Figural or novelty salt and pepper shakers were collected quite often during the 1970s. Perhaps, your mother or grandmother collected them. Now, they are not as sought after, but still there are rare ones to keep yours eyes out for and new collectors develop every day.
One of the first things you should know is ‘do not remove name tags or stickers’. It is important to be able to recognize the maker. Removal can also damage color on the pieces. Most collectible salt and pepper shakers were made from the 1920-60’s. Those are some of the ones collectors most desire.
When finding a nice figural piece, the first thing you should do is empty all the salt or pepper out of it. Salt can be corrosive. Do not use anything more than a paper towel and water. You do not want to remove coloring.
The size of the holes, on the top of the shakers, is important. They must be different. Shakers that have the same size are either two salts or two peppers. So always check that you have one of each.
Some of the most desirable pieces are advertising pieces. Beer, gas stations and soda are very popular and prices can range from $5 to $50 depending on the rarity of the piece. Look for old labels or brands. Also, notice the condition. No chips, cracks, missing labels or paint wear. Always keep your eyes open for Mr. Peanut salt and pepper shakers. These can be valued at over $100.
Animals were very common, but unusual ones are always a great find. Most are worth about $12 a pair with a few rare pair going as high as $50. Cats are particularly collected so watch for those.
Children’s World salt and pepper shakers are those built around nursery rhymes. These are more valuable than most others and can range from $10 a pair to $150 a pair. Pinocchio is one of the most valuable sets you can find.
Many people collect shakers that feature fruits and vegetables. These are very common and most range from $5 to $12 for the right collector.
Miniature shakers are always rising because they are difficult to find. An old set in perfect condition can be worth $30 to $75.
Another quite collectible set of shakers are those marked Occupied Japan. These often feature people such as the Dutch Boy and Girl, Oriental men, a German couple, Bonnet Girls. Prices range from $15 to $25.
Shakers that I particularly like are one piece shakers. They are really such things as the front and back end of a dog that put together make a whole piece. These were originally made in the 1870s. Many continued through the early 1900s. Holes are often on the sides. Values vary from $10 to $50.
Plastic pieces have grown as many are also considered art deco. There are teapots, blenders, slot machines and have a silver appearance. Most collectible ones are from the 1950’s and sold for $1 at one time. Now they range around $20 if the buyer is right.
Wood is perhaps the least valuable of the salt and pepper shaker collector items. At one time Salty and Peppy were very popular, but desire for them has diminished. These are usually one worth about $3-4.
Black Americana shakers are always sought after. The problem is there are so many reproductions, it’s hard to tell what is old and what is new. Mammy and Chef are the easiest to find. Sometimes you may find Mammy with a stove or the chef with a watermelon. Originals are worth anywhere from $10 to $100.
When it comes to shakers featuring people, you will find a lot. Chefs and children are the most popular, but clowns and Indians are not far behind. Unless the set is very rare, most are valued around $10 or less.
There are many more kinds, but those are perhaps the most common.
With any collectible, the best thing to do is buy a guide book and remember it is only a guide. Then, collect the ones you like regardless of value. But, be careful not to spend too much. If they are more than $3 at a tag sale, be sure you read up on their value. If the cost is around $1 then go for it and have fun. After all, that is what collecting is all about.