Tuesday, December 31, 2013

285. Shadow Boxing: BAMBINO JESUS

Shadow box crafts seemed to be a popular hobby among Filipinos in the 20s and 30s as I have seen countless examples of all sorts---from boxing family portraits embellished with mother-of-pearl flowers, embroidered art, to religious tole art such as this 3-dimensional Bambino Jesus, pasted on a heavy board, then dressed in real cloth and accessorised with handcrafted symbols of his Passion as well as silk flowers. The shadow box dates from 1929--the back was lined with old newspapers dated from that era.
It's been said that these kinds of crafts were introduced by religious educators, evolved from some kind of monastic art that nuns dabbled with in the 19th century. Favorite motifs includ dressing up prints of the sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary, as well as the Holy Family. My Bambino box was purchased in Bulacan. The condition is fair to poor--the flowers are disintegrating, the lithographed cut-out of Jesus is starting to curl. Hopefully, I can have this restored soon! This kind of art is slowly vanishing, but it's never too late to try your hand at this--all you need are deft hands, some artistic skill and lots of imagination!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


We've had this Santa glass container for the longest time, stored in an old book cabinet in our home since the 50s. It is a figural glass figure of Santa Claus, with a bag of toys on his back. I couldn't quite figure out what it was, as it had rims on the bottom, so I presumed it's a container of some sorts, but why should the lid be on the  bottom? When I moved house, I took Santa with me to my new home and has been with me ever since. Years back, I finally saw a similar example at a Makati Cinema Square second-hand shop, but with Santa's features painted on. It turned out that my Santa a candy container, for doling out sweets to kids during the holidays. And I thought I was a collectible expert. Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 15, 2013


These three miniature clay kitchen utensils are all that's left of a large kitchen play set, made in the Philippines in the 1930s. The first to be  a "kendi", an almost-defunct Southeast Asian earthenware--at least in the Philippines--used as a drinking vessel and treasured by early Filipinos as a family heirloom. The next item looks like a clay version of a "tacho", those rund copper cooking pans with handles. The last is a very tiny "mangkok" or bowl. These simple Philippine toys of fired clay were sold in bazaars and tourist shops during the Commonwealth years, popular souvenirs from an American-controlled country finding its identity through its unique traditions in play and children's leisure.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


In the 50s, young Pinoy lads dabbed their hair with "brilliantine" pomade to create the pompadour look that was the rage of the era. Popularized by James Dean and Elvis, the iconic men's hairdo was completed with cowlick that was forced to curl in front of one's forehead with more dabs of pomade. Early brands included imported ones like Vitalis and Brylcreem, but cheaper, local brands dominated the market from the 50s-70s, like "Palikero", "X-7", "Verbena", "Beatles" and "Robin Hood Medicated Solid Brilliantine Pomade".
Created by Beauty Chemical Lab which had a plant along Dasmarinas in Manila, Robin Hood caught on with the young crowd, favoring its extra-heavy brilliantine effect on hair. The brand icon shows the bemoustached hero-outlaw who robbed the rich to help the poor---Robin Hood--all in his red tights glory. Curiously, the package graphics show him wielding a sword instead of the bow and arrow that identifies him as an archer, first and foremost.
Robin Hood Pomade was promoted nationally and advertising tin signs like this example were nailed in front of neighborhood stores to attract consumer attention. Poamdes went out of style in the 90s, with hair gels and clay taking their place. But in the distant 50s, there was nothing like Robin Hood to groom you and bring out the the handsome rogue in you. Finally, as its advertising blurb proclaims---gleaming, shining, brilliant hair can now be "thrillingly yours!".

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Very few native toys were made commercially in the Philippines--and the early ones made meant to prepare little girls for their future roles in their hearth and homes: mini-kitchen wares, mini-flat irons, mini-stoves, mini-wash basins, mini-everything! 
This 50s clay basket of fruits was one such plaything made--fashioned from clay, the only viable material that was readily available in provinces. Probably, this was part of a set of collectible clay wares peddled in the local market, or sold in front of churches--where people congregated.  Other clay products that catered to kids included piggy banks, which continue to be produced today.  But these clay playthings of fruits and basket have all  but vanished from the neighborhood tiangges (markets), the same way that kids have disappeared from the streets, to play computer games instead in the privacy of their homes.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

