NAPCO Vintage Head Vase Collectibles

Anyone who loves vintage pottery knows the name NAPCO or National Potteries Corporation. The company which had humble beginnings in Bedford, Ohio began producing porcelain and glass in 1938 and was at peak production mid-century, 1950’s and 1960’s. Their well designed porcelain merchandise is still in high demand today and many collectors favor it not only because of its beauty, but its relative low price to collect.

NAPCO has made much merchandise over the years including decorative glass, figurines, wall planters, ashtrays and even cookie jars, but their claim to fame and their most popular product even today is the Lady Head vase. Lady Head vases were originally designed to be used by florists but became very popular collectibles. The Head Vase was usually in the shape of beautiful, famous women including Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball. Lady Head vases can be purchased by collectors for as little as $50 with some of the more expensive examples going for thousands.

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Collecting Vintage Head Vases

Starting a collection of vintage head vases can be a lot of fun.  However, just like starting any other collection, you must first do some research and make some decisions about your collection.  One of the first things you want to determine is what type of head vases you want to collect.  Head vases come in many different forms and sizes in addition to condition and price.  Are you willing to sacrifice some repairable minor flaws in order to pay less?

Some of the more recognizable head vases modeled after Lucille Ball or Jackie Kennedy may be more expensive than general production head vases.  And you also may or may not want to consider collecting from one pottery manufacturer as opposed to many different manufacturers.  Pottery manufacturers that produced head vases include NAPCO, Enesco, Relpo, Inarco, Royal Copley and Lefton China. 

Some head vases are more expensive based on the original manufacturer and the quality of the manufacturer.  Enesco is probably the company that produced the most head vases and therefore some of the least expensive head vases, but most collectors would agree that NAPCO and Ruben had some of the more beautifully designed head vases and these are well sought after today by other collectors so expect to pay a little more for these. 


For us, a lot of the fun is in the “hunt” and looking for unusual antiques and collectibles.  In most cases, you will find a greater abundance of vintage head vases at antiques and collectibles shows, but that is generally where you will also pay the higher prices.  Your hunt for head vases should take you to old garage sales, estate sales and flea markets.  In most cases, flea markets are where you might find a better deal, followed by a garage sale.


Upcoming Auctions . . .

Each Monday in June and July, some of country music’s biggest stars will auction memorabilia and concert tickets for Musicians On Call.  If you are into collectible acoustic guitars, this may be an auction you are looking for. Up for auction will be a Carrie Underwood autographed guitar and a Vince Gill autographed guitar as well as a Kellie Pickler guitar.  Musicians on Call brings live recorded music to the bedside of patients in healthcare facilities.