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.
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.
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.