Collecting Chalkware


I collect oddball things. Unlike Babe Ruth autographed baseballs, I’m never going to get rich off of anything I collect. I like things that appeal to me visually, or items that remind me of someone. If you grew up in the 60s and 70s, chances are your grandmother had these chalkware fruits hanging in her kitchen. 

Chalkware is molded plaster of Paris decorated with watercolors. During the depression, they were the precursors of the stuffed animals given away at games of chance at carnivals. They were sold as inexpensive decorations, kind of a folk art, until the 1950s.


In the 1940s, they made chalkware wedding cake toppers. Here is a bride and groom standing under an arbor of flowers with a plastic bell. She’s wearing a short veil, and he’s holding a top hat. This sat on the cake of my mother and father-in-law’s nuptials in 1942. Strangely enough, the bottom still smells like frosting!

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