280. Pray, Keep Them!: KIDDIE SHELF SITTERS

Shelf sitters were favorite decorations of 1950s-60s homes, and matching figurines such as these adorned fireplace mantles, book shelves and ledges around the house. They were cheaply mass-produced in ceramic, plaster of paris and hard plastic such as this example, showing two kneeling kids in a prayerful pose.
Popular shelf sitters often show couples kissing--there were kissing angels, kissing Orientals, kissing jesters, kissing Senors and Senoritas. There are even some matching figures you can sit on a ledge with their legs dangling. Kooky, kitschy and great space fillers, these shelf sitters are becoming hot collectibles at prices everyone can afford. Find them in thrift shops, white elephant sales, garage sales or even in auction sites (though you will have to shell out a bit more!). And remember, do always buy them in pairs!!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

279. SHADOW BOXING: Miniature Collectibles on Display

I didn;t know the small stuff that I pick up from thrift shops--figurines, marbles, pinback buttons, coins, medals, trinkets--could amount to more than a boxful after awhile. So I found a way to display them in small wooden shadow boxes such as these! These shadow boxes show off such miniature collectibles as a trio of antique porcelain Japanese spaniels, figural 1950s celluloid pencil sharpeners, cat figurines, advertising labels, condom and aspirin tins and glass Santa Christmas light ornament.
The second shadow box shows off my '60s Batman button, porcelain swan, a pair of Made-in-Japan Kewpies, my mother's brooch, small brass pot and a china half-doll.

Friday, November 1, 2013


An unusual Rizal bust made of bisque, an unglazed kind of ceramic, turned up recently for sale in San Fernando, and I quickly snapped it up as an addition to my Rizaliana bust collection. The 8 inch bust clearly identifies the national hero by way of his name etched on the front of the bust. Dating from 1930s, Rizal's likeness is pleasantly captured in this representation--although I find him a bit googly-eyed, don't you think? I've seen wooden Rizal busts, busts  made of cast cement and plaster--but not made of bisque, which was a favored material of European casters--French and German doll makers even made doll heads of this not-so-smooth, matte ceramic stuff. I just wonder if there's a Rizal bust out there made of China or porcelain?!

Friday, October 25, 2013


Cafiaspirina wa the pain relief medicine brand that rivalled bestselling Cortal in the 1950s. It was produced by the pharmaceutical giant, Bayer, which gave the world, Aspirin. The name Cafiaspirina was derived from Caffeine and Aspirin, two ingredients of the tablets, and grew to become a popular pain medication brand in Latin American countries.

Cafiaspirina made headway in the Philippines through effective trade marketing supports given to local boticas/ farmacias or drugstores. The company gave away large enamel signs bearing the names of the drugstores as well as advertising messages of the brand.

"Stop Pain! Feel Fine Again!", the nurse mascot proclaims, advising consumers to experience the triple-action benefit of New Formula Cafiaspirina--"2 marvelous pain fighters in every wonder tablet!". 

The weather-worn enamel sign has some paint losses and dents which have been professionally touched up by my local painter.  Moulded enamel metal signs such as this are no longer made as they were expensive to produce. These days, stores favor cheaper, more waterproofed signages made from tarpaulin and plastic. Hopefully, I will find a counterpart Cortal sign to match my Cafiaspirina soon!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

276. The Bangkal Picker: TIPOS DEL PAIS CARVINGS

One of my most recent exciting finds from Bangkal is this lovely pair of tipos del pais carvings, made from batikuling and standing about 18 inches high. The above photo shows them in restored condition; the farmer figure originally had a broken salakot, and a few missing teeth on his wooden harrow. The woman vendor, on the other hand, had a broken finger. I found these two, largely ignored by buyers, on a table together with newer Nativity figures.
As you can see, they are realistically carved with rich details, right down to the texture of the woman's saya and the fruits on her bilao. Both figures stand on a carved, framed base. I have no idea where these came from, or how old they are, but they seem to be from the 50s. These were definitely made for the tourist market, perhaps made in the tourist area of Mabini, or from caring centers in Pampanga and Paete. Originally priced at Php 2000, I managed to bring down the price to Php1,800.
A few days after their restoration, I chanced upon this picture from a Pampanga dealer, taken over 15 years ago. He kept tab of his sold items by taking photos of them. I was amazed at the similarity of these carved figures with mine; the woman represented a female vendor, while the man seem to be a fisherman carrying a net. Even the bases are identica--both are framed with a differnt wood molding. The dealer told me he sold these pre-war pieces for Php40,000, quite a sizeable amount 15 years ago. This validates that, indeed, I am now an owner of a pair of carved treasures--the only difference being the price at which I got them. That's why if you have the patience to scrounge and dig around the junk heaps of Bangkal, you are certain to find your own surprise treasure too--at a price you can afford!.

