There are certain people in this world that seem to have a Midas touch – everything they touch turns to gold. Holt-Howard was one of those people. He didn’t just dabble in pixieware, he made it famous. If you’re not familiar with the term, pixieware is a type of ceramic pottery that is highly collectible and sought after by vintage enthusiasts all over the world. If you’re lucky enough to own any pieces, you know how valuable they can be. Holt-Howard was the king of pixieware, and his pieces are still some of the most coveted today. So, what exactly is pixieware and why is it so collectible? Keep reading to find out!
Is there anything more fun than collecting vintage Mid-Century modern kitsch ceramics? There’s just something so engaging about finding those old, forgotten treasures and bringing them back to life by displaying and using them. At Crazy4Me, we love all things vintage and kitsch, and we know our readers do too. We’ve gathered some of our favorite Holt-Howard and pixieware pieces from the past 60 years or so, and we can’t wait to share them with you. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or just starting out, these pieces are sure to add some fun and whimsy to your collection. So come on in and take a look! We promise you won’t be disappointed.
The Holt-Howard pixieware line was produced for only a short time between 1958 and the early 1960s. There were 16 pixieware condiment jars that reportedly sold for just $1 back in the 50s-60s. The condiment jars included cherries, chili sauce, cocktail cherries, cocktail olives, cocktail onions, cream and lil sugar, honey, instant coffee, jam n’ jelly, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, olives, onions, and a few others. The jar lids had colorful flat heads and faces with big eyes and goofy grins and comical expressions and were a lot of fun to look at, but these were very usable pieces with spoons and forks called “spoofy spoons” attached for serving the condiments they held.
The latest additions to my pixieware collection are these Holt-Howard oil and vinegar cruets (pictured above) called Sam Vinegar & Sally Oil that originally sold for $2.95. In today’s market (writing this post in June 2022) be prepared to spend upwards of $600+ for the pair. These Holt-Howard pixieware cruets are so well-made with exceptional attention to detail from the hand painting to the expressions on their faces, the modeling and glazing of the ceramic is really exquisite and that is exactly what the Holt-Howard company become known for…. Their high-quality whimsical ceramics.
Pictured above are some of my favorite Holt-Howard pixieware condiment jars. Of course, the more popular Holt-Howard pixieware became, the copycats (other manufacturers from the era) also began putting out pixieware for sale. The Davar company made these oil and vinegar cruets (pictured below) and they have painted rings instead of stripes like the Holt-Howard pixies but the pixieware faces are fantastic and today they are also incredibly collectible and command high prices ($400-$500) for a pair of oil and vinegar cruets and Davar put out a couple of different sets that feature different color stripes on the jar bodies, the pixie head faces have different expressions, and the eyes are also different with some having starbursts. I find the Davar pixieware cruets as delightful as the Holt- Howard ones.
The Lefton company also put out their versions of pixieware condiment jars that have so much charm and whimsy too. Aren’t these hotdog head and hamburger head jars just spectacular!! The Lefton hotdog head mustard jar is a very rare and hard to find item and when one does come on the market it can go for $1,000-$3,500 if it is in excellent condition. Isn’t it nice to see here in these photos that all the pixieware can get along with each other be it Holt-Howard, Davar, Lefton, or the Lipper & Mann girls (family photo of all the pixieware in opening of this article).
I often get asked why I collect these ceramics and it is because they make me really happy. These charming collectibles made people happy back in the day and continue to make people happy today with their bright colors, cute faces, charming expressions, and whimsicalness. I am thrilled to share my love for these delightful collectibles with others and watch their faces light up when they see them!
If you’re looking for a fun and quirky addition to your collection, Holt-Howard pixieware is a great option. These items were produced between 1958 and the early 1960s, so they’re not easy to come by – but they’re definitely worth it if you can find them. The quality of Holt-Howard pixieware is excellent, so these pieces are sure to be valuable additions to any collection.
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