Monday, July 18, 2022

Antiquing: Toby Character Mugs


Toby Character Mugs

It's summer! What better time to spend wandering around local Antique stores to stir up the dust and take advantage of summer sales. In each of my three forays last week, I have benefitted from a summer sale. I imagine that sellers are happy to move slow moving inventory so that they can restock their rented stalls in preparation of the Autumn season, which, I imagine, is the busy season for these shops. I may be wrong, but in my experience, the shops, no matter how small, decorate for the holidays and host celebratory events.

This shop, Three Sisters in Blue Island IL, is one that I had never visited. When I first walked in, I thought to to myself, there's nothing here for me. But that feeling never deters me from the browse. I usually have something in mind that I'm looking for like a shelf for some curiosities that I purchased at another shop. I went to the basement first, my least favorite level of a shop typically, but I found something. And a shop worker happily took it off my hands to put up at the check out desk. On the main floor, I found that the shop was buzzing. It had a great vibe, the employees were friendly, and I found that they had to keep taking things from me so that I could continue shopping hands free.

At the end of the visit, I found the Toby Character Mugs. I didn't know that is what they are called, even though I have seen them before, until I checked out and the woman at the register told me that she had a collection of them in excess of 500. Goodness! What does she do with all of them? I have many collections, but I never stay with one too long as too much of a good thing can indeed be too much. And these little mugs aren't something that I would ever have looked at before. I've encountered them plenty in my travels, particularly in Great Britain. They just haven't been my thing. But then I thought ... a recent trend that I have resisted are the women's head planters. They are everywhere ... from Home Depot to Anthropology. And I've had my hand on one or two, but no!  I don't need one.

And then I saw these little guys. The shop keeper who owns 500 of them told me that they originated in the 18th Century. In a cursory search, I found that they were named for a man,Toby Fillpot, for he drank 2,000 pints of ale. Goodness. I imagine that some of these hold tremendous value, but the ones I picked up, on sale for 20% off, ran from $5-10. And it occurred to me that they would make perfect succulent planters. I've been working on my plant game. It's not been easy as my home tends to the dark, so I have to find plants that can tolerate low-light. In the kitchen, at the window, I have had success in planting succulents. The arrangement of this and that on the window sill probably needed some attention as I looked at these jugs and so bought them.

I wasn't wrong. The Toby Mugs make for perfect 'head' planters that are different than norm. And I'm happy with the purchase and the repurpose of these little treasures.

Toby Mugs with succulent plants.

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