Head Vases and Planters

What’s a head vase? 

Some call them head vases and others call them planters, but these charming ceramic creations are essentially a hollowed out statue with room in the back for flowers, taking their name from the common form of a head or bust. There are others that are full figured and these are usually called planters.

America prospered after World War II, and found that Japan was the perfect location for cheap manufacturing with the most favorable rate of exchange with the dollar to the yen. Ceramics were a popular commodity and head vases were used by florists and could be found in five and dime shops throughout the nation. While most of these were whimsical designs, there was an unending variety of religious themed planters as well.

Not all were produced overseas, but as the cost of labor in the United States rose, production  moved to Japan – where copyrights were not enforced. The head vases created in the USA mostly date to the 1950s, while those made in Japan were created in the 1960s.

With the continuing increase in “religious materialism” due to mass production, head vases and planters with Catholic themes were became common in nearly every Catholic home.

Most commonly depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary, often holding her Infant, these were special gifts for Mother’s Day, for the birth of a new child, or to provide encouragement to those who were ill or grieving. 

Today a gift of flowers is likely to be presented in vessels resembling teddy bears or coffee mugs, or just about anything but the Blessed Mother.

While we at Catholic Home and Garden love them as devotional pieces, we recognize that they are also very collectible and hope you will enjoy the information below.

These are all examples of what has sold online and are not items that we offer for sale regularly. Please check our storefront as they become available.




Teleflora's Be Happy® Bouquet

Please Read: The head vases shown below are a photo archive provided to promote the appreciation of this type of Catholic artifact.

They are not available for sale. I have provided links throughout to help you find some.

You may also see our current inventory, click here

Photo Archive of Head Vases


1. Shafford Japan Madonna Headvase. Decorative gold accents around neck, sleeves, shoulders, back. Gold sticker marked Styled Number 4155 Approx. 5 1/2 inch. tall and 3 1/2 inch. wide.3_small-6762169

2. A larger lustre finish Madonna measuring 9″ tall. Probably made in Japan4_small-93137843. 6″ tall, this Madonna was marked 4/56 and is likely by Napco5_small-75032214. Matte finish INARCO JAPAN E322  6 1/2″ HIGH6_small-1762541

5. 6″ Made in Japan7_small-74054596.  5/8″ high, 3 7/8″ wide, 3 3/8″ deep. Numbered FR3933/P, indicating Napco8_small-28801267. Unmarked08_1_b_small-96507668. Unmarked, magnificent handpainted finish. Our best guess is that this beautiful head vase was made in Italy.9_small-63543239. Classic Nancy Pew Head vase. 6″ H – 4″ L – 3 1/4″ W. It has a Sticker on Bottom with: GIFTWARES CO, NANCY PEW, JAPAN10_small-235927610. INARCO White Matte Finish  6″ tall, is 4 1/2″ wide and 3 3/4″ deep.11_small-470298911.Unmarked. 6″ tall approx 4.5″ wide12_small-305054012. Hull Head vase. 7″ high by about 5″ wide and about 4.5″ deep.12_1_small-875085313. Rare Sacred Heart of Jesus. Unmarked16_small-189548714. 6″ tall. Possibly Lenox14-434908515. 7″ tall. Artmark. Unglazed except for interior15_small-909051816. 7″ tall. Made in Japan1720a_small-714214017b_small-161362417. Lefton gold stamped 1731. 8″ tall and 3″ deep18_small-302708718. Hull USA F61. 9″ tall and 6.5″ wide19_small-602003719. Red marked Made in Japan2020a_small-22705552020b_small-701747020. Lefton. 8″ tall, 3 1/8″ wide, 3 1/8″ long, has the paper Lefton sticker on the bottom also numbers 7337.9.9921_small-6543609   21b_small-620226421. 10 inches tall. Gum label Art Mart Chicago Ill , Made in Japan.22_small-934973422. Haeger. 9″ high, 6″ in depth and 5″ wide23_small-135974523. Artmark Red stamped Made in Japan. 10.5″ tall2420hull_small-494882124. 12″ Hull Pottery2520hull_small-534900425. Unmarked. Possibly McCoy2620a_small-17668632620b_small-9955017

