Collecting ladies head vases has been a fun a rewarding hobby for me for about 15 years. I’ve got over 750 of these lovely ladies in my collection at this point and I still keep finding different ones to add to my collection. I spent most of the day yesterday working on a curio cabinet that I found at a garage sale for $25.00. I added a new mirror (about $20) and wow… for $45 it looks really good! It will look even better when I finish filling it with head vases that I have had packed away because I’ve not had a place to display them.
When I started collecting head vase I bought almost every vase that I happened upon. I’ve grown older and a little wiser about collecting. Here are my four golden rules for collecting head vase:
- Condition is everything! As with most collectibles, the condition of the head vase is the central factor that will determine the vases value. While clear crazing is not an issue for most collectors chips, cracks, and dark crazing are usually deal breakers. The only vases that I will even consider buying with damage are rare or unusual vase that I have never seen before. I prefer the original jewelry but I’ve not found missing or new replacement jewelry having a great deal of importance.
- Know what you are buying. Spend some time doing research and protect yourself from making purchases that you will regret. There are new head vases and reproductions that are often sold as “vintage”. It can be a little confusing but with some research you will be able to spot a “fake” from miles away. Honestly, some of the new vases are not so bad and I would use them or give them to my granddaughters as gifts but I would not pay a vintage price for them. On the other hand, some of these new vases are just hideous.
- Buy vases that you like. Don’t waste your time and money buying vases that you are not attracted to on some level. When I started my collection I bought every vase I found. Those days are long gone for me. I only buy vases that I like. If I think that quality is strange or if I just don’t like the look of the vase, I will not buy it. Why would I want to spend the money on something that I don’t like?
- Don’t spend money that you don’t have. That is my practical side coming out. With head vases and everything else in my life, if I can’t afford it I walk away. I have made a couple exceptions putting very hard to find head vases or small collections on a credit card for a short period of time. For example, in 2010 I found a collection of 125 vases in St. Louis listed on Craigslist for $1,500.00. I checked my checking account balance, searched couch cushions for change, and thought about making a deal with the devil! I made the tough call and put the purchase on a credit card. The nice lady was very happy with the purchase price and I did not try to get her to come down on the price. I kept about 40 of the vases in my collection and sold the others and more than paid off the credit card balance. It worked out that time for me so I don’t regret that decision.
For discussion: Does anyone else have a strategy or rules for collecting head vase? If you do please share!