Sunday, January 11, 2015

“On a good day, even writing can feel like a form of collecting--

of gathering words, images, and ideas and arranging them in an order that feels right.”
                                                ~Amanda Petrusich

While reorganizing for the new year and combining some things from cleaning out my Mom's house, I came across a box of wall pockets from my collecting past.
I remember in the late 60s – early 70s going to the flea markets and searching for these pieces of wall art.  Many I bought for 25 cents which translates to $1.57 in today’s money, but I have not seen a $2 wall pocket anywhere in my travels although on ebay I just saw one for $1.99, but shipping was $5.95.  Wall pockets made sense to me because they did not take up much room and came in many thematic schemes--animals, birds, fruit, veggies, faces as well as the traditional flat cones.

Before decorative wall pockets were created, flat backed wooden boxes hung on walls to hold papers, candles, matches, or eating utensils, as well as cloth pockets designed to hold sewing tools such as scissors, thimbles, or thread.
Decorative wall pockets, or “wall vases,” first became home fixtures in the late 18th century when porcelain potteries were booming in Europe. Staffordshire, Minton, Wedgwood, Royal Worcester, Royal Doulton, and Meissen all produced elegant wall pockets made out of fine china.  Here is a showstopper Meissen piece that I saw as I researched; although I have not bought any pieces in a long time, if I saw this one, I would probably give serious consideration!
From the 1920s through the 1950s, there were thousands of wall pocket styles made over the years. These popular decorative accessories were shaped like teacups, parrots, irons, and flowers, just to a name a few themes, and they hung on the walls of the most fashionable homes of the day.

Unmarked American wall pockets and imports from Germany, Czechoslovakia, China, and Japan weren't nearly as popular as the big names, but I bought ones that intrigued me when I went shopping.  Collecting, like my opening quote about writing, should be personal.  It always makes me a little crazy (crazier?) to see people collect because they think it will gain value.

For collectors just being drawn to these space-saving trinkets, bargain wall pockets can still be found in the $20-$30 range.  Different glaze variations on the same piece or different styles in a series can result in variations in price. A number of the plentiful wall pockets made by McCoy fall into this category.
For instance, a hard-to-find McCoy orange wall pocket usually sells for $200-250,
but a more common pear or apple wall vase can be found in the $25-30 range.
I have the apple, but I never saw the orange.
     I liked pockets with sayings...this is a favorite...
If you are into modern design, there are wall pockets for that motif also...
Or, how about dogs?
Depression Sunbonnet Sue...
Then, there are the strange ones...
But, you can sail on through all the themes...
Collect what you love, not what may be of value someday...as I unwrapped a box of these wall pockets, I smiled thinking of my younger days at the flea market when I was buying for my first apartment, and that is what collecting should bring you - memories and moments.
                                        
                                                  Collectors are happy people.
                                               ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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