SALT AND PEPPER SHAKERS ARE STILL A FAVORITE AMONGST COLLECTORS
As collectible objects salt and pepper shakers really only took off with great gusto once salt had been broken down from the rock or crystal form which was originally presented in open salt cellars.
These salt cellars were accompanied by a very mini salt spoon. By 1940s the production of glass, crystal and ceramic salt and pepper shakers became very popular. We may go all the way from the fancy Birks, Birmingham, Gorham and other sterling and cut crystal forms to the sophisticated Limoges porcelain to the mass produced ceramic shakers of which Japan practically lead the market in production. Now for the first time salt and peppers were being produced on a grand scale for functionality and comical relief. Japan by the 1940s mass-produced them in many colors, sizes, shapes and subjects which were now affordable for the masses. Shakers were made in forms of animals, fruits, vegetables and other subjects.
Earlier productions of salt and pepper shakers by American, English, French, German and Irish factories were executed with elegance, grace and quality materials like fine porcelains, bone china, cut crystal and sterling. Often the porcelain and fine pottery shakers were elaborately hand-painted and studio decorated by the various artists employed by such factories as the various Limoges factories of France, English factories like Royal Crown Derby, Royal Doulton, Royal Worcester, etc. The English factories of Arthur Wilkinson of Newport employed such renowned artist as Clarice Cliff whose hand-painted works upon pottery are prized. German factories like some of the RS. Prussia, e.g. the Tillowitz factories, used thin fine porcelain blanks with elaborate molds upon which fabulous swan, snow, portrait and other scenes were executed. Royal Bayreuth would have been another famous German factory where quality and prices are very high for their porcelains. Those of you who are familiar with RS. Prussia porcelain know the scenes of which I speak. Then we have American factories like Gorham and Pairpoint who executed cut crystal (American Brilliant Cut Glass) in combination with sterling silver when they made their salt and pepper shakers during the 1920s. Then you have the famous Pickard line of hand-painted and gold encrusted porcelains which important artists decorated for him in Chicago, USA.
All of these wares mentioned above are reasonably expensive and are very high-end collector oriented except for the mass produced and somewhat kitsch Japanese productions of the 1940s-1990s. Of course if we speak of the Royal Nippon period of hand-painted porcelain, we are in the high-end league. The kitsch pottery salt and peppers were made for a lark, a joke, a laugh and were sold in little tourist and souvenir shops. Everyone could afford these at the time and they did fit in with the Kitsch 1950s decor for which the 1950 period is well known. Lots of bright colors accompanied these peculiar and fun Japanese salt and pepper shakers. As a matter of fact Japan still churns out thousands of these salt and peppers. The Occupied Japan era (circa 1945-1952) saw a mass production of such shakers and stamped them for export as such to finance the war effort. In any large collection of salt and pepper shakers, one is guaranteed to find many which are of Japanese origin. Such collecting was fun and usually started off with finds in flea markets and garage sales.
There are many books available on the subject of collecting salt & pepper shakers. Of course with the demand by collectors for a particular object, of course prices will reflect on the upswing for certain kinds of salt and pepper shakers. Prices on the average may range from $5.00 for a pair all the way up to $500.00 depending on quality and rarity. In some cases depending on age, artist, quality and medium used, they may go even higher. Your decision would be to either collect randomly or become a discriminating collector. Some discriminating collectors only want the best. They want quality and not necessarily quantity. So which ever category you fit into, always buy what you can afford and enjoy. After all, you are the one who is going to live with your collection. In addition all collections should be an eventual investment. As a matter of interest click these links (www.thesaltandpeppershakermuseum.com ) & (www.thesaltandpeppershakermuseum.com/VirtualMuseum.aspx ) and you will tour the salt and pepper museum which is located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. In addition to the ones on our website, we have at our physical store location an array of cut crystal, glass, pottery and porcelain shakers available.