Aloha to Tiki Collectibles: A Fun and Whimsical Dive!

Yasmina Greco Tiki Bar Pinup Girl
Yasmina Greco Tiki Bar Pinup Girl

Welcome, tiki enthusiasts and curious collectors! I’d like to take you on a colorful plunge into the enchanting world of vintage tiki collectibles. Whether you’re a seasoned tiki aficionado or just discovering the magic of these Polynesian-inspired treasures, this blog post is sure to make you want to don a Hawaiian shirt, mix a Mai Tai, and set sail on an island adventure from the comfort of your home.

What Do Tiki Mugs Represent?

It seems like every tiki collector I have encountered collects tiki mugs and I can see why!! Tiki mugs are more than just fancy drinkware. These ceramic beauties represent a slice of mid-century Bali Hai escapism and a nod to Polynesian mythology popular in the 1950s-1960s.

The original tiki mugs were designed to bring a piece of the exotic islands into everyday life, making every sip an adventure. Each mug is a mini work of art, often depicting gods, goddesses, and mythical creatures from Polynesian lore. Talk about drinking in history!

Fun Facts About Tiki

Tiki Mug Collection
Tiki Mug Collection

The Tiki Bar Boom: The tiki craze began in the 1930s when Donn Beach opened the first tiki bar, Don the Beachcomber, in Hollywood. It was an instant hit, offering an exotic escape with rum-based cocktails, tropical decor, and Polynesian cuisine. Oh, how I would have loved to visit and experience this location in its heyday!!

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Why I Love Norcrest Mermaids (And You Will Too!)

Vintage Norcrest Mermaids
Vintage Norcrest Mermaids

The Story Behind the Mermaids

There’s something special about Norcrest mermaids that sets them apart in the world of collectibles. I adore them for their craftsmanship, their adorable charm, and that vintage allure that’s simply irresistible. These ceramic treasures from the 1950s are more than just decorations; they’re tiny masterpieces capturing the whimsical beauty of mermaids. Let’s dive into why I’m obsessed with Norcrest mermaids, and why I think you’ll fall in love with them as well!

Norcrest Mermaid Lipstick Holder

The history of Norcrest mermaids is just as fascinating as the figures themselves. It all began with Hide Naito, a Japanese immigrant who founded a gift shop in Portland, Oregon, way back in 1921. Over time, that little shop grew into a huge wholesale operation. After World War II, Hide and his son Sam made a bold move: they shifted their focus to “Made in Japan” gifts, and that’s when Norcrest China Company was born (in 1958).

Norcrest quickly became a hit, known for its high-quality ceramics. Their mermaids, with their iconic designs, were stars of the collection, gracing bathrooms and powder rooms across America. Alongside these charming mermaids, Norcrest’s whimsical bluebird series and head vases were also beloved. I love that Norcrest became a household name – there’s something so special about owning a piece of that nostalgic history.

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Norcrest Blue Cat: Ultimate Collector’s Guide & Tips

Norcrest Blue Cat Complete Collection
Norcrest Blue Cat Complete Collection

Hello, Fellow Collectors!

I have some incredibly exciting news to share with all of you! After years of diligent searching and countless adventures, I’ve finally added the elusive Norcrest Blue Cat Cookie Jar to my collection! This rare gem is one of the most sought-after pieces in the Norcrest Blue Cat set, and its addition marks a significant milestone in my journey as a collector.

The Journey to Completing the Norcrest Blue Cat Collection

Collecting the Norcrest Blue Cat set is not just a hobby; it’s an adventure filled with history, art, and a sense of community. Manufactured in Japan in the 1950s and 1960s by the PY/Miyao company, these adorable ceramic pieces are a treasure trove for any collector. Each piece, numbered on the bottom with a “CT” and sometimes still featuring their original Norcrest foil label, tells a story of a bygone era of craftsmanship and whimsy.

Norcrest Blue Cat Wall Plaque CT-11
Norcrest Blue Cat Wall Plaque CT-11

I did a post a couple of years ago about the Norcrest Blue Cat set you can read here

The Norcrest Blue Cat set consists of these 12 pieces:

  • Teapot – CT-1
  • Oil and Vinegar – CT-2
  • Jam Jar – CT-3
  • Salt and Pepper Shakers – CT-4
  • Sugar Jar – CT-5
  • Milk pitcher CT-6
  • Butter Dish – CT-7
  • Creamer/pitcher – CT-8
  • Cat Bowl – CT-9
  • Cookie Jar CT-10
  • Wall Plaque – CT-11
  • Teabag Holder – CT-12
  • Egg Cup – unmarked, no CT number
  • Tea Cup – mystery item?

