Collecting Lady Head Vases
Lady Head Vases are My Newest Obsession!
Well I went & did it--again! Just when I thought I had outgrown collecting (Yeah, right! My husband would laugh his head off at THAT one!) I decided to start collecting lady head vases.
Yes, I have been bitten by the head vase bug--do they have a head vase anonymous? No? Well, they should! Anyone out there who has ever collected head vases knows what I'm talking about--it's like being bitten by a vampire--once the head vase bug sinks its teeth into you, there's NO turning back. OK--don't say I didn't warn you! ;-)
What Got Me Started on This Mad Head Hunting Journey?
It all started with the purchase of a 1960s papier-mache lipstick holder girl. . . . Then I bought a couple of Christmas head vases. . . . Then I bought a bejeweled genie girl. . . . After that, there was no hope for me. No hope at all. . . .
I bought the lipstick holder girl because she was only $15.00--a great price--and because of her uniqueness; with her huge soulful eyes, she literally looks like she just stepped out of a Margaret Keane painting.
I bought the Christmas girl head vases because I'm a sucker for vintage Christmas collectibles, especially Napco.
I purchased the Lefton genie girl head vase to decorate my bathroom. But, one wasn't enough--and now I'm a bona fide head vase junkie!
How did I get to the point of no return? Scroll down to view and read about my head vase acquisitions, which are ongoing. . . . Also included is some interesting and helpful information about head vases--just in case these beauties should happen to tickle YOUR fancy. . . .
What is a Head Vase?
A head vase is the figure of a head or bust, typically made of ceramic, with a hole in the top, usually for displaying flowers. Occasionally the flower hole is found is in other places, such as the hand.
Did You Know:
The Head Vase Goes All the Way Back to Late 19th Century France.
Head Vase Collector Poll
Do You Own Any Head Vases?
A Brief History of the Head Vase
Although head vases actually got their start in Europe in the 1800s, the head vases most of us are familiar with came into being just before WWII. When the war ended, the U.S. began to import many low-cost items from Japan; most popular among these imports were ceramics, including head vases.
There were many companies in America that produced head vases as well, and on a large scale, including: Josef Originals, Betty Lou Nichols Ceramics, Royal Copley, Shawnee Pottery, Ceramic Arts Studio, Florence Ceramics, Roseville, Royal Haeger, Stanford Pottery, and Weller.
Head vases were used by florists to enhance their arrangements, and could also be purchased at the five-and-dime. As time went on, head vases became increasingly elaborate; the most popular ones were inspired by fashion models and movie stars.
Unfortunately, as the price of American labor increased, it became less profitable for American companies to manufacture head vases. By 1950, American production of head vases had largely become a thing of the past.
By the 1960s, the head vase market had peaked, and head vases became smaller and simpler in order to cut down on costs. Head vases subsequently lost their popularity; with the 1970s came the end of an era, as production of head vases became a thing of the past.
Head Vases Come in Many Shapes, Sizes, and Colors
In addition to lady head vases, there are also head vases of celebrities, children, men, animals, nuns, madonnas, clowns, and even Disney characters.
Favorite Head Vase Poll
What is Your Favorite Type of Head Vase?
What Kind of Head Vases Am I Collecting?
I'm mostly drawn to the teen head vases, but I also like some of the more sophisticated ones as well. I buy what I like--If a head vase doesn't move me, then I walk on by.
I'm striving for quality. I would rather have a few quality head vases than several head vases with problems (cracks, chips, repairs, substantial paint loss, etc). I realize that because the head vases I'm collecting are vintage, they aren't going to be perfect--time has taken care of that--but I want them to be as perfect as reasonably possible.
Update: May 2, 2016--After over four years of seriously collecting head vases, I have changed my tune a bit. I have since then bought several head vases at a very low price in need of minor touch ups, such as fresh paint and new earrings, and even a few with minor chips that I have filled in with putty and repainted. It's very rewarding to restore a head vase back to its original beauty. I still look for head vases in good condition, with no chips or cracks and minimal crazing, but if I can get a fixer-upper at a cheap price, I'll take it.
What Size Do Head Vases Come in?
While head vases range in size from 2 to 14 inches, most of them are 7" and under.
Head Vases Come in Many Sizes!
This photo illustrates a variety of head vase sizes. The ladies on each end measure 10" high; the big lady in the center is 10 1/2" high; the lady with the lavender flowers in her hair is 4 1/2" high; the nurse is a mere 3 1/2" tall, and the girl with the butterfly is 5 1/2" tall.
Head Vase Size Poll
What is the largest size head vase you own?
Betty Lou Nichols: Famous American Artist, Head Vase Pioneer, and Successful Business Woman
In my quest to learn all I can in my newfound hobby of collecting head vases, I discovered the art of Betty Lou Nichols, an American artist who is credited with making the head vase popular in the U.S.
Betty Lou's successful career in art had surprisingly humble beginnings; she got her start rolling out shapes with clay and a rolling pin on her parents' kitchen table. Betty, who always wanted to be an artist, learned how to create ceramics while studying art at Fullerton Junior College in California. When her husband was stationed overseas during World War II, she began to put her knowledge of ceramics to work and started experimenting with various designs. When her husband finally returned home in 1947, Betty got the idea to create her own head vase designs.
Betty's unique brand of head vases were a big hit with the public; by 1949, Nichols had her own successful business, with 30 employees on the payroll. Although Betty Lou is best known for her head vases, she was a woman of many interests and talents, eventually branching out into all sorts of interesting projects: Nichols developed a massive Christmas line as well as other ornamental figurines. She created jam jars and syrup pitchers for Knott's Berry Farm, and even ceramic figurines based on the animated film "Fantasia" for Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
As labor and production costs increased in the U.S., starting in the 1950s, it became increasingly difficult to compete with foreign companies. In 1962, Betty Lou Nichols Ceramics made the decision to close its doors. The versatile and inventive Betty didn't sit on her haunches, though: she then proceeded to grab a paintbrush and paint portraits, still lifes, and landscapes until her death in 1995 at the age of 72. Today, these paintings are highly sought after by collectors, garnering steep prices at auction.
No two Betty Lou Nichols head vases are exactly alike. Rather than being based on famous people, like most head vases of the time, they are instead created in a gay '90s style, with generous ruffles, bows, and curls, and wide-brimmed hats. Although Betty used molds for the heads, details such as lace, ruffles, and bows were meticulously applied by hand using genuine Tennessee and Kentucky clay. The faces of these ladies typically have very full, coquettish eyelashes, no eyebrows, and high cheekbones.
In 1989, a collector by the name of Kathleen Cole wrote a book about head vases, titled, Head Vases: Identification and Values, which brought about a newfound appreciation of the head vase. After years of collecting cobwebs in dusty attics, head vases had suddenly become valuable collector items. In the mid 1990s, Betty Lou Nichols' head vases surged in popularity. Unfortunately, Nichols was unable to enjoy her newfound fame--she had suffered a couple of strokes--and died shortly afterward.
Today, Betty Lou Nichols' head vases continue to be prized by collectors, and may be found world wide in antique shops, online auction sites such as eBay, and up for bids in prestigious auction houses such as Christie's. Nichols' work may also be viewed in art exhibits across the country. Check your local listings for places, times, and dates.
In 2007, enamored by Betty Lou Nichols' head vases, Head vase collector Maddy Gordon featured her work in a book, titled, Head Vases, Etc.: The Artistry of Betty Lou Nichols. The book may be purchased on Amazon.com, as well as other websites.
Head Vases, Etc.: The Artistry of Betty Lou Nichols
Written by Maddy Gordon, Betty Lou fan and 22-year head vase collector at the time, Head Vases, Etc.: The Artistry of Betty Lou Nichols, details the fifty-year career span of artist Betty Lou Nichols.
Nichols' colorful work is documented with over 600 photographs, many of which are rare and never before seen examples of her work.
Although Betty Lou's head vases are spotlighted, her portraits, figurines, landscape, and still life paintings are also included, much to the delight of her fans.
Betty Lou Nichols Head Vase Poll
Are You the Owner of a Betty Lou Nichols Head Vase?
Here is the Book (2nd edition) Written by Kathleen Cole That Incited Head Vase Mania!
I purchased, Head Vases: Identification and Values, by Kathleen Cole, when I first made a conscious effort to collect head vases; it has proved to be an invaluable reference ever since. I have seen so many fellow head vase collectors throw away their money on reproduction head vases. Thank goodness I had this book to help guide me and teach me the ABCs of head vase collecting. It has great photos as well as pertinent info to teach you how to be a savvy head vase collector.
Maddy Gordon: Ultimate Head Vase Queen
Who has over 3,000 head vases to her name? Why, Maddy Gordon, of course. Maddy, author of "Head Vases, Etc,: The Artistry of Betty Lou Nichols," has been diligently collecting head vases for more than two decades.
What got her started on this unusual hobby? The first time Maddy ever set eyes on a head vase was at a local antique show. Intrigued by some little ceramic people sitting on steps, Maddy asked the seller what they were. Although she had never even heard of a head vase before, Maddy ended up taking three home with her that day, supposedly for a friend's house-warming gift. The friend never received the gift, and the rest is history.
Upon entering Maddy's Scarsdale, New York home, you may have the feeling you're being watched, and you are: with head vases gracing the walls in every single room of the house--including the bathroom and hallway--there are thousands of eyes upon you at any given moment.
Why does Maddy's husband put up with all of these strange occupants? Some of Maddy's head vases are worth thousands of dollars; and as they become scarcer and more people collect them, they may very well continue to rise in value. So, not only do Maddy's head vases make interesting conversation pieces, they're also a great investment.
In 2002, Maddy and her head vases were featured in a segment of the HGTV television show, "Ultimate Collectors." When asked what it is about the head vase that intrigues her, Maddy stated that the slight differences are what pique her interest; no two head vases are exactly alike. There will always be slight variations in lips, eyes, rouge, etc. "I like to look at people's faces," says Maddy.
With over 3,000 head vases in her possession, you'd think that Maddy's quest would be complete--wrong! As a collector, it's the thrill of the hunt, "finding one for herself at a great price," that affords Maddy her greatest enjoyment. One of her most thrilling buys was the purchase of a rare Mary Poppins head vase from a toy dealer for $25; Maddy later found out it was worth $500! Quit collecting head vases? Not on your life. As long as there's a chance of finding a head vase at a great price, Maddy will be there.
In addition to being featured on "Ultimate Collectors," Maddy's head vase collection made another prominent appearance when author David Barron spent an entire week photographing Maddy's jaw-dropping collection for his comprehensive book, "Head Vases: Identification and Value Guide."
Maddy Gordon has been one busy lady over the years, between writing books and scouring the globe for heads to add to her collection. Maddy also established and organized the annual Head Hunters Convention in Florida for seventeen years, as well as writing the Head Hunters newsletter. In 2010 she stepped down, and is now enjoying her leisurely time traveling and spending time with family and friends.
The "Maddy Gordon" Head Vase
Have you heard of the Maddy Gordon head vase? Originally known as "Teen-Age Girl," E-8027, the head vase, which was made in the 1960s, looks so much like Maddy as a teen, that it has been dubbed the "Maddy head" by collectors. Manufactured by Enesco, it can be found as a head vase, or a head vase/ lipstick holder combo with a hole in top for holding a makeup mirror. You will often find this treasure for sale (buy it now) or up for auction on eBay.
Head Vase Restoration by Tammy Powelson Stephens
Tammy Powelson Stephens was practically born with a paintbrush in her hand. Not only does she restore head vases, she also dabbles in a multitude of other hobbies, including: doll house building, scrapbooking, quilting, crocheting, rug making, furniture restoration, and jewelry crafting. "I guess I got lucky being born with a creative streak and 54 years later, I still like to learn new things. In some ways, it's kind of a curse ya know! I would always rather be 'playing' than doing adult work!"
Four years of art classes paid off for Tammy tenfold. It was there that she honed her painting and pottery skills. When Tammy discovered vintage head vases, she applied these learned skills to the restoration of her beloved ladies.
A collector may have a head vase, passed down to them by a loved one, that is very special to them. Over the years, it undergoes wear and tear and may even become severely damaged. That's where Tammy comes in. Tammy is a head vase doctor of sorts. She "heals" these broken ladies, making them beautiful again so they may be enjoyed by a new generation of admirers.
Tammy's fees for her services vary according to the complexity of the job at hand. Clients send their damaged head vases to her and she repairs them, posting updates of their progress. When the job is completed and the client is satisfied with the job, the client then pays for Tammy's services and the restored head vase is returned. Have a head vase that needs fixing up? Talk to Tammy Powelson Stephens on Facebook for details.
It is Estimated That There Were Over 10,000 Different Head Vase Designs Between the 1940s and 1970s!
Head Vase Count Poll
How Many Head Vases Do You Currently Own?
Open Eyes, Closed Eyes? Which is Your Favorite?
Did you know that during the time when head vases were being manufactured that many of them were available in either the closed-eye or open-eye versions? Further variations on this theme might include different hair colors (note the girls in the center) and dress colors; for further versatility, a head vase would sometimes be manufactured in up to six different sizes!
J. S., my enthusiastic head vase friend, whom I met in the Facebook group, "Collecting Lady Head Vases, Planters and Figurines," truly enjoys completing head vase sets. What do I mean by sets? Head vases were typically advertised for purchase in dealer's catalogs in sets. For instance, the beauties above were advertised as "Girl With Hands" Head Vase/ Planter Assortment. Not only are there three different ladies in this grouping, but the buyer could get them with either open or closed eyes!
J. S. recently completed his "Girl With Hands" set by acquiring the open-eyed lady in blue. Personally, I love both versions!
Open Eyes Or Closed Eyes?
Which Do You Prefer?
Clever Head Vase Displays
The Wall of Head Vases by J. S.
It never ceases to amaze me the clever ways in which some head vase collectors manage to find space for their ever growing collections of lady heads.
When J. S., who currently owns over 200 "heads" (an abbreviated term for head vases), began to run out of space for displaying his ladies, he came up with a plan: he cleverly affixed rows of shelves on his '50s theme rec room wall to house them--an ingenious concept. Not only do the ladies look great displayed together, their presence makes J. S.'s rec room come alive! When J. S. entertains here, he and his guests have many sets of eyes upon them! And that's exactly the way they like it!
The wall is now full, but is J. S. worried? Not at all! According to J. S.: "I FINALLY have a single spot for displaying the girls! Imagine my surprise once I realized that not all of them would fit in this space! The good news is...most rooms have 4 walls!!!"
Mural & Shelving Display by Brian & Leslie Rogers
Brian and Leslie Rogers, who recently moved into their dream home, are currently customizing it to perfection. I love all of their improvements, but as a fellow head vase collector, I am especially blown away by the clever and eye-popping new display Brian fixed up for his wife, Leslie, allowing her to showcase her head vases in savvy style. The display features a beautiful graphic on the wall, which was printed out by Brian himself, multi-level shelves, and a bold clock on the wall, the perfect accent piece to tie it all together. I have to say that I'm also in awe of that impressive line up of a-lister head vases as well!
Head Vase, Wall Pocket, and Mirror Display by Paula Laguette
Paula Laguette, who collects head vases, wall pockets, and vintage mirrors, decided to combine them, decorating her dresser with lovely head vases and artfully hanging the mirrors and wall pockets behind them. I absolutely adore Paula's eye-catching display; the results are outstanding enough to rival the best interior decorator on the planet!
Sophisticated Ladies and Diamonds
Isn't this too clever? A good friend of mine, who wishes to remain anonymous, drapes his backgrounds in elegant cloth; then, for added sparkle, faux diamonds are artfully displayed all around the head vases. These girls look so glamorous!
Head Vase & Art Display by Kristen Blair & Michele DeSutter
Isn't this an adorable and creative display? The arrangement is by Kristen Blair and the head vase plate painting is by Michele DeSutter.
Kristen Blair, who bought the lovely head vase painting from Michele DeSutter, found the matching head vase afterward thanks to a tip from Michele. Doesn't everything look amazing? I'm bowled over by all the textures, shapes details, and patterns in this arrangement: a hand vase, head vases, bottles, tea cup with saucer, flowers, china, various artworks, etc., etc. Kristen even uses a washboard as a shelf, which just goes to show you that a little bit of imagination can go a long, long way in decorating!
Head Vase & Art Display by Marlin Martin & Michele DeSutter
Marlin Martin, beloved founder of the Facebook group, "The World of Lady Head Vases," was so proud of his recent purchase of head vase art by Michele DeSutter that he posted a photo of Michele's painting, along with the matching head vase, for all to admire. Notice how Marlin's vintage rolling pin collection in the background provides added oomph!
Head Vase Display Poll
Where Do You Display Your Head Vases?
Head Vase Art for Your Walls
"Roses and Head Vase Girl" by Vickie Wade
I love this umbrella girl (minus the umbrella) painting by artist Vickie Wade! The painting has a bit of impressionistic flair to it, and the colors are gorgeous! Vickie paints in oils on canvas.
Vickie's love of spending time with family and friends is reflected in her work; her pieces are nostalgic and charming. I like the fact that Vickie paints her "Roses and Head Vase Girl" just as she found her--minus her umbrella. Very down to earth and beautiful!
Vickie has been painting since the age of 11. Her desire is to bring heartfelt joy and beauty through her work. Wade, an extremely talented and versatile artist, has created a roster of amazing works. Among my favorites are her Christmas paintings, "Fat Chef" series, and, of course, her "Roses and Head Vase Girl" painting.
Originals as well as fine art prints are available of her work. Visit Vickie Wade Fine Art to see more of Vickie's lovely work.
"Blythe Love Head Vase" by Blonde Blythe
For this painting, created in acrylics on stretched canvas, Big eye artist Blonde Blythe (that's me!) decided to combine her love for big eye art, the Blythe doll, and the Love head vase. The result is a doll-like big eye version of the Love head vase, a voluminous arrangement of cheerful flowers in her head, posed against a matching background of pastel-striped wallpaper. I thought about doing a realistic version of the Love Head vase, then thought, "No, you are a big eye artist--you need to do a big eye version." So, here you go! Posters of this painting, as well as other merchandise, may be purchased in Blonde Blythe's Zazzle shop: www.zazzle.com/blonde_blythe.
Head Vase Plate Paintings by Michele DeSutter
I recently came across the most beautiful head vase paintings on plates by Michele DeSutter in the Facebook group, "The World of Lady Head Vases." Michele calls them "plate paintings," and has been creating them since 2013.
Michele, who has been painting since childhood, has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and has been running her own business since 2000. She started out using acrylics on canvas, then switched to colored pencil and ink in 2005, beginning her distinctive plate paintings in 2013.
In creating her plate paintings, Michele paints on a wood panel, which is attached to a matching melamine-type plate. The result bears an uncanny likeness to the real thing, with a mid-century flavor all its own.
Michele paints on platters and bowls as well; her paintings vary in size from a tiny two inches, to twelve inches wide. She has already created over 100 plate paintings with more ideas in the works and is currently working on a portrait of the "Pearly Girls," a set of rare and elegant head vase sisters, which is sure to be a hit with her fans! I can hardly wait to see it!
What Else Do I Collect?
I collect lots of different things--I have assorted Napco and Lefton figurines and planters, and own a complete set of Napco birthday angels from the 1950s--January to December. I absolutely adore vintage Valentine's cards and Halloween postcards, especially from the 1920s and earlier.
I collect "instant relatives" (meaning old photos of unknown people), as well as dolls, artwork, 1920s memorabilia, perfume bottles, big-eye stuff, and more--anything that strikes my fancy, you might say.
I also have acquired an interesting collection of mid-century figurines, lithographs, and lucite sculptures to compliment my head vase collection. I'm very drawn to the cute and unusual.
Another interesting item I collect are "chained" figurines. Most of these figurines consist of a mother animal and her babies chained together but there are also figurines with a lady walking a chained dog or two, banks with dogs chained to a dog house, and even Christmas figurines with chains; the possibilities are endless!
