A fantastic Mahjong set of bamboo and bone: made in Japan in the 30s!
Complete with betting sticks, wind of the round, and a great 30s case. I am speaking to you Mahjong players out there…this is a gorgeous set.
I learned to play Mahjong in my 20s. It’s a mixture of cards and gin-rummy; but with a tactile placement and playing of tiles. You can play fast and dirty and win –or go for an impossible hand; a combination of ideas, collections or collaborations – and get a way better score.
We play it as a family every Christmas – which is why I associate it with this time. I always go for the impossible score – because I like the odds – and also, because it encourages others to win!
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.
Following the fantastic lustreware duck jug recently posted; here is another lustreware duck. This is also from the 1950s- this being a dressed duck, with waistcoat and topcoat – but – strangely no wings [seem to be demurely tucked under those clothes.] The duck would have been bought for a children’s room; these anthropomorphic animals were very popular as gifts for children in the 50s and 60s.
The lustreware is seen on the topcoat, and as with the jug, all this was hand-painted. I’ve teamed the duck figurine- which is quite large- 170mm tall- with a little duck cup orphaned from a children’s tea set, also made in Japan at around the same time. Though just how he will pick up that cup is anyone’s guess!
I think this duck jug comes from part of a children’s tea set; but I could be wrong. It is quite large for a tea set- the size of an ordinary jug; but the styling and whimsy of the duck reminds me of a children’s play set.
The jug has the ‘lustreware’ glazing so typical of the 40s – the shiny, gold glaze that makes up the duck’s body- and gives it a ‘kitschiness’ to the modern eye. I am a big fan of lustreware – and kitsch, for that matter – so I love this jug.
I haven’t been able to find a maker for the jug; it’s just marked ‘Japan’ on the base. It is in good vintage condition and is for sale: $AU35. Buy now for Christmas!
These mugs feature the abstract, large –faced form that marks all Gempo pottery. They are also particular to the 70s; with stylised features, and the stoneware pottery glazed in rustic creams and browns. We’re in the 70s folks!
I have featured Gempo egg cups [a family featuring nan & pop, mum and dad, and children] and a Gempo money box [Leo the Lion] previously. Now we have three mugs – a hippo [spotted]; elephant [with trunk as the handle] and koala [wearing dungarees.]
As the 70s becomes more collectable, so these stoneware pieces are becoming sought after. It was something that I did not predict, but have been caught up in.
The three mugs are in excellent vintage condition and are for sale: $AU45
Fuji Birdie Type II projector
made in Japan, 1950s
I’ve collected a number of mini projectors – where the 35mm slide projector folds up or compacts into a tiny space for ease of transport – and surprise! – here’s another.
The Birdie projectors are as small as is possible: hence the name. It’s all metal construction though- so it’s not lightweight; even the cover is metal. The on-off switch and the plug are bakelite; and the switch presents as a marketing opportunity as it sports ‘Fuji Film’ in raised letters.
The projector shows some wear to the base- it’s had a good life showing holiday snaps by the thousands; but is in excellent working order and has been checked by an electrician.
Super 8 film is having a resurgence, and super 8 cameras and editors are being dusted off and put back into use. You only have to look at YouTube to see how many videos are being made using this fantastic 50s technology.
This Editor is fully working, and comes in its original box with splicer, spare bulb, reels of film and even splicing cement [not sure how good it will be after sixty-odd years but the box packing is fabulous.] It’s been tested by an electrician and deemed good to go.
Even if you don’t use the editor to – you know- edit, it is a beautiful piece of engineering that will lend industrial cred to any space.
The Editor [and assorted accoutrements] is for sale: $AU150
These doggy bookends- cocker spaniels, I believe, were made in the 50s. They both have a large hole in the base- which I always believed was for glazing/firing purposes – but no- apparently this hole allows the bookends to be filled with sand, and then corked to seal. The sand allows the bookends to have a heavier mass, and so withstand the forces of all the books. I had no idea.
The book ends are shown here with our burgeoning Observer book collection – they are just the right scale for the books. I have not filled the bookends with sand – but leave that to the next owner.
The bookends would suit a reader with a library, or – a cocker spaniel enthusiast. The doggy bookends are for sale: $AUD80
This is a rare thing: a lidded, segmented hors d’oeuvre dish with original metal base – all as new. The black steel base even has its original white leg caps. I‘d say this has been in someone’s cupboard since it was bought and never been near a hors d’oeuvre!
The ceramic is hand-painted, and because this was 50s Japan- features radish, aubergine, turnip, and a cabbage – because nothing says sophisticated appetizers like a cabbage. Each piece is signed ‘Japan’ on the base and there is a spare lidded dish with the set. Back in the 50s extra parts were often sold with a set- to replace bits broken from too much revelry!
A must for your next 50s party, the hors d’oeuvre dish is for sale: $AUD75
These figurines originally served as pin cushions: a stuffed velvet piece billowed out from the hollow section for you to place pins. The velvet is long gone and now these cutsie-pie figurines can hold all manner of stuff. They were made for the western export market- and as such- are now highly collectible.
The pair of pigs are pulling barrows and the mouse a pram. Their wild, exaggerated eyes remind me of anime- surely they were precursors? It’s rare to find a pair of anything quite so old [over 90 years old if you think about it] – and although I am not a big fan of figurines I find I do have an affinity for these – I think it’s the anime association. [Yes, ok, it could also be the kitsch, cutsie-pie association.]