HEAD VASE

 

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The least you should Know

It’s Valentine’s Day again and it’s only appropriate to think of flowers. Myself, I think of my Anniversary, Valentine’s day and this is my next edition to THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW SERIES of 50 articles.  This topic in the series is about Collecting Head Vases and in case you don’t know what I’m talking about, flowers and head vases go together, and in the same sentence.

Head Vases where first introduced in the 40s for the florist and boutique industry as give-always to complement  flowers with these stylish vases.  They were a drawing card to bring in new customers to  there brick and mortar store. Grouping beautiful bouquets of flowers together in a classy looking vase known as a Head Vase was a big success. Like today, it’s not uncommon to buy your darling flowers already put in a “plain” ordinary vase. But these weren’t just any vase, they had a look all of their own.

two head vases

two head vases one with flowers and one without

Head Vases and Flowers go together.

Here is a little history.                                                                                                                                                                      The term head vase was referred to a special style of ceramic vase. Most to all, these vases as I mentioned, had a distinct look about them. They generally featured the head or bust of a person, but they also came in an animal theme, babies, children, men and some had a religious tone to them. (Nothing ordinary about these vases). So the porcelain head vases where not strictly of just beautiful women but they were the most popular of all.  In the same category of head vases, they were sometimes known as head planters but in my estimation, there is no comparison.

The Americans introduced these gems to the market before WW2 in the early 40’s, but after the war, they were made by many off shore companies. (Mainly Japan)  By the mid 70’s the market was flooded with head vases and the fad peaked. Now they are just a neat, hard to find, collectable.

There were also many companies that produced HEAD VASES just to hang on the wall. There was a pocket in the back for the flowers and they were referred to as “WALL POCKETS” (still seen today).

Point of interest: like I said, many of the most desirable and collectable head vases were of FAMOUS WOMEN like Marilyn Monroe, Joan Crawford, Jackie Kennedy and the likes. They were featured with fancy hats, realistic facial features, and even pearl necklaces with matching dangling earrings. Some even had a shapely hand with painted nails delicately framing one side of the face. By looking straight at these facial art pieces, you don’t notice there is an opening in behind for the flowers. In the 60’s they were hot items sold at five and dime stores such as Woolworth’s and Kresge’s.  Some of the prices being $3.00 or less.

Did you know there are popular “HEAD VASE” CONVENTIONS around the country?

Here is a helpful tip.                                                                                                                                                              When on the hunt for theses unique gems, one way you know they are Head Vases is by putting your hand in behind the head and checking that opening for the flowers. Other than that, you could be fooled thinking it to be just another nice piece of Porcelain.

“One collector said they all have something in common. They are all someone’s fantasy of a beautiful woman”.

ON ANOTHER NOTE:                                                                                                                                                                 HERE IS A HAMILTON, ONTARIO COUPLE WHO COLLECT HEAD VASES — THEY ARE UP TO 1,200 AND collection of head vasesCOUNTING, and that was in 2012. Here is a (link) to their collection.

https://www.thespec.com/living-story/2257252-head-hunting-collector-s-passion-for-head-vases/

Now you’re all pumped up about your new found adventure, collecting Head Vases. Now what? You can find them at antique malls, flea markets, garage sales, and even at auction sales. The best part, most people don’t even know what they are or have never heard of them.

Does that make them collectable or just scarce?

When you’re looking, or hunting for these rarities, get in the habit when seeing a porcelain head or bust of some description sitting on a shelf with all those other pieces of glass ware, to place your hand behind the head to feel for that opening.                                                                                                                                                                                                      ∞ ∞ FROM THE FRONT IT IS HARD TO TELL. ∞ ∞

The most popular brands to look for are, Napco, Relpo, Rubens and Lefton. But beware there are a lot of reproductions out there.

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 *** Do your research, remember knowledge is power*** (LINK)

SO … ARN’T YOU A LITTLE MORE INTERESTED IN COLLECTING “HEAD VASES” THAN YOU WERE BEFORE? . . . . I HOPE SO!

LET’S START COLLECTING “anything” and read my series of “THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW” for other collectable information and, if you have any more than 3 items the same, you are already a collector. You just don’t know it!

Hope this site was helpful on this Valentine’s Day and I say to you, why settle with an ordinary vase when these collectable Head Vases have a little more …. Buzz.

