I liked so sold them

    Your are so beautiful all together

    Janice

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  45. Wow, what an amazing collection.

    They are quite lovely by themselves, but all together they are just wonderful!

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  46. Fabulous collection, great story to go with them and beautiful photos...thank you for sharing your lovingly gathered collection!

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  47. Arggghhh! This post made me so envious. Many years ago my ex and I purchased an 1813 Federal style house in rural Ohio.

    In one of the outbuildings was a dilapidated cardboard box with a collection of these wonderful figural vases...some the same ones you share here.

    My husband of the time thought they were junk and one day when I wasn't home he threw them away. I frantically ran to the trash bins by the curb but they were gone.

    That's not the only reason he is now my ex, but darn if that doesn't make me mad all over again....

    So...

    Thank you for a memory and a small envy.

    But I am happy you can enjoy their loveliness and that your husband doesn't throw yours out!

    Thanks for linking to Alphabe-Thursday's letter "R".

    Really excellent link.

    A+

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  48. I've never heard of these before! You have an impressive collection.

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  49. Oh M Goodness! What a fabulous collection you have. I adore these and remember my mom having a few. I am not sure what happened to them but I would love to have been given them after her passing. These are simply beautiful Sue. Anne

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