Thursday, July 14, 2011

Collections: Carnival Chalkware/Plaster Figures









After clearing out some my the 'stuff' from my computer room, I grouped together my chalkware collection. I thought that I would give you a closer look.

Chalkware figures were given away as carnival fair prizes from 1910 through to the 1950's. The earlier pieces were often painted by hand, but this was replaced by airbrushing (sometimes using stencils), which enabled the manufacturers to produce them more efficiently. At the end of the 1950's/60's they were replaced with stuff animals or other small trinkets.

I began collecting them because my uncle 'G' had a collection of kookaburra's and he would often ask me to bid on some on Ebay. I would keep an eye out at the markets and swap meets for them, and after a while started to collect them myself. I collect predominately kookaburras, koalas and dogs. I do have a few others scattered around, an owl, boat, and Dopey from the snow white.

They are getting harder to find these days, not as many are turning up at the markets, or swap meets but you are still able to find them on Ebay/Etsy.

Do you have a collection too??

20 comments:

Nelly said...

Wow Tamara thats some collection.How do you tell the differnce between chalkware and plaster?I have a little dog somewhere I think it may be chalkware tho.They were much nicer prizes back then than the scabby ones of today thats for sure.
I have to many collections family calls most of it crap and junk how rUde!They just dont get it.xx

simmone said...

I LOVE your collection Tamara,I have two ships and I wish I could find more.They are so darn hard to find in my area,I'm always hopeful though.Are they scarce because they damaged so easily?Checkout Bungalowranger's photostream.

A Treasured Past said...

@Nelly
Hi Nelly,

Chalkware is the american term for plaster-of-Paris figures, so essentially they are the same thing, but just given a different name. So your little dog would be plaster of paris, and chalkware also.

Don't worry, my kids call our collections junk too. hehe

A Treasured Past said...

@simmone Hi Simmone, let me know if you would like the ship that you can see in the collection. I will send it up to you, Tam x

Hello Vintage said...

Learn something new every day. Very interesting. I have never heard of chalkware, thanks Tamara.

Jane said...

You have a wonderful collection! I love the dog figures....a couple of those kind of looked like my dog.
I have a lot of different collections. I always enjoy hunting for new pieces to add to my collections.
Jane

Gail said...

Tamara,
Your fun collection makes me smile! It makes such a difference seeing "all of the same" together, doesn't it? Thanks so much for popping into my blog and leaving such a sweet comment.....:).

Susy said...

Hello Tamara,
what a beautiful your collection
dogs are adorable, too
do the collection, congratulations
a hug
Suzy x

Bayside Rose said...

Wow Tamara! Another fab collection. The blue terrier at the back is such a cutie. Thanks for sharing your collections, they are so interesting.
Pam x

simmone said...

I can't let you spoil your wonderful collection by pinching a piece! thanks for the offer though,very kind. I gave you the wrong name it's Bungaloneranger not Bungalowranger photostream, lots of plaster goodies.

Annie said...

What a great collection. I have a couple of dogs similar to yours and love them. I recently found a pair of chalk ware figurines which I will show on my blog soon as I was really pleased to find them.I have all sorts of collections, I guess I am just a hoarder really. I have loads of enamelled and painted glass mainly dating to the Victorian period, a large tin collection, lots of vintage dogs and also a collection of 1930s bisque dolls and figurines.I have other collections too including eiderdowns and utility wear but it's quite scary when I start listing them as it reminds me how cluttered my house is !
Ann x

vintageandart said...

Thanks for showing your "sweet as" collection Tam, and for the background info, l never knew any of that stuff, l'm fascinated that they used stencils to help paint them. The kookaburras are my fave. l wonder if you've found any your uncle G doesn't have...Have a great weekend.

polkadotpeticoat said...

I have never seen so many unusual piece...what an amazing collection!

Liz said...

Like the dog figures best - the koalas are cute too!
Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

Ava said...

Love your chalkware , I have some pieces , my favorite being an old church statue by mattei bros. I'm now following your lovely blog xx Ava

Kylie said...

I am in awe of your chalboard collection Tamara and I'll admit, a little bit jealous. I have a couple of koala's which I love to bits but they definetely don't have the impact yours do clustered together in those pics. Gorgeous. I can't believe its taken me this long to find your lovely blog, so glad I did, I'll be back for more and following you from now on too x

Anonymous said...

Hi Tamara,
As a young girl l used to play with some chalkware dogs (like the terriors in your photo) at my great nana's house and she gave them to me just before she passed away. She told me that poppa won them for her at a sideshow when they were dating.That would have been around 1912. They are a much loved item that have pride of place in my loungeroom and bring back wonderful memories.
Just out of curiosity would you know what their value would be eventhough l would never part with them.
Cheers Kerrie.

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

At last I've found someone who can tell me a bit about the background of these figurines. It's hard to get past all the sale listings when you are searching for information. I've been trying to date an obviously cheaply made but cheerful figurine of a pair of red cardinals. Thought it was probably fifies. And it would have been quite a treat to bring home from a fair. Thanks for this post.

Anonymous said...

I have two chalk figurines about two feet tall. My Mom was born in 1936 and they were given to her by an uncle as a baby. He.got them at the.local carnival. Do they have any monetary value?

A Treasured Past said...

They do. Some are worth more than others depending on the theme (ie, kooburra, Lone Ranger, Disney, signed etc), size and condition. The best thing to do would be to search for similar examples and see what they are selling for, ebay and etsy should give you a good idea.