Thursday, November 19, 2015


 Those "Japan Surplus" stores burgeoning around many towns and cities are becoming popular haunts for collectibles. This vintage wedding topper,for example, was found in a nearby shop, just a few steps away from my place!  In fact, I just walked right in, did some quick rummaging and came up with this nice topper, not too old, but with lots of vintage appeal.
This must probably be a surplus piece--it came in a box without a cover. The topper is unusued; the husband and wife plastic figurine stands on a latticework base decorated with feathers and fabric flowers. A hundred bucks and it was mine! Now, all I need is a fancy wedding cake!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


First time to see this one-of-a-kid china dinner plate that was a giveaway of Rufina Patis, the first fish sauce brand in the Philippines founded by widow Rufina Salao vda. de Lucas. The home industry that she put up in 1900 became a successful multi-million peso business, peaking in the 50s and 60s.
The business grew by leaps and bounds after the war and 2 modern manufacturing and bottling plants were erected in 1957 and 168 to meet the growing lucrative U.S.-Filipino market. The company also invested in advertising and in sales promotions--and these collectible plate premiums were among those used to entice housewives to buy a bottle of Rufina Patis.
 This small 8 in.diamter plate bears the Rufina Patis Especial logo and bears the Three Starbest China - Made in Japan manufacturer's mark. It was found on ebay Philippines, sold to me by an old gentleman whose father used to have a general merchandise store selling groceries, including condiments and bottled products.
 On the center of the plate is a delicately colored illustration of a woman in patadyong and salakot, with a basketfull of fish in one arm-- a charming Filipiniana touch on a Japan-made plate.
The piece dates from the 50s and still retains its vibrant colors after all these years. It may not have been used and was used for decorative purposes. This is the first and only known premium item associated with the pioneer patis brand in the country.

Monday, November 2, 2015

349. Save the World: GLOBE BANK by J. CHEIN

This small tin collectible in an antique shop caught my eye because it was a small globe and a coin bank in one. Now what a swell idea to teach geography and thriftiness in one multi-function object! It was made by Julius Chein & Company, an American toy manufacturer (1903-1980s) that was popular for making mechanical toys made from stamped and lithographed tin.They also made licensed toys of companies  such as King Features Syndicate and Walt Disney Productions, producing Popeye, Felix the Cat and various Disney character toys.
What is even more fascinating is that, this old piece contains the old names of several countries no loner in use today--like Siam (for Thailand), Persia (now Iran), Belgian Congo (now Democratic Republic of Congo) and French West Africa, until 1960, a federation of 8 French African territories.This small bank, no more than 4 inches tall, is complete with its metal stopper at the bottom, to gain access to coins when it is full. "Be thrifty, but not covetous", a saying goes. Unfortunately, when it comes to collecting, I can't be both!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

348. MUNTING CHERUBIMS: Winged Antique Fragments

Picked these pair of wooden cherubims for free--they're just, well, angelic! They're probably parts of an antique santo peana (base for a saint's statue) that were detached, due to age and time, not too old, maybe just 30-40 years old. Even then, they're quite well-made, with many little details like their pudgy cheeks and curly curls. They even retain their original gold paint--although one has been painted over, recently. Right now, they have been repurposed as Christmas tree ornaments, lending an old-world charm to my holiday decorations!

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Now here's a great advertising sign that's truly Pinoy--a wooden signboard for Royal Tru-Orange that dates from the 60s. Royal Tru-Orange was originally formulated and sold commercially in 1922 by San Miguel Brewery before it was eventually bought by Coca-Cola. The brand name is silkscreened in bold colors on a lawanit (pressed wood pulp) board that was a cheaper alternative than conventional tin. This must have been for indoor use--say, a canteen or a large grocery store--as lawanit is not water-proofed.
Some of the memorable campaigns of Royal Tru-Orange emerged from the 1960s and 70s--harping on the natural ingredients of the popular orange soda drink: "Kitang-kita ang ebidensya---'yung may pulp bits syempre!" (You can see the evidence--the one with real orange pulp bits). The 70s gave us "Come Taste and Love It" and in the 80s, the "Royal--Natural, Ganito Talaga ang Buhay!" campaign starring RJ Ledesma, all done by McCann Erickson.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

346. A Collectible Flying High: CAST METAL GRAF ZEPPELIN TOY

The Graf Zeppelin was a German-made airship that was hydrogen-filled to make it fly. It was able to carry passengers and commercial flights were made from 1928 to 1937. Named after German pioneer Graf (Count) Ferdinand von Zeppelin, the Graf Zeppelin made histoiry when it made a round-the-world flight in 1929.
The novel airship was celebrated throigh various memorabilia and souvenirs that included commemorative coins, postcards, badges and even toys such as this 1930s cast metal painted 3-wheeled blimp, a scarce artifact from the airship days. It is about 8.5 inches long and weighs a hefty 2 pounds.
This Graf Zeppelin pull toy must have been cared for by its previous owners as most of its paint is intact, with just a few scruffs to show, after all these years. It must have been de-commissioned from flying! Zeppelins never reached the Philippines--except this toy version which I won from ebay. Any vintage cast metal toy is prized...even more so when it is made in the likeness of an airship with an unlikely shape, propelled by gas fuel. A great revolution in the sky! Truly a hot, hot, (air) collectible!!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

345. I'm A Little Teapot: 50sTOY TEA SET

I don't remember where I got this complete set of "Made in Japan" toy tea set, with its  box intact. Probably from Makati Cinema Square. Since I have so much pet cats, I thought the "kitty tea set" would be a nice addition to my feline collection.
Children's toys such as these were widely available in bazaars everywhere in the Philippines as they were cheaply made. Unfortunately, they were also well-loved and much-played with, that often resulted in broken and missing pieces. That is why, I am lucky to have found this miniature play pieces in unused condition. Maybe one of these days, I'll treat my friends to tea and sconces, using my 50 year old plus tea ware, and hold the nicest tea party in the house.