Upcoming Auctions . . .

Each Monday in June and July, some of country music’s biggest stars will auction memorabilia and concert tickets for Musicians On Call.  If you are into collectible acoustic guitars, this may be an auction you are looking for. Up for auction will be a Carrie Underwood autographed guitar and a Vince Gill autographed guitar as well as a Kellie Pickler guitar.  Musicians on Call brings live recorded music to the bedside of patients in healthcare facilities.

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Newsletter June 18, 2010
Vintage Lady Head Vases, Pyrobilia, Auctions
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Newsletter 01-15-2010

Collecting Vintage Head Vases

Starting a collection of vintage head vases can be a lot of fun.  However, just like starting any other collection, you must first do some research and make some decisions about your collection.  One of the first things you want to determine is what type of head vases you want to collect.  Head vases come in many different forms and sizes in addition to condition and price.  Are you willing to sacrifice some repairable minor flaws in order to pay less?

Some of the more recognizable head vases modeled after Lucille Ball or Jackie Kennedy may be more expensive than general production head vases.  And you also may or may not want to consider collecting from one pottery manufacturer as opposed to many different manufacturers.  Pottery manufacturers that produced head vases include NAPCO, Enesco, Relpo, Inarco, Royal Copley and Lefton China. 

Some head vases are more expensive based on the original manufacturer and the quality of the manufacturer.  Enesco is probably the company that produced the most head vases and therefore some of the least expensive head vases, but most collectors would agree that NAPCO and Ruben had some of the more beautifully designed head vases and these are well sought after today by other collectors so expect to pay a little more for these. 


Where You Might Vintage Lady Head Vases This Month . . .

The 2010 Antiques in the Valley antiques show will be held on Saturday & Sunday, June 18 & 19, 2010 at the Oley Valley Middle School in Oley, Pennsylvania.  This show attracts many antiques and collectibles dealers from the Mid Atlantic area and features vintage pottery and glass, antique furniture and decorative arts. A portion of the proceeds benefit scholarships at the Oley Valley High.

June 19, 2010, Main Street Antique Show, Historic Downtown Hendersonville, Hendersonville, North Carolina

June 20, 2010, Sully’s Annual Antique Car Show, 3650 Historic Sully Way, Chantilly, Virginia

June 24-27, 2010, Summer Antiques Extravaganza, Townwide, Adamstown, Pennsylvania

June 26-27, 2010, Piedmont Antiques Show, St John Evangelist Catholic Church, Warrenton, Virginia

The Lititz Historical Foundation Antiques Show will be held on Saturday & Sunday, June 25 & 26, 2010 at the John Bonfield Elementary School in Lititz, Pennsylvania.  In addition to antique furniture, vintage pottery, glass, silver and other collectibles, this annual antiques show also features a bake sale with cookies, cakes and candies.  Proceeds go to the restoration of foundation properties.


NAPCO Vintage Head Vase Collectibles

Anyone who loves vintage pottery knows the name NAPCO or National Potteries Corporation. The company which had humble beginnings in Bedford, Ohio began producing porcelain and glass in 1938 and was at peak production mid-century, 1950’s and 1960’s. Their well designed porcelain merchandise is still in high demand today and many collectors favor it not only because of its beauty, but its relative low price to collect.

NAPCO has made much merchandise over the years including decorative glass, figurines, wall planters, ashtrays and even cookie jars, but their claim to fame and their most popular product even today is the Lady Head vase. Lady Head vases were originally designed to be used by florists but became very popular collectibles. The Head Vase was usually in the shape of beautiful, famous women including Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball. Lady Head vases can be purchased by collectors for as little as $50 with some of the more expensive examples going for thousands.


Dumb Mikey the Man of the House

Mikey had just finished reading the book, Man of the House.  He stormed into the kitchen and walked directly up to his wife. Pointing a finger in her face, he said, "From now on, I want you to know that I am the man of this house, and my word is law!”  He continues, “I want you to prepare me a gourmet meal tonight, and when I'm finished eating my meal, I expect a sumptuous dessert afterward. Then, after dinner, you're going to draw me my bath so I can relax. And when I'm finished with my bath, guess who's going to dress me and comb my hair?"  His wife replied, "The funeral director."


Arthur Lismer Painting Sells for Auction Record

A record was set last week when an Arthur Lismer painting of Bon Echo Rock, a natural landmark north of Kingston in Ontario, Canada.  Lismer is said to have painted the piece in the 1920’s and was only estimated to bring in about half of the $778,750.  This sale was part of a Sotheby’s Canada auction that saw more than 139 lots sold for more than $7 million.


Upcoming Estate Sales

Estate Sale on Friday & Saturday June 18 & 19, 2010 at 8001 14th St, NW Washington, DC; French & Oriental Loaded House, 202.460.2400

Estate Sale on Saturday & Sunday June 19 & 20, 2010 at 8815 Charles Hawkins Way, Annandale, VA; Big Collectors Sale, 571.263.7287


For us, a lot of the fun is in the “hunt” and looking for unusual antiques and collectibles.  In most cases, you will find a greater abundance of vintage head vases at antiques and collectibles shows, but that is generally where you will also pay the higher prices.  Your hunt for head vases should take you to old garage sales, estate sales and flea markets.  In most cases, flea markets are where you might find a better deal, followed by a garage sale.

Arthur Lismer was born in 1885 and was a member of the Group of Seven.  The Group of Seven were Canadian landscape painters of the 1920’s and were strongly influenced by French impressionism of the period.  Lismer, studied in Belgium before immigrating to Toronto and worked as an artist for Grip Ltd, a magazine.  Four of the artist working at the magazine, including Lismer, later became the Group of Seven.  Lismer passed away in March of 1969.


Pyrobilia – Fireworks Label Collectors

Fireworks were invented in China in the 1300’s and were mainly used in ancient rituals. Although the western world adopted the colorful bursting displays for their own celebrations, including on our own July 4th, manyChinese celebrations are also still punctuated by fireworks including the Chinese New Year celebration.  In fact, many of the fireworks that we still see today are manufactured in China. 

Best known for his role portraying Captain Kirk in the Star Trek television series, actor William Shatner has donated his motorcycle for a charity event auction.  The bike, a customized 2005 Harley Davidson FXDC Dyna Super Glide will be auctioned off on June 27, 2010 at the Planet Hollywood Resort Hotel and proceeds will benefit the Roddenberry Foundation which supports education, children and the environment as well as the Hollywood Charity Horse Show.  This auction will also feature Star Trek memorabilia and collectibles.


The term pyrobilia is the hobby of collecting fireworks or anything associated with fireworks. There are thousands of people who collect all things related to fireworks; some collectors just collect the labels from old firecracker packages. Firecracker package labels can be very interesting and colorful as well as valuable. We have seen some vintage firecracker labels go on eBay for anywhere between $10 -$69.

The vintage firecracker paper label pictured on the left is from the 1930’s and depicts Tarzan on a tree branch with a knife and vine. This was a “registered brand of Li & Fung of Hong Kong.” It measures approximately 3” x 5.5” and sold at Hakes Americana and Collectibles Auctions of York, Pennsylvania for about $172 in 2007.

Newsletter 05-15-2010