Monday, September 30, 2013


 One of the most unique material in doll making is tin--a practice that started in the late 19th century, and peaked in the 1920s. Doll heads of metal were considered "indestructible", more durable than porcelain, parian and bisque. Unlike composition, they also did not absorb moisture. One such example I picked up from ebay is this great-looking metal head boy doll in a smart Little Lord Fauntleroy suit. The back of the head is marked "Minerva", a common manufacturer's mark found on such dolls. In reality, these dolls were made by different companies and distributed all over the United States.

 This 21 inch doll features a cloth body and composition hands and feet. Other than a few paint losses on the head, it is in good condition. The Fauntleroy costume in brown velvet looks like a later replacement, but it is still a vintage piece. The only drawbacks noted with metal head dolls was the fact that they are affected by temperature changes, absorbing heat and cold. As such, they were not as "cuddable" and "huggable" as other dolls. They don't command much, as they are not popular (I still have to see an example in the Philippines)--which is fine for a collector with a shoestring budget like me!

Thursday, September 19, 2013


I found this creation in a shop along Sta. Rita's antique strip. It represents maybe a fruit (pineapple, perhaps? a symbol go hospitality) or a flower bud. It is made of pottery clay, then painted--I don't know if it it's molded by hand. Its base on where the "bud" rests is very similar to bases for old Philippine religious figurines. It is a hefty piece, about 8 inches tall, and certainly, an old one, but I can't figure out its purpose or function.
I asked the dealer what it was, but she had no idea. All she could tell me was that it came from an old house (which dealers tell to practically all their customers!) What could this be? Could this be a table centerpiece to hold flowers. maybe? (There's a hole on top). or could just this be an architectural detail, a finial for a cabinet or a staircase?
As I am stumped, I leave it up to you dear reader, to figure out this mystery piece. What do you think is it?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

273. Bear Essential: BABY BEAR PULL TOY

I had it in my mind, that in the near future, I will open an antique toy museum in Pampanga, based on my rather extensive collection of vintage toys and playthings. I had already pitched the idea to a university in my province, which welcomed the unique idea of showcasing toys that shaped and defined our childhood. I have been stashing old toys I could find, ever since.

Toys, however, are not exactly hot collectibles in the country, rarely showing up in traditional antique shops. I have seen a few sungkaans lying around, largely ignored--but not old commercial toys from the 20s and 30s that were once staples in downtown bazaars and emporia like I. Beck's, Aguinaldo's and La Puerta del Sol.
 So it was a major 'eureka' moment for me when I found this whimsical pull toy from the 1930s from an online seller on sulit.com.ph , of all all places--the Philippines' largest online shop. I hardly noticed this seller, who advertised a couple of steel Wyandotte trucks and cars on his site. When I called him up, I was disappointed to know that he had sold most of his motor toys, which are so desirable today.

He told me, however, he still had a few toys from the 30s, toys which his grandfather had played with, and which now they are trying to dispose. One toy that caught my fancy was this baby bear pull toy; it was a stuffed, plush bear mounted on 2-sized wooden wheels. When pulled, the bear nods forward, which certainly would have delighted kids.

There is no marked on the straw-stuffed, glass-eyed bear; it may be a Steiff or a Schuco, German companies that specialized in stuffed toys. Saved for a few bald patches and a missing screw on one of his paws, the toy was in good shape after all these 70 plus years!!!
This example is the first I've seen locally--the other in my possession is a camel push-toy that's larger and meant for older children. For a few hundred pesos, I bought this huggy bear home. Cleaned, oiled  and restored, it is stored in a cabinet, ready to grin and 'bear' it--when the toy museum opens.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Pharmaceutical collectibles are few and far between--the most popular being medicien cabinets, "botica" signs (mostly medicine brands like Casfarina and Cortal), medicine bottles and thermometers.  Even rarer are phramacy equipments--like mortar and pestles ("dikdikan') that were traditionally used to crush various ingredients prior to preparing a prescription. I found this complete example from a newly-open antique shop at the famed Sta. Rita Exit of Bulacan.
The set is made of heavy brass--and very deep and tall--12 inches to be exact, dating from the 30s. Older examples were made of wood and porcelain, but my mortar and pestle is outstanding for its size and heft. Pharmacy was a popular course among ladies as early as the turn of the 20th century in the Philippines, a popular course in the early years of  U.P. and Centro Escolar de Senoritas. Graduates would go home back to their provinces to set up their "botica", personally preparing solutions, or crushing pills using their indispensable mortars and pestles.

