January 13, 2011

From the china cabinet: Head vases


Head vases are small containers from the 1950s and 60s that would have contained flowers and depicted ladies’ heads. These Japanese-made ceramics were once just dime-store florist vases, but are now popular among collectors. They aren’t exactly southern, but look at that dreamy expression on the sister in blue above…doesn’t she seem like a southern belle (or at least a wanna-be southern belle)?

jackie head vase

The reason I started thinking about head vases is my dear friend mlw and I  looked at one (above) depicting the lovely Jackie Kennedy in an antique shop. When he went back to possibly buy it as my Christmas present, the shopkeeper had raised the price to a whopping $900! (It was originally about $100). Apparently the Jackie head vases are in high demand and the shop only recently found out.


This post is the first of a new series here on SBS called “From the china cabinet” where I feature things that folks I know have collected or acquired. My me-me has a couple of these head vases and she pulled them out of the china cabinet so I could take a look. This one is pretty, but I think her floral headpiece needs updating just a bit. I love her heavily lidded eyes and tangerine lips.


I think this head vase is adorable…I’ll call her Gidget. She once had pearl earrings, but they are now missing. There is an entire website devoted to head vases and you can also find them on Ebay and Etsy as well as in antique shops. If you’re going for value, look for ones with no chips or cracks. Otherwise, they are a whimsical piece that would make a cute addition to a little girl’s room or collection. Ours are marked Napcoware on the bottom, but there were other manufacturers of them too.


Do any of you collect head vases? Maybe you have the desirable Jackie and weren’t aware of her worth. I’d love to hear about something that you collect!