For those of us who love the unique and quirky side of vintage, Lady Head Vases make a stunning addition to any vintage home. Wonderfully (and addictively) collectible, these fantastic vases first emerged from Forties America, adding a touch of good-time glamour and optimism into post-war homes. Tara Gardner gives you a head-start on your Head Vase hunting.

Before you read on, it’s important to consider one thing: once you buy your first Lady Head Vase, you’ll find it impossible to stop. Whether you track them down in car boot sales, junk shops, or from specialist dealers, your relationship with these gorgeously enigmatic ladies will keep you busy for years to come. Let’s just hope you’ve got room in your life for two love affairs…

Avid collector and owner of Antique Head Vases – an online shop, Bonnie Wood explains how her passion was ignited: ‘I think I fell in love with my first Head Vase when I was about 13. I now have about 200-250 in my personal collection in addition to what I have on my website. Head Vases just have a draw or magnetism of artistic appeal. They look so lifelike and remind me of the women in every era of our times. Collecting them is like an addiction to their beauty.’

Lady Head Vases were popular throughout the Forties through to the Seventies in America and the UK. Typically depicting a lady’s head and shoulders, and occasionally teenagers and children, these distinctive vases were sold in florists filled with flowers, and often given as gifts from sweethearts and lovers.

A beautiful catalogue of the changing styles, fashions, and times across the decades, Lady Head Vases are available in an huge abundance of different shapes and forms. In fact it’s been estimated that there are at least 10,000 varieties for you to hunt down!

Each vase varies in value depending on certain factors. Many collectors tend to prefer extravagant hats, jewellery like pearl earrings and necklaces, and other protruding features such as curls, or a hand at the face. These features add to the desirability of the vase, and therefore the price.

Bonnie says, ‘The real vintage Head Vases have very delicate demure features (eye, nose mouth, etc) with high quality details in paint and in the ceramic, while the reproductions are more crude with larger features and the ceramic slip and painting are poor quality.’

Other things to look out for include:

  • Facial expression – the more expressive and realistic, the more the vase will be worth
  • The condition of the vase – check for cracks, places where parts may have been glued, or missing pieces, these will all affect the value
  • The originality of the jewellery – whether it has been replaced or is the original piece. This could affect the value of the vase
  • Reproductions – avoid post-Sixties reproductions, they don’t tend to be as well made, or desirable.

Ranging in price with regular vases starting from £20 ($40) through to £150 ($300), the more ornate and detailed vases often modelled on popular icons such as Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, and Jackie O, can fetch anything from £300 ($600) right through to £500 ($1000) plus.

Read on!

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5 Responses

  1. Lena

    Oh wow, this could become a whole new obsession of mine…

  2. jill shaver

    this is a great web site. I am a collector of head vase for many years.
    I did not know that my collection was worth so much.
    Thanks for the HEADS UP.

  3. Paul

    We have in our custody seems to be very rare a head vase still in its origanal box packed with some kind of straw, with her picture on the lid of her cardboard box. I love these vases and to this day have never never seen one in its perfict condition. The picture under the vase on packaging says MY LADY FAIR does enyone know about her???

  4. Ashley Tuminella

    i am looking for someone to tell me a little bit about my lady head vase it is white or cream porclin it has no color and no marks on it that i can see it has a pearl necklas around her neck in porclin i found it in my garden if anyone can tell my any information please email me at i can also e-mail paictures to anyone who can give me information thank you and have a nice day