Today, of course, these are becoming extincts in modern drugtores and pharmacists as the same medicine can come in many forms--liquid, powder, tablet. So, I'll probably stash this away in my kitchen and use it to pound peanuts for my favorite kare-kare. How's that for adaptive re-use?

Monday, August 26, 2013


Evenflo has been around for over 85 years, a partner of mothers in nurturing children. It has been committed providing quality products and equipment for infants, children as well as mothers. Evenflo bottles were the more popular products, and before the advent of plastic, microwaveable and dishwasher safe bottles, their feeding bottles were of glass. Part of promoting the bottles include giving away these advertising premiums--miniature replicas of glass bottles, authentic down to the plastic cap and rubber nipple.. Approximately 3.5 inches tall, they were given away in the 60s to new mothers, to promote the products and to remind mother that in choosing baby bottels, it's best to go with the flow..Evenflo!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

270. Keep on Truckin': FARGO TOY WOODEN TRUCK

I chanced upon an amazing vintage toy shop at the famed Cubao Expo just 3 weeks ago--and boy, was I in luck! It was on a Sunday, and the store was supposed to be closed--but by chance, the shop owner was around, about to be interviewed for some TV feature.Seeing the door open, I insinuated myself in while the TV crew was preparing their equipment. Immediately, I saw this wooden blue and red truck, with handwritten sign that identified it as belonging to Fargo Trucking.
It assumed that this nice toy truck was an advertising giveaway of some sorts, a premium given to loyal clients. I tried googling the company name, but couldn't find this trucking that touted its incredible delivery destinations with confidence-- "Manila--to Any Point on Earth!". It's a well-made toy, with wooden wheels that roll perfectly and with an open-box bed hinged at the rear that can be lifted. I would probably date this to the 70s, an example of a rare advertising premium made in the Philippines!

Monday, August 5, 2013


ROBBIN' COINS & SAVIN' THEM. A plastic collectible advertising giveaway in the shape of a company mascot. ca. 1970s.

Now, here's a mystery company mascot that I've been trying to identify. I got this 6.5 inch advertising giveawwy at a new, funky vintage store in Cubao recently, and I've been googling all over the net just to identify it--with no luck. This is a figural plastic coin bank of a man with a Cheshire cat grin, wearing a boat hat and holding on to a book.
It is marked "Robbin's", but other than that, his identification eludes me. I thought he had some connection with a fastfood chain. Maybe he's even a trade character for a bank. Any clues?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


The first vintage items I collected were cobalt blue bottles, because not only were they cheap (Milk of Magnolia bottles cost Php40 for a set of 3 in the '80s) but their intense blue coloring had lots of visual appeal. They were colored like so because they held contents (oils, poisons, medicines)  that were sensitive and could be rendered ineffective when exposed to light.

Recently, a cache of old cobalt blue bottles surfaced in Manila and found their way in antique shops and online stores. These Polak and Schwarz's cobalt blue bottles were made to contain oil essences for the Philippine market.

Founded in 1889 by Leopold Schwarz. and his brother in law, Joseph Polak, the company produced-Fruit Flavors, Gift Free Dyes and Aether Oils. The factory moved in 1896 to Zaandam under the name NV Polak & Schwarz's Essence Factories.

In 1930 the essence factory of Polak and Schwarz was build on the Provinciale weg in Zaanstad and became the most important essence producer in Europe before the second World War.  After the war the company moved to Hilversum and then merged with an American company to become International Flavors and Fagrances (IFF).