The Collector Poll
What do YOU Collect?
My Very First Head Vases Were Christmas Girls!
My Very First Head Vase
I was so thrilled to land this gorgeous Napco Christmas lady head vase! At the time she was up for auction on eBay (around 1999--2000), head vases were going very high, and I found myself in a bidding war. I'm very stubborn when I want something, and I was very, very determined to get her, so I pulled out all the stops! I did win her, but at a price! I paid way too much for her, but have never, ever regretted it.
At the time, I didn't consciously purchase her because she's a head vase--I purchased her because she's a vintage Christmas collectible, not to mention she's stunning! Even better, she's made by Napco, my very favorite maker of Christmas collectibles.
My Second Head Vase
I found this cute little girl at a huge monthly antique show in Atlanta (in 2000 I think?).
It's quite apparent I'm a big fan of Napco Christmas collectibles from the 1950s and '60s. The young girls are so adorable, and the detail and quality is unsurpassed! If I remember correctly, I paid under $50.00 for this cutie.
My Head Vase Purchases
The Beginning of My Addiction . . .
Lefton 6 1/4" Genie-Like Head Vase (3517)--Acquired January 17, 2012--
I blame this head vase for turning me into a head vase junkie! It was with the purchase of the lady with the jeweled upsweep that I made a conscious decision to begin collecting head vases.
When I saw her on eBay, I realized that she would fit in perfectly with my "I Dream of Jeannie" themed bathroom. Bidding on her with only seconds to go, I was elated to find that I had won her!
Since the eBay seller I bought her from operated a thrift store a mere hours drive away, I arranged to pick her up there; no worries about her getting damaged in shipping.
She's in perfect condition, and actually looks fresh from the factory--no crazing, chips, dings, or missing paint. The book, "Collecting Head Vases: Identification and Value Guide" by David Barron, pictures her in three sizes: 4 1/4", 6 1/4", and 8 1/4".
Her upswept hair, topped with a jeweled hair ornament, definitely brings to mind Jeannie of the retro "I Dream of Jeannie" television series. As expected, she makes a marvelous addition to my "I Dream of Jeannie" themed bathroom.
My "I Dream of Jeannie" Room is a Special Place for My "Genie" Head Vase
The "I Dream of Jeannie Room," a tribute to Barbara Eden and the '60s sitcom, "I Dream of Jeannie," is a magical (as "magical" as a bathroom is capable of--lol!) world or genies, fantasy, magical bottles, imagination and fun!
Scattered about the counter are a variety of bottles in all shades of the rainbow. My IDOJ bathroom is shabby chic at its best! While I don't claim to have a degree in interior decorating, I am a big fan of baubles, bangles, and beads!
Of course, the best part of my "I Dream of Jeannie" room is my Lefton genie-like head vase, which is displayed right next to my "I Dream of Jeannie" replica bottle with a big poster of my "I Dream of Jeannie Doll" (my big-eye version of "Jeannie") hanging overhead.
Between all the big-eye art prints on the wall and interesting what-nots, scattered all about, the bathroom occupier can at at least be entertained while being detained! ;-)
Teen in Bonnet
Relpo Teen in Bonnet Head Vase (K26069)--Acquired January 17, 2012--
I purchased this beautiful 5 1/2" head vase from a seller on eBay that had her listed for $99.00 BIN with the "Make an Offer" option. I made an offer of $75.00, and was elated when she accepted it.
I have seen this teen on eBay for sale over the years and thought she was really pretty. At the time, I wasn't a head vase collector, so I passed her by; but not this time!
She's my fourth head vase, and my first teen head vase. I'm in love with her big-eyed demure face, framed with a fringe of bangs, her blonde hair slightly flipped on the ends and topped with a sweet bonnet. She's a beauty!
Relpo 7" Girl with Purple Bows Head Vase (2004)--Acquired January 24, 2012--
I just won a head vase on eBay! Her face reminds me of the rare "Love" (TP-2444) head vase by Brinn's. I LOVE her!
I actually thought I had lost her; when I went in to bid on her with twenty seconds remaining, I discovered that I had not signed in. Then, to top it all off, I put in the WRONG password! Can you believe it? I thought I was a goner for sure.
There were plenty of other people wanting her too--she got 24 bids! Because she is a pristine head vase, with an excellent seller, I didn't mind paying a little more than I have seen this head vase go for in other auctions.
Update! February 1, 2012-- I received the head vase yesterday (it was paid by e-check, which took a few days to clear), and I am SO impressed with her! She looks like new, with no flaws whatsoever, not even missing paint! The seller, valpink333, answered all my questions promptly and courteously, and shipped her out very quickly. When I received her, she was packed extremely well, with tons of bubble wrap and peanuts to protect her from breakage.
She is my first 7" head vase, and looks beautiful in her cabinet, along with her other head vase "sisters." I've named her "Valerie," in honor of the seller.
Inarco 6 1/2" Head Vase (E-2967)--Acquired February 3, 2012--
Three days ago, I won a cute young girl head vase on eBay. I like her whimsical look, and all those pretty flowers in her hair really won me over. Maybe it's the hippie in me--lol! I also like the fact that she looks like a little fairy--without wings, that is.
Although the auction photos of the head vase weren't the best, the seller did have 100% feedback, and a substantial amount, too. Before bidding, I e-mailed the seller, asking if the head vase had any chips, cracks, crazing, or missing paint. She said no to all, so I went for it.
She was shipped 2-3, so she should be arriving any day. She's 5 3/4" tall, and made by Inarco. Isn't she sweet? I already have a name for her--she looks like an "Ariel".
Update: 2-10-2012--Ariel, the Little Hippie Fairy Heads Back Home--
Unfortunately, Ariel had to go back where she came from. I took the seller's word that this head vase was chip and crack free, but guess what? When she arrived, it was apparent that one of her flower leaves had a noticeable chip; her right cheek also had several spots of missing paint. Before buying her, I did notice a little blotchiness on her right cheek, but I attributed it to bad photography and camera glare. She also had some crazing, but not bad.
I e-mailed the seller, stating that the head vase had been misrepresented in the auction, and I wanted a refund. I also told her that I didn't think that I should have to pay for shipping, since the head vase was misrepresented. The seller apologized, told me to send back the head vase, and she would refund the price of the head vase + shipping. So Miss Ariel is on her way back.
Lesson learned? Never buy a head vase without clear pictures to see it by.
The Elegant Miss
"The Elegant Miss" 5 1/2" Head Vase by Enesco--Acquired February 3, 2012--
She slipped through my fingers two days ago, when I bidded on another eBay auction and lost, but now I got her back--this time from another seller. The auction states that this head vase is in perfect condition; the seller has substantial feedback, and a 100% rating.
I had seen this head vase for sale by the same seller a few days ago, but he wanted $47.00 + $8.00 shipping. Today, while searching eBay, I saw that the seller had lowered his price from $47.00 to $27.00 BIN (buy it now), so after looking over the auction description and pictures, I bought her--yay! I still had to pay $8.00 for shipping, which put her at $8.00 more than the other seller was asking, but that's A-OK with me! :)
Update--February 11, 2012-- "The Elegant Miss" arrived today. When I looked at the box, I was afraid that the vase might be damaged. The tiny, pieced-together box was battered and gaping open in spots. When I opened it up, the head vase was poorly packed. She had been slipped into a very thin bubble wrap mailer, then put into a small box with very little newspaper to cushion her.
Thank goodness she wasn't dropped, because it would have been a total disaster. The Elegant Miss is in perfect shape, despite her hazardous journey. She looks great in the curio cabinet between her two purple sisters, the lovely "Princess Di," and "Valerie."
I did e-mail the seller, expressing my disappointment in the packing, stating that he needs to pack breakables much more securely in the future.
Princess Di Look-Alike
Lark 7" Head Vase (JN-4113)--Acquired February 6, 2012--
I just snagged a beautiful blonde in purple--and she's in pristine condition!
You can find this incredible lady on the cover of David Barron's book, Head Vases: Identification and Value Guide.
What do I like best about her? She reminds me of the beautiful Princess Di! :)
Update--February 11, 2012-- My beautiful "Princess Di" head vase arrived today! I'm extremely pleased with her--absolutely gorgeous!
The Blue Bow Girl
Inarco 5 1/2" Head Vase (E-2767)--Acquired February 14, 2012--
I just won a cutie with a big blue bow in her hair! It's the kawaii in me coming out again. Lol! I got her for the reasonable price of $36.00.
The pictures in the auction looked really good, and the seller stated that this head vase is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, crazing, or missing paint.
Update--February 18, 2012-- Picked up the "Blue Bow Girl" head vase at the P.O. today and am very happy with her. No chips or cracks, and her paint is bright and pretty with a bit of a shine to it. Her "sisters" in the curio cabinet welcomed her with open arms! :)
Redhead Art Nouveau Mermaid
Cameo Girls "Eve, 1917 Brush With Beauty" Head Vase--Acquired February 26, 2012--
I've been admiring this gorgeous red-head art nouveau mermaid head vase for quite some time now, so I decided to buy her today (BIN on eBay). While I'm big into vintage head vases, Eve is so beautiful, that I thought I would give a new head vase a try.
I bought her from licensed dealer and top-rated eBay seller Crystalmina.
I'll let you know how I like her when she arrives.
Update--March 1, 2012-- I picked up Eve at the P.O. today. She was well-packed and arrived lightning-fast and in perfect condition. Very pretty head vase, and the detail is just lovely--from the red poppies gracing her wavy hair, to her jewelry and silver "engraved" brush. I also noticed that this head vase (made of bonded porcelain) is much heavier that the regular porcelain ones. She has joined seven of her "sisters" in the cabinet.
"Teen-rific" 4 1/2" Head Vase by Enesco--Acquired August 2, 2012--
It's been awhile since I bought a new head vase. On July 25, I just happened to see one that I have been wanting to buy; I bid on and won her for only $26.00, plus $8.05 Priority shipping with insurance. At 4 1/2" high, she's my first mini head vase. She's known as Enesco "Teen-rific," and may also be found as a lipstick holder.
I received her very quickly, packed very well, and in great shape. I had previously seen a couple of auctions for this head by other sellers, but I didn't bid because they all had substantial paint loss.
Twist Hair Lovely
"Twist Hair" Head Vase by Inarco (E-2966)--Acquired August 9, 2012--
Well, well, well! I had a pleasant surprise waiting for me when I got home from work today. I discovered that I finally won the Twist Hair head vase I've been eyeing for quite awhile; and this time she didn't slip through my fingers as she has in the past.
I placed a bid on her before leaving for work today, since the auction was going to end while I was at work. I put my maximum bid in at $300.00. I was the high bidder at $224.72, but didn't expect to win her, since the auction had 8 1/2 hours to go--she lists for $600.00. But I thought, "why not at least put in a bid; you never know." After all the bids came in, I got her for $296.29, barely squeaking by! Oh, and get this--she's a HUGE 10 1/2" tall! Mamma mia! The biggest head vase I have owned up till this point is 7" tall.
Update--August 16, 2012--Hubby picked up Miss Twist Hair at the P.O. today. She had probably been sitting there for a few days, as we normally pick up our mail there only once or twice a week. Anyway, she was in a good size box with lots of bubble wrap and padding.
When I finally got her unwrapped, I was blown away! Her face is just beautiful, with bright, shiny eyes and beautiful red lips. Believe it or not, I don't see any crazing, either. And my goodness is she humongous! I'll have to take a pic of her with my smallest head vase to show you the difference in sizes. Since she was used as a vase, the inside is a bit dirty, but that's ok. I'll clean her up. She's beautiful!
P.S. This should satisfy my head vase addiction for a while ;-).
My Smallest (4 1/2") and Largest (10 1/2") Head Vases Side by Side
This photo illustrates the difference in head vase sizes. There are head vases smaller than the small one in this picture--a miniature 2 1/2" size (originally sold with toothpicks)--and also head vases larger than the large one in the picture--a very rare 14" size. If you want to collect head vases, but have limited space, you might want to consider collecting the minis.
Beehive Girl in Orange--My Second papier-mache Lipstick Holder--Acquired August 28, 2012--
This isn't exactly a head vase, but very similar. I know, I know--I said that my head vase addiction would be satisfied for a while after purchasing the magnificent "Twist Hair" girl, but I had been wanting this lipstick holder to go with my other one for quite a long time, and her beehive hairdo adorned with a big bow is so adorably kitschy!
I convoed the Etsy seller, EarlyBirdTwo. "Would you consider selling her for $25.00?" I asked. The seller happily agreed, and a deal was struck.
I've been stalking eBay and Etsy for this beehive beauty, and found her available in five colors: blue, gold, green, pink, and orange, my favorite. The cheapest orange one I saw other than the one I purchased was on Ebay for $59.99 with free shipping, and she had a flaw: an indention beside her nose. The only flaw I see with this one is missing paint; It will be easy to touch up those areas with a little acrylic paint.
She was made in the 1960s, is marked "Hh" on bottom, and stands 10" tall; She has three compartments for holding lipstick, and two smaller ones for holding eyeliner pencils or possibly the old eyeshadow tubes. Her total price, including shipping, is $35.00. She will keep my other papier-mache lipstick holder girl company on my dresser; love those big-head girls! :)
Update--August 30, 2012--Beehive Girl was waiting at the post office today. Boy, that's the fastest I've ever received anything purchased off the Internet! The seller shipped it out the day I paid, and it arrived two days later--awesome! She was packed very well and arrived in good shape, except for the expected age-related damage. I plan to touch her up, then take another picture to show off her "makeover."
Update--September 3, 2012--I cleaned Beehive Girl with a little water using swabs and a soft washcloth, but was unable to wash off some of the marks. I'm afraid to use anything stronger, for fear of damaging her. The marks are minor though and don't detract from her charm. I then touched up her base with various shades of acrylic paint: real red, apricot, and a little burnt umber. I also touched up a few missing spots in her hair. I'm really pleased with the results; you honestly can't tell that she was touched up, the paint matches so perfectly.
After touching up Beehive Girl, I decided my other lipstick head needed a little help, too. I added a little acrylic paint to her bow on front using Razzle Berry and Azalea Blush. After I took her picture, I decided her lips needed painting too, so I added some Azalea Blush to them with a liner brush.
Unmarked 7 1/4" Head Vase by United Import--Acquired September 16, 2012--
I don't normally buy dirty head vases, but the $25.00 BIN price on this one was so cheap that I decided to take a chance. This head vase has no chips or cracks--it simply needs cleaning. With $8.00 shipping, I paid a total of $33.00 for a head vase that is valued at $200.00.
I believe I can clean this head vase up with a a little water. If not, so what? I won't be out an arm and a leg; I have nothing to lose. Isn't she gorgeous?
Update--September 29, 2012--
Picked up the Victorian beauty at the P.O. a few days ago. The packing was the best I have ever seen: a box inside a box with tons of bubble wrap and newspaper. It took awhile to open her up, but it was well worth it.
She's in excellent condition with minor crazing. I cleaned her up the day I got her with cotton swabs moistened with water. The dirt came off, and she looks gorgeous displayed in my curio case with the other head vases. Taking a chance really paid off; I got a great deal on this one!
5 1/2" Rubens Head Vase (4135)--Acquired October 15, 2012--
Last night, just before going to bed, I checked the newly listed head vases on eBay one last time. While scrolling through the listings, I said to myself, "Doesn't look like anything worth looking at; I'm going to bed." Then what should appear before my eyes but the braided girl head vase from Rubens that I had long admired. And, guess what? She was "buy it now" for only $25.00! I did a double take, wondering if I had seen right. Let me tell you, I quickly read the auction, viewed the pictures, and checked the buyer's feedback. All seemed A-ok so I snapped that baby up before someone else got her!
I broke my own rules in buying her, as I normally go for head vases in great shape. She's a little dirty and needs some paint touch-up in a couple places, but that's ok. I don't intend to sell her; I bought her because I really like her! All total, I paid $31.00, including shipping. I had been looking to buy this head, but, until now, the cheapest I had seen her for was $125.00, and I really didn't want to pay that much. This head vase looks like a pretty little Swiss miss or a Scandinavian beauty; she's so dainty and beautiful, and she's also my 13th head vase! ;-)
Update--October 21, 2012--
I got my lovely braided girl a couple of days ago. She had a few minor flaws, but that's to be expected with something this old that once had a plant in it.
I cleaned her up with a little water on a cotton swab, and was able to erase marks in her hair and on her face.
She had a dark spot on the front of her dress, as well as missing paint. I touched up the green on her dress with acrylic paint, and also touched up a couple spots on her lips.
The flower in her hair had a a tiny chip, referred to as a "rough spot" in the eBay description. I filled it in with acrylic paint, then painted it to match the rest of the flower. Doesn't she look great? I normally look for the best quality head vases, but in this case, for $25.00, I knew I couldn't go wrong.
Sweet Maddy & Sis
Enesco 4 1/2" "Maddy" Teen-rific head vase--Acquired November 4, 2012--
I was so happy to have won "Maddy" (she is the dark-haired beauty on the right); I've been wanting her for quite some time now. This girl also comes in a larger 5 1/2" size and was also manufactured as a lipstick holder with a hole in her head for holding a mirror.
I had a bit of a wait--shipping was from New York, and was delayed by hurricane Sandy. But, let me tell you--she was definitely worth waiting for! She was packed extremely well with tons of bubble wrap and peanuts. She's in pristine condition with her Enesco sticker still intact. She's just perfect, and I'm pleased as punch!
Beehive Girl Lipstick Holder in Blue
Beehive Girl Lipstick Holder in Blue--Acquired November 26, 2012--
I found myself another beehive girl--this time with a blue bow! She was actually one of two lipstick holders being sold together in an eBay auction; the other one was in orange.
I contacted the seller, inquiring if she would consider selling her separately, since I already had the orange one. She agreed, and I got her yesterday.
She had a few spots of missing paint on her base, which I touched up with three different shades of blue paint. She looks really cool displayed with her sisters.
Each lipstick holder girl has five tube-shaped lipstick holders which are nestled inside ruffled trays--three for holding standard size lipstick tubes, and two small ones, possibly for holding skinny tubes of lipstick or eyeliner pencils.
Black Cat Serenades the Moon
Made in Germany 5 1/2" Black Cat & Moon head vase/ planter--Acquired March 14, 2013--
Although this isn't exactly a lady head vase, it really caught my eye when I spied it on Ruby Lane, a great online site for those interested in unique antiques and retro items. I love black cats, and I love moons! What a great combination!
This cute little green-eyed cat with top hat appears to be playing a mandolin. The moon is created in blue lusterware. This is my first Ruby Lane purchase. It arrived very quickly, and in excellent shape.
Roaring Twenties Girl with Lavender Hair Comb
Lark Head Vase 7 1/4"--Acquired July 2, 2013--
Isn't she pretty? With her swirly bob, topped with a lavender decorative comb, she looks like a girl from the 1920s or 1930s. I've had my eye on this head for quite awhile now, and have been checking eBay daily watching the auctions; finally my wish came true!
She was listed for much more than I wanted to pay, but I made an offer, never expecting to get her, and it was accepted! I can't wait to introduce her to her sisters in the cabinet!
Update 7-13-2013-- I got her about a week later--the Fourth of July holiday slowed down shipping. She was packed very well in bubble wrap and Styrofoam and placed in a box, arriving in very good condition. She's near mint with very faint crazing. She's a tad dirty inside, so I plan to put vinegar water inside her and let it sit awhile to clean her.
Teen with Bouffant Flip
Relpo K1612 Head Vase 7 1/2"--Acquired September 22, 2013--
Isn't she lovely? I've been looking to buy this girl for a while. This one in blue is my favorite. I was the only bidder, and won her for $75. I love her bouffant hairstyle with a sweeping side bang and flipped ends. She has gorgeous blue eyes and a stylish gold-flecked ruffled collar. This one has some weight to her. I was surprised at how heavy she was when I first picked her up.