Tips for Aspiring Collectors:

  1. Where to Look: Start your search on eBay, Etsy, Mercari, and specialized Facebook collector groups. These platforms are treasure troves for finding pieces like the blue cat wall plaque, creamer, and sugar/jam jar.
  2. Be Persistent: The key to success is persistence. Check these sites daily for new listings, as rare items don’t come up often but are definitely worth the wait.
  3. Stay Alert: Set up notifications on eBay and other platforms to be immediately informed when new items are listed. This proactive approach is how I finally snagged my cookie jar!
  4. Inspect Carefully: When you find a piece, inspect it for any damage, especially in areas like the ears, tail, and necks of the cruet toppers. Remember, condition is key!
  5. Keywords are Key: Use specific search terms like “PY”, “Miyao”, “Big Eyes”, “Japan”, “Anthropomorphic”, “Kitsch”, and “Kitschy Cute” to narrow down your search.
  6. Connect with the Community: Join online forums and social media groups dedicated to ceramic collectors. Here, you can share tips, find leads, and maybe even make a few trades.
Norcrest Blue Cat Tea Bag Holder CT-12
Norcrest Blue Cat Tea Bag Holder CT-12

The Thrill of the Hunt

The thrill of adding a new piece to your collection is incomparable. For me, the moment I added the Norcrest Blue Cat Cookie Jar, it was a feeling of triumph and joy. Each piece in this collection, from the teapot (CT-1) to the mysterious, rumored tea cup (CT-13), holds its own charm and story.

Final Thoughts

Collecting these pieces is more than just acquiring objects; it’s about connecting with history, art, and a community of passionate collectors. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or just starting, the Norcrest Blue Cat set offers a delightful and rewarding experience.

So, let’s keep the hunt alive! Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next lucky collector to find that rare piece that completes your collection. Happy collecting, everyone!

If you’re passionate about starting or expanding your Norcrest Blue Cat collection, don’t miss out on visiting my Etsy shop. I’ve carefully curated a selection of charming duplicates from this enchanting series, perfect for both new and seasoned collectors. Dive into the world of Norcrest Blue Cats and find your next treasure with us!

Stay Excited, Stay Collecting!

Why Collecting Vintage Snowman Figurines from the 1950s-1960s is so Fun

Vintage Norcrest Snowman Family Salt and Pepper Shakers
Vintage Norcrest Snowman Family Salt and Pepper Shakers

There’s something undeniably magical about vintage snowman figurines, especially those from the 1950s and 1960s. For many collectors, these charming figures evoke a sense of nostalgia and warmth, transporting us back to the simplicity and joy of yesteryears. As a fellow enthusiast, I’m excited to share some tips and fun facts with our collector group!

Pictures in this post are part of my vintage Kitschy Christmas snowman collection and some of my very favorites and I hope you enjoy.

Vintage Chained Snowman Family Japan 1950s
Vintage Chained Snowman Family Japan 1950s

1. The Allure of the Era: The 1950s and 1960s were a golden era for whimsical and festive decorations. Snowman figurines from this period often feature unique designs and hand-painted details that are rare in today’s mass-produced items.

2. Materials and Craftsmanship: These figurines were often made from ceramics, wood, and even early forms of plastic. Their handcrafted nature means each piece has its own character. Look for signature styles like glossy finishes, vibrant colors, and artisan touches.

Norcrest Snowman
Norcrest Snowman

3. Identifying Authentic Pieces: One key to collecting is knowing how to identify authentic vintage pieces. Check for maker’s marks, dates, and country of origin. Some renowned manufacturers from this era include Lefton, Napco, Norcrest, Ucagco, and Holt Howard.

4. Rarity and Value: The rarity of a figurine can significantly impact its value. Rare pieces, or those from renowned manufacturers, are particularly sought after. But remember, the sentimental value often outweighs the monetary worth!

Vintage Josef Originals Snowman Planters or Candy Containers
Vintage Josef Originals Snowman Planters or Candy Containers

5. Preserving Your Collection: To maintain their charm, it’s essential to properly care for these vintage treasures. Keep them away from direct sunlight to prevent fading, and clean them gently to avoid damaging the paint or material as many were cold painted and it can flake off.

Fun Fact: Did you know that in the 1950s and 1960s, snowman figurines were popular gifts and holiday decorations, often symbolizing the joy and wonder of the winter season?