I recommend this excellent book on “Head Vases Identification and values”. By Kathleen Cole

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Match Box

 

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#48 in a Series of 50

Vintage Match Stick Holder or collecting Match Boxes  is one of those upcoming fads for new collectors. As in a reference book, (address at the bottom)  there are something like 4000 different varieties of match holders of sorts.

two match holders

Two match Holders

Match Boxes, I like to call them have  been around for a long time. they’ve been sitting there,  all by themselves, lonely on some old shelf at your friendly antique shop or flea market.  Hell, you will even find them at any Good Will or used clothing outlet.

match safe

gas filled lighter and a match holder

We have all seen them, but paid little or no attention to them.  Then when you spot one, you say “WHAT IS THAT THING?” They are small, don’t take up a lot of room, and they’re different. Some look like an old fluid style Zippo lighter but without the lighter inside. “Someone stole the lighter” and left the case! No, now they call it a match box/holder. They would even make good conversation pieces!

Match Boxes are just fun to collect and could be a lucrative hobby.

What is a Match Holder you say?  WELL let me tell you. First you have to understand their purpose and their use. Here is a few pictures to get you acquainted with what they look like. Now you’re going to say,  “yeah”  I’ve seen hundreds” and yes, you have. They are overlooked by most of  the general public. These little match holders, which some just call match safes, were made to store friction matches. (ordinary match sticks)

The match revolutionized the way people started fires in the mid 18oos

We all have read stories of inventions that changed the world, but you will not find matches on that list.  You should have! Penicillin changed the lives “saved lives” as we knew it and I hate to say it, the silly old simple match stick/holders should be at least in the top 10, “Somewhere”.

In and around the year 1830 a chemist named John Walker from England mistakenly invented the match tip or matches. Hard to believe but in the earlier days before the match and match holders, you basically had to rub two sticks together, or just keep the fire burning.

The silliest part of the match stick story is the match holder was not debued until the 1850s, 20 years later.

But the invention of a silly friction match did change the way we lived. And having said all that,three figurine match holders people needed someplace to safely store their matches. Sure when you buy them they come in small cardboard boxes, and in most part that’s all you needed. Some people would just throw a couple of match sticks in their pocket and when needed, they just pulled them out, struck it on something abrasive and you’re in business.

The ingredient of the match stick was so flammable in their first stages of invention, they would just light up from the friction of movement in your pocket. They were very unpredictable at best and probably, burnt more houses down from premature combustion.

Which brings us up to the MATCH HOLDERS.

To clarify what the difference is, match box or a match safe, I would like to think of as a match box, just an open container that you put your matches in.

Maybe a match holder with a lid (simple right) I would also consider a match safe as being a closed container of sorts, as per pictures. And that would make more sense around an open flame, or wood stoves.

To throw another curve, England sometimes called match holders, match boxes and match safes, “Vesta Boxes”   Only the English language can have 4 completely different words, meaning the same thing.

“England uses proper English” so we’re all pronouncing match boxes, “WRONG”. . . Eh!

MATCH BOX . . . MATCH SAFE . . . VESTA BOX . . . MATCH HOLDERS

Now we know that the match box was made for the storage of flammable match sticks. Just to store your matches safely! A common place most people kept their match sticks was near the old wood stove,  for easy access to start the fire. So on its own, match boxes were a welcoming invention.

Match holders come in a variety of styles to choose from. There are ceramic ones, just ordinary stamped tin ones and there are fancy decorative ones for the rich and famous. My all time favorites are just the old rustic looking cast iron ones. They had a small pocket on the one side for your matches and would hold 10 or so matches.

NOT  a lot of information out there.

Sorry to say, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information on match boxes, but these feverish, die hard collectors they know what they’re looking for.  You should be learning, research more and help these serious collectors out. Hunt them down, There out there or maybe just for save them for yourself. Eh

Hope I helped you out some.

I hope I helped you, armed you with a little information on, as the English would say. . . “Vesta Boxes” “MATCH BOXES to the  ORDINARY GUY” So next time you’re at one of these used antique shops, look down on the selves, look up, they’re there, just waiting for you.  Eh!

Just remember, this would be an excellent hobby to start and in most cases, like any collecting “IT’S THE FUN OF THE HUNT!”   Eh!

Note, People use –

Vintage Decorative Match Holders for, “Toothpicks”

Please check out more fascinating stories and history of Match Holders. I recommend this excellent reference book with hundreds of images,  “Match Holders by Denis B Alsford” 

Reference ∞ 

◊   https://www.schifferbooks.com/search/results.html?search_in_description=1&search-option=&keyword=DENIS+B+ALSFORD&x=0&y=0

  https://www.collectorsweekly.com/tobacciana/match-holders

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This is part 7 of

“THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW” 50 Series.

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