26. Rubens. 8″ tall. Three distinct markings: Rubens red foil sticker, Rubens black stamp and R No. 19330_small-741013327. Unmarked 7-1/4″ high, 4-1/4″ wide and 4-3/4″ deep27_small-592342627b_small-843787628. Relpo A1470 10.5″ Tall28_small-697757429. No Markings but an example of Artmark. 10″ tall29_small-933436230. Unmarked. Resembles Hull Pottery, but probably not due to difference in glaze 4-3/4 x 5 x 6 inches high79_small-367729631. St. Joseph No markings31_small-907074231. Samson Import Company dated and numbered 453M 7.2732_small-660346632. Samson Import 1958 #346. 8 1/2″ tall33_small-4794551

33. Copyrighted The Haeger Potteries, Inc. Malcomb, Ill. & on bottom stamped in blue Haeger USA. 9″ tall, 6″ deep & approx. 5 1/2″ across34_small-925542834. Red marked Made in Japan 7″ tall35_small-321778635. 8″ high Marked 415737_small-869265937b-4383773

37. No markings38_small-286302038. No Markings 8 3/4” tall x 4” wide and 3 3/4” deep39_small-934801139. No markings40_small-685852440. Haeger Pottery 8 1/2″ tall41_small-716723941.  6″ tall No Markings42_small-907725642. Lefton AR5884 7 1/2″ tall43_small-627847043. Thorton Ceramics – TEXAS – M244_small-737372044. Hull Pottery in a pink glaze, measuring 7.5 inches tall, 5.5 inches wide and 5.5 inches deep.4520a_small-332281745b_small-633507145. Hull Pottery in an ivory glaze, measuring 11.5 inches tall, 4.5 inches wide and 5.5 inches deep46_small-725754046. Royal Windsor 8″ tall47_small-487149047. Hull #26 Soft pink glaze6 3/4″ tall – 5 1/4″ wide and 5 1/2″ deep.48_small-861059848. Unusual light up planter 11 1/2″ tall. H. 3806 A. L. Randall co. Haegar Am. Ceramic. USA49_small-101733349. ROYAL HAEGER. USA. No. RO 17. Satue is 11″ High, 4 1/2″ Across Base. Planter is 4″ Oval, 4″ Deep50_small-824461650. Inarco, Japan.  6-1/4″ tall, 4-1/4″ deep and 4-1/2″ across.51_small-371301651. Lefton. 7 1.2″ tall  Includes hole for wall mounting52_small-858221452. Relpo, original ceramic, Chicago, Ill., made in Japan. Also a stamp that says-Samson Import Co., 1959, #45311. 6 1/2″5420a_small-824141354. Sanmyro Japan 6 1/2″55_small-183182855. Red marked Made in Japan56_small-196328256. Made in Japan sticker57_small-111044457. Napco. 8″ tall. Marked National Potteries Co. Cleveland, O Made in Japan. CR 4895 Napco 196057_1_b_small-897660253. Unmarked58_small-782125458. Stafford. 6 1/4″ tall59_small-707559559. CR 33418″ Copyrighted by Napco. Dated 1958.

5 1/4″ tall.60_small-187770160. Relpo 6743 11″ tall.61_small-381354661. Samson Import Co. 1963 Number 5408 9″ tall62_small-166830762. 10″ tall. Unmarked63_small-625759363. Rubens, Made in Japan, number 316, 6.25″65_small-497211665. 9″ tall. Unmarked66_small-918965366. Norcrest67_small-733823967. 8″ tall. Unmarked68_small-820221968. 8″ tall. Unmarked69_small-829557169. Unmarked. Features a hole for wall mounting70_small-663636870. 5″ tall. Unmarked, but probably Norcrest based on the delicate fingers71_small-652754271. 8.5″ Tall. Unmarked72_small-880271972. Enesco. Dates to 1940s73_small-625994273. Numbered 4152. Likely to be Lefton74_small-866594974. Lejo Japan. 7″ tall75_small-296231175. Napcoware number      R-7075, 5 1/2″76_small-616358376. Unmarked. Number 4156. Probably Lefton77_small-274435377. 4 1/2″ tall with impasto porcelain flowers. Unmarked78_small-445394878. Unmarked80_small-115079080b_small-5228253