She arrived quickly in great condition and was very securely packed.
Wreath Mark Head Vase 6 1/4"--Acquired October 21, 2013--
I've named this one "Debbie" after Candy Clark's character in the 1973 movie, American Graffiti. This head vase is in blue, rather than the more common pink color. I got her for under $50.00, a great price! She's listed for $125.00.
She arrived very quickly, and in great shape. I got her from eBay seller timetwister.
American Graffiti "Debbie" (Candy Clark) Look-Alike
Found After Two Years of Searching!
Inarco 7" "Ghost Sister" Head Vase (E-6210)--Acquired December 3, 2013--
I love this head vase and had been looking to buy her for almost two years. She is often referred to as one of the "ghost sisters" because of her soft colors. Her eyes (pupils and lids) are painted in a soft brown instead of the typical black tones.
I had been watching one in green (on eBay) that was in great shape, but since I really wanted one in blue, I decided to wait, and it really paid off. Shortly after the auction for the green one ended, one in blue was listed by another seller. I asked the seller some questions before bidding, which she promptly and courteously answered. I then bid on and won this beauty. I was ecstatic, especially since I got her for less than a third of what the one in green cost! She was shipped very promptly, packed very securely, and arrived in great shape, which was a relief. I love her heart-shaped face and sultry, side-swept hairstyle. She is such a beauty! The seller is eBay seller suzanneh17.
Dirt Cheap Christmas Eve Purchase from a Local Antique Store
Napco 5 1/2" Head Vase--Acquired December 24, 2013--
My husband and I decided to eat out for lunch on Christmas Eve, then visit a few of our local antique shops. I wasn't expecting to find a head vase, since I seldom see head vases in these shops; when I do, they are most often reproductions. Well what to my bewildered eyes should appear but a couple of head vases in one of the booths! One appeared to be composed of chalkware, maker unknown, and the other one was a Napco 5 1/2" head vase of a teen in a 1960s "bubble" style hairdo topped with a green bow. I figured she would be too expensive, so I didn't get my hopes up. When I turned her over to see the price, she was only $19.95! My husband told me I would be crazy not to buy it, so I happily took his advice.
She's in great shape with minimal paint loss. She apparently once held a plant, so she's a bit dirty inside, which won't be hard to correct. I'm thinking about touching up her paint a bit. We'll see. She looks great in the cabinet with her "sisters." I'm proud and excited about my rare find!
Dashing Lady in a Green Bow-Adorned Hat
Napco 6" Head Vase--Acquired January 8, 2014--
While scrolling through the eBay listings one day, I happened to come across this charming Napco head vase, BIN for only $26! I figured there had to be something wrong with it, so I checked the description, but could find no damage whatsoever, only the typical paint scratches which are to be expected in something around fifty years old. The seller (gru2569 ) had 100% feedback, so was a good risk. I quickly snapped this baby up, and she arrived just a few days later. She actually looked better in person than in the picture; I would say that I made a very savvy purchase!
New York, New York!
Miss New York 7" Head Vase--Acquired January 17, 2014--
I'm tickled pink to have won this rare beauty! She was on eBay--"Buy it Now" or "Make an Offer." I made an offer, and it was accepted!
She's my first vintage lady head vase with closed eyes, and also my first with the raised hand, which is topped off with an "emerald" ring. Her sculptured hairdo is way too cool!
I've made a place for her in my cabinet, and the "girls" are eagerly anticipating the arrival of their new "sister!"
Update: Miss New York made her appearance a few days later, arriving in excellent shape! She was slightly dirty, so I cleaned her with a Q-Tip and water, then took some pictures of this glamour girl to show her off.
The Elegant Miss New York - A picture I took of the fabulous Miss New York in elegant surroundings
Full House - As you can see, the cabinet is now full, so if I buy any more head vases, I'm going to have to get creative!
Two New Head Vase Books To Add To My Library
Picked up a couple new head vase books yesterday (1-19-2014) for my viewing pleasure. They're older books, and the values are outdated, but, nevertheless, very helpful. The first one is The Encyclopedia of Head Vases by Kathleen Cole (1996). The second one is The World of Head Vase Planters by Mike Posgay and Andian Warner (1992). I'm especially interested in the second one since it has pictures of vintage head vase ads and information about early manufacturers and sellers. Looking forward to getting them!
Update: I got the books within a few days, and both arrived in excellent condition. Lots of great photos and info--especially the "World of Head Vase Planters" book, which includes photos of vintage head vase ads, which I found very informative and helpful. I enjoyed learning about the manufacturers of the head vases as well as the various manufacturing processes utilized.
Inarco E-3157 Head Vase--Acquired March 7, 2014--
I have named this head vase "Pebbles" since her hairstyle resembles Pebbles of the "Flintstones."
I had been looking to buy her for quite awhile, but she is pretty hard to find. The couple of times I saw her on eBay, she had flaws, so I didn't bid on her.
I was elated when this one popped up on eBay one day, and, as you probably guessed, I grabbed her. This cutie arrived in great shape, and makes a wonderful addition to my collection.
Whimsical Double Nuns Share Tiny Umbrella
Artmark 5" Hard to Find Double Nun Head Vase--Acquired March 16, 2014--
Isn't this adorable? I was browsing my Dave Barron book when I came upon a double nun head vase with umbrella by Artmark. I thought, "How cute is that?" I decided then and there the next time it came up for sale on eBay I would buy it. I lucked out--just a few days later, this head vase appeared up for auction on eBay, complete with umbrella, which is usually missing. I was so excited!
I placed my bid within the last few seconds of the auction, and I won! I paid a bit more than I had hoped, but these kitschy cuties are definitely worth it! The head vase arrived in great shape, and is a fabulous addition to my collection. I love it!
Update--July 11, 2017--
I found an adorable double nun planter that matches my double nun head vase at an antique mall a couple of weeks ago. She's missing her umbrella, but then most umbrella girls are. I searched the internet for others to see what the umbrella looks like but I only found one, which was also missing the umbrella. Since this is a small planter, I believe the original umbrella would have been smaller than the umbrella for the head vase. I love this planter with or without the umbrella and I'm displaying planter and head vase together in my blonde mid-century cabinet.
Ponytail Girl with Engagement Ring
Napco 5 1/2" Ponytail Girl Head Vase--Acquired March 19, 2014--
I had been looking to buy this cutie for awhile, but every time one came up for sale on eBay, I found something wrong with it--that is until this one was listed. Waiting until the last few seconds to place my bid, I couldn't believe it when I grabbed her up at the unheard of price of $13.07! Seems that some eBay bidders were "asleep at the wheel."
She is 5 1/2" tall, and was made in 1960, according to my "The World of Head Vase Planters" book by Posgay and Warner.
She arrived in beautiful condition, but was a little dirty, so I cleaned her with water. Now she sparkles, especially the "engagement" ring on her finger!
Bubble Dress Girl is Smokin'!
7 1/2" Relpo Bubble Dress Girl--Acquired April 25, 2014--
When I first saw this lovely lady on eBay, I was totally captivated by her swirly bouffant hairdo, and set out to make her my very own. Waiting until the last few seconds of the auction to bid, I put in my maximum bid, barely winning her.
I later found out that I snatched this beauty away from a friend, who was the previous high bidder. She was very good-natured about it, though, and you'll be happy to know that we're still the best of friends. ;-)
Her luxurious bouffant hairdo, artfully caught up in a dark blue ribbon, is simply divine, and her sleeveless yellow bubble dress is smokin'!
Brinn's 7 1/2" Corkscrew Hair Head Vase--Acquired May 12, 2014--
I had been looking to buy this head vase, one of my absolute favorites, for a very long time, and I wanted her in the black with brunette hair. When this one in perfect condition came along, I grabbed her. I actually got her for a very good price, which took the sting out of the relatively high price paid for my previous Bubble Dress Girl purchase.
Shipping was slow, with the seller making one excuse after another about why she hadn't shipped yet, but when the head vase finally arrived, I was bowled over! In perfect condition with vivid face paint, and no crazing whatsoever! I'm pleased as punch!
Darling Big-Eye Child with Flowers
Lefton 6" Young Girl with Floral Hair Ornament Head Vase--Acquired July 14, 2014--
This little cutie was made by Lefton, and she's 6" tall. I have been looking for her for over two years! The first time I saw her, she was in a display case in an antique shop with a ticket price of $85.00. I didn't want to pay that much, and she also had missing paint, so I tried to negotiate a cheaper price, but the seller wouldn't budge.
Every day, I religiously watched the eBay listings for her; it took over two years before this head vase finally showed up; needless to say, I was tickled pink to see her up for sale.
She was BIN (buy it now) for $45.99. I couldn't believe it! I quickly read the description and looked over the photos. Everything looked good, so I snapped that baby up! When she arrived, she was in perfect condition--looks like she's fresh out of the factory! She's one of my favorite head vases--not only because she's pretty, but also because she was so hard to get!
Caped Cutie with Flower
Girl in Cape Holding Flowers 5 3/4" Head Vase Unmarked (C6049)--Acquired July 18, 2014--
Wearing an adorable sea green cape with a polka dot headband in her dark blonde hair, this cutie caught my eye. She's holding the most charming flower and has the sweetest expression on her face. I won her on eBay for $32.79. She's in great shape. The only flaw I see is an indention on her left front; looks like it was done in her manufacture. She resides on the first floor of the cabinet with the other "children."
Girl in Blue Holding Kitten Head Vase, 5 3/4"--Acquired July 18, 2014--
I found this cutie in a local antique mall and purchased her the same day as the "Caped Cutie." She was stuffed into a display cabinet with so many other head vases in it that I could hardly see her!
When the salesperson took her out so I could look her over, I realized I had forgotten my glasses, so I couldn't look her over very well. My husband said he didn't see any damage, but I still wanted to look her over myself to ascertain her condition.
At the desk, the cashier lent me her magnifying glass. It helped, but unfortunately not as well as my reading glasses. I cringed when the cashier, rings on every finger (including her thumbs), in an effort to help, picked the head vase up and began turning her round and round with a clink, clink, clink sound as her bejeweled fingers struck her at every turn while she proclaimed "There's nothing wrong with it!" I felt like saying, "There's going to be plenty wrong with you if you don't put down that head vase!" To make a long story short, "wacko lady" finally put the head vase down so I could take her home. "Kitten Girl" now resides among several other "children" in cabinet # 2.
Miss Sassy Hair Rocks Black Hat
Relpo (K1939) 7" Girl in Black Hat and Sassy Haircut--Acquired July 27, 2014--
"Miss Sassy Hair" was found among a group of head vases that were placed on a couple of display shelves in an out of state antique mall we visited in search of a new curio cabinet. I really wasn't interested in the other head vases, but I did like her, and she was priced at a reasonable $48.00, even better! I had the sales person call the seller to see if she would go down any on the price. She didn't go down much, but $42.00 is better than $48.00!
Although I looked her over in the store, I didn't notice a small chip on the underside of her bow until I got her home. Not very noticeable, but I may decide to repair it in the future.
By the way, we were also thrilled to find a new (antique) curio cabinet in the same antique mall! I am displaying my lady planters in it.
Update--8-4-15--I fixed the chip with a product called J-B Weld, which I purchased at Lowe's. It was very easy to use and dried quickly. I cut off the amount needed, kneaded it, shaped it, and pressed it into the chipped area and let it dry. A couple of days later, I sanded it (be sure to wear a dust mask), smoothing and shaping it in the process. I slapped a couple coats of matching acrylic paint on it, and it looks fantastic! You would never guess that the bow has been repaired!
Unmarked Made in Japan 5" Umbrella Girl Head Vase--Acquired September 15, 2014--
The umbrella girl is my second umbrella girl head vase, the first being the double nuns. She had been listed and re-listed on eBay several times with no bids, but looked to be in great shape. Her only issue was a missing umbrella pole that had been replaced with a wooden skewer. I made the seller an offer (she was BIN for $24.95 or make an offer) and got her for only $20.00. My husband cut a 6 1/2" length from a wire hanger for her pole, and she's good as new!
A Makeover for Brigitte Bardot
Relpo Brigitte Bardot 6" Look-Alike Head Vase--Acquired September 16, 2014--
I was thrilled to get this beauty off eBay for only $37.66. Some people call her "Brigitte Bardot," which is fitting. This head vase usually goes pretty high, so when I saw the price, I took a second look. The vase looked to be in very good condition except for her hat, which was missing a good deal of paint. I took a chance and I got her for a song.
She was shipped out fast and arrived very quickly. One of the best packing jobs I have ever seen, Brigitte was wrapped in bubble wrap and packed with packing peanuts, placed in a box, then placed inside a larger box and surrounded with more packing peanuts--totally awesome!
When I looked her over I was very pleased with her condition; she looks even better than the auction photo! I repainted her hat today using liquid acrylic paint, and I'm very pleased with the results!
Teen Cutie with a Flower on Her Hat and Bows in Her Hair
Relpo (2207) 5 1/2" Teen Head Vase--Acquired October 29, 2014--
I got this little cutie from an individual who inherited his grandmother's head vase collection. Being a man (although I know some men who collect head vases), he wasn't particularly interested in hanging on to them.
He posted some pictures of the collection in our head vase group, and I thought she was adorable! I got her within two days of paying (via PayPal) and I'm in love with her! I got her for a great price--$25, and she's a marvelous addition to my collection!
Lauren 7" Teen Head Vase
"Lauren" 7" Teen Head Vase--Acquired November 8, 2014--
Lauren was BIN or make an offer on eBay. I made an offer, and the seller counter offered, which I accepted.
She was a bit dirty, so I cleaned her up and I also touched up her blue jumper which had spots of missing paint. She's an unmarked head vase, so I'm not sure who the manufacturer was.
I love her expressive face--it's so lifelike and pretty!
Cabinets # 2 and 3
Here is a photo of curio cabinets # 2 and 3. They are mid-century modern, from the 1950s--'60s era. I spied the blonde cabinet on the left one day while my husband and I were out antiquing. I wanted to buy it, and he didn't, arguing that we had no room for it. To make a long story short, after we got home, I convinced him that I could make it work.
A few days later, while I was working, he drove all the way there and back (a four hour trip) to surprise me with it for Valentine's Day. What a thrill when I walked in the door and saw this huge thing in the middle of the floor covered with a blanket! With its imposing size, it sure wasn't hard for me to guess what it was! I love the blonde wood; and the sliding glass doors, which tightly close, do a great job keeping the dust at bay.
The dark cabinet on the right was purchased about a year later on another fun antique outing. It also has the sliding glass doors, which I love. The bottom part makes a great place to store my old photos, another obsession of mine. As you can see, there is plenty of room for new head vases--for now, anyway! ;-)
The cabinets are in my art studio/ computer room, where I spend the majority of my waking hours; so my head vases (and other treasures) are very much viewed and enjoyed.
Blue Bow Girl # 2
Inarco (E-2767) 5 3/4" Little Girl Head Vase--Acquired November 24, 2014--
This adorable little head vase is my second little girl head vase with a blue bow. She was BIN or make an offer on eBay. I made an offer of $27 and it was accepted. All told, I paid $31 dollars for this cutie, including shipping.
I may move around some of my head vases; I think she would look really cute displayed with the other blue bow girl!
Lark Beauty Joins Her Sister
Lark Head Vase in Green--Acquired December 7, 2014--
Instead of posting a photo of my newest purchase alone, I decided to include her with her (almost) twin sister. Don't they look great together? Both stand 7" tall.
I am extremely pleased with my latest purchase. I was a bit hesitant to bid on her, since she appeared to have a chipped rim in the photo. The seller assured me she was chip free; but, in the end, I chickened out and decided not to bid. A week or so later, the seller relisted the head vase with added photos, so buyers might see the rim better. This time I decided to bid, and I was the only bidder, winning the auction! She's in perfect condition with NO crazing whatsoever! Gorgeous coloring, too! I purchased her from eBay seller sarasotagto. I love her!
The Southern Belles
Elegant Miss Head Vase in Aqua--Acquired December 14, 2014--
One evening, while browsing eBay's new head vase listings, I spotted an "Elegant Miss" head vase in aqua with light brown sausage curls. The listing had apparently just come up, since I had previously checked the listings just a few minutes before. I couldn't believe the seller was asking only $15 BIN! "What's wrong with it?" I wondered. Needless to say, I quickly read the description, viewed the photos, and purchased this treasure before someone else grabbed it!
I had been looking to buy this girl to pair with my girl in blonde. Many people refer to these 5.5" tall Enesco head vases as "southern belles." Since she looks so good with her sister, I decided to post the two together. This is my second cheapest head vase purchase so far.
Sophisticated Lady with Flip Hairstyle and Ring
Enesco Flip Hair Head Vase--Acquired January 5, 2015--
This sophisticated 7" lady with the flip hairdo is my first head vase purchase for 2015. I love her chic hairstyle and elegant ring. Unlike most of my head vase purchases, this one wasn't purchased through eBay, but through an individual.
She arrived in excellent condition and I love her! She did have a couple of tiny areas of missing paint in her hair that I touched up, as well as a teeny tiny spot on her dress. No crazing at all. Fantastic buy!
Bow-Bedecked Teen Beauty
Teen Beauty with Purple Bows Head Vase--Acquired January 6, 2015--
This head vase was a BIN for $39.99--pretty good price. I had never seen this one for sale before, so I was intrigued from the start. She hadn't been listed on eBay very long before I snatched her up. She is unmarked, so it's a mystery who the maker was.
She's about 5 1/2" tall, and was a little dirty and had a couple flakes of paint missing from her eye pupils as well as her lips. I cleaned her and touched up the paint, and now she looks great!
Groovy Chick in Pom-Pom Hat
"Teen-Rific" Girl Wearing Pom-Pom Hat (E-8028) Head Vase--Acquired January 18, 2015--
I absolutely love this Enesco 5 3/4" head vase! According to my "Collecting Head Vases: Identification and Value Guide" book by David Barron, she was manufactured in 1969, and promoted in catalogs as "Teen-Rific."
She is one groovy chick in her lime green hat with pink pom-pom accent, and looks fantastic with her "Teen-Rific" sisters.
I missed out on another one just like her a few months ago, and was thrilled to have won this beauty on eBay. She arrived quickly and in perfect condition.
The "Teen-Rific" Girls
The Valentine Sock Hop Girls!
Inarco Ponytail Girl with Engagement Ring Head Vase--Acquired January 18, 2015--
I decided to do something special when my lavender ponytail cutie arrived--since Valentine's Day is less than two weeks away, I fixed up a special display with a sparkly fantasy net panel draped over a wooden heart trinket box and photographed her with her "sister."
I bought this cutie because I love lavender and '50s ponytail girls! She displays well with my other ponytail girl, and I love her polka dot bow. The sparkly "engagement" ring definitely catches my eye as well.
I got her on eBay, BIN for $29.95; she arrived in great shape--no complaints here! ;-)
This is a fun head vase that would make a great gift for older girls and teens.
Bouffant Beauty with Platinum Hair
Relpo 7 1/2" Head Vase (K-1695)--Acquired February 9, 2015--
I had been looking to get this particular head vase in the large 7 1/2" size. Unfortunately, every time I saw one up for sale on eBay, she had something wrong with her. I couldn't believe my good fortune when this one came up for sale, and at an excellent price. She was BIN (buy it now) so I snapped her up in a flash.
This head vase comes in different sizes, and with blonde or brunette hair. I had never seen this particular one with the platinum color hair and pale blue bow before, and that really caught my eye. She arrived very quickly and in perfect condition.
Elizabeth Taylor Look-Alike
Napco 7 1/2" Head Vase (C7294)--Acquired February 23, 2015--
I have gotten to the point where I have been taking risks lately--that is, I have been buying head vases that may have a couple of minor problems for a low price.
