Find out what kitschy-cute vintage collectibles are and why they’re so popular and sell for so much money these days. Also, learn about the history of the merchandise and some tips for buying them!
My heart gets so happy looking at these adorable little faces with those big eyes, long eyelashes, and sweet expressions…… welcome to the kitschy-cute world of today’s vintage collectibles.
Kitsch is a term that’s been around for quite some time. It can be described as art or items that are considered to be in poor taste, corny, or overly sentimental. For many people, kitsch has become an insult with negative connotations, and they avoid it at all costs. But there are some who enjoy the warmth and nostalgia of kitschy things from their childhoods. These vintage collectors know what they’re looking for when browsing through flea markets and antique malls. Kitschy collectibles and prices for these items has even spurred a new term in the market referred to as “kitschy-cute”!!
The kitschy-cute collecting phenomena all came to the forefront with the Covid pandemic. We were all stuck at home so why not be surrounded by what you love and gives you joy every day. And that is how the kitschy-cute phenomena was thrust into the hot collectible’s category with prices skyrocketing into the thousands of dollars for harder to find kitschy-cute items like these vintage Lefton Pink Poodle Chef pieces ($300+ for salt and pepper shakers, $1,200+ for teapot all sold via eBay auctions) this single kitschy pastel furry dog figurine (eBay auction sold for $2,855.55) to hundreds upon hundreds of dollars for figurines and full sets like these vintage Enesco lil Bears, Norcrest Blue Cat pieces, Vintage Lefton and Topline Bluebirds, and these cute deer figurines (pic from Pinterest).
The 50s and 60s were an era of kitsch. If you’re looking to collect some old, but fun vintage pieces from this period, look no further than Japan because it was less expensive to manufacture and produce these collectibles there. Many items were hand painted so not all pieces were mass produced and there are uniqueness’s between pieces. These items were made and sold affordably by companies like PY, Ucagco, Norcrest, Miyao, Lefton, and Napco primarily, as gift-ware or housewares. They would make seasonal pieces too and Christmas was the biggest, I will do a post on that one for you for the holiday season. These kitschy-cute collectibles made people happy in the 1950s and 1960s and they continue to make people happy today with their bright colors, cute faces, charming expressions, and they add a touch of whimsy to any room. I sure enjoy admiring my collections all through the day. When I am on a Zoom meeting, I can see the faces of other participants just looking at my backdrop which is a shelf housing a small portion of my collection and they are usually amazed or say things like “oh my gosh, my grandmother had one of those” and they seem genuinely happy and smile. When I work from home, I can glance over to my cabinets filled with treasures and see these kitschy-cute faces and my mood is immediately uplifted and I swear it helps my productivity!!
In today’s hot kitschy-cute market, sellers are cashing in on these items currently and it is always good to keep in mind that condition and scarcity really do determine a piece’s value. Here are some hot pieces to look out for when you are out treasure hunting, wandering through antique shops and flea markets or online shopping.
- Vintage Lefton Pink Poodle Chef pieces (cookie jar, teapot, salt and pepper shakers, jam jelly/sugar jar, creamers, depending on pieces expect to pay ($300+ for shakers and $1200+ for cookie jars and teapots)
- Lefton or Topline Bluebirds (cookie jar, teapot, salt and pepper shakers, jam jelly/sugar jar, creamer, snack plates, mugs, and wall plaques featuring mamma birds and two babies, depending on which piece expect to pay $150+ for shakers and $900-$1200+ for musical teapots)
- Vintage Kitschy Poodles (more than just a spaghetti poodle but also called furries and they usually have some hair that can be candy colored and come in different sizes $1,000+ and is the 4th picture at top of this post)
- Vintage Eyelash Kitty Cats (figurines of cats with their eyes closed and 3D lashes, sometimes with eye-shadow $175+)
- Vintage Kitsch Bunny Rabbit Banks (sometimes called Lapin Ficelle and they are tall close to 10inches and up, sometimes they have their eyes closed with blue eye-shadow and are adorable $400+)
- Vintage Kitsch-Cute Bunny Rabbit string holders and scissor holders ($175+)Vintage Kitschy-Cute Chained figurines (these are super cute!! Usually consisting of a flower cat or dog or bunny rabbit couple or event Deer’s with polka dots and they are sweetly chained together and sometimes they are winking at each other or one has their eyes closed, expect to pay $150+, the Deer can go much higher $400-$800)
I hope this post has given you a new way to look at your home decor. If it’s time to add some kitsch vintage collectibles to your life, be sure to comment below with what items are on the top of your list! You can also share this article with friends and family who love adding character pieces in their spaces as well.