I LOVE vintage retouched photographs! They are always OTT and totally kitschy. This one is in the form of a glass astray and was made as a souvenir piece in the 50s.
I’ve collected a few of these – and even though they were originally ashtrays- the nostalgic photos of 50s Australian icons makes them so much more. And nowadays of course glass ashtrays can be used as pin dishes – with the added delight of a crazy coloured photo.
Marine Parade, Coolangatta- ashtray is for sale: $AU10 Buy Now
Crystal Craft has become uber trendy for collectors: it’s a resin-covered fabric that originated in Queensland in the 70s. These two pieces – turtle ashtray and dolphin wall plaque- feature ‘marine opal’ [aka polished abalone shell for New Zealand readers.] ….Although, clearly, marine opal sounds much better.
I take some comfort in knowing that while abalone was “taken by divers from the Pacific” [as Crystal Craft labels inform] at least the whole animal was used. The abalone shell polishes up a treat and looks great under resin!
The Crystal Craft turtle and dolphin are for sale: $AU35
This whiskey water jug is both practical and highly collectible- and will appeal to Wade collectors also. Baranalia is the term for people who collect vintage barware.
These ‘advertisement’ jugs were mass produced and given away to public houses –not sold to the public- with the idea that the people 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!
Ceylon tea tin with original celluloid spoon
made in England, 1960s
This tin features its own original branded celluloid spoon: ‘Ceylon Tea’. The spoon is a little warped; the tea tin is a little rusted; commensurate with age.
But this tin is a lovely feature of the 60s- just when Ceylon [now Sri Lankan] tea was making it big in Europe. Tea was drunk right across Europe, and Ceylon started making inroads into the English tea drinking public.
Now of course we have tea-bags from everywhere- but this little tin with it’s spoon envision when tea came in tins, and was measured with spoons.
The tea tin is for sale: $AU15 [some rust on tin; some warping on spoon.] Buy Now
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.
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.
Royal Stafford cup and saucer, made in England 1950s
Glass ashtray, made in Australia 1950s
More of my ‘Dog on the Tuckerbox’ collection – a transfer printed cup and saucer and a glass ashtray with 50s photo of said dog on the base.
The cup and saucer are bone china, with gilt edging to both cup and saucer, and marked 3395 to base. Meanwhile, the glass ashtray- a souvenir item, made in Australia, has a rather crudely hand-coloured 50s photograph in the moulded glass. But if nothing else, that photograph shows how accurate the transfer prints on the cup and saucer are- and they were made in England.
Both are kitschy, one more refined kitsch than the other!
Start your Dog on the Tuckerbox collection today: the cup and saucer is for sale: $AU25 as is the ashtray: $AU10 [or $AU30 for both.]
Aboriginal motif salt & pepper shaker sets, and small jug
made in Australia c.1950s
While none of these items has a maker’s mark, the salt and pepper shakers at the back are possibly by Terra Ceramics, and the round shakers to the left are possibly Florenz Pottery. The small jug is probably Studio Anna. All these potteries were making tourist and souvenir pottery by the 1950s, and these appropriated [and westernised] indigenous motifs were hugely popular. Post war arts and crafts saw a rise in the popularity of Australiana – replacing traditional English motifs with ‘Australian’ themes; invariably Aboriginal motif works were black, tan and white.
This group works well as a set, or could form the basis of a larger collection. The items on their own are very kitsch…but somehow when grouped the kitschness is subverted into a subtler aesthetic.
retro Italian souvenir images,
made in Italy 1960s
This collection was inspired after I visited Italy. It comprises a c.1960s Venice guidebook, 60s postcards in book form from Venice, Roma and Florence and 60s souvenir film slides from Rome and the Vatican.
The souvenir guide book is in excellent condition and is quite funny to read with its mangled English. The souvenir postcard books have never been used and are still complete – the old retro photographs are very stage-managed and have been colour-touched in that delightful 60s era style.
The souvenir slides have never been opened, and I expect they will have that lovely rosy patina of all old slides. They could be viewed using one of the Haminex slider viewers, posted below!
I have a ‘thing’ for Mulga wood- I’ve featured quite a bit of it on the blog. Mulga wood was used in 1940-50s for souvenir works as it is a hardwood –unusual in a native from the wattle family – and was considered ‘export quality’. The timber is cut and arranged to show off its famous bi-colouring, as seen in these ‘beehive’ bookends.
These are ‘beehive’ bookends in the classic shape: it was a popular form in the 50s and seen in everything from knitting guages to car manufactures logos- to –of course- hairstyles.
The hardwood was first turned on a lathe, then cut in half to form bookends with a straight edge; then polished to a gloss. Often example of the bark was retained- as seen in these bookends- to contrast with the high glass finish. And the weight of the hardwood makes for excellent book ends; nothing is going to push these babies over.