I have always loved mermaids, and the 1950s were a time of great fascination with the mythical creatures. This blog post will discuss how to collect vintage mermaids from this era to decorate your home. My favorite mermaids are from the early 50s made by Norcrest, Napco, and Lefton. I love how whimsical they look on my bathroom walls. I’ll also share more of my favorite finds with you all in this post.
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.
5 Tips for Collecting Head Vases
- Maker Marks: Napco, Lefton, Reubens, Inarco, Enesco, Betty Lou Nichols, Relpo, Norleans, Parma, Japan. Tags and stamps intact.
- Quality: Well modeled and painted features.
- Flourished intact: Eyelashes, fingers not broken or repaired.
- Jewelry intact, no missing necklace or earrings
- Holiday vases with red and green colors, poinsettias, holly, ornaments, Christmas trees, Snowmen, and Ice-skaters.
To all collectors of ceramic Mermaids, Seahorses and Fish, boy you are in for a real treat with this book by Arleen Smith – Ceramic Fish, Mermaids & Seahorses: Bathroom Decorations of the 1940s & 1950s. I have not come across another book like this one that particularly focuses on vintage 1940s – 1950s bathroom ceramics. The author introduces you to the “Ceramic Potters” of yester-year like Bradley Exclusives, Josef Originals, Ceramicraft, Kay Finch, Deforest, Freeman-McFarlin, Lefton, Napco, PY, Enesco, Norcrest, Napco, Joty, Gilner, Holt Howard and the Made In Japan imports. The book was published by Schiffer back in 2001 but don’t for one moment think it is out-dated as it has 128 pages full of photos, information and values. OK, value wise the book is a touch out-dated but from researching these kitschy sea collectibles in today’s 2010 market, I can tell you that their value and appeal is skyrocketing!
Ceramic Fish, Mermaids & Seahorses: Bathroom Decorations of the 1940s & 1950s shows the reader the many beautifully crafted Mermaids, Fish, and Seahorses complete with bubbles. You get to see the differences in the crafting styles of the many artists during the 1940s-1950s and also see the differences between the Japan made pieces. Yes, the Mermaids are beautiful Vixen Sirens of the sea and the Seahorses are a Magical Mystical creature some with rhinestone eyes and Fish made from chalkware to such highly detailed, painted and stylized pieces that you are left in awe! For details about this amazing book please visit HERE to get yours!
Mother in The Kitchen and Prayer Ladies are vintage kitchen accessories and made by Enesco and are turning out to be a pretty “HOT” collectible today. Prayer Lady/Mother in The Kitchen items were made during the 1950’s & 1960’s and sold primarily in five and dime stores, department shops and also gift shops.
What Do They Look Like?
These collectibles are of a lovely lady with a very sweet and delicate face with her hair pulled up into a bun and hair coloring can range from dark brown, light brown and even a rare reddish-blonde. The lady’s eyes are closed in prayer and her hands are in an upright prayer position with palms together fingers pointing up. The lady wears a long pretty dress with feminine collar and an apron with a prayer inscribed on it and you can see her shoes from under her long dress.
These ladies were dressed in different colors and the most common color is Pink. They also came in these colors:
• Blue with white trim
• Turquoise with white and she has puffy sleeves
• Rose white and with puffy sleeves
• White with blue trim
• Yellow with brown or green trim
How Many “Prayer Lady” Pieces Are There to Collect?
• Air Freshener
• Bud Vase
• Candle Holder Set
• Canister set: Flour, Sugar, Coffee and Tea
• Clothes Sprinkler
• Coffee Cups
• Cookie Jar
• Crumb Brush and Pan
• Egg Timer
• Flower Pot
• Instant Coffee Container
• Napkin Holder
• Picture Frame
• Ring Holder
• Salt and Pepper Shakers
• Scouring Pad Holder
• Spoon Rest
• String Holder
• Tea Pot, Sugar Bowl and Creamer
• Toothpick Holder
Finding & Caring For These Ladies?
You can find these lovely ladies in antique shops, online shops, eBay and Rubylane, Tias.com. eBay tends to have the largest selection and you can pick them up at reasonable prices. The ladies I have seen at my local antique shops tend to be priced at top dollar but maybe the shops in your area are more affordable.
Delicate parts of the Prayer Lady tend to be their heads and they can very easily brake off so be careful when handling your little ladies. Ladies in MINT condition fetch higher prices of course than ladies that are damaged. Do your research and buy your ladies from reputable dealers and sellers. We hope this little lady brightens your days as she does ours!