Head vases were made in a variety of designs in the 1950s -1960s. But it was the elegant, fashion-model look AKA – ‘Glamour Girl’ that quickly became among the most popular. These head vases have hand-painted features, 3-dimensional thick black eyelashes, ruby red lips, fancy hats, pearl necklaces and matching earrings, painted fingernails, or gloved hands, and hands that would frame one side of the face. Sizes can range from approx. 3 ¾” inches to 8” inches tall.
Glamorous movie stars and fashion models inspired many of the designs of the era; Jackie O, Lucile Ball, and Marilyn Monroe all had head vases modeled after their likeness. There are also Christmas themed vases that feature pretty ladies and girls in holiday splendor with lots of red and green colors and decorated with poinsettias and holly berries.
Prices: Currently head vases can be purchased for $50-$300+ and they can be found on Ebay, Etsy, Rubylane, at antique shops and markets.
It was roughly one year ago that I actually paid attention to a Head Vase. Before, I saw them here and there and in old books and tv shows but had no real interest at that time. So, I was out product sourcing a year ago for some auctions I was going to post up for the weekend when I came across a “Norleans” lady Head Vase with the long black eyelashes, a gorgeous head of blonde hair and siren red lips. That Norleans head vase was a small 4 1/2 inch head vase and looked so amazing that I went into the booth she was in and took her off the shelf to get a better look. I took her home that afternoon and she was sold before the week was over! Now, I wish I would have kept her as I would love to start my own collection as I am truly fascinated by the beauty and glamour of vintage Head Vases.
For those that are advanced collectors and for those that are just getting started on their collections, the below is some great information on Head Vases that I hope you enjoy reading.
Head Vase History
With World War II a memory, America prospered in the late 1940s and 50s. Japan was no longer the enemy; instead, with its lower labor costs as well as the favorable dollar/yen exchange rate, the island nation increasingly became the source of many low-cost imports to the United States. Small ceramics were among the most popular—including head vases, which today have become extremely collectible.
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.