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Pot-Head Vases Dated By Faces

Lady-head vases were a type of pottery that first became popular in the late 1930s, continuing through the 1960s. The shoulders, neck and head of a woman were molded to form a container. The top of the head was left open, to hold flowers.

Most of the vases were designed so that the flowers coming out of the lady’s head looked like they were part of a hat.

Other “pot-head” vases, as they were also called, were made to resemble men, babies, famous people, clowns, madonnas and specific ethnic groups.

The hair style on a lady-head vase is one of the best clues to determine the age, since the vases followed the fashion trends of the day. The Betty Grable look of the 1940s is very obvious, as is the Jackie Kennedy look of the 1960s.

Reference books include Head Vases, Identification and Values, Second Edition, by Kathleen Cole and Collecting Head Vases, and Identification and Value Guide, by David Barron. Both are published by Collector Books.

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Insulting Valentines

While we expect valentines to be of a romantic nature, such is not always the case. Caricature and “comic” valentines, usually insulting, first appeared in America in the 1860s.

These first single-sheet printed valentines were called “penny dreadfuls” because they cost only a penny. They made fun of old maids, teachers, bosses and lazy wives. They also expressed insults.

For example, a “Big Nose” valentine says, “You’re romantically inclined, is what most folks say, But how can you kiss with your nose in the way?”

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Organs Popular As Furniture Piece

One of the pieces of parlor furniture of the Victorian era was the melodeon, or parlor organ. It was a small reed organ, with a suction pump to draw air inward through the reeds.

They became popular about 1850. A buyer today would probably want to consider the wood and the workmanship, rather than the musical quality of the instrument. If he wants it to look authentically Victorian, the instrument must be topped with a fringed scarf, held down by a china “piano baby.”

Another kind of reed organ was the harmonium. It worked by means of a bellows that forced air outward over the reeds.

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