On a whim, I decided to purchase this head vase. The auction photos weren't very good, but the seller had 100% feedback. At the BIN price of $34.95 for a 71/2" head vase (head vase collectors consider anything 7" and up large), I decided to go for it, and I'm very glad I did. This head vase doesn't have her original earrings (she originally came with pearl dangles) and the paint on her dress had been badly touched up along the back edge and was fading and worn in spots.
Today, I repainted her dress with acrylic paint and she looks 100% better as far as I'm concerned. I'm not sure if I want to bother with replacing her earrings. I'm extremely happy with her, and that's all that counts. She's actually in great shape with excellent face paint and no crazing. She was a great buy!
I have seen this head vase upcycled and sold on eBay. The seller painted her hair and eyebrows black and added some sparkle with a rhinestone necklace and matching earrings. With black hair and eyebrows, she's the spitting image of Liz Taylor!
Winter Cutie in Sunflower-Topped Hat and Muff
Enesco 6" Head Vase--Acquired March 1, 2015--
I bought this cutie for only $29.95 BIN. She is a souvenir piece, and has a foil label on her arm that reads: "TEE PEE St. Ignace, Michigan."
I have never seen her with sunflowers or black-eye Susans on her hat before, and her cuteness and uniqueness really bowled me over.
This head vase has a companion piece that faces the opposite direction and I have also seen a version with pink roses on the hat.
She arrived in perfect shape and displays well with my Enesco Elegant miss cuties.
Swirly Hair Bouffant Girl
Relpo 7" teen in black dress with floral trim--Acquired March 2, 2015--
I love this blonde teen head vase; her flamboyant hairstyle really caught my eye. Actually, I have been looking to buy this girl for quite some time now.
She isn't perfect--she has clear crazing which isn't noticeable unless she is viewed under bright light. Her dress and bow have been repainted, and whoever did it got paint on her flesh color just above the neckline of her dress. Today I corrected it by matching her flesh color with acrylic paint and covering up the boo boo.
Because of her big bouffant hairstyle and floral-trimmed dress, she will always be one of my favorites. I bought her from the same eBay seller I bought "Valerie" the purple-bow girl from: "valpink333."
Inarco 51/2" teen in blue sailor style dress--Acquired March 11, 2015--
When I happened upon the eBay auction for "sailor girl," the auction was ending with less than thirty seconds to go. At the time, she was going for a scant $16, which really piqued my interest.
I clicked on the auction to read the description and view the photos. She seemed to be in good condition except that she was quite dirty and her dress had a few spots of missing paint and discoloration.
I made the decision to bid on her (setting my max at $30) with only five seconds to go. Figuring I was probably too late to get in, I was pleasantly surprised to discover I was the winner with a mere second to go. I ended up getting her for only $28.52--a great price!
She cleaned up very well and I repainted her dress and hair bows. I am discovering through trial and error that sometimes it pays to take a chance; but you have to weigh the odds. My reasoning told me that at such a low price I wouldn't be out an arm and a leg if she turned out to be a disappointment.
Enesco "Smart Girl" 7 1/2" girl in pink dress and blue bows--Acquired April 8, 2015--
When I saw this beauty on eBay, I was unsure whether or not to bid on her. Some of the photos made it look as if she had some chips, so I inquired several times about her condition; each time the seller responded very quickly, reassuring me that there was zero damage. She probably got tired of all my questions, but I repaid her when I put in my bid with mere seconds to go--and actually winning her to my surprise!
She arrived in great shape with no crazing whatsoever! I had been looking to buy her for quite some time, but couldn't find one in good condition. I'm extremely happy with her, and I got her at a fantastic price, too!
She was originally marketed in a 1971 ad as a "Smart Girl" headvase planter according to Collecting Head Vases: Identification and Value Guide by David Barron (Collector Books, 2004).
Ready for the Easter Parade
Ucagco 6" whimsical child in floral bonnet and plaid scarf--Acquired April 11, 2015--
I love this whimsical little girl with her cute button nose and side-glancing eyes. Her springy attire looks as if she's dressed for the Easter parade.
When I first saw her on eBay, I was surprised to see that the seller lives only about twenty miles from me. I messaged her, asking her if I would be able to pick her up should I happen to win her.
I won her last night, and was able to pick her up today; that's the fastest I have ever received a head vase from eBay--what fun! :)
My $12 Antique Mall Find
Ty-Nee (Barbara) 4 1/2" braided beauty with lavender flowers and bows--Acquired April 18, 2015--
I call this my birthday beauty head vase! For my birthday this year, my husband took me out to eat and to some antique malls (my favorite thing to do). I was looking over multiple items crowded into a booth when my husband called me over to another booth where he held up a small head vase with big purple flowers in her hair.
She had some crazing, which is typical, and was missing one earring. Someone had applied some white goo to the place where her earring used to be, and had also covered up her remaining earring with it. I was hesitant to buy her, but my husband pointed out that she was only $12.00, and the white stuff might come off.
I took her home, and sure enough, the white goo did come off. I removed her other earring, which was incorrect, and replaced both her earrings with the correct size reproduction earrings, which I purchased from eBay seller, "pearls*n*things." I covered up a black mark in her hair with liquid acrylic paint, and now she looks good as new! She is valued in Barron's book at $85, and one recently sold on eBay for over $100.00 Not too shabby for a $12.00 purchase!
"Smart Girl" # 2
Enesco 7" "Smart Girl" with pink bow--Acquired April 21, 2015--
This is my second "Smart Girl." There are three in the set. I don't particularly care for the third one, who wears a crinkly hat, so I think I'll stop at number two.
This girl suddenly popped up BIN for $75 on eBay while I was cooking dinner. I checked out the auction several times, mulling over whether or not I should buy her. Finally, when my husband came home from work, I told him about it, then made the decision to grab her, and I'm so glad I did!
She arrived quickly, well packed, and in great shape. Her only issues were a missing earring, which I replaced, and a tiny bit of missing paint from her lip, which I touched up and--voila!
Googlie 5 1/2" girl with a nautical style hat--Acquired May 2, 2015--
I had been looking to buy this girl for quite awhile, but until now, I didn't see one for sale in great shape like this one. She is known as a "googlie" because of her side-glancing googlie style eyes. I love her platinum blonde flip hairdo and her dusky blue dress with matching hat.
She arrived very quickly, and in perfect condition. The packing job was excellent! I previously bought my Miss New York head vase from this seller--her eBay name is ladyjanedfh.
Graduate Girl in Pink
Shafford 4 3/4" graduate girl in pink--Acquired May 17, 2015--
Isn't this little graduate girl cute? I had been looking to buy a graduate head vase, and this petite girl in pink caught my eye. I have seen her in other colors as well such as teal, black, and red. For $16.50, I think I did really well, and she's in great shape, too!
Since they're almost the same height, she displays well in my blonde cabinet alongside my Ty-Nee "Barbara" head vase.
Mod Girl in Orange Hat
Rubens 5 1/2" mod girl in orange--Acquired May 17, 2015--
I caught this girl when the auction was fixing to end on eBay. She was missing an earring and a bit of orange paint was chipped off the front of her dress.
Since her current price was low, I decided to bid on her and see if I could get her at a good price. When the auction ended, I landed her for $41.00. Not bad at all.
Today, I touched up her dress with orange acrylic gloss paint and replaced her earring. I LOVE her!
Wonderful Floppy Hat Girl in Orange & Black
Rubens (4107) 5 3/4" floppy hat girl in orange and black--Acquired June 4, 2015--
While we're on the subject of orange, I snagged this pretty lady shortly after she was listed BIN on eBay. I love the red-orange/ black combination (a true Halloween lover at heart) and I also love the fact that her ears are actually pierced-- with earrings stuck through her ears--rather than glued on.
The floppy hat girl in green that I previously purchased has left her residence in the bedroom cabinet and is now residing with her sister in the large mid-century cabinet in my art studio.
Made by Napco, she has glued-in earrings and a slightly different look and dress. It was common for the various head vase manufacturers to use the same molds or copy one anothers' designs.
I had been looking to buy this girl in this fabulous color combination in good condition, and I'm tickled pink (or should I say orange?)!
Liz Taylor Look-Alike With Blonde Hair
Napcoware (C7294) 7 1/2" swirly hair blonde--Acquired June 24, 2015--
I grabbed this beauty off eBay BIN for a song--a mere $35! She was missing her necklace and her left earring was glued in a little crooked, but her face paint is great, and NO crazing!
I purchased a large replacement necklace from eBay seller pearls*n*things and just put it on her a few minutes ago. Of course, I had to take her picture so she could show off her new necklace--lol!
She's displayed in the cabinet with her brunette sister, and they look great together! This is one of the best purchases I've EVER made!
Enesco 6" head vases/ wall pockets--Acquired June 27, 2015--
Aren't these blonde sisters pretty? Not only are they head vases, they are flat in back with a hole for hanging, which makes them wall pockets as well. They're sisters to the girl in burgundy with sunflowers on her hat (a previous purchase), but in different attire.
I was a little disappointed when they arrived, as I found a couple of small chips on the hat of one of the girls which I touched up with matching enamel paint; you have to look closely with strong glasses to see them. I love these girls nevertheless, and have decided to display them with my Valentine's collectibles; I think they look great! This particular head vase has a matching full body planter as do many head vases of this era. I may eventually add it to my display in the near future.
The Tall Twins
Relpo 10" head vases (K1678)--blonde and brunette--Acquired July 11, 2015--
I love these girls! Not only for their imposing size, but also for their luxurious bouffant hair, pretty faces, and graceful hands! Talk about detail!
Up very early, I was performing my daily ritual of eating breakfast while scrolling the eBay head vase listings, when suddenly I had to do a double take--a blonde 10" Relpo head vase I had been dying to own showed up in the listings, and at a great price! My blood pressure must have jumped up 20 points, and I'm sure my eyes were bugging out of their sockets! I quickly checked out the auction, and everything looked great. It was BIN, so with a shaky hand and a click of the mouse, I did just that--I bought it now!
Bug-eyed and elated after my purchase, I began to scroll the listings again, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but ANOTHER 10" Relpo head vase--this one a brunette! While continuing to eat my bowl of cereal, I checked this head vase out as well. The same seller I had bought the blonde from was selling this one too! "Do I dare?" I thought. With a devil on one shoulder, and an angel on the other, I mulled it over for a few minutes while finishing my cereal. Deciding that a chance like this would never, ever, ever come again, the devil won--I put down that bowl and hit the "Buy it Now" button!
Folks, these are the best couple of purchases I have ever made! My packages arrived quickly and the head vases were packed with care. When I opened them up it took awhile to unwrap them because of all the bubble wrap, but it was well worth it. The head vases are in pristine condition and very clean, inside and out. Because of their size and beauty, they definitely stand out in my cabinet. The eBay seller I bought these from is joyofthehunt--highly recommended by this head vase loving girl!
Raving Beauty with Magnetic Eyes
Enesco 7" head vase--Acquired July 24, 2015--
It's rare to see this beauty with open eyes, and I am absolutely thrilled to have won her on eBay!
She was very dirty with blue marks on the back of her neck and also missing her right earring; I cleaned her up with water and a swab, then used a magic eraser for the stubborn areas. Just remember not to use it on the cold painted areas--only on the fired areas such as the face and hair. Don't use it on her eyes, lips, fingernails, or clothing. I replaced her earring, and she's as good as new!
This girl is one of my new favorites! She is just stunning!
Parma (A-172) 5 1/2" head vase--Acquired July 28, 2015--
I bought this head vase from a long time collector who was looking to sell her collection. I was a bit apprehensive at first, but when friends who bought from her were pleased with their purchases, I decided to give it a try.
I selected this Parma girl, as I was drawn to her sultry eyes and I also like her flip hairstyle topped off with a whimsical butterfly hair ornament. This head vase is sometimes referred to as Lauren Bacall, and I can certainly see the resemblance.
The head vase arrived quickly and in good condition. She has some floral foam attached inside, but I'm hoping that filling her up with a solution of vinegar and water will loosen the foam so I can remove it. I plan to let the solution sit for a day or so. I'll let you know what happens. . . .
Update: 4-21-2016-- I'm a little slow in posting this, but a few days after receiving her, I filled her up with a mixture of water and vinegar, let it stand for a couple days, and the floral foam and all the residue came out. Worked like a charm. . . .
Umbrella Girl # 2
Napco 5" umbrella girl--Acquired August 3, 2015--
There's something about umbrella-holding figurines that captures my heart. . . . The other day, I saw this pink umbrella girl pop up on eBay, BIN for $18. I don't know about you, but I think that's a pretty good price.
Let me explain my way of thinking: First of all, it's hard to find these girls with umbrellas intact since most of the umbrellas end up getting knocked off their poles and breaking. And, if you do happen to see a girl with her umbrella, the bow on the umbrella is frequently chipped or broken. For this reason there are a slew of collectors out there looking for replacement umbrellas for their umbrella-less umbrella girls. I've seen collectors pay $20, $25 or even $30 for a porcelain umbrella. So, using this logic, I conclude that I got a pretty good deal, since I got both the head vase AND the umbrella for under $20! Needless to say, I'm thrilled with my purchase!
Bow-Adorned Bouffant Beauty
Brinn's (T-1576) 5 3/4" teen head vase--Acquired August 3, 2015--
I bought this head vase from the same seller I purchased the sultry Lauren Bacall from.
She looked pretty grimy in the photos with spots all over her face, and was wearing the wrong earrings (studs as opposed to dangles) so I was able to talk the seller down substantially in price.
I got her for a fantastic price (less than half her advertised price), and the seller even cleaned her up for me before shipping her out.
She arrived in great shape and today I removed her earrings, leaving glue residue in her ears, but I was able to remove it by soaking the glue with rubbing alcohol and then picking it out with a straight pin. I replaced her earrings with reproduction dangles from eBay seller pearls*n*things and I have to say I'm extremely pleased with the outcome!
Bargain Basement Beauty
Parma 7.5" head vase (A-174)--Acquired August 3, 2015--
I got lucky on this beauty. I just happened to see her pop up on eBay for $20 BIN. I checked her out to see what her flaws were (for that price, I knew she was bound to have some) and they weren't bad at all.
She had chipped eyelashes, the worst being on her right eye, and she had excess paint on her bottom lip. She was also dirty and missing an earring.
Although I bought her in August, I didn't get her fixed up until November, as I was busy doing other things, the most important being finishing a Victorian house landscape painting for my hubby, who had been waiting at least ten years to get it! Lol!
The first thing I did was clean her up with a little rubbing alcohol, avoiding the cold-painted areas. I then used putty to fill in her chipped eyelashes. After letting the putty dry a day or two, I sanded it down smooth to match the rest of the eyelash. I then painted her eyelashes black with enamel acrylic paint. I removed the excess paint on her bottom lip and then touched it up with paint. To complete her beauty treatment, this lovely lady was given a new earring on her left ear.
She looks great in the cabinet with her "sisters" and I'm really enjoying my "bargain basement beauty!"
Enesco 5 3/4" head vase--Acquired August 24, 2015--
I spotted this doll-like beauty shortly after she was listed for sale on Ruby Lane, a wonderful online site that sells antiques and vintage items such as lady head vases.
Although she was described as being without chips or cracks, there appeared to be a small chip in her hair in the photos. When I inquired about this, Ruth, the seller from Heads Up Vintage, quickly reassured me that what I perceived as a chip was actually a water drop! Lol! You see, Ruth had rinsed her before taking her picture and, unknowingly, missed drying a spot in her hair. Knowing what a reputable seller Ruth is, I actually bought her before waiting for a response to the question--I was so paranoid someone else would snatch her up!
She arrived within a couple days, and I'm very pleased. She has lost her original dangle earrings over the years, and they've been replaced with studs. I may decide to change them back one day, but right now I think she's beautiful as is.
"Teen Age" Girl
Enesco "Teen Age" 5 3/4" head vase--Acquired August 29, 2015--
I was lucky enough to spot this beauty shortly after she was listed on Ruby Lane. She is my second purchase from Ruth of "Heads Up Vintage." She is in fabulous condition and devoid of any crazing. I love her bouffant 'do accented with a snappy blue bow.
She was originally advertised in a dealers' catalog under the category "Teen Age" Head Vase/ Planters. The ad states: "These action girls have their eyes wide open. These adorably innocent girls stand 5 3/4" high. 4 dozen in carton."
This particular head vase is one of two in the set, both sporting luxurious bouffant hair with flipped ends. I'm extremely pleased with this lovely teen!
The Bluebird of Happiness
Lefton 5 3/4" whimsical head vase--Acquired August 31, 2015--
This lady is very unusual in that she has a bluebird sitting on her hat. Her attire is very 1890s, and her eyes are almost fully closed, showing just a hint of her peepers.
The first time I ever saw this cutie, she had already sold, so I waited it out until she came up for sale again. The two times she did come up for sale, she was damaged. Third time was a charm, however--this time she was in great shape, so I bid and got her at a great price. Interestingly, no one else bid on her, which made my day. She arrived quickly, and in excellent condition. According to my book, The World of Head Vase Planters, by Posegay and Warner (Antique Publications, 1992), this fun head vase was manufactured in 1957--a great year, indeed!
There is a companion winking man head vase that was manufactured as her mate. Although I'm not fond of man head vases, I definitely need him to complete the look. I'll be on the lookout. . . .
Sultry One Eye Stunner
Inarco 7" head vase (E2104)--Acquired September 28, 2015--
I'm in love with her sultry flip hairdo with bang over one eye! And how about that elegant jeweled hand!
To my chagrin, this special girl wasn't BIN (buy it now), so I had to wait seven days to win her.
While I normally put my bid in within the last few seconds of the auction, I was forced to bid several hours early, since I would be out of town when the auction ended, with zero online access.
When I got home, I was thrilled to find out that I had won her, and at an excellent price to boot! She arrived quickly, and in excellent condition. Her earrings were missing, but I gave her new ones; she looks good as new!
Blue Floppy Hat Girl
Napco 7 1/2" floppy hat girl head vase (C7495)--Acquired November 29, 2015--
This girl comes in a multitude of sizes, up to around 11" in height, and I've seen her decked out in shades of blue, green, and black/ gray. This girl is a large 7 1/2". I also have a 5 3/4" version of this girl in green.
And no, I didn't get her off eBay. I was pleasantly surprised when I spotted her in an antique mall that I have been visiting for years. It really came as a surprise, since I had never, ever, ever seen a head vase in this shop before. The seller had her priced at $65.00, and I talked her down to $55.00.
She's in great shape with no damage--just the typical scratches here and there that come with age. She was missing her earrings and I replaced them with reproduction earrings, an easy fix.
The Candy Cane Kid
Lefton 6 1/2" head vase (1499)--Acquired November 27, 2015--
Just in time for Christmas, I snagged this little cutie off eBay! I love her holly and spaghetti-trimmed hat and her big candy cane. Yes, I'm a big sucker for vintage Christmas collectibles, especially with candy canes, and have an interesting assortment of them!
I had her displayed in my bedroom head vase cabinet, but after taking her picture on top of my Christmas cabinet in the hall, I may just keep her there--she looks so good!
"Teen Age" Girl # 2
Enesco 5 3/4" Teen Age" head vase (E-7013)--Acquired December 15, 2015--
This is the second in the set of girls originally advertised as "Teen Age" head vases. Her sister, who was purchased on August 29, has light brown hair with a dark blue ribbon tied around her bouffant 'do.
I picked her up BIN on eBay for only $39.20, a great deal! This is my third purchase from ladyjanedfh on eBay; each time has been a pleasure.
Because of the holiday rush, shipping was delayed--but she was worth waiting for. She will be displayed in the cabinet beside her "sister." Apparently, I'm a sucker for these luxurious bouffant hair girls; I now own several of them!
Big-Eye Cutie in a Lemon Yellow Dress
Lefton 6" head vase--Acquired December 20, 2015 (restored February 15, 2016)--
I picked this cutie up for only $14.99. Her only problem being that most of the paint was worn off her dress, which seems to be a common problem in this particular head vase. Someone had also attempted to touch up her lips in spots with a much lighter paint.
