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Ladies Head Vases

Updated on November 14, 2016

Ladies Head Vases of the 40s and 50s

I got my first Ladies Head Vase when I was 10 years old. It was a gift from my Aunt Pauline. I loved it. Over the years I put small flowers in it, pencils, and air fern. My Aunt Pauline added to my lady with two more vases. Each time I look at them, I have fond memories of my Aunt and plan in the future to pass them on to my granddaughters. Since I only have three, I will have to go shopping for the fourth one so I will have two each to give.

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Headvases Being Fraudulently Sold As Vintage

If you collect vintage ladies head vases, please read the following article.

Reproductions Being Sold

History of Lady Head Vases

Lady Head vases, originally designed for use by florists, are popular collectibles.

Vases in the shape of beautiful and famous women, popular in the 1940s, '50s, '60s and '70s, are once again finding favor with collectors. From Jackie Kennedy to little sister, these vases are available and affordable, ranging in prices from $35 to $3,000, depending on condition, rarity and appeal.

Lady Head Vases from 1940-1970

Beautiful women and flowers go together like June and brides, and florists were happy to accommodate with the sale of bouquets in specially made semi-porcelain vases in the shape of the head of a lovely woman. These vases were introduced in the 1940s and discontinued in the 1970s when the trend had not only run its course, but florists began to find them too small for most flower arrangements.

Matte or Glossy and Made in Japan

The ladies came in a gloss glaze or a matte finish semi-porcelain. Some are stamped with impressed or embossed marks on the bottom, but many came with paper labels that are no longer in place. Unlike many collectibles, the lack of a manufacturers mark does not much affect value. One reason for this is that the items are of recent enough vintage that they have been fairly well documented. A well informed collector can identify the make by looking at the piece. The vases came in a variety of sizes from four to seven inches, and as a general rule, the larger sizes are more valuable depending of course, on condition and rarity.

The Look, Not the Label

Unlike other collectibles, desirability stems more from the looks and condition of the piece than the name of the manufacturer. A large number of these were made in Japan and distributed in this country by American companies, but a few US manufacturers produced the ladies as well. Japanese manufacturers included Inarco, Enesco, Napco, Lefton, Relpo, and Reubens. Lady Head vases were made in America by Henry Holt, Betty Lou Nichols, and, rarely, Shawnee. These American-made vases tend to bring higher prices because of higher quality manufacture. And as Henry Holt is a fairly hot collecting category of its own, his lady heads have crossover appeal, and tend to bring higher sums.

Lady Head Vases of the 1950s

Dressed in period styles of the day, including hats and necklines, lady heads of the '50s make up the bulk of available models, which may be as many as 1,000 different ladies! These lovely ladies are beautifully done up with elaborate eye makeup and hairstyles and beautifully lipsticked cupids-bow mouths. They have eyelashes to-die-for, some with open eyes, and sometimes demurely dropped. Some of the vases include hands (frequently gloves) and applied decoration in the form of necklaces and earrings. Value is highest where all the original accessories are intact, and protruding hands, lashes, bows, hats and curls are undamaged.

Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball & Mary Poppins

The vases were made in the likenesses of popular movie characters and celebrities including Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball and Jackie Kennedy. Jackie is dressed in mourning clothes with a black gloved hand wiping away a tear. Marilyn brings the highest price, again partly due to crossover appeal. It is a rule of the collectibles marketplace that the greater number of collectors (in this case Marilyn, Hollywood, Movies, and Lady Heads) the higher the price. Marilyn has brought as much as $3,000. Jackie goes for $600 to $800, and Lucille Ball brings between $500 and $900. According to the Kovels, a Mary Poppins lady head vase recently sold at an antique show for $475.


Something special for yourself?


Nostalgia Collecting

Lady Head Vases sold in the 1950 - 1960s. They were made of a semi-porcelain and most were made in Japan. Sold in flower shops, a lucky recipient was most likely to receive one that matched her hair color. They were beautifully painted with make-up and showing painted nails. Many came with dangling earrings of pearl or crystal with matching necklace. There were many who reflected the stars of that time: Marilyn Monroe, Carmen Miranda, Hedy Lamarr and Liz Taylor.

