Saturday, July 24, 2010

Walter Dworkin and the Pursuit of Pixieware

 I thought I had seen everything.  At least everything available in an antique store or antique mall.  Not so.  I came across Walter Dworkin a year or so ago and found that he had not only amassed a huge collection of a vintage collectible I had never seen, but he'd also written the definitive book on them.    Pixieware was created by the Holt Howard Company in 1958 and was produced up until the early 1960's.  Even though I'm no very familiar with Pixieware there is something instantly recognizable about it.  Something from that era of new ranch houses, backyard grilling, bouffant hairdos and John F. Kennedy in office.  I asked Walter how he started collecting and what follows are in his own words.
                                                     " My infatuation with Holt Howard's adorable Pixieware condiment jars started when I was just a young boy. I had ventured into a neighborhood hardware store looking for an anniversary gift for my parents. This particular hardware store sold a lot of kitchenware items also. While shopping in the store, I looked up above the register and saw a real cute display of Pixiewares---there must have about ten condiment jars all lined up like soldier's. I think at the time they were selling for approx. $3.99 each, and I only had enough saved up allowance to purchase 4 of them. I remember buying the ketchup,mustard, jam 'n jelly & onions.

My Pixieware gift was well received by my parents and promptly displayed in our kitchen on a shelf. Everyday at meal time the Pixies greeted us with their great facial expressions, and I grew up with these whimsical characters constantly around me. But, for many years it always haunted me that I was not able to afford the rest of the Pixieware that I saw in the store that day. As time went on, I had moved into my own apartment, and then a house. My parents had to down size and were moving into a smaller residence and asked me if I wanted to adopt the Pixies, and so I did. Now I was displaying the Pixiewares in my own Kitchen window and still wondering why I never saw the rest of their clan anywhere. One day friends came over and notice the Pixiewares ( this was already in the 1980's) and mentioned that they see more pieces of these Pixies at the Atlantic City Antiques Show, and my hunt was on and a collector was born !

I started tracking down the rest of the Pixieware clan at flea markets, antique shops and collectible shows, I had thought that there were only 10 condiment jars to the set (little did I know then that there were over 65 pieces created by the Holt Howard Company). After many years, I was able to obtain a vintage 1957 Holt Howard catalog and was shocked to see just how many different Pixieware items were made. I would not rest till I found them all !! After many long years of searching to complete my collection, I had finally found all the pieces to the entire Pixieware set (and Mr. Howard and Mr Grant Holt) and decided to write a book.

Today, Holt-Howard's Pixiewares are over a half century old one of the hottest nostalgic collectibles!"
Walter has written Price Guide to Holt-Howard Collectibles and Related Ceramicware of the 50s &  60s available on Amazon  He also wrote Vintage Christmas Ceramic Collectibles.  He sells the wonderful set of  Pixieware in the first picture on ebay under the user id twingableseast  You can contact him directly at
Thanks for your interest in the Pixies. My name is Walter Dworkin, I wrote the 2 Holt Howard books on collectibles. These cute Pixies on the first photo were made by John Howard of the Holt Howard Co and he created them in 2003 to commemorate the vintage Pixies from the 50's--they are NOT reproductions since they are the only ones of their kind---they are orignals made by the same person by only in 2003, thanks Walt

PS---if you look in my latest Holt Howard book 2nd edition on pages 32-33 these pixies are in there--if you would like a personally autographed copy of my book $19.99 + shipping-or I can mail the pixies & book together and save you the additional shipping, thanks again, Walt