40s ceramic coasters

West German ceramic coasters, 1940sWest German coasters
made in 1940s

A fantastic set of ceramic coasters- made in the 40s-depicting in sketchy form the well-known scenes of: Japan, Venice, Spain, Berlin, Paris and Mexico.

Every troupe is here:
Japanese temple & Geisha
Gondola under the Bridge of Sighs
Bull fighting
Brandenburg Gate
Eiffel Tower and cafe
Cactus and guitar playing to Senorita.

The ceramic coasters are in excellent vintage condition and are for sale : $AU60

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Old school map

'Village form' old school map‘Village form’ school map, 1950s
made in Germany

Ok, ok, enough with the school maps already! But I do love this town planning one. That’s totally a subject that should be taught in school. Far too late to be teaching it at university- children should understand urban form from an early age. Imagine the cities we’d be living in if that was the case.

Dorfformen translates as ‘village form’ and here we see three forms in plan view and perspective. Google translate gives no clue as to the meaning of angerdorf, waldhfendorf or rundling- but really do we need one? The drawings are self-explanatory.

I bought this old school map at a Berlin flea market ; it now graces my drawing office. The colours and forms are so conducive to thinking about design. All drawing should be this good.

50s Berlin

Retro stereoscopic viewerStereoscopic viewer, made in Berlin c.1950s

I bought this stereoscopic viewer in Berlin at a fantastic vintage shop called VEB Orange. VEB Orange is dedicated to showcasing East Germany of the 50s, 60s and 70s. That is my kind of shop!

The viewer – with its images of Baden Baden- was made as souvenirware. If you couldn’t visit the place, at least you could go with the help of kitschy, hand-coloured photographic images. Perhaps there is a slight intimation of boredom- that Baden Baden isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and really East Berlin is much more scenic! Even the colour of the viewer is deliberately drab [although somewhat funky in shape.]

I like souvenirware- snowdomes, and those little TV sets that you peer into with a rotating wheel of images. No matter how many images you take whilst travelling- nothing can compare to the cliqued, static, dated and hilarious images of souvenirware.

More Berlin collecibles

Berlin miniature railways scale modelsGerman scale railway models
made in Berlin c. 1930-40s

Another flashback to my recent travels in Berlin – I couldn’t resist these miniature railway buildings. So German – so 40s- so cute. So finely crafted and so fragile. They survived being packed and shipped back to us in various bits of clothing- and now sit very happily on top of a dresser.

I was interested to note that Berliners don’t seem to place the same value on vintage things – and particularly ‘German’ vintage things -that I do. Perhaps it has to do with the city still being under renewal and finding its final form. The things I love and collect- bakelite, school maps, mid-century pottery – I found them all and more. And these railways model buildings are so detailed and so- so- German.

Retro in Berlin

West Germany studio potteryWest Germany vases, made in Berlin 1960s
Goebel Thumper Disney figurine, made in West Germany 1960s

Here are some of the retro pieces I bought in Berlin. The West Germany studio pottery, both vases – are now very collectible [check out  www.fat-lava.com] and it was nice to be able to buy these pieces in their country of origin.

Similarly, I found that anything by Goebel is also very collectible. I do love Thumper figurines [he crops up in a couple of my past posts as a styling device] and was thrilled to find this red one; I only found two West Germany vases and needed another red pottery piece for their display.

Retro shopping in Berlin is by way of a couple of ‘Antik’ shops, and flea markets- in public parks on the weekends. As we were staying in Mitte, we took in the Arkonaplatz Flea Market – which was so huge we visited twice on successive Sundays to see it all. I highly recommend it. I spent a nice morning sorting through hundreds of boxes for treasures. And treasures I found!

More in my next post…