Link Along With Me. - HEADS UP!

Some say there were over 10 thousand designs. Figurine collectibles including Napco, Enesco, Inarco, Lefton, Relpo, and Reubens - Japanese brands. American made Lady Head Vases were made by Betty Lou Nichols, Henry Holt and sometimes Shawnee.

But as with all collectibles it's important to collect what you love. Expect to pay between $25-$600 for a head vase.

RELPO K937A Vintage Vase with Roses

RELPO K937A Vintage Vase with Roses
RELPO K937A Vintage Vase with Roses

Lady with Pageboy Hair and Hat

Lady with Pageboy Hair and Hat
Lady with Pageboy Hair and Hat

Old Woman Wall Pocket - Vintage - so different

I've never seen anything quite like this one. I love the story her face tells - the wrinkles, the life.

Very Giftable

Why not make your daughter or niece a happy receiver of a collectible. There are so many possibilities: Heads, dolls, miniture books, or shoes, or tea set; doll funiture, cup/saucer, trinket box, thimble, etc.? Make it special by writing in the gift card a history description of the item.

A Special Birthday Gift

Made in 1958

The lady vase below was one of the gifts from my Aunt when I was about 10 years old. She still has her original neckless and earrings. I treasure it every time I look at it. I believe when I received it, it had artificial flowers in it. It is still in excellent condition. It is one of only a few things I have left from my childhood.

You Ought To Be In Movies!

You Ought To Be In Movies!
You Ought To Be In Movies!

Beautiful Lady


Napco #3636 Ladies Head Vase (Cir. 1956)

Very similar to mine above. I love the lashes and lipstick and the bow around her hat.


WONDERFUL READERS - THANK YOU. - What do you think?

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    • profile image

      Ibidii 4 years ago

      I think my Grandma had some of these. Very nice! Great lens!

    • davenjilli lm profile image

      davenjilli lm 4 years ago

      super cute - very nostalgic

    • profile image

      Susie05 4 years ago

      These are really unique, great lens! Thanks! I haven't seen these cool vintage heads before.

    • profile image

      GabrielaFargasch 5 years ago

      Wow! These are so cool! I had never seen a lady head vase before!

    • JeffGilbert profile image

      JeffGilbert 5 years ago

      These are definitely very unusual vases. Never knew they existed. Great lens!

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 5 years ago from USA

      I am a big fan of vases of this type, and this is a great reference for the collector of head vases.

    • VictoriaKelley profile image

      VictoriaKelley 5 years ago

      My grandmother had one of those heads, that looked just like your one. I'm not sure what happened to it though.

    • profile image

      sailor_man 5 years ago

      This is one of the most wonderful lenses

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 5 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi nice lens, I like the ladies.

    • profile image

      mumsgather 5 years ago

      How interesting for putting pencils and small plants like you say. Very cute.

    • Tia Novak profile image

      Tia Novak 5 years ago

      Vases are really interesting for the decoration of one's home. Nice lens!

    • willie50 profile image

      willie50 5 years ago

      Very interesting lense, well done.

      Thank you for the heads up about Squidoo and the zazzle module, thanks to you it is all fixed. Thank you

    • carolinarobin profile image

      carolinarobin 5 years ago

      I had the head vase that is in your intro picture once upon a time. I think I sold it on ebay during hard times ;-(. For the life of me I can't remember, but I wish I would have kept it!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      These are great collectibles! I have a couple of vintage wall pockets from my aunt that I love.

    • blue22d profile image

      blue22d 5 years ago

      @Scarlettohairy: Thanks for the visit and comments. I love pockets....if you have a lens on it I will be by to check it our.

    • blue22d profile image

      blue22d 5 years ago

      @WriterJanis2: Thanks for visiting. I hope you enjoyed yourself.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Perfect for vintage collectors.

    • profile image

      glassbeauty 6 years ago

      Very pretty items i can see why they are so collectable !

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      Love them, angel blessed

    • blue22d profile image

      blue22d 6 years ago

      Thanks Tipi. I appreciate you stopping by. Hope you enjoyed your visit.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Just had to peek in on the ladies heads...must be something from growing up but I do enjoy stopping by!

