40s porcelain figurine

Porcelain figurine, Japan, 1940sPorcelain figure,
made in Japan 1940s

This is quite a large figurine of a little girl and her duck; its 110mm high and unusually detailed for porcelain made in the 40s. It would have been made as part of the huge export market that sprang up in Japan imitating much older [and venerable] porcelain manufacturers in England.

This piece is unsigned so manufacturer is unknown, but the figurine has been made to replicate those of the well-known figurine maker, Beswick. So, it’s a repro piece from the 40s!

I’m not in the habit of collecting figurines; I occasionally do if I need a kitschy figurine for styling purposes. But I absolutely love this little girl and her duck, and her quintessentially 40s features. And I was rather taken with the detailing and the size of the piece- so unusual.

For porcelain collectors / figurine collectors; the figurine is for sale: $AU45

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Hanstan mugs

Hanstan mugs, Australia, 1970sHanstan mugs
made in Australia, 1970s

Hanstan pottery was a collaboration between Hans Wright and Stan Burrage – hence Hanstan– that started in Victoria in 1962. The pottery continued to make domestic ware pottery well into the 1980s. All Hanstan pottery was hand-signed [in quite florrid, 70s style] on the base- as are these mugs.

Hanstan also made stoneware spice containers- with cork lids- I have featured some previously in the white/brown colourway.  These mugs are quite unusual since not many were made in the orange/brown glaze. [My gen y friend said they look like avocados…and- you know- he’s right!]

These [rare] mugs are in excellent vintage condition, and are for sale: $AU45

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60s goodness

Pyrex 'Sunburst' flask, Bessemer printed plate, 60sBessemer plate, made in Australia 1965-70
Pyrex ‘Sunburst’ flask jug, made in USA 1960s

This is Pyrex at its best- a jug modelled on a laboratory flask with an ‘atomic’ sunburst pattern in gold. The stopper is graduated plastic, in good old yellow plastic. The jug has a pouring lip, two litre capacity and being Pyrex, is good for hot and cold liquids. Pyrex is very collectible – and the jug is in excellent condition. And –it makes a terrific vase when it’s not serving hot and cold liquids.

The Bessemer plate is likewise very collectable. It is one of a series of six, designed by A. Wiederkehr – and is culturalyl important enough to be in the Powerhouse Museum collection. I would have loved to have collected all six- but alas- after so long hunting I have only found this one ‘in the wild’ [as collectors say.] I have found plenty of plates, of all the patterns – but they are invariably so scratched from use that I rejected purchasing.

If you are a Pyrex collector [and there are quite a few!] or a Bessemer collector, please check out the other items on my blog. I am a big fan of early 60s industrial designers – and Pyrex and Bessemer tick all the boxes!

The flask and plate are in excellent vintage condition, and are for sale: $AU45

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Knitting paraphernalia

Knitting gauges, counters, needles 40s-50sKnitting Paraphernalia
made in England, 1940-1950s

I am a knitter – and a collector – so naturally I have started to collect knitting paraphernalia. It’s sort of an amalgamation of my interests in the domestic arts- knitting- and technology. So here is a small selection: knitting gauges, knitting counters, and knitting needles.

The knitting gauges are all made from aluminium: the first is an impressed aluminium circle gauge, with sizes 5 to 16. It has no makers mark, and after countless hours [minutes] of research- I can’t find anyone who has ascertained the maker.

The second is a bell gauge made by Emu, in England in the 1940s. It’s a lovely anodised aluminium green: the Emu logo is a ball of wool with knitting needles for legs. It’s unusual in that it sizes needle gauges internally- rather than externally, which was the practice up to the 40s. It’s also unusual that an English firm would use an emu as its logo; at first I assumed this must be an Australian manufacturer.

The third gauge is a ’D-shaped’ gauge by Stratnoid Aluminium – this being the brand name of Stratton & Co, Birmingham. The gauge is unusual in that it indicates imperial and metric sizes.

I have just discovered that collecting needle gauges is a thing: it’s not just me!

The knitting counters sit on the end of the needle, and the end ring is rotated to move the counter to record the number of rows. These are 50s ‘rotary barrel’ counters, and are made of bakelite and plastic, by IX Products, and Millward. Millward termed these counters “Ro-Tally”.

Finally, the tortoise shell knitting needles – of which I have posted previously. Now much prized by knitters who suffer from arthritis, these needles are super-flexible, being made from an organic compound. Artists love them for the same reason.

The gauges are for sale: $AU60, the counters are for sale: $AU45, and the tortoise shell knitting needles are $200 for 20 pairs [assorted sizes.]

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Airline travel bag

Orbitours travel bag, 1960sAirline travel bag
Made in Hong Kong, 1960s

Airline bags have become SO popular and collectable that there are now reproductions of classic Qantas bags- made in China, c. 2014- being sold for crazy prices on EBay. A REAL Qantas travel bag should cost in the order of $AU100 – but a repro? That should go for ten bucks [that’s 2 bucks for materials & assembly, 1 buck to ship it, and 7 dollars or 70% profit to the seller.] AND it should be clearly marked as a repro.

