Saturday, March 25, 2006

Collecting Salt and Pepper Shakers

By Christina VanGinkel

Collecting salt shakers and peeper shakers, is a fun hobby for someone who wants to collect a variety of subjects, yet have all of the items they collect, somehow uniform. They are small enough that they lend themselves well to filling a china cabinet with, or maybe to decorate a shelf. They are fun to look at, they can be used, and most are priced in a range that you do not have to be a wealthy person in order to accumulate a collection you can be proud of. I do not have a huge collection of them, but I have collected a few through the years. My favorite was actually an antique set, which I broke last year. It was of a grandmotherly figure reading a book, while sitting in a rocking chair. The rocking chair was the pepper, and she was the salt. I am in search of a replacement for it, and someday hope to find one. Every so often, I will browse the listings at Ebay, and have made it a habit to check the local Goodwill and St.Vincent DePaul store in hopes that someday I will stumble across the same set to replace the one I so carelessly dropped!

There are so many salt and pepper sets available in both new and older versions, that you could collect salt and peppers across a range of interests of whatever strikes your fancy, or maybe along the lines of another collectible. For example, if you are captivated by anything Christmas, you could search out shakers that represent this holiday to help you decorate the kitchen during the days around it. A quick look through Ebay uncovered 215 figural salt and pepper sets in a Christmas theme. Everything from tiny elf shakers, to Mr. and Mrs. Claus, read and green tree ornaments (I have that set, thanks to my sister-in-law just this past holiday season!), snowmen, even tiny trees.

A search for figural salt and pepper sets alone, not broken down into a theme, provided a stunning number of hits, over 11,000! If animals are something you adore, consider the following sets that I found just in the first five pages of this huge listing:

Kissing Elephants, Fitz and Floyd Elephants, Kissing Monkeys, Kissing Bears, Crocodiles, Frogs, Pewter Birds, Glass Birds, Swans, Penguins, Bluebirds, Kissing Birds, Hummingbirds, Alligators, Hens, Owls, Cows, Bulldogs, Cats, Pigs, Mallard Ducks, and a Bear and a Moose set, Giraffes, Hippos, Zebras, and a set of Horses.

I also saw cartoon character sets, a Paint Palette and Brush, Teapots, Teacups, children in various designs, a Bowling Ball and Pin, and much, much more. Chances are that if you can think of something, it has been made into a salt and pepper set. Want a set of fish? I have seen several, one even a trout that looks as if it is diving underwater, with the head the salt shaker and the tail the pepper shaker. Are you a fan of Blue Willow Pottery? Ebay had a salt and pepper set in a Blue Willow pattern for a buy me price of less than five dollars! Star Wars, Betty Boop, Laurel and Hardy, and numerous sets representative of the Disney theme, including Mickey and Minnie sets, Tigger and Roo, Piglet and Pooh, Goofy and a Teepee, Minnie's Shoe and her famous Bow, and two of the Seven Dwarfs were among more of the one's that I browsed.

Besides Ebay, you can purchase new sets from just about any store that sells items for your dining needs, or gifts and collectibles. Antique stores and shops that sell collectibles are also possible outlets. Visit any small tourist shop too, and chances are you will find a small section devoted solely to salt and pepper sets in figures related to whatever tourist attractions are in the area. I drive through Upper Michigan will reward you with miniature salt and pepper sets in lighthouse designs and the Mackinaw bridge. Drive down through Door County in Wisconsin, and chances are you will come home with a set that looks like an apple tree and a bushel of apples. Collecting salt and pepper sets can be a fun and rewarding hobby for the person looking to build a collection that can be as diversified or as specific as they want their collection to be.

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