When I first tried to paint her, I got discouraged (to put it mildly!). The paint went on blotchy and was riddled with ugly paintbrush marks. Also, when I attempted to add a second coat of paint, it resulted in the first coat of paint coming off. So . . . I put her on the back burner for awhile and pursued other interests.
Today, I tried again and found that after thinning the paint considerably, everything went on smooth as glass. . . . So now she has a pretty lemon yellow dress to compliment her bright, poufy hair and the flower adorning it; she's in love with her new pearly pink lipstick.
I'm very pleased with the results and hope to get the third girl in the set, who is wearing a pink dress. I already own her sister in green and blue.
The Girl with the Bedroom Eyes
Caffco 7" head vase (E3284)--Acquired November 3, 2015 (restored February 16, 2016)--
This is one of my all-time favorite head vases--so I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw her up for sale on eBay for only $39.99!
She didn't come so cheap without a few issues, however--someone had repainted her lips with goopy, gloppy paint, which had peeled off at the bottom; her dress had been repainted-- badly, I might add; she was also missing the bottom part of her earrings.
Although I purchased her in early November 2015, I didn't get the courage up to restore her until mid-February of 2016, the day after repainting my Lefton girl!
I tried to remove her old lip paint with fingernail polish remover, since her lips appeared to be repainted with fingernail polish. When that failed to work, I got the idea to sand the paint off with an emery board; worked like a charm! I finished up with a small piece of fine sand paper for the creases, then repainted her lips with acrylic enamel paint, which was mixed from three different colors. Next, it was time to give her dress a spiffy new look: I used a little black paint with a touch of white mixed in, carefully using a liner brush around the neckline. Last but not least, her old earrings were removed and replaced with brand new ones. I am so thrilled with the results! My confidence level is soaring and my head is now inflated like a balloon! I hope I don't float away! Lol!
Blonde Beauty in Floral Bonnet
Relpo 6" girl in bonnet head vase (K1880)--Acquired March 10, 2016--
This is a special girl--she's my first head vase purchase for 2016! I love her floral bonnet and pretty face. This is one you don't see up for sale too often. She was an eBay BIN purchase.
In the auction photo, I noticed that the blue on her dress looked blotchy, and her lips looked a bit rough. When she arrived, I was pleased with her, but not very happy with the bad paint job on her dress; someone had touched up the blue paint, which is matte, with shiny paint, a horrendous combination. Her lips, with their fading paint, also needed some sprucing up. Today, I repainted both; I'm tickled pink with the results!
My Beautiful Birthday Present!
Relpo 7" beauty in fur-trimmed coat head vase (K1835)--Acquired April 15, 2016--
I purchased this beauty for my birthday, which was April 18. I actually had not been seeing any head vases I was interested in until she popped up BIN on eBay. This is a rare one that you don't see often, and one that I had been wanting to buy.
Her fur collar is very unusual, the right side of which is raised up. I'm in awe of this classic blue-eyed blonde beauty, her lovely curls framing her face, topped off with a bow-adorned hat, tilted at just the right angle. She has that '20s--'30s look, which I love. This girl also comes in black and green, as pictured in Barron's book.
She arrived two days after my birthday, well-packed and in great condition. Slight crazing on her hat in places, which is to be expected, considering her age.
Nifty Lipstick Holder Girl with Ponytails
Enesco lipstick holder girl 5 1/2" tall--Acquired April 20, 2016--
I think vintage lipstick holders are nifty, don't you? I have some papier mache ones, as well as a figural one, but I've always wanted one in the head vase style to add to my collection. Well, I finally won one on eBay! Yay! She is pictured at the bottom with her matching "Teen-Rific" sister, who wears a hat.
She arrived quickly and in pristine condition, except for the fact that she has something green rattling around in her head--not really sure what it is and I've unsuccessfully tried to get it out. I'm afraid I might break her, so whatever it is will probably remain there! I plan to display her with my other "Teen-Rific" girls in my small blonde mid-century cabinet.
Matching lipstick holders resembling the other "Teen-Rific" girls were produced as well and were functional as well as beautiful. There is a hole in the top of the head for a mirror so the owner could view herself while applying her lipstick. Pretty cool!
I'm in Love with the Love Head Vase!
Love Head Vase by Brinn's (2.T.P-2444) 7" tall--Acquired April 24, 2016--
Presenting my dream head vase! I've wanted her for such a long time! Made in the 1970s, she is quite rare. She is the head vase I have most wanted to own. The night I won her on eBay, I was so excited, I could hardly sleep! When I did manage to sleep, visions of the Love head vase danced in my head, and that's no lie!
This girl has attitude, coming across as somewhat of a free spirit. I'm enamored with her youthful doll-like appearance, her silky blonde hair, flirty eyes, and famous "love" choker. Although I was hoping to get her for my birthday, she wasn't posted for sale until six days after my birthday. Oh well, as the old cliche goes: "Better late than never!" And she was definitely worth waiting for! ;-)
Inarco 5 3/4" head vase (E3662)--Acquired April 27, 2016--
This girl is one of four head vases produced in 1970 and advertised as "The Sophisticated Teens." I previously purchased this head vase in green. Unfortunately, the head vase was misrepresented in the auction, so I was issued a full refund.
I'm thrilled to show off my newest purchase! She has no chips, cracks or crazing, but did need a little touching up. First of all, more than half of the black paint on her pupils was chipped off. The paint on her hair bow was chipped and blotchy, and the trim on her dress needed refreshing.
Today, she went to the spa, and here is the result. Isn't she a beauty? Talk about personality! I must say I'm extremely pleased with her. And talk about photogenic!
Full House 2016
Update: May 3, 2016--
Remember my earlier post of these cabinets? Remember how I had a "whopping" total of four head vases in the large cabinet? Well look at it now! The cabinets are now full!
Since I recently added some display risers to the cabinet in my bedroom, I will be able to add more head vases on the bottom row. It's hard to tell from the photo, but there is room for a row of head vases in front of the risers. I should be able to get three more head vases up to 6" in size in there, but after that, I will definitely have to get another cabinet if I want to keep collecting. In actuality, I could add more risers to this cabinet, but I love my vintage chained cats, and don't want to move them!
The Double Dip Girl
Masuri China 6 1/4" head vase (E3662)--Acquired May 22, 2016--
This girl reminds me of a double-dip ice cream cone because of her very unique hairstyle, and that is why I purchased her. That double beehive hair accented with a beaded floral band is such a great look!
She was manufactured by Masuri China, a company I had never heard of before purchasing this vase.
Hailing all the way from Canada, it only took her a week to arrive. I was worried that she might arrive broken, but she was very well padded with big bubble wrap, so she arrived in perfect shape! I love this unique beauty and have added her to my mid-century blonde cabinet.
Stylish Teen Beauty
Rubens 7" head vase (4137)--Acquired June 14, 2016--
Aren't those wrapped pony tails stylish and eye-catching? That is precisely what sold me on this pretty teen head vase.
Most of the time when I see this beauty on eBay, it's the one in the smaller 5.5" size. But this girl is a full 7" tall!
I just happened to come across the eBay auction when it was fixing to end, and of course I had to check it out. Hmmm . . . good price, and in the larger size, too! This definitely piqued my interest! Bidding in the last few seconds of the auction, I closed out all the other bidders and victory was mine--all mine!
I'm pleased that I was able to work her into my large mid-century cabinet, where she now resides with the other teens.
Relpo 8" head vase (K1930)--Acquired July 5, 2016--
I have always liked this teen with the interesting windblown hair. She comes in different sizes and wearing different colored sweaters. This is the largest size, and she is so striking in person!
Even though she looked a bit dirty in the eBay auction, and one of her earrings was half gone, I jumped in and bid on her within the last few seconds of the auction, winning her by a mere fifty cents!
She arrived today and I cleaned her up with some rubbing alcohol and replaced her earring. Doesn't she look nifty?
I'm going to do a little rearranging and plan to display her in my blonde cabinet next to my bubble dress girl.
Pretty in Pink
Lefton 6 1/4" head vase--Acquired July 9, 2016--
This is the vase I needed to complete my big-eye girl set. She doesn't come up for sale very often, so I was elated when she was offered for sale on eBay.
I thought the seller priced her a little high, but I really wanted her. She has such a great look: poufy dark blonde hair topped with delicate pink flowers, pale pink dress, and big saucer eyes of green.
Although she is pictured in Barron's book as unmarked, it just so happens that mine has a partial Lefton label which has proven very helpful in identifying her.
She was a little grimy when she arrived, but she cleaned up nicely. She had a tiny spot of paint missing from her right pupil, a quick fix. At least I didn't have to replace any earrings this time; she has little pink molded ones!
Purple Bow Girl
Rubens 6" head vase (#489)--Acquired July 21, 2016--
I have seen this girl with the blonde hair, and to me she looked kind of ho-hum. But when I saw her with shining brunette hair topped with a purple bow, it caught my eye.
The seller had her listed BIN for $75 or make an offer, so I made an offer of $60, which she quickly accepted.
She arrived quickly, safely, and in like new condition; even her manicure is perfect!
I tried putting her in my big cabinet, but she didn't fit in among the teens. I then moved her to my small cabinet in the bedroom--ahh! Perfect fit!
Napco Nun 7" head vase (CR5320/M) (1962)--Acquired September 3, 2016-- and Virgin Mary head vase/ wall pocket, 6 1/4"--Acquired September 5, 2016--
These ladies are pretty special to me. My thoughtful husband happened upon the nun at a local estate sale. As he picked it up looking it over, a woman asked him if he was going to buy it, emphasizing the fact that she was a head vase collector. In response, my husband said, "My wife is too!" To the collector's chagrin, my husband promptly marched up to the front and paid for it.
Shortly thereafter, I was scrolling the head vases on eBay when I happened upon a gorgeous Virgin Mary head vase/ wall pocket with incredible stained glass cathedral windows in the background. I had never seen anything like it before, and I was enchanted. When I saw the buy it now price of only $12.99 I was even MORE enchanted! SOLD!
These beauties are on display in an old gun cabinet that my husband upcycled into a curio cabinet for me. They sit on a bright red doilie, which really makes them pop.
Christmas Cutie with Striped Mittens
Rubens 6" Christmas head vase (#308B)--Acquired September 4, 2016--
Doesn't she have the most expressive face? And how about those playful striped mittens?
I got this cutie for under $25, and she's in great shape--just needed a little paint touch-up here and there. There is a brunette friend for this girl, but the one currently on eBay is way overpriced! I think I'll wait it out until a cheaper one comes along. . . . Lol!
I decided to put her in the same cabinet as the nun and Virgin Mary, but on a different shelf; she looks great surrounded by all my other Christmas head vases.
Favorite Nurse 3 1/2" head vase--Acquired September 9, 2016--
I've always wanted a nurse head vase, and now I have one. While there are boo-coos of fakes out there, the real deal is pretty scarce; I was fortunate enough to get this one dirt cheap.
She was advertised BIN on eBay, along with another head vase, for only $24.00, and with free shipping, too. I sure couldn't pass that up!
When I hit the BIN button, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually made it all the way through without being informed that someone else was already in the process of purchasing the head vase; that's happened to me a time or two. Since I didn't personally care for the other head vase that was included in this auction, I kindly asked the seller to just keep it, to which she cheerfully agreed. I figured my nurse would have a better chance of getting here in one piece if she traveled solo.
According to my Barron book, this head vase was manufactured in 1964, and was available in two sizes: 3 1/2" and 5 1/2". This, of course, is the smaller version. Although she is marked Enesco in the book, this one has a different foil sticker on bottom which I unfortunately, can't make out. I hope to also acquire her larger sister some day--hopefully in the near future.
The Girl with the Rose
Inarco 6 1/4" head vase (#E-779)--Acquired September 11, 2016--
I've really been on a roll during the month of September, purchasing five new head vases in less than two weeks time! The best part is, they were all under $26! This girl, who was made in 1962, was purchased for only $25.49!
I discovered her shortly before her auction was to end. Those luxurious triple swirls piled on top of her head, topped off with a single pink rose, are very appealing--they definitely caught my eye. Although the auction photos weren't very clear, I gambled on her anyway--bidding within the last few seconds of the auction like the dreaded sniper that I am.
She was shipped quickly and packed well. When she arrived, she was a dirty girl, with years of dust and grime built up, but she cleaned up nicely with a little rubbing alcohol. She has on the wrong necklace--looks more like crystal than pearls--but I like it, and I'll leave it as is. For added pizazz, I have placed vintage handkerchiefs inside her. She sits on a gold filigree Matson tray for added glamour.
Mesmerizing Beauty in a Sailor Hat
Wreath mark 7 1/2" head vase with sailor style hat--Acquired September 19, 2016--
Isn't she a beauty? Just look at those luscious lips, pretty blue doe eyes, and spiral curls! She is referred to as "Sailor Girl" by many collectors due to her jaunty sailor-style hat. She has been on my must-have list for ages--I can't believe I finally got her!
In Barron's book her manufacturer is identified as Relpo, but my girl has the wreath mark on bottom. It's possible that she was produced by both companies since the same mold was often utilized by various manufacturers for their head vases.
She was packed exceptionally well and is in fabulous condition with no crazing whatsoever. She had a small spot of paint missing from the pupil of each eye, which I touched up with glossy black paint, I also cleaned her up a bit.
This beauty deserves to be showcased; so I put her in the same cabinet with my Love head vase. Unfortunately, to make room for her, someone had to go: since I had two girls with corkscrew curls in the cabinet (in different colors), I decided to relocate one of them to my cabinet in the bedroom. I can't get over how mesmerizing this beauty is!
Corkscrew Girl # 2
Brinn's 7 1/2" girl with spiral curls head vase--Acquired June 5, 2016 (restored October 4, 2016)--
I already had this girl in black, and she is definitely a favorite, with her gorgeous tousled spiral or corkscrew curls. When I saw her BIN on eBay for $76, I grabbed her up and she arrived quickly. Unfortunately, when I opened the package, flaws were evident that I didn't see in the auction photos.
First of all, she was missing part of the curl by her left ear, which evidently occurred in the manufacturing process. Second of all, her hand appeared to have been repainted, as the color didn't match the rest of her. I contacted the seller about my concerns, and she offered me a choice: refund half of the money, or send her back. I chose a partial refund, and when all was said and done, I ended up paying a mere $38 for her--not bad!
Since I got her for a song, I figured I wouldn't be out much if I messed her up, so I decided to do a little experimenting--I decided to lengthen her curl, using JB Weld Water Weld epoxy putty. Adding a little putty at a time, I shaped it as I went along, letting it dry for a couple days, then working on it some more. When I got it the size and shape I wanted, I sanded the curl to smooth it, then painted it with several coats of acrylic paint. Not a perfect job, but I think she looks better than she did when I first got her, and she displays beautifully!
This girl was also made in a striking dark blue color. Many of my fellow head vase collectors, who are members of various head vase groups on Facebook, by the way, choose to collect them in all the colors they were produced in and they look absolutely smashing displayed together!
In addition to displaying head vases in various colors, many collectors also love displaying them in different sizes as well! Although this particular head vase was manufactured in one size only, some head vases were originally manufactured in up to six different sizes!
Amazing in Amethyst
Relpo 5.5" head vase (K1696) in amethyst with big hair bow--Acquired October 4, 2016--
This girl was produced in two sizes: 5 1/2" and 7 1/4". There is both an open and a closed-eyed version. She came in purple, pink, green, and gray. She's quite eye-catching when displayed in various sizes and colors, and it's interesting to see the open and closed-eye versions side by side.
I had been watching eBay for her and really wanted to get the purple one (my favorite color) so I patiently waited . . . until the purple version eventually came up for sale. The funny thing about it is, this girl hadn't even been posted on eBay a minute before I snatched her up!
Wreath mark "Senorita" 7 1/2" head vase--Acquired October 18, 2016--
Isn't she breathtaking? With her expressive pose and flamboyant gold-tipped white ruffle, she is known as the "Senorita" by many collectors. This is another one I have been wanting to own--see how addictive this hobby is? Initially I was only going to buy a few--well folks, this makes #91!
I try to find head vases with little or no crazing, which is very hard, especially considering the age of these ladies. This girl has zero crazing, and I got her at a really good price; the odds were definitely in my favor that day!
Sweet as Candy
Victorian umbrella girl 5 1/2" head vase--Acquired October 25, 2016--
I just happened to come across this lovely young girl while searching for a totally different item on eBay. I had never seen this head vase before, and the fact that she is an older umbrella girl (most are little children) decked out in such a charming pink and blue Victorian-style outfit captured my interest right away. As you can see, she has lost her umbrella somewhere along the way.
I decided to make an offer to the seller $20 lower than the listed buy it now price. A few minutes later, I was happy to discover that the buyer had accepted my offer, so I quickly paid. Shipping was fast and secure.
Although I have an extra black umbrella, I am looking to buy a blue umbrella to match her dress. No problem getting a pole--simply snip 6 1/2" inches off a wire hanger, and you're good to go! She is pictured in my Barron's book with a blue umbrella, so blue umbrella it is. I have her displayed on a pink and white doily to match her outfit.
Update March-20, 2018--
After searching eBay for almost a year and a half, I finally found an umbrella for my girl. She is so proud of her umbrella, I promised her I would take a photo and post it for all to see!
Sweet Christmas Girl
Lefton Christmas girl 5 1/2" head vase (2097)--Acquired October 31, 2016--
I love the whimsy and cuteness of this big-eye holiday darling! As a lifetime doll lover, you can see why I would be smitten with this very special girl who has always been a favorite of mine. When a seller posted her on eBay BIN for $24.99, I took the bait! I'm a sucker for cute; add Christmas to the mix, and I'm a goner.
She has the cutest expression on her face and her white-blonde pigtailed hair adorned with red bows is the cat's meow. The abundant holly leaves with berries are oh so festive!
Santa Baby. . . .
Wreath mark girl in Santa suit, 6"--Acquired November 27, 2016--
Santa Baby (my pet name for this cutie) is my sixth Christmas head vase. She's a softer red shade than my other Christmas head vases, and I like the fact that she is different.
She's very festive, in her glitter fur Santa hat with matching outfit, and silver ball dangle earrings. She's also quite weighty for a 6" head vase.
Although I prefer waiting until the last few seconds of an auction to bid, I ended up bidding on her in advance, since I would be going out of town. Upon my return, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was the winner of Ms. Santa Baby. After some shuffling around of head vases, I ended up housing her in my blonde mid-century cabinet.
Little Windblown Teen
United Import 5 1/4" girl with windblown hair--Acquired December 3, 2016--
I grabbed this girl shortly after she was posted BIN on eBay at a good price. Since I have her big 8" sister in yellow, I thought she might like a new little sister to keep her company.
I love the green turtleneck--you don't see that color very often. She's usually seen wearing yellow, orange, or brown. She's in awesome shape; I think I made a pretty savvy purchase! ;-) She's currently residing with her new sis in a small mid-century cabinet I purchased a few months ago.
Here Comes the Bride
Bride 6" wreath mark head vase--Acquired December 9, 2016--
My very first bride head vase--I'm in love! Isn't she stunning? I have seen this girl in a soft pink shade as well, but she's pretty scarce. Maybe one day I'll get her too!
Her romantic veil, topped with star-shaped flowers, is beautifully finished with an iridescent paint, lending her an angelic, dreamy look.
According to Barron's book, She was actually advertised as a set (including two bridesmaids) sometimes referred to as "The Bride and Bridesmaids." I have collector friends who own them all; they make such an incredible display!
Make a Wish
Lefton 4 1/2" genie style head vase--Acquired December 18, 2016--
I bought this cutie from friend and eBay seller "ojaney." Jane is a five-star seller and I highly recommend her. Perry, her husband and packer, did an expert job--my head vase arrived double-boxed and plushly padded to prevent breakage.
