Spring is in the air! Soon it will be time to plant all those beautiful colors that we welcome after a cold winter. There’s no better way to put those frosty gray days behind you than to create a bowl of sunshine in a bright and cheery vintage planter. There are so many choices and uses for these nostalgic artistic pieces. They come in every shape, size, and color you can imagine, from ornate and elegant to figural, rustic, and traditional. Gardenistas love having these beauties on display.
I learned to appreciate the artistry of planters and pots of all kinds when I was young. Tucked behind my grandmother’s historic craftsman home in New York was a courtyard filled with the most enchanting planters, many of them made by local artisans. Springing, spilling, and spiking out of each pot and planter were every variety of flowers you could imagine.
Oh, how I wish I had those planters today. My grandmother, a master at pottery and ceramics, made many of them herself. She would sell her craft to local shops and trade them with friends and other local artisans who created these magical objects.
Collecting Planters for Fun and Investment
Collecting vintage planters is plain fun and can be an excellent investment. Their beauty and originality challenge collectors to search out the unique and unusual. Planters can run anywhere from a few dollars to thousands of dollars. It all depends on what your budget and collecting appetite is.
I have always appreciated antique French planters and terracotta pots. I recall visiting Paris in 2010, where I fell in love with the beautiful window boxes, garden pots, planters, and jardinières that graced many terraces.
Majolica vintage planters are a wildly popular type of pottery. Unfortunately, these planters can be pricey, especially planters manufactured in Britain by Minton and Wedgwood. The Majolica from German, French, and U.S. manufacturers is less expensive but can still set you back a pretty penny.
While most of us are probably not in the market for these investment-grade vintage planters, thankfully, there are plenty of other more affordable buying opportunities.
In the early 20th century, many pottery manufacturers came on the scene in America. McCoy, Roseville, Van Briggle, Hull, Weller, Rookwood, Frankoma, Hall, and others. The mass production of pottery made it affordable for the public to purchase decorative pieces. Because vintage planters produced by these companies are inexpensive, it is a great place to start your collection. However, that is not to say that their rarer pieces are easy to acquire without breaking the bank.
Avid collectors have their favorite makers, and competition is fierce for the more unusual and uncommon items. Vintage McCoy planters, for example, can be purchased for little as a few dollars on eBay. But stiff competition exists for the more desirable and unique pieces, like Brush McCoy, costing a couple of hundred dollars or more, depending on the body or type of planter.
If you are new to collecting pottery, it is always wise to start by spending modestly. Ensure that the item you consider purchasing is authentic as fakes and reproductions abound in the market. Also, be sure to check for repairs or damage before purchase and take special care when buying online. WorthPoint® is one of the best resources for researching price before considering a purchase.
Vintage Planters Have a Variety of Uses
Vintage planters are versatile and can be used for more than flowers or plants. Repurpose them into functional and charming containers with a bit of imagination. For example, I have seen planters used for visual impact in powder rooms. Fill them with tissues, designer soaps or potpourri, hand towels, and other bathroom necessities.
Or how about adding some whimsy to your kitchen. Use vintage planters to store wooden spoons, toothpicks, napkins, spices, and all kinds of kitchenalia.
Repurpose a planter for your office. Use it as a paperweight or paper clip holder—store pens, pencils, and other office supplies.
How about popping a scented candle into a vintage planter? They also make an attractive place to store your keys. They can also make a stylish and striking waste receptacle.
Another great idea is to repurpose a vintage planter into a lamp. I am thinking about tackling this myself soon. Wish me luck.
Best of all, vintage planters make marvelous gifts.
Ideas for Gifting Vintage Planters
Any occasion that calls for a gift is an opportunity to shop for a one-of-kind vintage planter. There is nothing better than having an excuse to go on the hunt for the next great piece of pottery.
Easter is right around the corner. Why not shop for a beautiful vintage planter and fill it with Easter Lilies or some bright and cheery Daffodils? What a lovely centerpiece it would make at your friend’s or relative’s holiday dinner gathering.
A vintage planter makes an excellent gift for a baby shower. Forget the boring gift bag and tissue. Instead, dress up a sweet vintage planter with baby items, such as Q-tips, pacifiers, bibs, rattles, teething rings, and toiletries. A cherished and memorable gift that parents will want to pass down to the next generation.
And let me tell you about a great gift idea for wedding showers! Planters make fantastic guest party favors or prizes that all will appreciate. A one-of-a-kind treasure. You don’t see this very often at wedding showers, do you? Trust me! It’s a big hit!
Ho, ho, ho! Yes, Christmas is my favorite time of year to give these fanciful and playful gifts. So make that Christmas shopping list and consider the money you will save and how popular you will be when you deliver the gift of a smartly repurposed vintage planter.
There is so much you can do with collectible Christmas planters. Of course, the planter all by itself is a perfect gift for those friends and family who collect unique and unusual Christmas decorations, but why not amp up the creativity?
Vintage planters can be filled with dwarf Christmas trees and decorated with small vintage ornaments and miniature battery-operated lights. Small planters also make a great stocking stuffer—fill the planter with red and green foil-wrapped Hershey Kisses or other holiday treats. Centerpieces for the Christmas dinner table are always popular, too.
A great holiday activity for children is to fill vintage Christmas planters with cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer. This activity turned into a tradition at my house. Every year, my grandkids would ask for the Christmas planters, and they would fill them with goodies. So exciting for the kiddos and something they will remember for a lifetime.
So, when the next gift-giving occasion presents, think outside the box for what you might be able to do with a vintage planter that will make your gift a memorable one.
Collecting vintage planters harkens back to a simpler time. It’s such a worthwhile and affordable collecting activity, and gifting vintage planters is sure to make every gift-giving occasion extraordinary.
Theresa Franks resides in historic Prescott, Arizona. She brings a lifetime of experience to collecting, restoring, and writing about antique and vintage items.
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