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Collecting Head Vases
The appeal of vintage
Vintage head vases are kitschy "American made" and imported decorative ceramics that at times became a top collectible. As of this writing head vases don't have the popularity they once did but the market could change. Just consider the surge when the Mad Men television series was aired. Once there was a treasure trove of these fun ceramic "Mad Men era" vases. Whenever you received flowers or a potted plant (in my grandmother's time) it was most likely arranged in a fun vase similar to these. More recently you might have seen them at estate sales, or on eBay or have stumbled upon one at a garage sale. Ceramic vases in the shape of a lady, a young girl or a celebrity were collected.
Starting in 1940 through the early '70's porcelain or ceramic containers were originally made for floral designers. But the beauty and uniqueness of these vessels soon made them popular, fun collectibles. These vases have been produced in more than 10,000 designs but the most popular ones are the lady head vase. Many famous women including Marilyn Monroe, Jackie O., Lucille Ball and the fun, kitschy pin-up girl or Glamour girl have been reproduced as vases.
Image Credit: Etsy
Head Vase Decorations
Religious head vases featuring the Madonna were also mass produced. Many head vases are even decorated with pearls and earrings to accent the character portrayed. Like most collectibles the more detailed and rarer the vase the more desirable. Head vases featuring children and teen-agers are more valuable because of their rarity.Christmas head vases are another favorite with collectors. Makers of head vases include companies that also mass-produced figurine collectibles including Napco, Enesco, and Betty Lou Nichols.
Look for Marks
Marks may be on the bottom of the vase but more often a foil sticker with the name of the company marked the vase, depending on the condition and care of the vase this may have wore off. If you are interested in collecting head vases you should do your research. Because of the current collect-ability of the vases many unscrupulous companies have mass produced copies. A recent eBay search brought up many copies.If you're serious about collecting it would be wise to join a head vase collecting club. There are also many good books on the market that will steer you in the direction of the marks to look for and what you want to avoid. But as with other collectibles it's important to collect what you love.Expect to pay between $25-$600 for a head vase.