This sweet little head vase is the smallest in the series of the "genie" or "princess" style head vases, the largest being 8 1/4" and the medium sized one (pictured here) being 6 1/4". Since I love them together, of course I had to include them both in the photo.
This duo is displayed in my "I Dream of Jeannie" bathroom on top of double-stacked glass display cabinets that I recently purchased, along with an assortment of vintage bottles, knickknacks, and framed art and photos. You will find an earlier photo of my I Dream of Jeannie bathroom towards the top of this hub.
Brinn's 5 1/2" sailor girl head vase--Acquired December 17, 2016--
Don't these girls look adorable together? I finally found the sailor girl in red to go with my blue one! For some strange reason, the red one rarely comes up for sale on eBay--neither does her twin in green. I don't know if more blue were made or what, but the market is definitely saturated with the blue girl.
Shipping was delayed due to the holidays, but she was definitely worth waiting for. I actually took several pictures of the two with different backgrounds, and nothing was looking right--until I used one of my favorite tops as a backdrop! Lol! Hey, you never know till you try! ;-)
Buckle Hat Girl
Buckle hat girl 7 1/4" wreath mark head vase (E-6055)--Acquired December 24, 2016--
This is one of my all-time favorite head vases--I adore her bucket-shaped hat topped off with a flashy buckle! She comes in two sizes--5 3/4" and 7 1/4", the large size being quite scarce.
First produced in 1967, she was originally advertised as one of four "Hat Girls." As with many vintage head vases she was produced with both open and closed eyes. For some reason the open-eyed version is much harder to find. I love both and feel very fortunate to have landed this stunning girl.
The eBay listing for this vase unfortunately had very poor photos. While I normally don't buy head vases from auctions with poor photos, for this beauty I made an exception. I went back and forth with the seller asking many questions about her condition and I also checked out the seller's feedback. I found that she not only had 100% feedback, she had also gotten great reviews from customers who had purchased her head vases. That was enough for me--I decided to gamble--and fortunately for me, I won! She was missing her earrings--an easy fix.
In Her Christmas Bonnet
Inarco Christmas girl 5" head vase (E-194C)--Acquired January 2, 2017--
I picked this cutie up from a lady who had her up for sale on the Facebook page, "Buy & Sell Lady Head Vases and Planters." She was selling several head vases that had belonged to her grandmother, and I bought this one, along with two others.
This girl is in excellent condition with no crazing, cracks, or chips. She was missing a small amount of cold paint here and there (typical of vintage planters and other ceramics) but I touched her up, and she's good as new.
The other two head vases that I purchased are okay, but not in as pristine condition as this girl. Since I only paid $35.00 apiece for them, I'm not out too much. The head vase I was enamored with had already sold, darn it! As the saying goes: "You snooze, you lose!" ;-) Isn't that polka dot bow a show stopper?
Kitty cat with umbrella 5 3/4" Norcrest head vase (E333)--Acquired January 22, 2017--
Too cute! Although this head vase is unmarked, I acquired the maker name and number from her listing in Barron's book.
This is a very special head vase in that it marks my 100th head vase and is also my first head vase purchase for the year.
Isn't she adorable! When she came up for sale on eBay (BIN) it was only the second time I had seen her up for sale. Needless to say, I snatched her up in a hurry before anyone else could get her.
The very first time I came across this girl, she was damaged and missing her umbrella. This one has a shallow chip on the umbrella, but the kitty is in perfect shape except for some crazing, which is to be expected. She now resides in my bedroom cabinet, along with a couple of "human" umbrella girls.
Heart Bonnet Lady
Rubens 5 1/2" head vase (484)--Acquired February 5, 2017--
I bought this head vase, along with a 5 1/2" Alice in Wonderland and a Christmas girl, from a member of the Facebook group, "Buying and Selling Lady Head Vases." I got them all for a good price (especially the Christmas girl!), and they make a nice addition to my collection. I actually forgot to post them in this article until today--April 15, 2018--more than a year later. Talk about forgetful!
I love her heart shape hat and her attitude. I love these girls with the pierced ears because you don't have to worry about re-gluing earrings back on that fall off!
Favorite Nurse Gets a Sister!
Enesco "Favorite Nurse" 5 1/2" head vase--Acquired February 20, 2017--
I just added this unique girl to my collection; I had been searching and hoping for a "big sis" for my little nurse when I finally found her (on eBay, of course). The price on her was pretty low for a few days--that is, until other folks noticed her, too--driving up the bids. Oh, well. . . . Even though I didn't come out near as well price wise, as I did on the smaller version, I'm still happy to have won this lovely lady. Aren't they just the cat's meow?
Booze Hound Beauty
Caffco 7" head vase (E-3284)--Acquired February 26, 2017--
Friend and fellow head vase collector, J. S., refers to this lady as the "Booze Hound Beauty . . . because of her magnificently heavy and intoxicated looking eyes!" Her bold eye liner, big hair, and saucy demeanor command attention; she sure got my attention. Lol!
I previously purchased her blonde sister with blue-gray eyes in the black dress. Since this girl is a favorite of mine, I decided to also get the strawberry-blonde version with brown eyes in olive green. Although I didn't come out near as cheap on this girl as her sis (who was less than $40), I'm still pleased as punch to have won her! She was missing her earrings and necklace, an easy fix.
Pink bride head vase--wreath mark 6"--Acquired March 12, 2017--
I love my bride so much that when I saw her sister in pink come up for sale, I set out to get her, too! There was no doubt in my mind that the two of them together would make a killer display. In order to get her worked into the cabinet, I had to play a little "musical head vases," but, mission accomplished! ;-) She now resides with her sis in my blonde mid-century cabinet.
She arrived a bit dirty, but she cleaned up well. I love the pearly pink tones in her veil! Not only is her veil a different color than her sister's, her dress is embellished with gold dots, while her sister's dress is solid white. Both girls have the most eye-catching iridescent paint accenting their veils.
This bride was originally promoted in the dealer's catalog with two bridesmaids; they're awe-inspiring when displayed together.
Umbrella Finds Owner
Umbrella teen head vase 5 1/4"--Acquired March 14, 2017--
I previously purchased the umbrella separately (they are pretty hard to find intact). This one also came with its own pole. Securely wrapped in bubble wrap, I had stored it away in anticipation of finding a needy umbrella girl for it. One antique mall that I frequent actually had three of these girls for sale; unfortunately, the seller was asking around $60 a piece for them, even though they all had lost their umbrellas along the way. I decided to wait it out.
I had seen a couple up for sale on eBay, but one had messed-up eyelashes, and the other one was too pricey, in my opinion. The pricey one had been listed and re-listed over and over on eBay for more than a year, with no takers. The seller kept on listing the vase "buy it now," with no option to "make an offer." I decided to make the seller an offer anyway--of $20, tactfully pointing out how long this vase had been listed and re-listed. Seller accepted--done deal!
Big is Beautiful
Napco 8.5" head vase (8501)--Acquired March 14, 2017--
It was late, and I was in the process of shutting down my PC before heading to bed, when I happened upon an auction on eBay that was ending in only four minutes! Although the photos were pretty bad (fuzzy with unflattering angles), the thing that piqued my interest and stopped me from clicking off the page was when it finally registered that this head vase wasn't 5 1/2"--or even 7"--she was a glorious 8.5"! And she was only $33!
Anyone that knows me knows that the big ladies are my favorites--and this girl is quite hard to find "super sized." I decided to roll the dice on this one; when all was said and done, I was thrilled to be declared the winner. Although I didn't get her for under $35, I still think I did pretty well, considering her excellent condition and size. I replaced one of her earrings and she's good as new!
Telephone girl head vase--Acquired March 15, 2017--
For some reason, I've had a hard time finding this girl. While myriad reproductions bombard eBay, authentic vintage telephone girl head vases are quite scarce. I'm not sure how many colors she comes in, but I've seen her with the red phone as well.
I got pretty lucky on this girl--as soon as she popped up BIN (buy it now) with free shipping, I gleefully grabbed her.
She's in great shape, but since she had some missing spots of paint on her dress, I decided to repaint it with enamel acrylic paint. At first, I didn't think I would be able to match the color--but then I got an exact match by combining three different colors of paint. I was thrilled! Now she's good as new! Isn't she adorable? She has joined her telephone teen sisters in the cabinet.
The Pretty Girl
Ucagco Norleans "Pretty Girls" head vase, 7 1/2"--Acquired March 30, 2017--
This delicate beauty, with her fancy ruffles and bows, was promoted, along with her sisters, as the "Pretty Girls" in the original dealer's catalog. She was made in two sizes: 7 1/2" and 5 1/2", with a choice of pink, green, aqua, or blue bows.
When I saw this beauty pop up on eBay, I felt she was a bit pricey, so I made the seller an offer at a lower price. I waited and waited the rest of the day, but, to my chagrin, I never heard anything back from the seller. I went to bed, got up early the next morning, and checked my messages--still no response! When I noticed that she had five other buyers watching her, I got to thinking: She appeared to be in really, really great shape, and the buyer had 100% feedback, so . . . I made the impulsive decision to hit that BIN button! Well, Let me tell you--I'll never, ever, regret that decision.
I received her in the mail yesterday and she was packed really well. When I removed her from the box, I couldn't believe what I was seeing! She looked fresh out of the factory! Super clean (inside and out), no crazing, no problems at all. She is such a beauty! Since I was adamant that this a-lister could be displayed no place else but in the big cabinet, and the big cabinet was full, one of the head vases in it had to be sacrificed, and was moved to a smaller cabinet. I've been looking for a small cabinet with the right dimensions to sit on top of my large cabinet, but so far, no luck! I'm thinking I may have to have one custom made to match. We'll see. . . .
Meet Ms. Lana Turner
Napco "Lana Turner" head vase (C3815A), 5 1/2"--Acquired April 22, 2017--
After eating out at a favorite restaurant of ours, my husband, Eddie, and I decided to visit an antique mall we hadn't visited in a while to walk off some of those calories. The last time we visited this particular mall, Eddie griped that they never have anything new. "Shhhhh! They might hear you!" I said. Well this time, I didn't even have to tell Eddie to shhhhh! The store had actually gotten in new merchandise and had even spiffed things up a bit.
Eddie, walking way ahead of me, as is his fashion (always in a hurry) hollered at me from the next aisle, "I found a head vase!" Not getting my hopes up, I thought, "Yeah, yeah, yeah! Sure you did!" I figured it was just some repro (reproduction)--we frequently find them at just about every antique mall we shop in. When Eddie came around the corner and held the vase up, I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw. The lady was actually vintage and in great shape--apparently whoever owned her had kept her in a curio for many years. The only thing keeping her from being in mint condition was the fact that she was missing part of one earring, and the other earring had lost its pearly luster.
Today, I replaced her earrings (after researching to verify what kind of earrings she needed) and now she's back to her former glory. This girl is often referred to as "Lana Turner," and you can see why. Oh, did I forget to mention she was only $20?
"Snow White" head vase, licensed by Disney, 5 1/2"--Acquired April 24, 2017--
I can't believe I finally got a Snow White head vase! She has been so expensive on eBay lately--the last one sold for over $600! This time, luck was on my side--I got her for about a third of that price!
She is one of a set of three Disney-licensed head vases, which consists of Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and, of course, Snow White! In The World of Head Vase Planters by Posgay and Warner (Antique Publications, 1992), she is featured in an add from 1966, along with her sisters; included are other Disney "princess" ceramics such as planters, figurines, a trivet, and even a Snow White and Seven Dwarfs cookie jar. The set is promoted as "'Fairy Tales Come True' Head Vase/ Planter Assortment." The add also suggests that "Adorable heroines are certain to make a hit with girls of any age . . . excellent as Hair Brush and Comb Holder." When these came out in 1966, I was nine years old; had I known about these adorable sweethearts, I would have definitely wanted one (or all of them!) for my bedroom!
I'm tickled pink to have finally won my raven-haired princess. I recently purchased a mid-century Art Deco style cabinet (actually a bar) for my bedroom. It has a snazzy mirrored top section featuring sliding glass doors and two glass shelves, and is the perfect size for displaying my smaller head vases. Here she sits, displayed to perfection!
Girl With Hand
Enesco 7" blonde in black--Acquired April 24, 2017--
About an hour or two after purchasing Snow White, I couldn't believe my eyes when this beauty appeared on eBay, BIN for only $40! I had to do a double take! "Is this for real?" I asked myself. She was real, and in great shape, too--so what did I do? I did what any red-blooded head vase collector would do--I hit that BIN button and grabbed her up quick! I was on a roll--purchasing two great head vases in one day and at great prices, too!
This beauty is one in an assortment of three, marketed as "Girl With Hands" in a 1966 ad. The head vases in the set were available with either open or closed eyes. She looks so elegant displayed in my small mid-century cabinet, along with my other large beauties!
Flirty Fan Girl
Ucagco 6 1/2" fan girl--Acquired May 17, 2017--
Isn't this girl sweet? I've always liked her! When I saw her pop up on eBay BIN for only $25, I liked her even more. Needless to say, she didn't stay in the listings for long!
I'm a sucker for cute, and there is no way I could have resisted the charms of this cutie! I'm in love with her cute winking face, flirty updo, and old-fashioned hat with matching feathery fan. She arrived quickly, and in great shape; I couldn't be happier! :)
Brinn's 4.5" hippie girl in floral hat (T-1961)--Acquired May 23, 2017--
I've always found this girl unique, with her adorable hippie style hat and hair. This particular one had been posted numerous times with no bids, probably due to fuzzy auction photos. The price was pretty good--$31.99--so I decided to further investigate.
The seller had 100% feedback with great ratings--five stars on "Item as described" and everything else but "Shipping and handling charges" (very few sellers score a perfect five on that!). I checked out the seller's other auctions--yep, same fuzzy photos. I read the customer comments--lots of satisfied customers! I arrived at the conclusion that the seller is good, they just happen to be in need of a better camera! I decided then and there to go for it, so I hit the BIN button.
The head vase arrived quickly and was packed well. She was slightly dirty, and had a tiny spot of missing paint from her pupil. All fixed and on display in a new cabinet I purchased for my bedroom. This girl was also produced in two other colors--green and blue. It would be cute to display them all together!
Napco chic 8.5" beauty with pearl and leaf accent--Acquired May 24, 2017--
This is one of the most common head vases ever made, and was marketed in a variety of sizes and colors--she's pictured in Barron's book in four sizes, two hair colors, and four dress colors! Lucky for me, this is the largest size--I'm a sucker for the big girls! She was a great price for her condition and size (only $54.99).
She arrived quickly and very well packed. She was missing her earrings, an easy fix. I have her displayed next to my Napco teen of equal size in burgundy dress and bow. They look great together!
Debbie Reynolds Look-Alike
Lefton 7" girl with blue flowers in her hair--Acquired June 18, 2017--
I think this lovely lady looks just like Debbie Reynolds--don't you? I love her cute side-swept hairstyle embellished with delicate blue flowers! And how about that chic blue glove? Very striking!
And no, I didn't get her on eBay--I actually found her at a local antique mall. She had been up for sale at the mall for quite some time--years, I think. Although I would always look at her with longing, I felt like she was priced too high, so I would walk on by.
Well today I asked the man at the desk to open the case so I could look her over; I did, and was pleased to discover that she is in pristine condition. I then asked the man if he would call the seller to see if they would come down on the price. Since the head vase had been the same price for years, I had my doubts, but it couldn't hurt to ask! The man was able to contact the seller, who offered to sell me the head vase $35 cheaper! SOLD!
Relpo sophisticate in a blue hat (K1679), 7"--Acquired June 11, 2017--
This beauty was just waiting for someone to adopt her while she sat in an antique mall far away in Springfield, Missouri. I came across pictures (taken 13 minutes before) of her posted on Facebook, in the head vase group, "The World of Lady Head Vases." Although she was surrounded by other vintage head vases, out of all of them, she alone caught my eye; so I asked my Facebook friend, Marlin, who took the photos, if he was still in the store, as I was interested in the "lady in the blue hat." He replied that he had left, but would be happy to return for the head vase if I really wanted it. I replied back with an enthusiastic "Yes!" A few minutes later Marlin informed me: "I've got her. Going to checkout now." Music to my ears! Although I offered him extra money for his trouble, he refused to take it.
I was elated when I received her in the mail--very well packed, of course--Marlin is an old pro. She arrived in excellent condition with no chips or cracks; just a little mild crazing in spots. Her vintage jewelry had yellowed, and her dress, bow, and lips needed repainting, an easy fix.
The first thing I did was clean her with a little water and a swab to remove the dirt. For the more stubborn spots, I used a magic eraser, avoiding the cold-painted areas. I sanded the old paint off her lips before repainting them, and mixed three different colors of paint to get just the right shade of blue for her dress and bow. Last, but not least, I replaced her earrings and necklace with reproductions. 'Voila!
My Broken Head Vases Restored by Tammy Powelson Stephens
Napco (C569) pierced hat lady and Norleans "Pretty Girls" 5.5" head vases--Acquired June 4, 2017--
My sweet friend, Lee, gifted me with a couple of head vases that she received in her youth. She said the church would fill them with flowers and bring them to her whenever she got sick. She asked me if I wanted them, and I said, "Yes!" Both were damaged. Since I had neither the skills nor patience for this Herculean task, I sent them to head vase "doctor" Tammy Powelson Stephens, a Facebook friend that I met in the group, "The World of Lady Head Vases," to fix them up.
The Napco lady in black had a detached arm and some missing paint from her face and arm. Tammy used a special putty to reattach her arm, sanded it smooth, then air brush painted her. She then finished her off with a sealant. This lady was originally produced in a multitude of sizes, sporting various hair colors. One version even has a polka dot dress with matching glove. Her hat is pierced to allow a ribbon to be inserted and tied under her chin in a pretty bow. The ones I have seen posted look lovely; I just might try it out sometime.
The "Pretty Girls" head vase has such a delicate, gorgeous face, and her green-tinted bow is is an eye catcher! She had apparently been knocked off a table at some point in her existence, which resulted in the left side of her base being broken into several pieces. She had been re-glued, with a hole evident where a small piece had remained missing. Tammy painstakingly took her back apart, then professionally reattached all her parts, using a special putty. This girl was definitely a challenge--Tammy spent many hours attaching pieces, sanding, painting, and doing it all over again in order to bring her back to her original glory.
As you may have noticed in an earlier post, I also have this girl in the 7.5" size with a pink bow. These ultra-feminine ladies are stunning, with ruffled, bow-adorned bonnets framing their delicate, sweet faces. Some of my fellow head collectors enjoy displaying this lady in all four colors and both sizes--a showstopper, indeed!
I want to take this time to thank my friends: Lee, for giving me these lovely ladies, and Tammy, for bringing these beauties to their former glory. I am more than thrilled with the results, and they look so pretty in my Deco cabinet, which is housed in my bedroom! Thank you Lee and Tammy!!!!
Brinn's 8.5" head vase (TP-2117)--Acquired July 4, 2017--
I call this girl "Miss Squiggles" because of the unusual squiggly waves framing her lovely face. This is one I had been looking to get, and it wasn't easy--unfortunately for me there was a bidding war within the last few minutes of the auction. This girl was relatively cheap, then all hell broke loose! I ended up paying more for her than I wanted, but I love her and she's worth it.
I love her big size; she definitely makes a statement, displayed in my new cabinet with my other "big girls." I am very impressed with her condition and the way she was packed--double boxed with tons of bubble wrap and packing peanuts. I bought her from eBay seller "ojaney."
Ooh La La!
Napco 5.5" head vase (C6016)--Acquired July 17, 2017--
I came across this gal when her eBay auction had but a few hours to go. She had zero bids, and at only $28.99, dirt cheap! As is my custom, I made my move within the last few seconds. She did get a couple of bids before the auction ended, but I got lucky and "stole" her for a mere $33.00!