So- how to tell a fake? Well, take this Orbitour travel bag for example. It has its original sticker inside:

‘Nylon Coated Plastic
Made In Hong Kong”.

Sporting an original sticker, and made in Hong Kong [rather than China]; plus – it has some stitching missing on one handle and a little on the zip. Repros are startlingly perfect, looking like a facsimile of the original. You can’t fake age!

And the colour- that super cobalt blue with slightly wonky white font – it’s correct for the 60s.

I’ve teamed the Orbitours bag with an old 40s school case. It’s had some repair work- new rivets hold a new internal timber frame to the lid, but the locks and hinges and metal handle are all still original and working. It was made by the ‘American Bag Stores, Travelling Goods Specialists’, in Australia [as described on the internal label.] Talk about an original!

The Orbitours bag [Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane] is for sale: $AU55
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The old school case is for sale: $AU45
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‘Anthropomorphic Collectibles’

Apple s&p shakers, Japan 1960sApple salt & pepper shakers
made in Japan, 1960s

I have discovered that people love, really LOVE anthropomorphic figurines. Ebay even has a section “Anthropomorphic Collectibles”. These apples with startlingly large faces – reminiscent of early manga- have another thing going for them: they are functional salt and pepper shakers.

The shakers are part of a larger apple-faced set that includes a cookie jar [how collectable are cookie jars!] teapot, creamer and cup and saucers. Like many OTT things, I find that less is more- when you put the whole collection together the sum of the parts is less than the whole. You can have too much of a good thing. [And this coming from an avowed kitscher-lover!] My idea would be mix ‘n’ match with other faced ceramics – and make a sort of kitsch family.

The shakers are in great vintage condition, but have lost their original cork stoppers. All the shakers I have collected that used cork stoppers are in this state- it seems the cork only lasted a decade or two.

The apple shakers are for sale: $AU35

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Bambi planter [sold]

Bambi planter, 1960sBambi planter
made in Japan 1950s

A Bambi and her doe, in planter-style. I have filled the planter with bok choy [all I had to hand] but of course flowers and/or growing succulents would also work.

I have quite a few Bambis in my collection. I have purposely collected 1950 era bambis that were made here in Australia or in Japan – these are NOT Disney figurines, which I think look more ‘commercial’. I’ve already explained my nostalgic love for Bambi [short answer: not allowed to have one as a child] elsewhere on the blog; so suffice it to say – I collect Bambis whenever I can.

The Bambi planter is in great vintage condition and is for sale: $AU35. Buy now for Christmas!

BODA decanter

BODA decanter, 1971BODA decanter
made in Sweden 1971

We’ve all heard of Kosta Boda, the famous Swedish glass manufacturer that is now very collectable. This decanter was made by BODA, which only became part of the Afors group in 1971. In 1976 the brand became Kosta Boda – which dates this decanter to between 1971 and 1976.

The decanter is made of a sienna-coloured glass, with transparent glass handle. It has its original label intact:

BODA
Afors Bruk
SWEDEN

[I couldn’t replicate the 70s font here – zoom in for a fantastic look at that label!]

This is one for the serious collectors. The decanter is in fabulous vintage condition, with no issues whatsoever. It has an off-centre pontil mark. And did I mention it has its label intact?

The BODA decanter is for sale: $AU95

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40s bookends

Mulga wood bookends, 1940sMulga wood book ends
made in Australia, 1940s

These 40s bookends are made from Mulga wood- which has been cut to show off its famous bi-colouring, and still has the bark of the tree intact. 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’. The wood is heavy and dense and so- makes for fantastic book ends.

With the bookends are part of our Observer book collection. These little ‘field’ books run from 1 through 100; 1 is British Birds and 100 is Wayside and Woodland. Some collectors collect only 1-79 [the purists] ; or collect every edition of one of the series. I like the idea of 100 coloured spines lined up- and we have around 30 or so still to collect. One can buy them from specialist booksellers, natch- but I like to discover them in second hand bookshops across the world [we found one in Berlin whilst there.]

So – the bookends are in perfect condition. For collectors of Australiana, Australian timber, or those who just need a decent pair of 40s bookends- here they are. I also have a marvellous pair of bookends with Mulga wood & pewter kangaroos [see previous post.]

The bookends are for sale: $AU40

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70s spotted owl

Fitz & Floyd spotted owl mug [1978]Fitz & Floyd spotted owl mug
made in US, 1978

Fitz & Floyd pieces are now very collectable; having started in Dallas, in the US in 1960, the company is well known for their whimsical, humorous ceramic pieces. So this spotted owl mug is collectable because it’s F&F- and – because – owls are also totally collectable right now.

Fitz & Floyd are well known for their date stamps: they always use roman numerals. So on the base of this mug, after the F&F stamp is : MCMLXXVIII. At some point, someone must have realised that ‘1978’ – the Hindu-Arabic numerical system currently in use – was more efficient [space-wise, if nothing else]- but no- F&F are sticking with roman numerals.

For good measure, this mug also has its original F&F sticker. And it’s in great vintage condition.

I have also collected an F&F ‘Bad Guy’ mug [MCMLXXX]- see post below. Both mugs are for sale: $AU25

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