Collecting Vintage Turkeys or Have I lost my Gobblin’ Mind

I decorate for a living. This is a delight or a curse depending on the month.

Turkey planter
Turkey planter

A delight in October, March, and the rest of the year actually, when I think about it, but a nightmare in November and December. The American public falls into 2 catagories when it comes to Christmas decorating. The first catagory of people are those that would have Christmas all year long and feel November is almost too late and why bother? The second catagory are the stubborn people who refuse to decorate until after Thanksgiving. These people are the hardest to please and love Thanksgiving. Because I decorate for a living I pretend to be in the first catagory but I am a closet second catagory! I love Thanksgiving. I was born in November and my mother brought me home on Thanksgiving day. My dad was stationed in Korea with the navy (Yes, I am that old!), so I went home to my Grandparent’s house for a nice turkey dinner… Well, maybe not turkey but I have always was treated to a wonderful birthday party filled with turkey, stuffing, potatoes an


d pie. The love affair with turkey began.image

As a kid it was tough to have a birthday on Thanksgiving weekend. Everyone was busy. It seemed to me that none of my friends were available for birthday parties due to travel or family or something else. My mother got desperate on birthday parties trying to woo my friends to destination parties way before it was fashionable. Most parties were in the backyard with a Betty Crocker cake, pinata and kool-aid. (Yes, I am that old!!) Anyways, she devised a plan to go to an alligator farm in Buena Park for birthday. Most people would chose Knott’s Berry Farm but not my mom. She was and is an original! I got the friends to go. They wished they hadn’t! It was a disaster. The Alligator Farm was run down and stinky. The alligators looked like they were ready to become shoes and purses. Mom baked me an Angel Food Cake and covered it with gumdrops. It slid off the cakeplate. Fun was not had by one and all. We went back to the traditional candle in the pumpkin pie and turkey. Always turkey.

imageI bought my first vintage turkey at the Salvation Army Thrift Store imageabout 20 years ago. It was a painted wax candle turkey from Japan circa the 1950’s. I paid a dollar. I was with my mom the antique’s dealer who was telling me that vintage turkeys can be collectible, if they are old enough. Of course, she also was telling me the one I had just purchased was NOT that collectible and was sold in dime store everywhere for about a quarter. I had bought it as a candle for my birthday pie. I was going to light the turkey candle with a match. I was enchanted with the idea of a Birthday Turkey Candle!! She was horrified. I did not light the turkey candle, instead I bought 32 more turkeys to keep it company.

As all collectors will tell you, it was an accidental collection. I bought the second turkey soon after the first. At this point I am having fun just buying junky turkeys at thrift stores and amusing myself. It got serious when my mother(of, course!) bought me a real antique turkey that Martha Stewart would be proud to own. This was a birthday present. We do not give normal presents in my family. No perfume, no sweaters, no bestsellers. Turkeys. It is beautiful and handpainted from Germany with wire feet. Alas, it is not a vintage German Turkey candy container the holy grail of turkeys but it was pretty damn good!! She raised the level of my collection from fun and funky to now I am a Collector of Turkeys. I have German Turkeys, lots of candle turkeys of all sizes, Turkey planters, ceramic turkeys and turkey salt and pepper shakers. Too many turkey salt and pepper shakers!! They all make me smile when they come out of the box. I don’t know if our founding fathers would recognize my turkeys but I love them. So, before I can decorate for Christmas in my home I have to celebrate Thanksgiving with my wonderful family and my turkeys  are on display I have only one last thought: Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Birthday to me and pass the birthday pie!!Canterbury Garden's Turkey Of Course! (Don’t forget the candle)image

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2 thoughts on “Collecting Vintage Turkeys or Have I lost my Gobblin’ Mind”

  • Hi Cindy,

    Finally remembered to read your blog on turkeys. It is very entertaining and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course, you are my very favorite “turkey.” xo, Diane

  • Cindy. I came across this blog. WHERE did you purchase the large turkey shown at the end of the pages? I too collect turkeys and am mad about them. Do you know where I could purchase one like that? I also like the 2nd photo (large green turkey). Do you sell any ever? Please respond.


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