30s Mickey Mouse

1930s Mickey Mouse napkin ringMickey Mouse napkin ring
made in Japan 1930s

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

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40s kitsch

Kangaroo bookends
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.

For sale: $AUD65

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Bonzo!

Bonzo napkin ring, 1920sAlbert 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 cartoon character 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.

The napkin ring is for sale: POA

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Kodak Brownie movie camera

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

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Bakelite roulette wheel

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.

For sale: $AUD75

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70s brutalism

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

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20s toast racks

20s silver plated toast racks
made in England

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.]

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Terra Ceramics lazy susan

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

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Shalom! and a Christmas story

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.

Donald & Piglet

Donald Duck clock & PigletBayard Donald Duck clock, made in France c.1960s
Beswick Piglet figurine, made in England 1968-1990

This lovely Donald Duck clock is currently for display only – the clock mechanism still works but its time keeping is not exactly accurate. It could possibly be repaired- and it would be fun to see Donald’s arms holding red paint brushes move around the dial – but for my money, he’s quite adorable as he is.

The other issue with these clocks is…the hands are well known to fall off. In fact, if you find a clock with the hands still attached- you are doing well. So, I think since the hands are in a delightful twenty minutes to three configuration, all well and good.

The blue metal casing has some rust – and a tiny nick in the plastic dial ring between numbers 8 and 9 – click on the image to enlarge to see – both of which are a product of the clock’s age. This particular Donald clock is now quite rare in that it has little plastic feet in place of the more commonly produced metal pedestal rest.

All vintage Disney products are now very collectable. Donald’s friend Piglet, by Beswick, is no exception. He has a ‘gold’ back stamp indicating he was made by Beswick, under license for Walt Disney Productions. Figurines with a gold back stamp are more expensive than those with a mere brown back stamp. I have seen gold back stamp Piglets for sale for over $150! And for a fella with such a forlorn face too!

Piglet is in excellent condition; both items are for sale separately or together.

For sale: Donald Duck clock: $AUD75, Piglet : $AUD75 or both: $AUD125

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