Anthropomorphic Collectibles Guide

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Anthropomorphic
adjective[an-thruh-puh-mawr-fik]
  1. ascribing human form or attributes to a being or thing not human.
  2. resembling or made to resemble human form
Sounds kind of creepy right? I don’t think you’ll be creeped out at all though because I’m specifically talking about collectibles… even more specifically, those cute kitchen collectibles from the 40’s – 60’s.

anthropomorphic collectibles guide



This guide will cover all kinds of anthropomorphic kitchen items, from salt and pepper sets, napkin holders, and tea pots to embroidered pot holders, tea towels, and aprons.

The values included in this guide were determined by me during my research of each item and actual prices that they are currently selling at because after all, you can say something is worth whatever you want but in my opinion it's only worth that if it's selling for that price! (Sentimental value trumps monetary value at times though) :o)

Anthropomorphic Kitchen Collectibles 

The ceramic versions of these little cuties were mostly imports from Japan sold by popular distributors like Holt Howard, Napco, and Lefton. As mentioned above, they came in all different forms… salt and pepper sets, butter dishes, condiment containers, tea pots, and pitchers to name just a few!

Py/Miyao was a popular manufacturer that began in the 1930s from Yokkaichi City, Japan. Miyawo Company Limited produced PY novelties for most of the American distributing companies listed above under the name Miyao from 1949 until 1961.

I've got some sweet examples to share!

This cute little onion keeper was my grandmother's.


It is marked "Napco" on the bottom. Value = $80 to $100


I've been collecting these little tea bag holders for awhile now. Only one is marked "Made in Japan" on the back. Value $7 - $10 each


I found these funny little turnip salt and pepper shakers at the antique mall where I work. They are not a pair although very similar except for size.


They are marked on the bottom "JAPAN". Value = $10 to $25 (if they were a matched set)


This adorable little pumpkin is a planter that my mom found recently at an estate sale. While this one is not marked, after researching him I found he was distributed by Relpo. Value = $15 - $20


These little egg salt and pepper shakers look rather worried! These are not marked. Value = $14 - $18



This sweet little teapot is from the Lefton Cabbage Cuties pattern. Her name is "Cissy Cabbage". Value = $125 - $175.



Here are a few more examples that I picked up recently. This apple napkin holder was distributed by Enesco. Value = $20 - $25


I could not find any information about these except that there was a male face that was Jam too! Estimated value = $20 - $30



A chubby cheek relish jar by Napco Value = $25 - $30



Most of these darling collectibles were earthenware which is soft clay. It chips easily so it is very common to see pieces with chips and nicks on them. While most items were originally made for use in the kitchen, if you are collecting them now you should not wash these in the dishwasher due to drastic temperature changes which can cause pottery to crack.

I put together a little collage of some of the most common markings for PY/Miyao pieces. Although not all pieces made by them will have markings. Some have none at all!


For more in-depth details and values this is a great book:


Not only are there lots of ceramic collectibles there are soft goods as well... vintage embroidery patterns like this one from The Vintage Dresser on Etsy were used to create tea towels and pot holders.

Source: The Vintage Dresser

Even the patterns themselves have a value anywhere from $5 for the more common designs up to $15 for the super cute ones like this :o)

Diane from Stitchin Time Studio on Etsy creates new embroidered tea towels out of old patterns. Here is one made from the pattern above!

Source: Stitchin Time Studio
How about these vintage examples?!

Value = $8 - $10 each for the tea towels shown below.

I love how these combine applique and embroidery! They are from Bookcliffvintage on Etsy.

Source: Bookcliffvintage
Here are a couple more cute examples:

Source: Pacific Modern
Source: Picadilly Market

These adorable pot holders belong to my mom. Value = $5 - $10 each


A little bit more recent example, these are from the 1960's - 1970's. You may have seen these little cuties (or something similar) before. Manufactured by Anchor Hocking and signed "Hildi".
Value = $10 - $12


Source: Little Boho Cottage
They came in complete sets too! These are from Little Shop of Whatnots on Etsy

Source: Little Shop of Whatnots
And here is the matching apron! Value = $10 - $12


Source: Little Boho Cottage

And corn cob salt and pepper shakers to complete the set! Marked "Japan". Value = $6 - $8



What do you think? They're cute aren't they?

I hope you found this guide useful or at the very least enjoyable!


11 comments

  1. What a wonderful collection. They're stinkin' cute too! I especially love the tea towels. The salt & pepper shakers too. Thanks for sharing them with us! :)

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  2. They're totally adorable! I want them all!

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  3. I looove all those pieces. You know me, I live from anthropomorphic designs :D

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    1. They are fun aren't they!? Thanks for your comment Vanessa!

      Tania

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  4. I love these crazy things. My mother collects the chalkware wall hanging ones - only fruits though - no veggies!

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  5. Very informative post about anthropomorphic vintage pieces. sb

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    1. Thanks Sharon. I could have gone on and on about these but decided I might overwhelm people if I kept going! lol!

      Tania

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  6. What a great collection you have Tania! I love the tea bag holders. I'll have to keep an eye out for those. And the red and blue embroidery is really sweet. I'm pinning so I can refer to this info in the future. Thanks so much for sharing at Vintage Charm.

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  7. Absolutely marvelous post, Tania! I've posted it on my Pinterest Vintage & Antique Resources board and added it to my Online Resources blog button as well. Love your collection :)

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I would love to hear what you thought of this post, leave me a comment and let's chat!