How fabulous is this hand-painted Mickey Mouse napkin ring? Here he is in his early Disney rendering- all rat-like but with his trademark big ears. Mickey first appeared in 1928 [in Steamboat Willie] and this napkin ring was made not soon after.
I found Mickey in a collector’s sale lot of napkin rings and bought the lot because Mickey was there. Mickey is in great condition with only a little wear to the hand-painting on his extremities- ears and nose. He is very collectible- as is any vintage Mickey Mouse item. Mickey’s from the 30s and 40s are now highly sought after.
Mickey is shown here with a bakelite spice canister and a sweet tin from the 30s…they were made in Australia but since Mickey is a universal icon, I don’t think that matters. Mickey is for sale: $AUD75
Aboriginal motif placemats
made in Australia c. 1940s
Did I mention I like kitsch? These bookends are so of their time: the kangaroos are pewter, and have adopted that typical Skippy looking-over-the-shoulder stance. They stand on traditional Mulga wood- which has been cut and arranged to show off its famous bi-colouring. Mulga wood was used in 1940s souvenir works like these as it is a hardwood –unusual in a native from the wattle family – and was considered ‘export quality’. A transfer sticker on the base of the bookends, in the shape of Australia, proudly proclaims “Genuine Australian Mulga” in case one confuses it for fake Mulga, or worse still, a non-Australian Mulga.
The woven placemats are also genuine…a proud Aboriginal spear and shield-holder walks in front of a map of Australia- in case you mistake him for a proud Aboriginal spear and shield-holder from say, America. There are four placemats in the set…and the motif is arranged on the left side of the mat, so that plates, cutlery etc won’t obscure the motif.
My collection contains a fair few Aboriginal motifs…once considered to be in very poor taste, they are now old and retro enough to be embraced by hipsters who didn’t encounter them the first time round.
GempoPotteryAustralia money box
made in Japan, 1962-1974
A fabulous retro lion money box – made by Gempo Pottery as part of a zodiac series; this one of course is Leo the Lion.
The money box features the abstract, large–faced form that marks all Gempo Pottery. It is also particular to its period; the stylised features, and the stoneware pottery glazed in rustic creams and browns. As was the custom in Australia at the time, the money box was designed in Australia but manufactured by ceramic artisans in Japan.
The money box comes complete with its original rubber stopper and is in excellent condition. A must for money box enthusiasts and Leo’s alike!
Albert Namatjira Mt. Giles print, Miniature Framing Company, 1950s, made in Australia Bonzo napkin ring, 1920s, made in Japan
An unusual pairing- I know. But these two pieces are quite iconoclastic in their own way.
Bonzo the dog was the first cartooncharacter created in England, by George Studdy in 1922. Bonzo has been reproduced in a myriad ways since- and this early napkin ring is now highly sought after
Albert Namatjira [1902-1959] was born near Alice Springs, and died aged only 57, at Alice Springs. Namatjira was a pioneer of contemporary Indigenous Australian art; his watercolours of outback desert landscapes departed from the highly symbolic style of traditional Aboriginal art incorporating incredibly vivid colours in an overtly ‘Western’ style.
Both Bonzo and Namatjira have been in and out of fashion and are both back IN again in a huge way. So much so that my landscape drawing studio is full of framed Namatjira prints and I am always on the hunt for any more Bonzo pieces.
Kodak Brownie Movie Camera, Model 2
made in USA, 1956-1958
I have a great fondness for all things camera…my father was a photographer and now my son is involved in photography…he took all the images on this blog. I seem to have collected a lot of camera-related things.
This ‘wind-up’ movie camera comes in its original [vinyl] bag with original instruction booklet. It takes 8mm film, which is still available on eBay. And as the instruction booklet says: “It’s everybody’s movie camera…it’s as easy as this: 1 -you wind the motor, 2- you set the lens, 3- you press the exposure level.”