My 10 inch tall example still has its original paper label intact. I have seen unopened bottles stoppered with cork holding their original content. There are other bigger bottles of amber color from the same firm, containing spirits and gin. Cobalt blue bottles are among the most desirable and most expensive in the bottle collecting world, so the prices of these bottles are expected to rise as the stocks dwindle.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

267. A Grate Collectible: ANTIQUE KUDKURAN

Now here's a fanciful kitchen collectible that I chanced upon at the famed Chatuchak Market in Bangkok. It's an old coconut grater carved in the shape of a man on all fours. The metal grater itself protrudes from the man's mouth. Coconut graters are found all over Asia, as the coconut was a staple food in this region. To remove the flesh off the shells, a half-coconut was scraped against a sharp-edged metal spur, while seated on the kudkuran's body.
Most Philippine kudkurans had a basic shape--just a paddle shaped seat to sit on with a metal grater screwed or nailed in the narrow portion of the seat. Others took on more figurative shapes--graters fashioned from tree stumps often took the form of 4-legged animals, like a horse. This example. made of heavy wood, is a more creative example--the crouching man even grasps a ball on one hand--playing while he works!
With the advent of motorized graters, the folksy kudkuran had all but disappeared in Philippine kitchens. I know a friend who collects them and displays them as sculptural pieces--and that s exactly how I will display my antique kudkuran.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

266. Sulit Kitsch: 50s LADY HEAD BUSTS

Don't you just love sulit.com.ph? The country's biggest online sell-trade-buy marketplace has the widest, weirdest, funkiest assortment of goodies any collector would go crazy for. One of my most recent unexpected finds is this pair of small busts, made of plaster, representing 2 fashionable ladies from the 50s. All of 6 inches tall, they realistically represent the midecentury look gal--from the puffed hairdo, to their mod, stylish clothes.
The first lady head bust looks almost Oriental, with rosy cheeks, red lips and puffed up hair held with a green bandanna tied in a knot under her chin. She wears a green blazer with padded shoulders, over a cream colored blouse, a style so much in vogue in the war and early post-war years.
The second lady wears a more daring outfit, with a plunging neckline, accessorized by a flower on her puff-swept hair. With her heavy make up, she looks like she's ready to paint the town red!
The back of the plaster busts are incised with what looked like scripts in gibberish, but upon closer examination, I recognized them as Burmese letters--which I can't read anyway. Maybe these ladies represent important women from Burma--actresses maybe, but Ican't be sure. What I am certain is that this kitschy pair are worthy collectibles, flash from the 50s golden period of Hollywood glamor and style.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I don't know for what reason, but one of my very first antique purchase were these flat irons or "prensa" or "plantsa" made of brass (Php100 in 1985).  I think I was attracted to their utilitarian value more than their antiquity, a reminder of the hard work that went into perfect homemaking. Early presses used heat to iron out wrinkles on clothes and fabric--the above example is called "plantsa korona" as it had an open circular top over which live coals were placed. Held by a wooden handle (now gone), the "plantsa" is then made to slide over clothing over and over again, to remove and smoothen out creases. Made of brass, these 'plantsa koronas' were tricky to use, as sparks would fly from the uncovered top and could singe the fabric.
Later plantsas were streamlined in shape, closer to how modern flat irons look like. They were made with a top cover where charchoals could be place into the 'plantsa's" hollow body that had vents to draw off excess heat. "Plantsang de uling", these were called, and these examples are what are usually found in antique shops today. The above 'plantsa' is Philippine made and dates back to the early 50s.
Antique flat irons from the Asian region looked very similar, although many integrated local designs onto the body. This brass example, from Thailand, has incised designs on the rims, and the wooden handle is supported securely with two brass prongs mounted directly on the body of the flat iron. The cost of antique flat irons remain steady in the Philippine antique market with a price range of Php 1500-3000 for the 'plantsa korona', depending on the size. Plantsang de uling could be had for under a thousand bucks. It's all up to you how to display them--I once used my plantsas as book-ends, as a vase holder, or a desk accent to contain paper clips, staples and post-its. You can even use them for their intended purpose, but do learn how not to burn.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


When I saw these Classics Illustrated comic books for sale in a Cubao thrift shop, I was transported back to my younger days when I read and collected every issue I could afford of these popular reading materials. They had no back covers but the pages were all intact; at Php100 apiece (a brand new one cost me 80 centavos in the 70s), they were pricey indeed. But nostalgia got the better of me and I ended up bringing home over 20 issues of these comics. I still have a long way to go towards re-building my collection but with all these great finds recently, I am getting there.