    • blue22d profile image

      blue22d 6 years ago

      Wow, 300! Did you have any unusual colors or designs? If so, would love to see a couple of pics if you have any? Thanks for stopping by.

    • designsbyharriet profile image

      Harriet 6 years ago from Indiana

      I once owned 300 but now have my best fifteen. I still love them but just do not have the room. great Lens.

    • Blonde Blythe profile image

      Blonde Blythe 6 years ago from U.S.A.

      Wonderful lens! I have just started collecting the teen head vases. I have always admired them, and finally made up my mind to start collecting them.

    • blue22d profile image

      blue22d 6 years ago

      Appreciate your visit. Thanks again.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 6 years ago from Land of Aloha

      The lady head vases have always fascinated me.

    • blue22d profile image

      blue22d 6 years ago

      Thank you. We can always use those blessing....keep them coming.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I tend to peek in here when I'm in the neighborhood and first enjoyed you ladies head vases back in 2009...I just realized I could drop off a blessing while here this time!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I remember these, though I never had one. What we had that was similar and that I've thought about collecting was a half-doll. These were usually pincushions, a brush or other useful objects with half a doll for the top or for a handle.

    • LeCordonDude profile image

      LeCordonDude 6 years ago

      WOWSERS! Those are some COOL vases! :0) Great Lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      these vases are fantastic, haven't seen these before, you earned a 'thumbs up' from me on a unique lens.

    • Sunflower Susan profile image

      Sunflower Susan 6 years ago

      I love vintage and nostalgia and I have somehow never come across one of these. A new one on me! I hope to see some one day! There is an amazing 'antique' shop downtown where I live. Not all things are actually antiques, but it's filled with amazing amounts of vintage items for amazingly low prices, and the place is huge. I'd love to spend more time there. Fun lens!

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 6 years ago

      I love these! They are beautiful. A friend of mine collects them and I always enjoy looking at them.

    • profile image

      halloweenprops 6 years ago

      These vases are beautiful!

    • LNAngel profile image

      Lauren 6 years ago from Florida

      I've never heard of head vases--thank you for the education!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Lovely lens! I love these vases--I have quite a history with pottery, living as I do in the self-proclaimed "Pottery Capital of the World", and many people in my family have worked making pottery. My mom worked at The Shawnee Pottery for a while, and we had several of these vases. I sure wish I had them now! I really enjoyed this lens, thanks!

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 6 years ago

      Very different kind of vases, indeed. I've never seen one in person... :)

    • profile image

      DoreenMartel 6 years ago

      Gorgeous - I love how you designed this lens too!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 6 years ago from Canada

      I had never heard of these vases. They really do have a distinctive vintage look to them.

    • Philippians468 profile image

      Philippians468 6 years ago

      i wouldn't mind them vases as long as they arent life-sized! cheers

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      These Vases look real cool. As you wrote - very giftable items indeed!

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 7 years ago

      These are gorgeous, I had never seen a ladies head vase before.

    • blue22d profile image

      blue22d 7 years ago

      Thanks Momsbusy 247 for stopping by and glad you enjoyed my lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      They look very pretty. Great Lens!

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 7 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Lovely lens, Sandy. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Never saw this before but they are great gifts for young girls.

    • jvsper63 profile image

      jvsper63 7 years ago

      This is my second comment. I just got cut off the page. So in case you didn't get my comment. I never seen these before. But they are lovely. It makes me think of what I missed generation wise. When a Lady was treated as such. Not that there aren't still good men out there. But from what it seems. It's not like the past. With that many men. I would have loved growing up then. But I got the 70's. Not as good. Great lens..

    • jvsper63 profile image

      jvsper63 7 years ago

      This is my second comment. I just got cut off the page. So in case you didn't get my comment. I never seen these before. But they are lovely. It makes me think of what I missed generation wise. When a Lady was treated as such. Not that there aren't still good men out there. But from what it seems. It's not like the past. With that many men. I would have loved growing up then. But I got the 70's. Not as good. Great lens..

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Lovely! These are great.

    • profile image

      wawancash 7 years ago

      it's cute..

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 7 years ago

      I actually remember these.

    • joanv334 profile image

      joanv334 7 years ago

      Hello, nice to meet you! Love Lady Head Vases, I have several of them!

