Monday, February 1, 2010

Learning about Holt-Howard Pixieware...

I’ve been doing some research to find out more about things that I like and collect, as well as things people I know like and/or collect. Every once in a while, I will post what I’ve been learning…just in case you might like to know too!

I just got a book from the library called “Price Guide to Holt-Howard Collectibles”, so I could find out what they are all about. One of my co-workers is crazy about them and is always searching E-bay for them. She even asked me to keep my eyes open for them when I am out at garage sales and estate sales. Before this, I had never seen anything even remotely similar, but you can be sure my eyes are peeled now! Especially since I’ve seen how much they are selling for!!

In 1949, the Howard brothers, John and Robert, while attending Amherst College in Amherst, MA, along with Grant Holt, started the Holt-Howard Company with a $9,000 loan and tons of encouragement from their parents.

The company’s humble beginnings were based out of an apartment on 35th St. in Manhattan. Eventually, as the business grew, they were able to open an office on 28th St. and a showroom on 5th Ave.

In their early years, they tried to keep their business transactions strictly in the United States, and their main focus was on Christmas items. Although the Christmas items did very well for the company, they didn’t want to be become a seasonal item only company, so they branched out into kitchen items.

In the 50’s, families were building new houses at record paces, and along with the new homes, they were able to have space to display their collectibles. It was also a time when grilling your food outdoors became the thing to do. So, the need for portable condiment containers became apparent, and Holt-Howard jumped right in with their “Pixiewares”. They were a line of condiment containers with whimsical pixie heads on top-thus the name.

They were such a huge success that in the late 50’s and early 60’s, other companies such as Davar, Lefton, Lipper & Mann and Napco all began to copy the Holt-Howard style. As in the case with my co-worker, many people will like and collect from more than one of the competing companies. “Pixieware” has become very highly collectible, while most pieces sell for around $30-$80, items can sell for upwards of $500-$1000!

In 1955, Holt-Howard moved its offices from New York to Connecticut, but still maintained their showroom in New York. In 1968 General Housewares Corporation purchased Holt-Howard and made it (along with the Colonial Candle Company) part of its Giftware Group. This then lead to a move to Hyannis. MA. In 1974, the original three partners left the company, and in 1990, it was purchased by Kay Dee Designs of Rhode Island, but the line has not been continued or revived.

The “Pixieware” line is more than just condiment jars or containers, there are many other kitchen-related items with those whimsical pixie faces. I really enjoyed learning more about them, and found this book to be very informative and it had some great photos with current selling prices. I still don’t think I would go out of my way to collect them, but if I were to see one at a garage sale or estate sale for a bargain, I definitely would buy it and try to re-sell it (unless it was one Bonnie was still hunting for)!


  1. Your treasures are wonderful. You might want to check eBay for an Holt item I came across when searching for double egg cups. It is so cute but more than I am able to spend---

  2. Thanks for stopping by-and for the link! Unfortunately, it is wayy above my budget too! :)