Norcrest Snowman Kids Salt and Pepper Shakers
Norcrest Snowman Kids Salt and Pepper Shakers

6. Community and Sharing: Joining groups like my Vintage Kitschy Christmas group is a fantastic way to share insights, find rare pieces, and celebrate the joy of collecting. Don’t hesitate to share your latest finds or seek advice from fellow collectors.

7. Enjoy the Hunt: Lastly, remember that part of the fun in collecting is the hunt itself. Whether it’s scouring antique shops, online auctions, or flea markets, each find has its own story.

Josef Originals Snowman Salt and Pepper Shakers
Josef Originals Snowman Salt and Pepper Shakers

Collecting vintage snowman figurines is not just about owning a piece of history; it’s about preserving the warmth and joy of a bygone era. Let’s continue to share our passion and keep the spirit of these charming snowmen alive for generations to come!


Best Collector Antique Books
Best Collector Antique Books

There is no better way to learn about antiques than by absorbing as much knowledge as possible from books written by experts on the subject. These books cover vintage Christmas and kitschy mid-century modern antiques and collectibles with numerous photographs, details about when an item was made and even values (values that were published at the time the book was printed) and even include manufacturer markings and signatures, the different labels and tags too that an item might have and where the item was made.  Here are a few titles worth checking out:

With these great resources available on vintage kitschy mid-century modern antiques and collectibles, there’s no excuse not to become an expert! Learning what there is to know about this era is easier than ever before. Happy hunting!

You might also enjoy my Vintage Christmas Collecting Series for all things vintage kitschy Christmas.

Vintage Christmas in Antique Booths: Holiday Success Tips

Vintage NOEL Sets - Christmas
Vintage NOEL Sets – Picture from The Golden Glow of Christmas from Pinterest

Experiencing “Vintage Christmas in Antique Booths” is truly a journey back in time. As the festive season looms, it’s the perfect moment to give your booth that nostalgic Christmas makeover. This transition doesn’t just resonate with the charm of bygone eras but also magnetizes holiday shoppers. Dive into our guide, brimming with “Holiday Success Tips” for your booth. Uncover which classic items are holiday hits and the best ways to display them, creating an ambiance that recalls cherished memories and kindles the Christmas spirit!

Picture is from my collection

Vintage Christmas Noel Angels
Vintage Christmas Noel Angels – My Personal Collection

Knowing What Customers Crave

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Collecting Vintage Barbie Dolls: The Best Tips, Tricks

Vintage Striped Bathing Suit Barbie Dolls

Collecting vintage Barbie dolls is not only a delightful hobby but also a journey into the history of American pop culture. These iconic figurines, first introduced in 1959, have evolved over the years to reflect changing styles, attitudes, and interests. This guide will provide you with invaluable tips and tricks for building your collection, as well as insight into some of the most desirable Barbie dolls and what makes them so sought after. So, let’s dive in and start your journey into the enchanting world of vintage Barbie dolls!

Most Desirable Vintage Barbie Dolls

Vintage Original Ponytail Barbie 1959
Vintage Original Ponytail Barbie (1959)

#1 Ponytail Barbie (1959): As the first-ever Barbie doll, this one is understandably on many collectors’ wish lists. With her black-and-white striped bathing suit, sunglasses, and high ponytail, the #1 Ponytail Barbie is a symbol of the late 1950s fashion.

Bubblecut Barbie (1961-1967)

Bubblecut Barbie (1961-1967): The Bubblecut Barbie sports a chic, short hairstyle that was popular during the early 1960s. This doll is particularly desirable because of its various hair colors, which ranged from blonde to red and brunette, and even included shades of titian and platinum.

American Girl Barbie (1965-1966)

American Girl Barbie (1965-1966): This doll marked a turning point in Barbie’s history, as she transitioned from a high-fashion model to a more casual and relatable girl-next-door. The bendable legs and variety of hair colors make the American Girl Barbie a must-have for collectors.

Mod Era Twist ‘n Turn Barbie (1967):

Mod Era Twist ‘n Turn Barbie (1967): With her new twist-and-turn waist, this Barbie was designed to be more poseable than her predecessors. The Mod Era Barbie also has a wide range of outfits that reflect the vibrant and colorful fashion of the late 1960s.

Vintage Barbie Dolls
Ponytail Barbie (1960)
Ponytail Barbie (1960)
Ponytail Barbie (1960)

#3 #4 Ponytail Barbie (1960): These dolls are highly sought after for their unique facial features, such as blue eyes with a hint of brown and a more “sideways” glance.