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 7 years ago

      Great collection, not easy to put together. Love your lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Look stunning and I wonder how did the ladies manage that extra weight over their head.

    • lmmclain profile image

      lmmclain 7 years ago

      I love head vases-great lens!

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Interesting lens. Didn't Devo have vases on their heads? ha!

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 7 years ago

      I absolutely love these. I remember seeing some when I was a kid, they are great

    • profile image

      traceysfolly lm 7 years ago

      These vases are adorable. I want 10,000 of them!

    • blue22d profile image

      blue22d 7 years ago

      Thank you Squid Angel, DeeGator, for blessing my Ladies Head Vases lens. This Showed up in my activities section of my excited I was to see it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Thumbs Up!

    • sarita garg profile image

      sarita 7 years ago from Hisar

      A very good job done here....

    • profile image

      cheerfulmadness 7 years ago

      I have seen a vase like these last week, in an antique shop but I didn't know what it was... I have learned something new today :)

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 7 years ago

      When I first started out as a floral designer there were still a few Ladies Heads around. I haven't seen any of them in years.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 7 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I love collections of things like this. Oh may goodness... I've got to go visit that museum next...

    • missbat profile image

      missbat 7 years ago

      I've seen these vases in antique shops before but never knew anything about them. Great lens!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 7 years ago

      Your ladies head vase is beautiful. It's in perfect condition ... you obviously cherished it over the years. Thank goodness for eBay, so anyone can find these long-lost treasures.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      How fabulous! I absolutely adore head vases. I don't own any (because I have a small house and collect lots of OTHER things), but I do so love them. Wish your pictures were bigger, but I enjoyed your personal story and the history lesson on these gorgeous vases. Thank you!

    • spunkyduckling profile image

      spunkyduckling 7 years ago

      So delightful to watch these ladies. Thank you for sharing. Never knew such things as lady heads vases exist!

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 8 years ago

      What an interesting lens! I have never heard of ladies head vases. Now I am thinking about giving one to my 6 year old grand-daughter! She is just the type of child who would adore one of these vases.

    • Jack2205 profile image

      Jack 8 years ago

      I had one of these vases many years ago. I forgot about it until I saw this lens. Thanks for bringing back the memories of the vase.

    • kateloving profile image

      Kate Loving Shenk 8 years ago from Lancaster PA

      Those vases are wonderful! Thanks for sharing these. I will have to look for them when I go to our next antique auction!

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 8 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Lady's head vases I had not thought of as a group. I am not very attracted to them but I can appreciate any collecting genre.

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 8 years ago from Sweden

      My goodness. I did not even know they existed until now. Thank you - lovely lens!!

    • profile image

      Tarra99 8 years ago

      I've always wanted to start collecting these...I think they're really cool but never found any "reasonably priced" :o)

      Thanks for popping into my "buy gold bullion" lens...I hope your prediction is correct :o)

      I also hope you and your hubby are doing well and coping...tell him I'm rooting for him...and you hang in there too! Stay tough, find the light at the end of the tunnel and focus on the end result.

      I'm doing fine, treatment will probably start in the fall (gives me time to gear up for it)...I'll see you at the finish line!



    • blue22d profile image

      blue22d 8 years ago

      [in reply to BevsPaper] Thanks Bev. I love antique malls. Sounds like a fun place to work. Thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Love these old Head Vases! I see a lot of them at the Antique Mall that I manage. They are really cool!

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 8 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      What a lovely lens! I've seen some of these vases but don't have the privilege of owning one. What a nice gift this would make for someone you love. 5*s

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 8 years ago from Pittsburgh

      I'm a collector of ladies head vases! I have about 15 of them. I stopped collecting after I've filled my showcase to the max, but I still love to search for the rare ones. I didn't know that there was a ladies head vase museum. Thanks for covering ladies headvases! Five stars for sure.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      These are lovely vases to be displayed. I would love to have one.

      A great idea for a lens....5*'s

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 9 years ago

      I love these! Makes me want to collect. I will have to control myself.

      Very nice

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 9 years ago from USA

      Oh I love these! You've chosen a wonderful topic for a lens!


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