79. Unmarked. Hard to find head of Christ81_small-489007781. Unmarked82_small-247917282. Red marked Made in Japan83_small-300182783. St Joseph. 10.5″ tall. Marked B-134584_small-657246684. Hull Pottery. 11 1/2″ tall. St. Francis of Assisi. A rare planter.85_small-640241485. Artmark Japan. 8″ tall. Watch out for the red paint on these! Very fragile.8620a_small-46887808620b_small-689554686. Red stamp Made in Japan. Unusual because of the bean pot configuration and mauve vestment coloration.8720a_small-244977287. Unmarked. 10 1/4″ Textured vestment. Stable red coloration.88_small-820808788. Numbered R5838. Stands 8 1/4″ tall.88_1_b_small-311817788 b. Unmarked. Likely Relpo.89_small-561828089. Rubens 178 Japan marked. 8″ tall.90_small-552241390. Haeger. 11″ tall.91a_small-584887591b_small-204774491. Rare Saint Anthony. 8 1/2″. No marking92_small-941870692. 10.5″ tall. No marking93_small-498926893. 7 1/2″ tall. No markings94_small-424654894. 6 1/2″ tall. No markings95_small-371237395. 6 1/4″ No markings96_small-726613396. 5″ high. Lego98-187763498. Rare Rare Rare! Miraculous Medal planter. 6″ Lefton China/Hand Painted/Reg US Pat Off.” It numbered KW57999_small-867622499. Rubens Japan. Sticker that reads” Rubens Originals Japan Los Angeles. 201MC.dc_1_b_small-3779912100.  No information available10020a_small-391704510020b_small-9549114101. 8″ tall. Red marked Made in Japan.angelplant1_small-4222756101. Unmarkedbrown20planter20front_small-5777106102. No information availableheadvase202a_small-4608400103. No information availableitalian20headvase_small-5620266104. Made in Italylittleplant1_small-6539032105. No information availablemary20planter20320march_small-9806183106. No informationmarybust1_small-3144507107. No Informationnativity20planter1_small-2667658108. No informationunmarked20no20sale_small-2755073109. No Informationcrowned20heart20planter_small-3954992110. No informationbible20planter_small-1628409111. No informationcamark2013_small-602792612. Camark 13″ tallhull_small-6121994113. Hull Potteryinarco_small-3523667114. Napcoware R 7077inarco20e2000_small-1363937115. Right Inarco E 2000infant20red20japan_small-1014266116. Infant of Prague Red Japanlefton20planter_small-1361151117. Leftonnapco20v_small-3369137118. Napconorcrest20e20477_small-2554522119. Norcrest E 77quality20japan_small-9291072120. Quality Japanruben20820nch_small-4011683ruben20820nch202_small-9777226121. Ruben 8″ Tallst20jude20planter_small-9608139122. Saint Judevm20pl_small-7634355123. No information40s20bvm20pl201_small-8604004124. No informationhv20dcn_small-6385859125. No informationsepia20mp_small-7255132126. No informationblonde20planter_small-9152154127. No informationmv20lg20mvase201_small-9251012mv20lg20mvase202_small-2191103128. No informationmv20sm20mvase201_small-5525306mv20sm20mvase202_small-7730960129. No informationjesus20vase202_small-6771208130. Telefora

Please share your favorite head vases and planters with us. If you can help identify any of the planters above, we’d be grateful.

Let us know how you use them in your Catholic home.

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Christine Hirschfeld

I never intended to run a Catholic antiquities and book business. Not in a million years. As a cradle Catholic, I grew up in a house that was filled with Catholic images and sacramentals not to mention an abundance of excellent books provided by family members who worked in publishing houses famous for their Catholic catalogues. The beautiful images and concepts presented in those books certainly had their effect in enhancing my identity as a Catholic. As the years passed, even in the midst of very un-Catholic settings, I became a repository for my friends’ Catholic “found objects.” Eventually, I had a family of my own. We’re a small family. There are just three of us. And two of us were born with the “junk collecting gene.” Garage sales attracted us like a magnet.
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