AtoZ Letter F...Female Figure Head Floral Vases

They made their debut in the 1940's in the Floral Industry as vases for flowers.
Few could have anticipated the current popularity of this commodity which, for decades, florists used as inexpensive enhancements for their bouquets. 

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.

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 toilet 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.


  1. I've never been drawn to those head vases. Sometimes they just look like their heads have been blown off. But seeing them in a grouping like this, they are lovely. Maybe I saw the wrong ones. I think I've been converted.

  2. they all look like Gibson Girls from back in the day. Interesting

  3. I have a reference book of head vases - I like the Carmen Miranda ones. I have yet to collect anything like that though, like you say, they are hard to find.
    www.thriftshopcommando.blogspot.com (No. 112 on the AtoZ list)

  4. This was a very interesting post! We have quite a few antique shops around here. I'll have to see if any head vases are around. This will be a fun adventure. Have a blessed day!

  5. I haver never seen anything like that before! How interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  6. My sisters loved stuff like this. My brother and I, well, we thought there was something malevolent about them. It's like they were watching us. Plotting. Perhaps conspiring with the cats.

  7. I never knew these even existed! I feel quite educated now (although I can't imagine buying one - maybe they never made it to Australia?) Leanne @ cresting the hill

  8. This is the first I ever saw any of these. Very interesting. Are they hard to find?

  9. I've seen 2 on this trip, one in Tulsa for $40 (in nice shape) and one in Mason for $70 (not so nice of shape). I haven't a clue what a good price is.


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