78ers- Ernie & Bert

Ernie & Bert squeaky toys, 1978Ernie & Bert squeaky toys
made in US 1978

Two squeaky toys from the 70s – both marked © Muppets Inc 1978. Ebay has a whole section devoted to Collectible Sesame Street items; and these toys go for a fabulous price.

While Sesame Street- the TV show- debuted in 1969, Jim Henson, and his wife Jane Henson started Muppets Inc in 1958. Muppets Inc is now owned and operated by their children- and Sesame Street character toys are still being made.

The two toys are in great condition for being thirty-eight years old. Ernie and Bert are seminal figures from most peoples’ childhoods- and this continues today.

Ernie and Bert are for sale: $AUD45

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Diana collection

re:retro shelves & collection1940s Diana pottery

This is an image of bookshelves I designed for our front entrance room. The bookshelves were envisaged as a series of ‘boxes’ to allow me to catalogue the books, and as a framing device for parts of my collection.  I can change the ensemble pieces around easily – and so far it’s half / half between the books and the collection. These pieces are 40s and 50s Diana, from a pottery that operated in Marrickville, Sydney from 1940 to 1975. Diana pottery had many iterations, but I like these brown and green coloured pieces the best, and I particularly like those jugs with the quasi-kangaroo leg shapes.

I don’t think I can part with my brown-and-green Diana collection, but thought I could use the shelving device to showcase other parts of the collection that I can reluctantly say goodbye to.


Swinging 60s!

Carlton Ware Haig Scotch Whiskey water jug and London sourvenir plate, 1960sCarlton Ware whiskey jug, made in England 1962
London souvenir plate, made in England 1960s

This scotch whiskey water jug is both practical and collectible. It’s an ‘advertisement’ jug; mass produced and given away to pubs –not sold to the public- with the idea that the public would be so impressed by the glamour of having water added to their drink by a ‘branded jug’ that they would continue to order their brandy/whisky by name. Ah! the 60s, when advertising and impressing people was so easy!

The jug- being made by Carlton Ware- has a beautiful integral handle [not quite seen in image] and fantastic 60s square-shaped styling. It is very modern in form – and in fantastic condition. Whiskey jugs are uber collectible and they make a fantastic addition to a retro bar [and can double as a vase at short notice.]

The London dish- having been made as a souvenir piece in the 60-  is plastic, hand-painted, and features that seminal 60s landmark – the GPO tower. Dwarfing those has-been landmarks Trafalgar Square, Tower Bridge, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace- the GPO is shown out loud and proud! That’s how landmarks were designed in the 60s!

The whiskey jug & London dish are for sale: $AUD65

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SylvaC Scaredy Cat

SylvaC Scaredy Cat #1046SylvaC Scaredy Cat, #1046
made in England 1940s

This is an interesting piece – I have seen many 50s and 60s Australian ‘Scaredy Cat’ tourist pieces which borrow from SylvaC’s original scaredy cat made in the 40s.

And – this Scaredy Cat is an unusual colour- every other one I’ve seen has been the muted brown or green so common to SylvaCs animal figurines. Turns out that this has probably been repaired- and to hide the repair – been repainted. This was apparently quite a common practice in the 40s and 50s.

The impressed SylvaC number 1046 can still be seen on the underside of the figurine; but the colouring and the painted eyes [green] are a give-away that the cat was repaired and then repainted at some time. It’s impossible to find where the repair is – so the repainting seems to have done the trick.

I’m unsure as to the value of the Scaredy Cat – and so offer it as it is – AF [As Found] – a curio of sorts.

Vintage camera

Ferrania Eura camera, 1959Ferrania Eura camera
made in Milan, Italy 1959

Ferrania was founded in Italy in 1923 – and still produces ‘point and shoot’ cameras today. The ‘Eura’ camera was made in 1959, and comes in its original vinyl case [made by Maves, also of Milan.] It uses medium format film- 120mm – which is still available; and comes with its original instruction booklet [in Italian and English]; and two helpful booklets produced by Ferrania : ‘Photography by artificial light- hints for amateurs’ and ‘It’s easy to take good photographs’ by Alfredo Ornano.

I’m not sure if the camera still works as it hasn’t been tested, but the original bag and 50s instruction booklets were too fabulous to pass up. There are some great YouTube clips evidencing the great photos that can be taken with the Eura – I think Alfredo Ornano would be well chuffed!

The Ferrania Eura camera is for sale: $AUD85

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60s Funky!

Kathie Winkle 'Calypso' & 'Corinth' platesKathie Winkle plates
made in England 1963 and 1965

Kathie Winkle started work at Broadhurst & Sons- a major Straffordshire pottery- in 1950 as a painter: by 1958 she was producing her own designs, of which there are now 122 [and counting.]

