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Collecting pink flamingos -- 1950s kitsch icon

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collecting pink flamingos
Why collect pink flamingos? When people think "pink flamingo", they no longer just think of the animal. Since the invention of the lawn flamingo in the 1950s, pink flamingos have been an icon of kitsch and a popular item to collect. For most pink flamingo collectors, it usually starts with a pair of lawn flamingos and escalates from there. Next thing you know, there's a house full of pink flamingo items.

It is true: pink flamingos like to gather in flocks! If you can think of it, you can find a pink flamingo on it. Look around, you might be surprised where a pink flamingo for your collection might turn up. And of course, once word of your collection gets around, all your friends and family will bring you pink flamingo items "because I just thought of you." Watch your collection grow fast.

Vintage pink flamingo decor

Some items you might encounter when shopping for vintage pink flamingos include:

Florida souvenirs

collecting pink flamingos Glassware, postcards, metal trays, and ashtrays are the most common pieces to find. These are almost always tagged or otherwise marked with a sticker indicating what place sold this particular souvenir.

Something like this shell and flamingo souvenir paperweight from Silver Springs is typical of Florida souvenir pieces. It's a combination of actual sea shells, a plastic flamingo, and a cast-plaster molded base. I have also seen a larger version of this with wiring to be a functional lamp. The lamps would be placed atop a console television to use as a "TV lamp".

Decals

The only decals I have seen are by Meyercord. When dipped in water, these can be stuck onto cabinets, containers, bath accessories, etc.

collecting pink flamingos collecting pink flamingos collecting pink flamingos

collecting pink flamingos collecting pink flamingos collecting pink flamingos

collecting pink flamingos

collecting pink flamingos

Ceramic figurines

Collectors are most likely to encounter pieces by Maddux of California and Lefton of Japan. Lefton pieces have a sticker on the bottom. Most Maddux pieces and related California Pottery ceramics are unmarked.

The most common set theme is two flamingo figurines in a ceramic (and separate) pond. The pond is the rare piece in the set.

Note: I have not to-date seen a ceramic flamingo wall pocket.

Carved sculptures

These sculptures are hand-carved wood on driftwood bases by Casa Fernandez of Florida. There are two of these: one with head up, and the other with head down. Original tag if present has all the artist information. The pieces are not signed.

collecting pink flamingos collecting pink flamingos collecting pink flamingos

Signed cast resin sculptures

These are hand-cast resin on burlwood or occasionally a natural stone slab by artist John Perry.

There are four vintage pieces: a single flamingo, a pair of flamingos, a trio of flamingos, and a single flamingo with wings outspread.

Tip: Watch for the signature -- newer pieces from the artist have a metal stamp on one side of the base instead of a dated signature on the bottom.

The metal stamps appear on pieces from 1982 or later.

collecting pink flamingos collecting pink flamingos

collecting pink flamingos collecting pink flamingos

Mirrors

There is a series of large mirrors bearing a signature of "Turner". They are large, heavy, and expensive. I don't have one.

Pink flamingo collecting tips

When buying and selling pink flamingos, bear in mind these three factors:

  • Know what you're buying before you buy it. Check reference guides for information on how the piece in question is marked, what sizes it was available in, any variants in painting or colours that you should know about?
  • Condition: Is it mint condition? Is it unused? Any chips, cracks, crazing, or obvious damage? A mint complete set of an older item is rare. Ceramic flamingos come in pairs and have a third piece (a pond), for example.
  • Demand: Popular items sell for proportionally higher prices simply because there are more potential buyers.

As to where to go, try any of the following:


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