She arrived in even better than expected condition--she has no crazing at all, her earrings are original, and I don't have to touch up her paint, which is a blessing! She is so feminine and elegant with her hat set at a jaunty angle, layers upon layers of gold-accented ruffles, and blonde hair all done up in sausage curls.
Since adding her to my new Deco cabinet was a must, I moved out my umbrella girl to make room. Umbrella girl is now being displayed on my antique dresser with my porcelain dolls.
Caffco (E-3143) 7" head vase--Acquired July 22, 2017--
Here is another head vase I can check off my wish list. I'm so thrilled to have won her, it feels like Christmas in July! Isn't her hair amazing with that over-the-top blonde bouffant featuring a side-swept, bow-adorned pony?
The seller, "sodagrad," provided excellent communication, contacting me immediately after I won the auction, assuring me he would mail her out Monday (I won her Saturday night, and the P.O. is closed on Sunday). He also stressed that she would be very well packed, which really eased my mind!
She arrived today, extremely well packed, protected with tons and tons of bubble wrap and packing peanuts. I'm in love with this girl--she's in pristine condition, wearing her original earrings, with no crazing. The only thing I had to do was clean some dirt off her face--an easy fix.
Miss Cutie Pie
Inarco (E-2523) 5 3/4" head vase--Acquired August 13, 2017--
Well, hubby found me another one! Today, we were shopping at an antique store (about a two hour drive away) when he (barely) spotted this polka dot cutie. I say barely because he almost didn't see her--she had been shoved all the way to the back of the shelf and was hidden behind a wall of knick-knacks. For me, that's a good thing because it apparently kept other shoppers from seeing her! Lol! She was 20% off so I ended up getting her for a mere $18.00!
Her big eyes, bow-bedecked braids, and playful polka dot outfit make this girl a winner in my book!
Big Bow Girl
Inarco (E-1904) 7" head vase--Acquired August 23, 2017--
This girl is really rockin' the big textured bow in her hair. It's the perfect accent for her chin-length bob and the perfect accessory for her pink scalloped-neckline dress.
I picked this girl up on eBay. Funny thing is, I was the only bidder. She was very dirty when she arrived so I got brave and gave her a complete Windex bath, let it sit for two minutes, then wiped it off. Worked like a charm. My friend, Jim Schenning, swears by this method, and I can see why. I was afraid that it might remove the cold paint, but all paint is still intact!
Very Dear to My Heart
Napco (C 5939) 6" head vase--Acquired in 2002?--
One day, my mother happened upon this Napco girl from the '60s while browsing at her local thrift store. Knowing I'm a doll lover, she decided to buy it for me. Since my mom is now deceased, this head vase is very special to me; I think of her every time I look at it.
With six hairline cracks, broken off eyelashes and almost nonexistent clover ornament, this girl had quite a bit of damage. To add insult to injury, someone sprayed gold paint all over her dress and neck, and her pearl earrings were long gone.
Years went by with this damaged lady sharing space on a shelf with a menagerie of animal and people figurines. I often wished I could restore her to her former beauty and even tried it once, but got frustrated.
When I met Tammy Powelson Stephens on Facebook and saw the beautiful work she was doing restoring lady head vases, I hired her to restore a couple of my other head vases (scroll up to see). Delighted with the results, I asked her to fix up this one as well. Quite a transformation, isn't it?
This beauty has left her menagerie of companions and now resides with a bevy of beauties in my Art Deco cabinet. Great work Tammy!
United Import 7 1/4" head vase--Acquired September 10, 2017--
This head vase is unmarked but listed as United Import in Barron's book. She is pictured in three different color combinations: burgundy and black (as you see here), green and blue, and yellow and green.
This girl, who is scarcely ever seen posted for sale on eBay, has been at the top of my wish list for years. The rare times that I have seen her posted for sale, she had so many flaws that I passed her by.
When I first saw this particular head on eBay, she was priced higher than I wanted to pay. When I happened to come across her again in the "ending soonest" search, I thought, "What do I have to lose?" and made the seller a lower offer. The seller, pointing out that the vase had several watchers, then made a counter offer and I accepted it. Twenty-four dollars off is better than nothing!
This girl is in pristine condition with no crazing. Her fabulous big coiffed 'do reminds me of Tammy Wynette, the famous country singer.
Napco (C 6429) 7 1/2" head vase--Acquired September 11, 2017--
Since my camera recently went on the fritz, my husband took this photo for me with his camera. I don't want to give him the big head, but I think he did a great job, don't you?
I've seen this fashionable girl in four different sizes and three different colors. There is also a rare version in a darker green shade with pale blonde hair and different stones in her daisies (as seen in Barron's book). This vase makes such a striking presentation when displayed in the smallest to largest sizes.
An antique store I frequent has this vase for sale in green for $75.00, but it is in the smaller 6" size. Since I only paid $31.00 for my 7 1/2" beauty, I think I did very well! And mine is in better condition, too!
She arrived very quickly and was packed exceptionally well. I put her in my newest cabinet, the one that sits on top of my big mid-century cabinet.
Bow-Bedecked Sailor Girl Restored by Tammy Powelson Stephens
Lego (7333) 7 1/2" head vase--Acquired September 25, 2017--
I'm over the moon! I can't believe I finally have the beautiful Lego "Sailor Girl" for my very own! This girl shares the #1 spot of my all time favorite head vases, along with the Love head vase. I love them equally, and now I have them both! What luck!
This rare girl seldom comes up for sale. I have seen her on eBay a handful of times; unfortunately, she always had some damage--or if not, she was quickly snapped up by a fellow collector (BIN) when I wasn't looking.
This girl was offered for sale in the group, "Buy and Sell Lady Head Vases" at a price within my budget. The seller stated that there was a hairline crack inside the vase as well as a big chip out of her arm. Voicing my interest, I was sent additional photos. Planning to have the vase restored, I bought her. When she arrived, I was disappointed to see that the hairline crack was visible on the outside of the vase as well. Not noticeable to me unless I put on reading glasses, but still there, nonetheless. I contacted the seller, who issued me a partial refund.
I subsequently sent the vase off to my good friend, head vase doctor Tammy Powelson Stephens. She did such an awesome job on her that you would never know her arm had ever been broken! I'm in head vase heaven! This makes my fourth head vase restored by the talented Tammy--I'm so in awe of her skills and talent!
Sweet Teen with Flowers in Her Hair
Rubens (4136) 5 3/4" head vase--Acquired October 21, 2017--
This was one of those quick purchases where you hurry up and grab it before someone else does--lol! She came up on eBay for $65 BIN, and was listed as 7" tall. She looked great, not to mention $65.00 is a fantastic price for a 7" head vase! The seller had a 100% feedback rating, so I quickly hit that "buy it now" button!
Today, I picked her up at the P.O. She was very well packed--double boxed with plenty of paper cushioning the inner box. But when I saw the size of the inner box, I said, "There is no way she can be 7" tall!" I was right--she measured only 5 3/4" tall. So I contacted the seller, who responded immediately. She was very apologetic, explaining that she had previously listed several 7" heads, and forgot to change the listing title. She gave me two options: I could either send it back for a refund, or she would made a price adjustment. When she offered to charge me only $40.00, I opted to keep the head vase. Later on, when I checked to see if the refund was in my PayPal, this sweet lady had also refunded shipping, too, for a total refund of $32.50! Great seller, and I will definitely look for her in the future!
Judy Garland Estate Sale Find
Inarco (E-3377) 5" head vase--Acquired October 27, 2017--
My husband, Eddie, occasionally enjoys going to estate sales. One day after coming come from work, I sat down in the computer room (also an art studio, exercise room, head vase room) with him, discussing something on the computer. While talking, I swiveled around in my chair, admiring my head vases as I am prone to do, when I saw a strange little head stuck in the cabinet, hobnobbing with my larger head vases. "How did that get in there?" I asked hubby. Laughing, he told me that he had picked it up at an estate sale a few minutes prior for only $18.00! I don't know about you, but I think that's a pretty good price. I've always called this head Judy Garland, since she bears such a strong resemblance to the famous actress and singer.
Bonnet girl 7" head vase--Acquired November 19, 2017--
I love these bonnet girls--they're so southern belle! This particular lady won me over with her beauty, and I particularly love the rhinestones in the flowers of her hat that are the color of the aurora borealis! Spectacular!
She arrived in great shape, but was missing her earrings and needed a paint touch-up on her dress, all taken care of. She is free of crazing and sports a peaches and cream complexion, very befitting to her southern belle image. I'm very happy with my purchase, and will undoubtedly enjoy this beauty for many years to come.
Mod Teen in Pink & Blue
Rubens 7" mod girl in pink and blue (4157)--Acquired November 19, 2017--
I was on a roll the night I won this teen beauty, after winning the "southern belle," from the same seller on eBay. Since I already owned this girl in the 5 1/2" size in orange, I thought it would be nice to get her in the 7" size in pink, especially since she was going pretty cheap on eBay. When all was said and done, I got her for $66.00, not a bad price for a 7" head vase!
She arrived in good condition except for all over crazing, of which I'm not a fan, but it isn't noticeable unless you get up close to her. She was missing her earrings, which I replaced. This girl also comes in blue as well as chartreuse green. I would love to display her with the smaller girl, but right now I really don't have a place to do that. According to Barron's book, she was also made by Nancy Pew in a 6" size.
A Stunner in Blue
Ardco 6 1/2" head vase--Acquired November 26, 2017--
Isn't this girl a stunner in her lovely blue ensemble? I like the textured look to her paint and the gold-accented bows. Barron's book shows that she was also produced in lavender and green and as a blonde, too.
She's always been one of my favorites, and I'm so happy to have won her on eBay. I decided to display her in my Deco cabinet; unfortunately, I had to move one head vase out to make room for her. One thing for sure--she definitely commands attention beside her ruffled bonnet sister.
A Trio of Genies
Lefton 8 1/4" head vase (3518)--Acquired December 12, 2017--
This big, beautiful bejeweled girl completes my set of Lefton "genie" girls. I first bought the 6 1/4" girl, which began my head vase collecting passion; years later, I purchased the small 4 1/2" girl from a friend, and now this beautiful girl, with five red stones in her tiara, completes the set. She's in perfect shape, and I'm a very happy camper!
Even better, I got her for a steal--a mere $35.00, which is spectacular for a head vase over 8" tall! In the eBay listing, the seller had her listed as 6 1/2" tall. Being familiar with this head vase, I knew she was actually the 8 1/4" version and I jumped on the chance to nab this beauty for a song!
Buckle Hat Girl with Closed Eyes
Enesco 5 1/2" head vase (E-6055)--Acquired February 3, 2018--
I love my 7" buckle hat girl so much that I decided to get the smaller, closed eye version to go with it.
Believe it or not, I didn't get her from eBay. My husband actually spotted her on Craig's List along with some other head vases up for sale. I contacted the seller, who offered to list it in his Etsy shop for me. The photos looked great and the price was reasonable, so of course I bought her. She arrived quickly and in great shape.
I repainted her hat and decided that it would also be a good time to repaint her older sister's hat, which had been repainted with glossy paint (it should have been flat) by a previous owner. Now the sisters have matching hats!
"Necklace Girl" Restored by Tammy Powelson Stephens
Enesco 5 1/2" "Necklace Girl" head vase --Acquired January 22, 2018--Restored by Tammy Powelson Stephens---
This beauty was advertised as "Necklace Girl" in head vase catalogs of 1967 and also came in an open-eyed version. Although I always wanted her for my collection, it seemed like 99.9 percent of the time either one or both ends of her bow was broken off whenever she came up for sale on eBay. I found this one on eBay at a good price ($45), but she wasn't without damage--her bow end had been completely broken off and glued back on.
I bought her (BIN on eBay) and had her sent to Tammy Powelson Stephens, who has wonderfully restored four of my other head vases. When she arrived, Tammy sent me a photo that revealed some other damage--a gouge in her nose. Since this damage was not disclosed by the seller, I contacted him to voice my disappointment. The seller promptly refunded the full purchase price, including shipping! I did send half of it back to him, however, which was only fair.
It took a few weeks to get her, due to Tammy's extremely busy schedule, not to mention there were about nine head vases waiting to be restored ahead of mine! When all was said and done, she arrived yesterday all glammed up and beautiful! Kudos to Tammy Powelson Stephens!
Coy Beauty with Bows on Her Bonnet
Girl in bonnet trimmed with bows (4255)--5 1/2" --Acquired February 25, 2018--
After hubby and I went out to eat yesterday, we decided to visit a couple of antique stores we hadn't been to in awhile. The first one is a very small out of the way antique store that we've only visited one time before, about a year ago. I noticed they still had the head vase in black with pierced hat that was there the last time. Surprisingly, they had some new ones in the case. The girl in the bonnet with bows caught my eye, so I asked to look at her. The seller said she was $49, but I persuaded him to let me have her for $40. Yay! She was a little dirty and needed a new paint job which I managed to find time for today. I'm really happy with the way she turned out.
1930s Beauty in Cloche Hat
Relpo 7" beauty in yellow cloche hat (2091)--Acquired March 11, 2018--
This girl has that chic '30s look we all love. She comes in several color variations, all of which are complementary.
I happened upon this girl soon after she was listed on eBay. Disappointed that there wasn't a BIN option, I asked the seller if she would consider selling her to me BIN. I threw a price at her and she accepted; I was ecstatic!
She arrived quickly and in mint condition with the exception of her earrings, which had been bent all out of shape. Today I replaced her earrings with new ones. Let me tell you folks, it wasn't easy. I was able to grab the metal loop on the first one with tweezers and pull it off; the second earring wasn't so easy. I had to keep soaking it with rubbing alcohol and trying to grab it with tweezers. Unfortunately, the earring broke, which made it really difficult, since there was nothing to grab on to. I was finally able to insert the point of a toothpick along the edge and pry the earring up. Whew! Then I removed as much of the old glue as I could. No problem gluing the earrings in; I've had so much practice it's becoming second nature.
The Epitome of Femininity
Napco 9.5" head vase with blue bow (C6986)--Acquired March 13, 2018--
I bought this girl BIN (buy it now is the ONLY way to shop!) off eBay. She came quickly and very well packed.
This girl comes in a nice big luxurious size and I adore her bouffant hair with a soft tendril of hair swirling around her ear, all topped off with a demure blue bow.
Although she was also made in green and black, I think blue is her color--don't you? Since I wanted to display her with her big sisters, I had to move a couple of smaller head vases into different cabinets to make that possible--in other words, play "musical head vases." Of course, I had to include a photo of them so you can see how good they all look together.
Parma 7 1/4" head vase with diamond cut out (A640)--Acquired March 19, 2018--
I'm so excited! I finally got my "Diamond Girl!" About two years ago, I came across this girl for sale in an antique store for a very good price. Unfortunately, I passed up buying her, and I've been kicking myself ever since.
I was eating dinner when hubby showed me on his smart phone that someone was selling the Diamond Girl in the Facebook group: "The World of Lady Head Vases." I clicked on the "message" link to let the seller know I was interested, figuring I didn't stand a chance of getting it (someone always beats me to it!). A few minutes later, I was notified that the head vase was mine--I was surprised to say the least!
The seller shipped the vase out the next day and it arrived a couple of days later. Although I was worried about the vase becoming damaged in shipping, there was no need to worry--Diamond Girl was packed to perfection, arriving in beautiful condition.
This girl is known as the "Diamond Girl" because of her unique dress with a diamond cut out. Her dress also came in a teal color as well as a very rare yellow color (pictured in Kathleen Cole's book).
Sassy Flapper Girl with Bow
Enesco 7" "Smart Teen" (E-0298) --Acquired April 30, 2018--
Purchasing this lovely lady was all about being in the right place at the right time. I just happened to check the eBay head vase listings right after this rare girl was listed BIN for $65! Needless to say, I didn't waste any time hitting that "Buy It Now" button!
She was very dirty, especially her hair, but as you can see, she cleaned up just fine! I put her in my big cabinet, where all my favorite head vases go. To make room for her, I had to move one head vase to a cabinet in the bedroom. This cabinet was being used to display my chair figurines, which have been relocated to the spare bedroom.
I Dream of Jeannie
Inarco 8.5" head vase (E-3158) --Acquired May 11, 2018--
This girl with the huge iridescent platinum bouffant is known as "Jeannie" by many collectors due to her resemblance to the character "Jeannie" on the 60s sitcom, "I Dream of Jeannie." Striking, isn't she?
This is another head vase I had been wanting for quite some time. She was listed for a good price, so I waited out her eBay auction until the last day, almost certain that one or more bidders would come in within the last few seconds. I bid, not expecting to win, and was elated to find that I had not only won the auction, I was also the only bidder. I can live with that! Lol!
When I picked her up at the P.O., I couldn't believe how big the box was; the seller apparently took it to heart when I kindly asked her to please pack her very well with lots of padding, explaining that I've seen many friends receive damaged head vases from poor packing, which is extremely heart breaking!
Unfortunately, it was necessary to move a head vase out of the big cabinet and into the bedroom to make room for her--but she is so worth it!
Lark 5.5" head vase--Acquired May 27, 2018--
This lady sat at the bottom of a case for no less than three years in a booth in a local antique/ flea mall. The first day we visited the mall, the lady selling her just happened to be there, so I asked her to open the case so I could see her better. She was priced at $75, which I felt was too high. Since the seller didn't offer to go any lower, I walked away.
Fast forward three years: Yesterday, my husband and I, after having lunch at a local restaurant, decided to visit this same mall. I asked them to open the case so I could examine the head vase once again, reasoning that the seller might go down on the price since it had been there so long. She was still priced $75 after all those years. Since the lady selling her wasn't there, I had the lady at the front call her with my offer of $50, and she quickly accepted!
The head vase is in great condition with minor crazing, and retains her original purple plastic flowers, whimsically accented with netting, butterflies, and a big fluffy bow. Since different manufacturing companies often shared the same molds, this head vase, with variations in size, hair, and dress color, was also manufactured by Trimont Ware, Relpo, and Parma.
Lady in Red
Wreath mark head vase, 5.5"--Acquired May 29, 2018--
According to Barron's book, this head vase is sometimes referred to as "Jonelle." She is rather rare, so you seldom see her come up for sale. The few times I have seen her up for sale, the price was too high, so I didn't bid.
This is another one of those situations where I was in the right place at the right time. I lucked out when I just happened to check the listings right after she was offered for sale. Believe it or not, I got this beauty for only $55! May has been a heck of a month for me! Lol!
She was due to arrive at the P.O. today and hubby promised to pick her up for me since I had to work. When I finally came home and asked him about the head vase, he said that when he went to the P.O. to pick it up, it wasn't there because the truck broke down; the postal workers said it might come in later. Say what? Then I turned around and saw her sitting on the shelf with my other head vases. What a kidder!
I adore her red headband, platinum braids and her coy expression!
Caffco head vase (E3283) 7 1/4"--Acquired June 3, 2018--
I have really been on a roll lately! Here is another rare head vase I was fortunate to get for a song. I came across this rare girl listed on eBay for $50 with incorrect key words. Since she wasn't BIN, I waited until the last day and placed my bid within the last few seconds of the auction. Boy, was I surprised (and elated) when no one else bid on her! Purchases like this are what make buying these ladies so much fun!
She has brown eyes, quite unusual to find in a head vase. Don't they look fantastic with her green outfit? In addition to the 7 1/4" version, she was also made in a 4 1/2" version. She also came in a yellow outfit, as well as blue, which is my favorite. As is the case with many head vases, she was manufactured by different companies: Caffco, Royal Crown, and Enesco.
"Pam" 7 1/2" wreath mark head vase--Acquired June 20, 2018--
Isn't she exquisite? Known by many collectors as "Pam," she is quite becoming--with her luxurious long lashes and curly hair--framed to perfection by an unusual bow-bedecked bonnet.
Not only is she beautiful, this girl is also rare! Guess who just happened to be in the right place at the right time? I'll give you three guesses, and it's not Minnie Mouse. Lol! I've truly been on a roll these past few weeks; someone upstairs must like me!