Winkle’s innovative geometric patterns were printed in black by semi-automatic rubber-stamping machines, and then hand-coloured before glazing (a ‘stamp & fill’ process) thus allowing the plates to be dishwasher proof. Her funky designs sold in presentation packs aimed at the catalogue and chain store markets and Broadhurst became hugely popular on the back of these popular designs.

Here we have [large plates] ‘Corinth’ introduced in 1965 and ‘Calypso’ [smaller plates] introduced in 1963. As the plates were hand-coloured, there is a slight variation in the colouration, under the standard black outline. I find them quite charming.

And so do many others- the most popular Kathie Winkle designs have been released – by Kathie herself- using modern pottery production techniques. Unfortunately, for me, the charm dissipates with the uniformity of the colouring of these ‘reproduction’ pieces.

I’ve styled the plates together- to give a taste of how these plates might look mounted on a wall. My idea is to have a two each of a dozen or so Kathie Winkle patterns – and fill a wall. Funky!

The Corinth & Calypso plates are for sale: $AUD65

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Psychedelic Jesus

60s Jesus iconPsychedelic Jesus icon
made in Australia 1960s

Jesus as you’ve never seen him before – with a totally hippy vibe- just look at that crazy psychedelic background!

Jesus is in plain dress [tick] got a beard and long hair [tick] –kinda coiffured for a carpenter, but let’s not quibble – but there’s no halo- and no sentimental inscription.  Just hippy Jesus on a totally rad background sort of looking up.

Like many icons of the 60s this is made of metal, with the picture sort of puffed out, and a metal stand behind to hold it up.

But unlike any other icon I’ve collected this picture shows Jesus embracing the totally happening 60s – I wonder if it was made by a progressive Catholic group or if the image was produced accidentally. We may never know- but – what an image!

The psychedelic Jesus is for sale: $AUD35

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60s flipclock

cifra 3 solari flipclockcifra 3 flipclock
made in Italy 1965

Gizmodo calls this the “greatest clock ever made” [http://www.gizmodo.com] and I totally agree. It is both minimalist and futuristic; with Helvetica font for the numbers to boot.

Designed by Gino Valle for Solari di Undine in 1965, the clock has been sold at MOMA, and is featured in the Science Museum in London. In 1970 the clock was priced at US$32 – which is about US$200 nowadays! It was an expensive clock to buy in its day. It was made in white, red and green – and being the 60s that meant pillar box red and emerald – I like the minimalism of the white clock with black & white flip numbers.

I found the clock at the bottom of a box of computer spare parts at a second hand shop. I had no idea if it would work – but figured I could just gaze at its loveliness even if it didn’t. The battery case was clean [no leaky battery to suggest that’s why it was tossed into the box] and the perspex front was unscratched so I took a punt and bought it.

Well- the clock works a treat- and keeps good time…but at midnight turning from 23:59 to 0:00 the hour flip doesn’t flip [the minute flipping continues on.] When I come into the office at 8ish or 9ish each morning I have to reset the hour flip. It’s become a daily ritual- which I quite like. It’s fifty years old so a bit of a pick me up in the morning is quite justified.

Vintage kookaburras

vintage kookaburra collectionKookaburra collection

This is an image of our burgeoning vintage kookaburra collection: it’s in the kitchen- which is not the right place for a collection. It started off as a few delightful kookaburras among the serious kitchen utensils…a bit of kitschy interest to liven up the utilitarian implements…but ended up threatening to take over an entire shelf.

The kookaburras here are mostly salt and pepper shakers, lustreware and handpainted pieces. There’s a rare Daisy Merton napkin ring in the middle: and a large kookaburra jug on the end. As the pieces might well be found in a kitchen you might say the display is warranted…I think this is an object lesson on what happens when a collector is given a bit of space.

Whatever- as long as the espresso machine is not impeded I am happy. That’s the only implement in the kitchen I can operate and have any vested interest in. And the kitschy kookaburras are beautiful and somewhat ironic and thus make me happy.

Hornsea Heirloom

Hornsea 'Heirloom' set, 1976Hornsea ‘Heirloom’
made in England 1976

Hornsea pottery is SUPER collectible right now: this is a set of cups and saucers and small plates from the ‘Heirloom’ pattern.

Hornsea Pottery started in 1949 in England and finished production in 2000. In 1970s John Clappison designed the successful – and now very collectible- series ‘Heirloom’, Saffron’ and ‘Bronte’ patterns.

Each of the Clappison’s designs has a repeating pattern in different colours: Heirloom is sepia & charcoal, Saffron is tan & orange and Bronte is sepia & green. I have featured the Bronte pattern previously on this blog- a set of kitchen canisters.

This collection comprises two cups and saucers, and two small plates: perfect for morning tea. As an added bonus, a coffee mug is thrown in!

The Heirloom collection is for sale: $AUD65

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