Where and How to Find Vintage Barbie Dolls

  1. Estate Sales and Garage Sales: Often, you can find hidden treasures at estate sales and garage sales. Keep an eye out for announcements in your local paper or online community boards.
  2. Online Auction Sites: Websites like eBay, Etsy, and Ruby Lane offer a vast selection of vintage Barbie dolls. Make sure to read the descriptions carefully and ask for additional photos if necessary. Also doll auction sites like Theriault’s have an amazing portfolio of rare Barbies.
  3. Antique Stores and Flea Markets: Many antique stores and flea markets have a dedicated section for vintage toys, including Barbie dolls. Take your time browsing and don’t be afraid to negotiate on the price.
  4. Collector’s Forums and Social Media: Join collector’s forums and social media groups to connect with other collectors who might be selling or trading dolls.
  5. Doll Shows and Conventions: These events are excellent opportunities to find vintage Barbie dolls, as well as to meet other collectors and learn more about the hobby.
  6. Social Media Online Communities and Groups: Today, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram serve as invaluable resources for collectors. These platforms host numerous online groups and communities dedicated to Barbie collectors, where one can not only interact and form relationships with fellow enthusiasts but also broaden their knowledge about the particular Barbie dolls they are collecting.
  7. What’s more, these communities often facilitate the buying and selling of dolls, providing opportunities for collectors to acquire rare Barbie dolls directly from their peers. Social media has truly revolutionized the hobby, serving as a place for not just social interaction, but also education and commerce.

What to Look Out for When Collecting Vintage Barbie Dolls

  1. Condition: One of the most significant aspects to consider is the doll’s condition. Ideally, you would want to find dolls in excellent or near-mint condition. These are dolls that have retained their original coloring, with no signs of discoloration or stains, and have all their limbs intact. Be sure to also check the condition of the hair.
  2. Dolls with their original hairstyle undisturbed may have additional value. The condition of any included clothing or accessories should also be assessed, with the most valuable dolls having original clothing in excellent condition.
  3. Authenticity: Counterfeit vintage Barbies are common, so it’s crucial to be able to distinguish a genuine vintage Barbie from a reproduction or fake. Each Barbie doll should have a marking on the lower back or buttocks, which indicates the year it was manufactured and the manufacturer. Research these markings to familiarize yourself with the different authentic signs and be able to spot any inconsistencies that could indicate a counterfeit.
  4. Rarity: The value of a Barbie doll is significantly influenced by its rarity. Some dolls were produced in limited quantities, or are from lines that were quickly discontinued, making them highly sought after.
  5. There are also dolls that were only available in specific countries or regions, adding to their rarity. In addition to doing online research, consider joining collector groups or attending auctions and fairs to gain insight into the rarity of different dolls.
  6. Original Packaging: Dolls that are still in their original packaging, or NRFB (Never Removed From Box), are generally more valuable than dolls that have been removed, particularly if the box is also in excellent condition.
  7. Boxes should be free from tears, dents, and stains. While a Barbie doll in its original packaging might be more expensive upfront, it could be a more valuable investment in the long term. Additionally, the packaging itself can be quite interesting, as it often reflects the advertising and graphic design trends of its time.
  8. Historical Significance: Some vintage Barbie dolls have added value due to their historical significance. This could be due to the period they represent, such as the first Barbie dolls produced in the late 1950s and early 1960s, or special edition dolls related to significant events or collaborations. Identifying such dolls might require deeper research, but the payoff can be quite rewarding for a collector.

Remember, while these tips can guide you in making a more informed decision, the joy of collecting should not be solely based on the potential monetary value of your collection. A part of collecting is also about the personal satisfaction and enjoyment you derive from the process, as well as the historical and artistic appreciation of these dolls.

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If you found this article enjoyable, I think you’ll really love my post on Priceless Barbies: Discover the Most Expensive Dolls Ever Made. It’s a fascinating read!

To learn more about Barbie Dolls these are very good books:

Barbie Collector's Guide
Barbie Collector’s Guide

Dressing Barbie: A Celebration of the Clothes That Made America’s Favorite Doll and the Incredible Woman Behind Them

Dressing Barbie by Carol Spencer
Dressing Barbie by Carol Spencer

Barbie Collector’s Guide

*Please note that if you purchase from clicking on one of the links, I will get a tiny bit of that sale to help keep this blog going.

All pictures in this post are from Pinterest