These movie cameras were made to be simple and affordable for a mass market. It has a 13mm Ektanon lens, f/2.3-f/16 and despite having an aluminium body, weighs just 0.75kg. YouTube has a whole section devoted to movies made on vintage cameras. For sale: $AUD155
Duperite bakelite roulette wheel, made in Australia c.1950s
How do you combine your love of bakelite with your penchant for gambling? With a bakelite roulette wheel. [Catalogue No. 1324/1, to be precise.] This beautiful roulette wheel hasn’t been out of its box- it is in pristine condition although its box has seen some wear and tear. It comes with a printed green felt baize [not pictured] and a little timber ball ~which was still taped to the wheel when I bought the set.
I have other bakelite items made by Duperite- see ‘Green bakelite pieces’ post below- an Australian bakelite company that made, as well as domesticware, lawn bowls and -apparently- roulette wheels. I must have been the only person who didn’t have one at home as a child…everyone I have shown this roulette wheel to has exclaimed that they remember having one! That might explain why 1] I am so attracted to it [pure envy] and 2] why it elicits so many nostalgic sighs from my friends.
Diana salt & pepper shakers
made in Australia, 1970s
Further to the Diana pottery from the 40s and 50s recently discussed- meet some Diana from the 70s! This range is called ‘Safari’.
Earthen tones [tick] brutalist, oversize shape [tick] chunky form devoid of decoration [tick.] This is the 70s alright!
I have also collected the teapot, and creamer in Safari: but like a lot of 70s ware, I find less is less. It is possible to have too much of a good thing. However- if you are a big fan of the 70s [ie: you didn’t actually have to live through that time] you may like to consider the teapot and creamer.
The brutalist salt and pepper shakers are for sale: $AU25
A lovely pair of silver plated toast racks- great for toast [obviously] but they also make terrific letter/card holders. Some people still get snail-mail, right? Even bills look great in these beauties!
The rack on the left is in fine fettle- silver plate intact; the second is down to the base metal. Both exhibit fine 20s shapes and handles, and have their silver plate hallmarks. The repetition of the racks is beautiful, and the two of the racks together makes a lovely ensemble.
Currently these do service for my partner and I – hers is of course the full plate rack; it houses mail, protest march pamphlets and tradesman business cards, whilst mine [the humbler of the two] houses bills, trades magazines and council newsletters. And the odd vintage book or picture to keep things interesting.
I once saw a BBC ‘Antiques Roadshow’ program which featured a toast rack collector. She said they were cheap, small, easy to display and came in infinite varieties. Here’s to you – toast rack collector!
The two racks are for sale: $AU45 / $AU20 [or $AU55 for the two- I don’t think I can bear for them to be parted.]
Terra Ceramics ‘Daisy’ lazy susan
made in Australia, c.1965
The ubiquitous daisy- symbol of the 60s- is stylised and showcased on these Terra Ceramics pieces. Terra Ceramics was proudly Australian, and they have imbued their daisies with the colours of the bush- olive greens, tans and browns. This set is a lazy susan: four segmented ceramic pieces lift out from around the central circular piece, with the whole lot on a burnished anodised aluminium tray. Which turns around – hence ‘lazy susan’.
The pieces are stamped “Terra Ceramics Australia, Terama hand painted”. It’s now unusual to find hand painted ceramics- and if you look at the five individual pieces you can see subtle differences in the hand-painters work.
I have also collected a matching Daisy ramekin, and Daisy salt and pepper shakers. The Daisy collection continues!
The lazy susan is in excellent vintage condition and is for sale: $AU75
Shalom ceramic wall tile, c.1960s
a Christmas story, by Richard Burton, 1966
Shalom and Merry Christmas! These two pieces have a lovely synchronicity, in shape, colour and form. The funky symbol of Shalom- Hebrew for peace- has a handwritten message on its timber back – ‘Jerusalem’ which I take to be its place of manufacture. The deep blue and orange of the ceramic tile are so very 60s. As is the simple timber framing.
Meanwhile Richard Burton- THE Richard Burton has written a story about his [impoverished] Welsh childhood and Christmases. He also provided the illustrations. It’s a bit of a turgid read, but this book was continually republished until the late 80s. Must have been doing something right. I bought it mainly for the lovely graphics on the hardback cover.
Wishing all my readers Shalom, and Merry Christmas! And I am sure Richard Burton would want to send his wishes also.