Blonde Blythe has been a serious collector of lady head vases since 2012.
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 a $15.00 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 of her uniqueness; with her huge soulful eyes, she literally looks like she just stepped out of a Margaret Keane painting. It also didn't hurt that she was cheap!
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 genie-themed bathroom. But, one wasn't enough--I ended up buying all three sizes! I admit it--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. . . .
Head Vase Collector Poll
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.
Favorite Head Vase Poll
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.
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
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
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.
Tammy Powelson Decker 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 Decker on Facebook for details.
Head Vase Count Poll
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?
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!!!"
Fabulous 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. The bench provides a cute place for a few select head vases as well, and the colorful boxes really add oomph. I have to say that I'm also in awe of that impressive line up of a-lister head vases as well!
Imaginative 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!
Elegant Head Vase Display with Flowers & Pearls by Molly Lindsey
Isn't this lovely? Molly recently purchased this lady head vase, a long time dream of hers, from a member of our Facebook head vase group, "The World of Lady Head Vases." After receiving her new lady, Molly was so thrilled with her purchase that she created a special display on her dresser, just for her!
Sitting on a lovely white doily, her beauty is reflected in a pearl-draped mirror, which forms part of the background, along with a silky white curtain, embellished with flowers. Various pieces of jewelry, scattered all about, tie it all together. The rain on the window pane sets the mood, lending a dreamy atmosphere to Molly's awesome display.
Head Vases with a Plethora of Vintage Items: Fun Display by Jen J. Smart-Hizer
I adore this fun display that was so lovingly put together by Jen J. Smart-Hizer! Talk about eye-catching!
According to Jen: "I decided to display my ladies with some of my vintage jewelry, gloves, and miscellaneous. It's really busy, but I keep adding to it anyway. This is in my garden room, the only space I had to put my Grandmothers China cabinet, so the sign behind it says "Grow Away".
I used to have plants on it. Now it's growing brooches and clip on earrings.
I probably won't leave it this way for long, as I don't want any of the pieces ruined, but it's pretty to look at for now.
The ladies with their eyes closed, and hand by their face are my favorites.
I'm not a true collector, these ladies were rescued from yard sales, or gifted but I love them and really enjoy seeing everyone else's collections!"
"Spring Bouquet" by Bonnie Fellows
Love spring? Why not bring it inside your home? All you need to do is rev up your imagination a little! That's exactly what Bonnie Fellows did when she decided to create a display she calls "Spring Bouquet," featuring her favorite head vases, milk glass collection, and colorful spring flowers!
Bonnie's expert display is a wonderful example of the many ways in which head vases can be incorporated into interior decorating. This makes me happy just to look at it!
Adorable Trunk Head Vase Display with Hats and Various Items by Pam Hamlin Lambros
Pam Hamlin Lambros really has a flair for decorating! What a unique idea to use an open antique trunk for a vintage lady head vase display! The girls, all decked out in vintage hats and flowers (the purple flowers are original), are cleverly displayed atop stacked suitcases and hat boxes, showing them off to their best advantage. Providing the finishing touch is an artful display of hats, faux mink stole with brooch, and other interesting items.
Colorful Pyrex/ Lady Head Vase Display by Cherry Manieda Amado-Vicencio
Isn't this an amazing display? According to Cherry: "It all started with a single Pyrex casserole I bought 3 years ago from Goodwill. Then last year during the height of pandemic, my OCD kicked in. Went online to look for a set of the same casserole I purchased from thrift store. Found out that mine is a vintage one and there are a vast of other patterns that are totally irresistible. They make my heart beat fast!"
Cherry stumbled upon her first head vases about a year ago in an antique shop; bowled over by their beauty, she took them home right away where they became the perfect accent to her Pyrex collection. "I want my collection to be simple but also elegant" Cherry says. I think Cherry has more than succeeded; don't you?
Head Vase Display Poll
"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.
"Googly Sailor Girl Head Vase," Heart Necklace Girl Head Vase," and "Blythe Love Head Vase" by Blonde Blythe
"Googly Sailor Girl Head Vase," created by Blonde Blythe in July of 2001, is a tribute to one of her favorite head vases, which was originally produced in the 1960s in two colors: yellow and blue. Being the enthusiastic little sailor girl that she is, she is standing in front of a window with a lovely view of sail boats and a striped lighthouse with a glowing beam.
"Heart Necklace Girl Head Vase" was created by artist Blonde Blythe in 2001. After finally acquiring the long-awaited head vase by the same name (four year wait, to be exact), Blythe was inspired to pay tribute to her in a painting. She took great pains to capture her cuteness, capturing her bow-topped feminine updo, sultry green eyes, turned-up nose, red pouty lips, and fingernails to match. This beauty is set against a matching wallpaper background.
"Blythe Love Head Vase," created by Blonde Blythe in 2017, is the result of combining a love for big eye art, the Blythe doll, and the Love head vase! This doll-like big-eye version of the Love head vase holds a voluminous arrangement of cheerful flowers in her head, posed against a matching background of pastel-striped wallpaper. Posters of this painting, as well as her other head vase paintings, may be purchased in Blonde Blythe's Zazzle shop.
Head Vase Plate Paintings of an Airline Stewardess and Beret Girl 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
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.
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.
Oh No! Not Again!
Update: 6-9-2019--You won't believe what happened!--
Here we are, over seven years later, and have I got a story for you! After seven years, I finally found myself another Ariel on eBay. Or at least I thought I did! The seller had glowing feedback, and the head vase looked good in the photos, so I bought it.
Yesterday, I picked it up at the P.O. and brought it home. The head vase was packed extremely well--wrapped with plenty of bubble wrap in a box cushioned with a generous amount of packing peanuts. Then I took her out of the box, removed the bubble wrap and looked her over. She was beautiful--vivid colors, perfect paint, no crazing that I could see. "I've finally found her!" I thought to myself. Then I turned her around. Uh oh! I couldn't believe what I was seeing! There was a big crack circling her hair and dress, along with a couple of chips. When I put on strong reading glasses to see better, it was obvious that she had been broken and reglued.
I'm devastated! I've initiated a return with eBay, and the seller has promised to refund my money. If if wasn't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all as the saying goes! :-(
A few hours later and I've now done a 360 degree turn! The seller refunded my money and told me to keep the head vase! Now that's what I call a great seller! Since I get to keep her, I just had to take her glamour shot. Isn't she adorable? I love all the colorful flowers in her hair!
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.
American Graffiti "Debbie" (Candy Clark) Look-Alike
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.
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 elegant "emerald" ring. Her sculptured hairdo is out of this world!
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!
Update--7-30-2020--Although Lauren is listed in the reference books as "N M" (no maker's mark), today, I just happened to come across a sold Lauren head vase on eBay that has an intact paper label on bottom, which proves that this beauty was made by Rasmark, a maker I had never heard of before. Mystery solved!
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 Engagement Ring 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!
Googly 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 "googly" because of her side-glancing googly 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!