Today on the blog I am sharing some of my very favorite vintage bluebird collectibles with you all. Back when eBay and Etsy were all the rage for antiques and collectibles I was a PowerSeller (a rating eBay had for their PowerSeller program where sellers needed to consistently sell a significant volume of items and provide a high level of service to their buyers to achieve this rating) and I sold many vintage bluebirds to collectors all over the world. It wasn’t until I came across a bluebird sugar jar from the Topline Imports company that I actually had an emotional reaction. I had listed the sugar jar and it sold within minutes and after a few days I found that I could not stop looking at the pictures I had of the item and that lil’ birdies cute face. I was so sad I sold her. I didn’t start collecting these adorable blue birds till years later and now they are the pride and joy of my collection.
NOTE: You can read about my collections here at Antique Trader Magazine
Many collectors are drawn to vintage bluebirds because of the cheerfulness they exude. These adorable figurines and dining sets can really brighten your day. Although not much information exists about the Topline Imports company, we do know that they manufactured high quality items in Japan in the 1950s-1960s. My Topline Imports bluebird set is stamped with the numbers 50/154 and they retain their gold foil “Topline Imports, Inc. Japan” tags. It was this set’s sugar jar that stole my heart all those years ago. The set includes a cookie jar, teapot, sugar jar, creamer, salt and pepper shakers, snack plate, and set of 3 wall plaques (mama bird and two babies). I am now on the hunt for the teacup that fits the snack plate and my collection will be complete. The Topline Imports bluebird is my all time favorite.
The most recognizable vintage bluebird manufacturer is Lefton. Lefton bluebirds are high quality and beautiful. George Zolton Lefton who was a Hungarian sportswear designer founded the Lefton Company. The Lefton China Company was started in 1939 in Chicago, Illinois and produced so many items from dinnerware sets to Christmas decorations and everything in between. It’s the items from about 1945 -1960 that are very collectible today and range in many themes from bluebirds to cats, poodles, to rose patterned dinnerware and giftware and figurines and more. Lefton also contracted with companies to produce these items like dinnerware and giftware in Japan so it is not uncommon to find collectibles today with the Geo Z Lefton stamp and foil label that says Made in Japan. Today, the Made in Japan label is highly desirable by collectors.
Other vintage bluebird manufactures include Norcrest, ESD, Relpo, Artmark, Ucagco, Napco, and PY, and then there are ones that are not marked but usually made in the same time period of the 1950s-1960s in Japan. You can find these cuties as teapots, bowls, figurines, teabag holders, wall plaques, eggcups, cookie jars, coin banks, planters, sugar jars, jam jars, creamers, and more. As with any collectibles, price varies on condition, demand and scarcity. Today these are a very sought after collectible so be prepared to pay top dollar. A pair of Lefton Bluebird Salt and Pepper shakers can go between $125-$200, a Lefton bluebird butter dish can fetch $250-$275, Bluebird wall plaques complete set can easily go for $275-$325 depending on scarcity and condition. eBay and Etsy are still the best places to buy these cuties as the selection tends to be vast because of sellers from around the world. It is not often you will find Bluebirds at antique shops or flea markets but if you do then snap them up!!
Tips for Collecting Vintage Bluebirds:
- Damage usually occurs to the bird’s beaks so look for chips, and paintware.
- Damage usually occurs to the inside rims, undersides, and lids of teapots and sugar/jam jars.
- Wings can also be dinged so check for damage.
- Figurines usually contain damage to the bird necks (cracks) and tails, as well as if the figurines are birds on branches look for dings, chips, and fleabites to the branch, leaves, and flowers (make sure all the petals are intact)
- Look items over to ensure dings/fleabites have not been painted over and that rhinestones are intact if your bird is embellished like some of the Norcrest bluebird shakers and Lefton bluebird coin banks
Many of you ask if I still sell collectibles and I do, you can find some rare bluebirds listed for sale in my Etsy store – Etsy Crazy4Me
A big thank you to my sweet husband Gary for a fun photoshoot