Three days ago, I decided to check the eBay head vase listings one more time before going to bed. Smartest move I ever made! I got this hard to find girl for a fourth of what she normally sells for! I still can't wrap my head around the fact that no one else grabbed her first! My good friends in the head vase groups on Facebook were all discussing her--wondering who got her for such an unbelievable price, wishing they had been the lucky ones, and so on, and so on. Laughing to myself, I replied to their post with a veiled message, wondering if anyone would catch on that I was the lucky winner. After my reply went ignored for a day with no response, I figured no one had caught on to my hint, when my good friend and head vase restorer, Tammy Powelson Stephens inquired if I was the winner. Smart girl!
Unmarked lavender 6" lady head vase (C6018)--Acquired August 14, 2018--
You can certainly see why I call this lady "Lavender Fantasy." Purple is my very favorite color--from lavender to deep purple. When this lady suddenly appeared on eBay, she captured my heart; I made the seller an offer and to my delight, it was accepted within the hour! The seller shipped her out fast and she arrived two days later. This head vase is one of many that were created to resemble Lucille Ball. Can you see the resemblance?
Not only do I love the colors in this piece, I find the floral detail around her neckline and hat outstanding! To top it all off is an oh so chic scarf trailing down the side of her hat. Ooh la la!
Rubens 7" teen head vase (4138)--Acquired September 3, 2018--
Since I had previously purchased the 5.5" version of this pretty teen, I thought it would be nice to get the 7" size as well. Unfortunately, the larger size isn't as easy to find.
I saw one posted on eBay in great condition, but I felt the price was too high so I waited and watched, hoping the seller would eventually go down on the price. She didn't sell, and the seller ended up relisting her three more times, gradually reducing the price each time until she was cheap enough that I decided to buy her.
She is in wonderful shape and I can not find a speck of crazing on her anywhere, which is amazing. I posed her with her little sister for a picture, and had fun tweaking the background in Photoshop. Since I was determined to display her with her sister, I had to be creative, so I ended up playing musical head vases again.
Relpo 6" Christmas girl (308A)--Acquired September 19, 2018--
Ever since I bought the blonde Christmas girl over two years ago I had been looking to get her brunette sister as well; I just didn't realize that it would take so long to get her!
It's not that she wasn't out there--she was. My problem was that she was either too pricey or her condition wasn't up to par. I happened to catch this one right after it was listed on eBay for $50 BIN. Of course, I grabbed it. I mean, who wouldn't? Lol!
Since the seller mailed it out the next morning, it was a very speedy delivery! She was packed well with a nice note inside the box with the seller informing me that she had upgraded my package to Priority (no extra charge!). The seller also e-mailed me a couple of times to provide a heads up on the status of my package before it arrived. The vase is in pristine condition with slight paint loss on the muff (easy, easy fix).
I highly recommend this seller; she treated me the way a seller should and very few actually do. She is eBay seller "danamauri."
By the way--this marks head vase # 150! I warned you--I am a serious head vase addict! ;-)
Caffco 7" teen head vase (E3285)--Acquired October 8, 2018--
A few days ago, this beauty popped up BIN on eBay for $50. As I did a quick scan of her auction photos, she appeared to be in great condition with the exception of her lips, which seemed to be peeling, an easy fix. With another one of my "famous" quick eBay grabs, I got a great deal on this lovely teen, who was also produced in gray and green, blue being my favorite.
The seller shipped her very quickly, and I received her in two days. When I picked her up from the P.O., I was disappointed in the size of the box, which looked too small to accommodate a seven inch head vase! When I got home, I opened the box with dread, afraid that the vase may have been damaged in shipping due to the small size of the box. When I finally got her unwrapped, I was relieved to see that she had arrived unscathed. Whew!
Today, I had planned to sand the paint off her lips and repaint them. On a hunch, I scraped my fingernail across them to see if the paint would come off without sanding; I was pleasantly surprised to see that her lips weren't peeling at all; they had some sort of residue on them which easily came off with my nail. So now I don't have to repaint her lips! Easy breezy! I did, however, touch up her bow to get her ready for her "glamour shot!" I love this beauty--even more for the modest price paid for her!
Demure Beauty in Bonnet
Unmarked 7 1/4" head vase--Acquired October 26, 2018--
I happened to see this beauty on Etsy while I was enjoying my time off, surfing the internet at home. Although this beauty was a great price, there was one thing stopping me from buying her--she was reserved for someone else!
I checked back a couple of days later and was surprised to see that the person she was reserved for hadn't paid for her yet. That is when I sent a message to the seller letting them know that I was very interested in her and if the person it was reserved for didn't pay then I would buy her, emphasizing that I pay fast! A couple days later, I was tickled pink to get a message from the seller, stating that the person hadn't paid and if I still wanted her, I was welcome to buy her. I did so--immediately!
Her bonnet is positively stunning with its gold-gilded roses and gathered "silk" lining. Her eyelashes are just perfect and her ring still sparkles.
I was able to make a place for this elegant lady in my big cabinet; she looks just marvelous displayed beside my rhinestone bonnet lady. I can't take my eyes off her!
Christmas Poinsettia Girl
Napco (CX5409) 4 3/4" head vase--Acquired November 26, 2018--
In another one of my favorite rare moments while surfing eBay, I just happened to catch a brand new auction for a Christmas girl--BIN for $15.00! I quickly checked her out and everything looked good, so I hit that BIN button and here she is!
She came quickly and well-packed. She was dirty inside from having a plant inside, most of which I cleaned up. I'm going to check into getting some longer swabs so I can reach all the way down inside to remove the rest of the dirt. For fifteen dollars, I'm certainly not going to complain! This girl is so stylish in her red and white turtleneck sweater and matching hat, adorned with a festive poinsettia!
The Lady with the Rhinestone Flowers
Napco (C6431) 6" head vase--Acquired December 30, 2018--
Today I visited a local antique shop that I hadn't been to in about six months. I was viewing the show cases when my husband motioned me to come over to where he was standing. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw what he was trying to show me: a lovely assortment of vintage lady head vases! I've shopped this particular store for years, and this is the first time I've ever seen head vases for sale there! When the sales clerk informed us that they were 25% off, that really got my attention!
My eyes first focused on the girl with the rhinestone flowers, but I also saw a couple of other head vases that I was interested in. Unfortunately, they had some damage (one had a big crack on the back of her head, and one had a reattached arm), so I passed them by.
The rhinestone flower head vase was produced in three different sizes, with either blonde or brown hair, and wearing a black, green, or blue dress. Believe it or not, I did manage to fit her into my cabinet in the bedroom. Wonder of wonders!
Estate Sale Find
Lefton 9.5" head vase (2766)--Acquired January 26, 2019--
This big girl was waiting for me when I came home after a hard day's work. Hubby had gotten off work early and decided to check out a local estate sale when he came across this lovely lady, the only head vase there. She was sitting under a big dome so he lifted it up, took her out, and looked her over. He wasn't sure whether or not I would like her, so he hesitated a bit, but then he made a decision. He marched up front to pay for her, and that was that.
I'm sure it must have been hard for him not to laugh as he waited for me to discover her sitting beside the computer screen. I was both surprised and delighted when I saw her! I did notice a dead spider on top of her hat (eww!) and asked hubby if he would please dispose of it for me. Thank God I didn't accidentally touch it!
I was so tired and achy that night that all I could do was sit in the recliner but I was up at 6:00 a.m. the next morning cleaning her. She was filthy from years of neglect and it took a lot of elbow grease to make her presentable, but here she is, in all her glory, for your viewing pleasure!
Souvenirs of Banff National Park, Canada
Indian head vases, 4 3/4"--Acquired January 31, 2019--
Aren't these darling? I've always found them cute, but when they came up on eBay, BIN for $45.00 with free shipping, I took the bait! Of course they have those wide eyes I love, and I was reeled in hook, line and sinker!
The couple are souvenirs of Banff National Park, Canada. The girl had Banff written across her forehead, which I felt was an unsightly place for it, so I removed it with a Magic Eraser. As you can see, Canada is written on the boy's shoulder.
They arrived very quickly, and in great shape. I'm going to have to really brainstorm to fit these into a display case. I'm planning on ordering more display risers, which will help.
Inarco 7" head vase (E-3525)--Acquired February 12, 2019--
This lovely tousled hair teen, which was also created with open eyes, has been on my wish list for quite some time. I wanted the closed-eye version in purple with no crazing (if possible!). Unfortunately, this wasn't a buy it now auction, so I had to be patient and wait it out until the end. Patience paid off! I won the auction! I paid a little more than I wanted to, but she's worth it. No chips, cracks, or crazing! I bought some more risers so I can accommodate yet another head vase. Yes, I'm addicted!
Join a Head Vase Group!
It's so much fun--show off yours, discuss, and see the collections of others! Fair warning, though: participating in a head vase group will unmercifully fan the flames of your head vase addiction!
Facebook has several head vase groups--join one, or join all:
The World of Lady Head Vases
Head Vases, Planters, & Figurines - A Mid-Century Obsession!
Collecting Lady Head Vases, Planters & Figurines
BUY & SELL Lady Head Vases and Planters
eBay Shopper Poll
Do You Ever Shop on eBay?
Seven Things I have Learned (So Far!) About Collecting Head Vases
- Know Your Head Vases~~ Study head vase books, search the Internet to see what's out there, and also to see what head vases are selling for. Familiarize yourself with head vases so you know what you're buying, how much to pay, and to help you decide what you like. That way, you won't make a snap decision you'll regret later. Money is a precious commodity, especially these days; you certainly don't want to throw it away on something that you are unhappy with.
- Strive to Buy in the Best Condition You Can~~ You may see a fabulous head vase that knocks your socks off, but if it's in poor condition, it's not a good investment. Why do I call it an investment? Because one day down the road, you may decide to downsize your collection, or do away with it completely. Poor quality head vases will draw poor sales, and you won't recap the money that you invested in your collection. It is better to have a small number of high quality head vases than a large number of head vases that are damaged. But you must be your own judge on this--if you still love a head vase regardless of its flaws and the price is right, then by all means, buy it!
- Use Common Sense When Bidding on Online Auctions Such as eBay~~ Be sure to ask lots of questions before bidding. If the seller doesn't respond to questions, chalk it up to a bad seller, and move on. If the head vase photos are sparse or poor, then don't bid. Look for chips, cracks, paint loss, discoloration, repairs, and major crazing (crackling on the surface of the paint). Make sure the seller has photos posted of all views, so you can get a good look at the head vase from all sides. Look for sellers with a good bit of feedback and a 100% rating. If the seller's rating is say, 99.8%, for instance, check her feedback to see why she got a negative. Often you will find that negative feedback isn't the sellers fault, but retaliation from a difficult buyer.
- Display Your Head Vases in a Safe Place~~ The best place to display your head vases is in a curio cabinet--it helps protect them from dust, damage, sunlight, rambunctious animals, and curious children. if you have no cabinet to display them in, at the very least keep them out of traffic--cattle stampedes can wreak havoc on head vases! :)
- Buy What You Like~~ Since you will have to look at that head vase every day, it's not too far-fetched to buy something that is pleasing to your eye. The only exceptions? Buying a head vase at a very low price for resale, or to give as a gift.
- Beware of Fakes~~ There are tons of reproductions on the market, and buying them is OK, as long as you know they're reproductions, and are willing to pay for an inferior quality head vase. Reproductions are usually pretty easy to spot. Although many of them appear to be created from molds of the originals, one thing sticks out like a sore thumb: the bad paint job.
- Have Fun!~~ Don't forget to have fun! After all, that's what head vase collecting is all about! You might even decide to join a club with other head vase collectors--"you show me yours, I'll show you mine." Whatever you do, make the most of this fabulous hobby! ;-)
Spotting Fake Head Vases
Spotting Fake or Reproduction Head Vases
Over the past several months, I've been frequenting antique stores searching for vintage head vases. Unfortunately, to no avail. In every antique shop I've been in so far, the head vases, if they have them at all, are almost always fakes. If they do have actual vintage head vases, they want an arm and a leg for them, and that's with substantial damage, such as chips, cracks, and large missing areas of paint.
There are lots of reproduction head vases on eBay--some of the sellers are upfront and will tell you that they are new, but many will try to pass them off as vintage, charging ridiculous prices for them. One example I found today is a seller auctioning off a fake "Twist Hair" head vase, that is poorly molded and painted. Believe it or not, this seller is asking over $300.00 for it! If you like reproduction head vases, then buy them--who knows, they may become tomorrow's collectibles--but if you're looking for vintage head vases, then buyer beware! There are, however, good quality reproduction head vases out there that are worth collecting, such as the Christopher Radko Shiny Brite Christmas girls; just be aware of what you're looking at.
Today I went through and captured pictures of many of the fakes and made a collage of them to help the buyer in spotting them. Some fakes are very easy to spot, but some are a little more difficult. The most common ones I see are the "Nurse" head vase (the red cross on the real deal's hat is encircled in blue rather than gold), the unlicensed "Marilyn Monroe" head vase (very poor likeness), and the "Jackie O" head vase (Jackie with "blonde" hair? Really!).
If you're not sure what you're buying, the best advice I can offer is to buy a head vase book, such as Kathleen Cole's "The Encyclopedia of Head Vases," or Dave Barron's "Collecting Head Vases: Identification and Value Guide."
Reproduction Head Vases Poll
Do You Own Any Fake or Reproduction Head Vases?
Get Educated! Buy a Head Vase Book (Or Two or Three)! :)
Anytime I have an interest in something, I buy books to learn more. If you collect head vases, or are thinking about it, why not buy a book or two to enhance your enjoyment and inform you, hopefully preventing you from making costly errors in the process. Check Amazon for even more great head vase collectors books!
Dave Barron's book was my second head vase book. He personally signed it for me and gave me some very helpful information. Many pictures in the book are taken from Maddy Gordon's personal collection.
Head Vase Dirty?
According to Dave Barron's book, Collecting Head Vases: Identification and Value Guide, whether or not and how to clean a head vase depends on whether or not the paint is fired on or cold painted (painted on after the piece was fired).
Cold Painted? do NOT clean with any type of cleaner.
Fired On? Use alcohol or toothpaste to remove the dirt.
Purchase Collecting Head Vases: Identification and Value Guide to learn more.
Rare Head Vases
Who Knew the Head Vase Would Become Such a Hot Collector's Item?
Head vases were considered a cheap commodity during their heyday--something to display flowers in for a short time, and then toss in the trash. Little did head vase manufacturers know that a few years down the road, collectors would be paying outlandish sums for them.
If you happen to be lucky enough to actually own a head vase or two with original sales sticker still intact, you may be shocked to see the original price! During their heyday, you could actually purchase a factory-fresh beauty for the unheard of price of less than $3 or even a mere 98 cents (gasp!), depending on size and detail. Today, some rare head vases fetch thousands of dollars at auction, most notably salesman's samples, prototypes, and those with low-production numbers.
Sought-after head vases include: Licensed Disney characters such as Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Snow White, and celebrity head vases in the likenesses of Marilyn Monroe, Mitzi Gaynor, and Carol Channing. The "Sunglasses Girls" bring high dollar as do the "Costume Ladies" collection, of which many collectors strive to own all nine. The mysterious "Masked Ladies," who look like they are ready for Mardi Gras, are also quite rare and in demand.
Extra large head vases are rare and very desirable; these treasures start out at around 10" tall and go all the way up the scale to the extremely rare 14" Relpo, of which only a handful are known to exist. Can you imagine paying over $14,000.00 for a head vase? That's exactly what happened a few years ago!
Relpo Tall Teen
Unmarked Teen Beauty
On October 20, 2018, this adorable 6" teen head vase with her unusual triple swirl updo was the object of an exciting bidding war on eBay. When the last bid went in and the auction ended, this girl went for a staggering $2,158.00 with twenty-six bids! Wow! Now that's what I call a bidding war! According to Kathleen Cole's book, Head Vases: Identification and Values (Collector Books, 2007), this head vase is so rare that at the time of the book's printing, there were only three known to exist! It's no wonder this beauty captured such a staggering sum at auction!
High Teen with Ringlets
On October 20, 2018, another rare head vase sold on eBay. When all was said and done, this lovely girl garnered a staggering $865.11! Although she isn't quite as rare as the teen above, she is scarce and seldom comes up for sale. She has a "sister," wearing the same dress (but green), and with a different coiffure, who is seldom seen as well. Both girls stand an impressive 8.5" tall. Referred to as the "High Teens," they were produced by Enesco in 1970 and are numbered E-0299 on bottom.
Which head vase would you most like to add to your collection:
Head Vase Shopper Poll
What is the Most Money You Have Ever Paid for a Head Vase?
Cameo Girls Head Vases
Cameo Girls Head Vases
Who are the Cameo Girls?
The Cameo Girls, first produced in 2000 by United Design, were originally designed by Debby Kaspari (until June 2006). Each head vase is based on a specific character (there are eleven different girls and a lone boy), representing a period of two centuries in American fashion, from 1809 to 1999.
Cameo girl head vases are made differently from the head vases of old. For one thing, they have a glass tube inserted into their heads so flowers can safely be displayed, preventing damage to the head vase. They are also made of bonded porcelain, which is heavier and sturdier than solid porcelain, much like resin. Cameo head vases were created in limited numbers, and may have a retired date as well.
Apparently, when Debby Kaspari stopped designing Cameo Girls head vases, there were numerous complaints about the new designs (and prices). So, after reworking them and still getting complaints, the company decided to stop producing them; the only exception was "Carrie," a head vase specially created in 2007 for the 15th annual Head Vase Convention. A boxed set of six Cameo Girls ornaments was also released in 2007.
Cameo Girls Poll
Do You Own Any Cameo Girls Head Vases?
Head Vase Poll: Old Versus New
Which do you prefer? The headvases of old (1940s--'70s), or the new ones of today?
Head Vase Links--Informative & Fun!
- Head Vases
A collector enjoys displaying her head vases with fine china and crystal.
- Organized Clutter: My Vintage Bathroom: Lady Head Vases
Enthusiastic collector uses lady head vases to accent her vintage 1950s bathroom.
- Ceramic Repair by Luanne » About Mom
Betty Lou Nichols' daughter on her mother, Betty Lou
- Betty Lou Fever
The late Fullerton artist's ceramic head vases fire up renewed interest.
- Modern Head Hunters Prefer the Ladies
Some quick tips on collecting head vases.
- How to Identify Lady Head Vases
A quick guide to aid the head vase buyer in identifying and purchasing head vases.
- Necklace and Earring Replacements for Head Vases
Chrestina Jones, head vase and doll collector, hand makes quality replacement necklaces and earrings for head vases and dolls.
- Penny's Vintage Home: Vintage Lady Head Vase
Great ideas for beautiful vintage head vase displays.
- Lady Head Vase Obsession
A woman discovers the joys of decorating with head vases.
- Lady Head Vases on Pinterest
A lovely collection of head vases for your viewing pleasure.
- Caring for Vintage Head Vases
How to care for and clean your head vases.
- Head Hunting: Collector's Passion for Head Vases
Tale of a Hamilton Couple who own over 1,200 head vases--and counting!
- Ceramic Head Vases on Collectors Weekly
A fascinating history of ceramic head vases.
Thank You For Stopping By. Check Back Often For Updates!
A Big Thanks to the Following for Contributing to This Article:
Collecting Head Vases: Identification and Value Guide by David Barron (Collector Books, 2006)
Head Vases: Identification and Values by Kathleen Cole, Second Edition (Collector Books, 2007)
The World of Head Vase Planters by Posgay and Warner (Antique Publications, 1992)
"Betty Lou Fever," Los Angeles Times, November 24, 1996
"About Mom" by Louanne Nichols Shoup
HGTV, "Ultimate Collectors," Maddy Gordon (December 2002)
Brian & Leslie Rogers
Tammy Powelson Stephens