Archive for February, 2012

Commemorating Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell 1776


I recently added two items to my on line store, Sirocco’s Curios . They are two decorative plates commemorating Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. The plates were commissioned by the Avon Corporation and were awarded exclusively to Avon representatives who had top sales in a 1976 sales initiative. The plates were produced by Wedgwood of the United Kingdom.

While the plates commemorate the historical signing of the Declaration of Independence in1776, the two companies, Avon and Wedgwood, have histories almost as old as that event. LibertyBell 2

Avon began in 1886 when David McConnell, a traveling book salesman, noticed that his women customers were more interested in the free perfume samples he was giving out rather than the books he was selling. So began Avon. It began as the California Perfume Company. McConnell recruited women to do the selling, believing they would better be able to network with women clients. It also gave women an opportunity to earn much more money than the low wages of the time. Some of you might remember the TV commercial where there was the sound of a doorbell ringing followed by a musical female voice “Avon Calling.” I remember it well. That was in 1962. I guess I am dating myself here. Avon is still in business today and still uses many of the same sales techniques that it pioneered over a hundred years ago.

The Wedgwood Company was founded by pottery maker Josiah Wedgwood in 1759 in England. Wedgwood has produced many different kinds of pottery but it is probably most famous for its Jasperware. Jasperware is that light blue pottery with white décor and has that ancient cameo look to it. I had the good fortune to be able to visit the Wedgwood factory in England a few years ago. It is an impressive place. The company has been through many changes over the years. It combined with Waterford Crystal in 1987 and today the company is known as WWRD (Wedgwood, Waterford, Royal Doulton). Evidently much of the pottery is now made in Indonesia.

Avon awards have become very collectable over the years and with all the history behind them I can see why. I invite you to visit my store, Sirocco’s Curios and take a look around. Just click on the links above in the first paragraph.


Singing Birds on a Branch Ceramic Figurine


While sifting through some boxes in the garage attic I came across a cute little ceramic figurine of three-birds-sitting-on-a-branch. It was labeled Otagiri Japan. I had not heard of Otagiri and so decided to do some investigating.Bird2

The Otagiri Mercantile Company began in Japan and made a vast variety of ceramic dishware and giftware items. It is also known as the Otagiri Manufacturing Company or just OMC. I was unable to find anything about Otagiri’s early history but Otagiri is evidently a Japanese surname.

Much of Otagiri’s product was produced for the wholesale trade to restaurants and in the 1960s it manufactured a variety of Polynesian themed ceramics for that purpose. They also produced many giftware items for the retail trade. All have become collectable.

OMC was acquired by Enesco in late 1994. Enesco is an old company in the giftware distribution business that dates back to the late 1880s. It is known for its Department 56 brand and many other well known brands. While Enesco owns the rights to the OMC brand nothing has been produced with that brand since 1994.

The three-birds-on-a-branch figurine pictured above is brightly colored and has a glossy finish. Standing nearly 5 inches high it is nearly 3 inches long. It is truly cute and I see why many would find these figurines collectable.

You can find this three-birds-on-a-branch-figurine for sale in my store, Sirocco’s Curios. I hope you will stop in and take a look around.