Carlton Ware Foxglove

Carlton Ware Foxglove sauce boatCarlton Ware ‘foxglove’ sauce boat
made in England, c.1940s

I have written about Carlton Ware ‘salad ware’ previously – I love all the botanical specimens featured in this series- they all have embossed, hand-painted flower patterns. This sauce boat has a green ground- it also came in yellow and peach- and it has a matching green saucer with embossed leaves. The foxglove sauce boat is pattern number 1897.

I’ve teamed the sauce boat with some wattle flowers- a bit of a mixed-metaphor botanically speaking, but pleasing to look at none-the-less. The sauce boat can be used – as a sauce boat- or a jug or – more interestingly- as an impromptu vase.

The sauce boat is in good condition [no chips, cracks or crazing] and is for sale: $AUD45

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lettera typewriter

Olivetti 'lettera' 32 typewriterOlivetti ‘lettera’ 32 typewriter
made in Barcelona, Spain 1963

The portable ‘lettera’ typewriter was designed by Marcello Nizzoli for Olivetti in 1963 and was made until 1975. It was a popular machine for journalists- and this was the baby Cormac McCarthy used to write his novels [well, not this exact one- his was sold in 2009 for $254,000. McCarthy bought it in 1963 for $50.]

The lettera features automatic ribbon reversal at the end of the spool [rather handy] and prints in black and red ink. The typewriter ribbon is still available for purchase and the ribbon in the machine is still good to go. The lettera comes in a stylish vinyl case [not pictured] which makes it truly portable and it is working perfectly – take it from an old touch typist.

There are a number of sites devoted to typewriters and typewriter collection: two good ones are: and http://www.oztypewriter.blogspot – the organ of the Australian Typewriter Museum in Canberra. Both sites speak highly of the lettera- it’s ‘beautiful and a work horse’.

A working lettera in its original case on Ebay is worth upwards of $475 – and I am loathe to part with it because it is such a fine machine.

For you, dear reader, it is offered for sale for $AUD325.

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50s kitsch

50s kitsch vasesKitsch vases

These vases are ‘extreme’ kitsch. Nothing says ‘I am here to hold your flowers’ like a horse, flamingo or garishly coloured swallow. It’s entirely possible I am the only person in the world who likes them. Certainly their manufacturer was reticent to put their name to the vases…they are all unmarked.

The vases look even better when bright, garish flowers are added…the weird juxtaposition of a rearing horse holding flower stems in its front legs is hilarious. That’s why I like kitsch…it’s often –unwittingly- very funny.

For all your kitsch needs….For sale: $AUD75

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Bartone picnic plates

Bartone bakelite picnic platesBartone bakelite picnic plates
made in Australia, c.1940s

This picnic set is a delightful mottled green colour- you might remember me posting another Bartone set that is mottled orangey-brown. Bartone specialised in producing picnic ware, often with this mottley shading, and the pieces all have catalogued numbers and a map of Australia cast on the underside. The large plates are Cat No B164, the small plates B165.

This set of plates is in remarkable condition for its vintage, and would make for a great retro picnic!

For sale: $AUD65

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Folding slide projector

OpenHanimex ‘Mini’ folding slide projector
made in Sydney, Australia c.1950s

This neat little projector folds out to show slides in both 16mm and 35mm slide formats. It has a P-Rokkor 2.5/40mm lens and uses a 75watt lamp; I have it on good authority that replacement lamps are still available. The projector works a treat – it’s been checked over by an electrician – and has an ‘automatic’ slide feed to allow you to load two slides at a time [!!] It comes in its original box, which sadly has been mended with masking tape.

Perfect for your next slide night or to add to your burgeoning Hanimex collection. I am reluctantly parting this projector- it’s a beautiful as well as a functional object. [I may have mentioned that I have nine [9!] slide projectors.]

The Mini is for sale: $AUD145

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Martin Boyd ramekins

Martin Boyd ramekinsMartin Boyd ramekins
made in Australia 1950s

The Boyds are a famous Australian family of artists. Martin Boyd was the ceramist in the family – and his pottery started in Cremorne, Sydney in 1946. The pottery was in operation from 1946-1964, with 1957-58 being the peak production period.

