Welcome, festive friends to our “The Best 10 Tips for Christmas Head Vase Collecting Magic.” guide. This treasure trove of expert advice will guide you through the enchanting world of vintage Christmas head vases, manufactures to look for like Relpo, Napco, Lefton, Inarco, secrets when shopping to help you build a stunning collection that exudes holiday charm and nostalgic delight.
Whether you’re a seasoned collector or just starting out, these tips will equip you with the knowledge and inspiration you need to make your collection sparkle with festive cheer. So, put on your Santa hat, and let’s dive into the magical realm of Christmas head vase collecting!
As a long-time follower of my blog, you’re aware of my passion for vintage mid-century kitsch, particularly vintage Christmas items! My collection of vintage Christmas head vases and planters began with a charming 1950s Rubens skater girl (pictured above) wearing a vibrant red outfit, gold antlers, and a sleigh full of gifts on candy cane runners. Likely crafted in Japan, where most ceramics were produced, this captivating planter sparked my ever-growing collection.
My favorite head vase is a glamorous vintage lady adorned with a red holly-decorated bonnet and polka dot bow, boasting stunning eyelashes and crafted by Inarco. Another cherished piece is a 1961 Napco I Love Lucy Christmas head vase, named after the iconic TV actress Lucille Ball due to their similar hairstyles and features. The Christmas version sports gold star earrings, a red outfit, green hat, and a red polka dot bow, while other versions have pearl accessories and various outfit colors.
Head vases from the 1940s-1960s showcased various designs, with the elegant “Glamour Girl” being a top favorite. These hand-painted vases featured thick 3D eyelashes, red lips, fancy hats, pearl accessories, and hands framing the face. Ranging from 3.75″ to 8″ tall, they often contained small floral arrangements or plants.
Inspired by icons like Jackie O, Lucille Ball, and Marilyn Monroe, many designs resembled these stars. Christmas-themed vases, like those featured in today’s post, exhibit festive colors and decorations like poinsettias and holly berries.
Here are some planters from my collection. These lovely vintage Christmas ice skater girl planters, both made by Relpo. The sweet cupcake candy cane couple is also by Relpo and has the very early Relpo label.
These pretty vintage Christmas girl planters were made by Napco in the 1950s. One holds a lovely ornament and the other a present.
As noted in previous posts, vintage Christmas item prices have soared recently, with rare pieces fetching $75 to $350+. Etsy and eBay remain excellent sources for finding these treasures, but social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have become invaluable for collectors.
Join vintage collector groups on Facebook to meet others, share collections, and buy/sell items. On Instagram, search #vintagechristmas to discover hundreds of photos, follow collectors, and find items for sale.
6 Tips for Collecting Head Vases
- As with any vintage collectible, condition is really everything. If your item is a glamour girl then you’ll want to make sure her eyelashes are not broken or chipped and all her jewelry (earrings and necklace) are intact and present.
- Makers that hold their value: Napco, Lefton, Reubens, Inarco, Enesco, Betty Lou Nichols, Relpo, Norleans, Parma. Tags and stamps should be intact.
- Broken fingers: For head vases that have hands and fingers, make sure they are all intact and not broken.
- Holiday vases with flowers, hats, poinsettias, holly, ornaments, and any embellishments, you’ll want to check the item over to ensure not too much cold paint wear is present and that chips and dings are minimal.
- Planters: Look inside and on the underside for cracks.
- Crazing: This is actually quite common in true vintage items. What causes crazing is tension on the glaze during the glazing process. While crazing is acceptable by most collectors, the issue arises when the crazing has darkened and dark lines are visible on the item.
- Seek out rarities: Some head vases were produced in limited quantities, making them rarer and more valuable. Keep an eye out for unique designs or variations that set them apart from the more common pieces.
- Preserve with care: To maintain the beauty and value of your collection, store your head vases away from direct sunlight and temperature fluctuations. Handle them with care to avoid damage, and clean them gently with a soft cloth.
- Attend estate sales and flea markets: One of the best ways to discover hidden vintage Christmas head vase treasures is by visiting estate sales, flea markets, and antique shops. You may find rare and unique pieces at a fraction of the cost compared to online marketplaces.
- Network with dealers and collectors: Building relationships with antique dealers and fellow collectors can be invaluable in your collecting journey. They can provide you with insider information, help you find rare pieces, and share advice on preserving and displaying your collection. Attend collector events, join local clubs, and participate in online forums to expand your network.
In conclusion, collecting vintage Christmas head vases is a rewarding and joyful hobby that lets you connect with the past and celebrate the magic of the holiday season. As you explore this enchanting world, you’ll be captivated by the charm and beauty these little treasures have to offer. So, grab your Santa hat, and let’s get collecting! Happy hunting!
If you found this post engaging and are considering embarking on your own journey to collect vintage Christmas head vases or simply wish to expand your existing collection, I’d be thrilled to help!
Visit my Etsy shop, where I showcase a carefully curated selection of vintage Christmas pieces, perfect for both new and seasoned collectors alike. Let’s share the joy of these charming treasures together!
Read more about vintage Christmas collecting in our Christmas Series