These comics were adaptations of literary classics such as Silas Marner, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and The Iliad. Created by Albert Kanter, the series began publication in 1941 and finished its first run in 1971, producing 169 issues. Gilberton Company published these classics, including the Classic Illustrated Junior, a series of fairy tale comics that debuted in 1953.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


 Medal collectors abound in the Philippines, judging from the number of medals and medallions offered at the regular Bayanihan Collector auctions in Manila. Few, however, collect religious medals, as they are not exactly on top of the list of medal collectibles--military medals, historical medals and commemorative medals are way up there. Now that's good news for religious medal collectors! Not only are prices stable and affordable, vintage medals of the sacred kind are also plentiful. They come in all sorts--made of cheap plastic, aluminum, brass, silver, and even gold.

Most common religious medals are those that mark feast days and anniversaries of saints (Virgen de La Naval, 400 years of Sto. Nino of Cebu), important religious events (e.g. National Eucharistic Congress). There are also souvenir medals from pilgrim sites (Shrine of our Lady of Lourdes, Fatima) and also celebrate the sacraments (Communion medals). Perhaps, the most well-known medal in the Philippines is Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, the design of which was based on a vision by the French saint, Catherine Laboure.

Considered as sacramentals, religious medals are staples of Manila thrift shops and are regular offerings at the Greenhills Antique and Collectible shows. For the lazy shopper, there are local dealers on ebay Philippines that sell such medals too. The most sought after are the old medals showing the likenesses of Virgen de La Naval, or Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, patroness of the Philippines. Medals of the Nazareno and the Virgen de Antipolo are also prized. Medals, which contain relics, command higher prizes, as well as medals of gold and silver, as in the silver medals struck for the 1937 International Eucharistic Congress held in the Philippines.

Medals are best displayed in shadow boxes, or kept in plastic cases. I chose to show off mine in a tin glass-panelled urna inspired by those antique Mexican retablo cases. I hope I get a medal for creativity!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

262. LITTLE DRUMMER BOY: A 1920s Mechanical Toy

I found this little drummer boy in one of those collectible shops along Tomas Morato in Q. C. . The bisque headed drummer has a wooden framework boy, covered with cloth, now frayed with age. He stands on a base made of thin plywood. He holds drumsticks on both hands; there is a lever at his back, which, when pulled down, caused the drumsticks to beat on a cardboard drum.
Toys, like this example, were cheaply produced in Europe. Bisque (unglazed ceramic) heads in all sizes were mass produced from the 18th to the 20th c. and were used to make dolls, automatons and mechanical toys. This drummer boy found its way here, perhaps, sold in one of the department stores or bazaars along Escolta in the 1920s. Such toys were comparatively expensive when sold here,  which probably was the reason why this toy survived--it was lovingly kept in a curio cabinet, only to be taken out and played with when a child got sick.

Monday, May 6, 2013


 The most affordable antique ephemera are perhaps, those small, mass-produced devotional pictures we call "estampitas", or holy cards. In our Christian tradition, estampitas were meant for the use of the faithful, and they typically depict images of saints or religious scenes. The reverse may contain a prayer, some of which promise an indulgence for its recitation. The circulation of these cards is an important part of the visual folk culture of Roman Catholics.
An important part of the visual folk culture of Filipino Roman Catholics, estampitas were used as iconographic guides in the carving of saints. Early cards were just black and white engravings on parchment, sometimes hand-tinted, until the advent of color lithography and newer printing techniques.
The more desirable estampitas are the pierced paper examples that simulate lace. In the center, a colored religious picture is imprinted. Because of their delicate cut-outs, these cards are rarely survived without tears and missing parts, so they remain on top of the list of holy card collectors.
Other estampita variants include Vocation Cards, given out by priests and nuns to celebrate milestones ion their religious life like ordination, profession and sacerdotal anniversraies. There are also Memorial Cards. Sacramental Cards (to mark Baptism, Communion, etc.) and Souvenir Cards from places of pilgrimage.
Since hundreds of thousands are still available, judicious collectors often collect by visual themes (Angels, Saints, Holy Week Scenes, Infant Jesus, Virgin Mary) or categories (Holy Communion Cards, Prayer Cards, Lace Cards, Local Cards). The estampitas shown here, numbering over 200 pieces all came in an album, sold by a private collector though a dealer. Reasonable priced, they are the most appealing paper collectibles one can find today.