Monday, March 5, 2012

Collectible Kitsch Ceramics

My sister, Nancy, received this planter when she recovering from a childhood surgery. She kept it on her dresser when we were kids and, as an adult, used it to hold pens and pencils in her craft room. In fact, she held on to it for 52 years...

It was one of the few things I wanted after she lost her cancer battle...because it brings back happy memories of her as a child.

When Nancy's  husband, Aaron, brought me her scarves two weeks ago, the little planter was in the bottom of the bag.

I didn't think it had a lot of value but I liked the fact that it is dated 1958 ...the year Nancy was six. I looked up the company, Relpo, and learned that they are primarily known for many of the head vases that are so collectible now. 

Although I've been known to say that something looks "kitschy". I hadn't realized until I looked up Nancy's piece that "kitsch ceramics" is a term used to describe the thousands of mass-produced ceramic figurines that were so popular after WWII. Most were cheaply made in Japan...but many are now collectibles.


It seems that when I was a young girl in the 1950's, every girl my age had a "collection" of inexpensive ceramic animals, Siamese cats, or poodles on her dresser (displayed on a lacy pastel dresser scarf, of course). Maybe that's because they were available in every dime store in every small town and were one of few things we could actually afford with our 25 cent weekly allowances.

I always had this elephant on my it's on my daughter's. My sister, Andi, and I each got one. I remember that the only way we could tell them apart was that one had a tiny green dot of paint on the back and the other didn't...and telling your stuff apart from your sister's stuff was very important as a kid!

My mother displayed a Relpo rooster just like this on our kitchen table in the 50's. Knowing my mother, a product of the Depression years, she's probably still got it somewhere.

My folks passed this ceramic Santa mug on to me at Christmas a few years ago. Inside was a little slip of folded paper on which my Mom had written, "We've put this out every Christmas since you were a's over 50 years old." (Doesn't every woman wants to be reminded of her age at the holidays?)

I'm happy to have Nancy's little Valentine girl on my dresser now. I feel as if I am taking care of it for her.

Who knows, maybe I'll start collecting more pieces on my flea market travels. Did any of you collect  kitschy little ceramic pieces when you were a kid? Have you saved any of them?

I'd love to hear your stories.

This post is linked to:
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday at Coastal Charm
Tabletop Tuesday at A Stroll Through Life


Debbie@Debbie-Dabble and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

Your sister's Valentine Girl is just darling!! What a treasure for oyu to have!
Love the other items that you shared with us too!!


Claudia said...

I had a few of those when I was young and I remember seeing them at the 5 & 10. They were often given to me by relatives on birthdays.

I wish I still had some of them! It's wonderful that you have your sister's figurine. That's a priceless memory.


Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

I didn't collect them as a child, but maybe I'm making up for lost time! I really can't resist their sweet faces and have one for almost every holiday.

How nice that your brother-in-law remembered that you wanted her.

Susan said...

Nancy's little Valentine girl is adorable. What a treasured memory of your sister.

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I am so sorry to hear about your dear sister but love that you now treasure something she once did too.

I hope you'll stop by my blog. I am hosting a giveaway for a $50 Kirklands gift card.

Grammy Goodwill said...

How special that little girl is to remind you of your sister and happy days. I, too, grew up in the 50's and had a blue (?) poodle with two smaller ones attached on either side by chains. I'm pretty sure they're still packed away somewhere, waiting to horrify my kids when they come across them after I'm gone. hehehe

Pamela Gordon said...

Yes, I remember these ornaments. I had a few and still have one little girl that I won at a birthday party. I remember the dog sets or girls in fancy dresses, elephants, skunks even. Great memories. The Valentine girl is sweet and I know she has special memories for you.
Hugs, Pamela

Linda @ A La Carte said...

How precious to have the Valentine girl! I know it means so much to you. I didn't collect ceramic items as a girl but I sure do remember them. Oh and yes our 25 cent allowance was spent at the dime store! hugs to you, Linda

Sherry@Back2Vintage said...

Sad to say that the only thing I remember collecting was 45 rpm records. Even sadder to say that I only have a couple of them now. Your sister's little valentine girl is precious and I know she's glad that you're taking care of her. Thanks for enlightening us about "kitsch."

~~Carol~~ said...

Oh my goodness, this post is chock full of eye candy! So glad you got your sister's valentine girl.
Yes, I was a hoarder even when I was little, so I've got lots of little figurines from back then!
Now I have to go back and read through your post about those little campers. The insides of them are amazing!

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Oh my, these are all so cute and so precious. I love them all. Thanks for joining TTT. Hugs, Marty

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

Oh I love it, I am so glad she is home with you. I loved them when I was little and I still have all mine. My Grandmother got me started on them.

Patty said...

What a sweet story Cheryl and I am glad you have your sister's Valentine Girl. This reminds me of the Josef dolls (the ones that have numbers on each one for each birth year) my sister has given my daughter for each of her birthdays.

Donna@Conghaile Cottage said...

Oh Cheryl That is such a WONDERFUL Memory for you. AND that is such a SWEET LITTLE Heart Girl... I LOVE that you have her now and I'm sure your sister is SMILING DOWN ON YOU!!!
Big Hugs,