All Martin Boyd pottery is made [and signed] by hand so there is a slight variation between any pieces in a set. The pottery is instantly recognisable from the edge band of uncoloured glaze that always separates the two toned pieces. The colours are quintessentially 50s.

This set of four ramekins is in excellent condition – it has never been used. And if Boyd ramekins are your thing, I also have a set of six ramekins with their matching plates also posted on the blog.

This set of four ramekins is for sale: $AUD80

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MCP peony vase

MCP peony vaseMCP peony vase # 256
made in Sydney, Australia c.1950s

MCP [Modern Ceramic Products] started production in the 1940s, in Redfern, Sydney. The simple geometric forms of the vases have a very modernist styling – and each vase has a highly textured exterior finish in white which contrasts with the smooth internal glaze. This two-toned aesthetic meant each vase could be made in a range of iterations- albeit along the 50s spectrum of baby blue, pastel pink and pastel yellow.

This fabulous vase is in the white texture /pastel pink combination. I have added some flowers to show how it works- it would also look great with four different flower selections in each of the quadrants. You might like to see my original MCP collection…review it in the SOLD tab above…for other examples of this beautiful pottery.

I do love Sydney pottery of the 50s and 60s and find it very hard to part with them. Modernism in pottery is becoming increasingly hard to find…but needs must.

The vase is in excellent condition and is or sale: $AUD85

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70s reproductions

Kitchen scales & Robbie the robotThe Salter scales, cast iron, made in Staffordshire, England 1970s
Robbie the robot, tin toy, made in China 1970s

I am generally not a fan of reproductions. But occasionally, I find reproductions that play homage to the original without trying to pretend to BE the original. Those reproductions I can live with.

Here we have a Salter scale, cast iron, made to an exact mid 19th century likeness, but with a handy modern addition- that being it’s an accurate weighing machine. I use it for weighing parcels and letters to figure out postage costs – and it looks fabulous on the hall table too.

Robbie the robot first appeared in 1956 in the film ‘Forbidden Planet’. Then he appeared as a tin toy, made in Japan, which is now sought after and extremely collectible. Then in the 70s the same maker re-issued the toy [although now made in China!] with a hilarious warning on the box : “For collectors only, not suitable as a toy.” My how things have changed. For that line alone, I think Robbie is worth having around.

60s souvenirware

60s souvenirware60s souvenirware
made in Australia

Welcome to Laurieton, a coastal town on the north coast of NSW. Home – at least in the 60s – to bowls and pelicans!

This collection features salt and pepper shakers in the shape of – bowls- with ‘Laurieton N.S.W.’ written in gilt on the sides, and a pelican figurine [somewhat out of scale.] In the world of souvenirware- scale and technical detail wasn’t always a priority. Cheap, kitsch souvenirs that you can give away as gifts to prove you actually WERE in Laurieton was what it was all about.

Souvenirware is increasingly popular amongst collectors. Those once tacky, cheap souvenirs are having a renaissance, with kitschiness celebrated and embraced. That’s certainly why I love it.

This set is for sale; $AUD35

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Retro Australian nature books

Retro Australian nature booksPeriwinkle Colour Series
published in Melbourne, 1960s

Six books by John Child, part of the Periwinkle Colour series:


Trees of the Sydney Region, 1968
Wildflowers of the Sydney Region, 1968
Australian Insects, 1969
Collecting Specimens, 1969
Australian Alpine Life, 1969
Australian Sea Shells, 1965.

The books were published by Landsdowne Press in Melbourne, printed and bound in Hong Kong. They all have the same cover design: white font on a striking photograph; quite funky in the 60s. There were some fifteen books in the Periwinkle Colour Series, with John Child writing 9 of them. Still to collect are:
Australian Spiders, Australian Seashore Life and Australian Rocks & Minerals

The books are in a used condition [the botanical ones by me!] showing signs of prior use. For collectors of vintage Australian naturalist books, this set of six books is for sale: $AUD60

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