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Jewish World Review June 12, 2003 / 12 Sivan, 5763

Anita Gold

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Consumer Reports

Collectibles To Keep Collectors Occupied; price guide for magazines; postage stamp errors | At one time or another, almost every home throughout America has had, or still has, pieces marked or stamped Made In Occupied Japan, which was produced in such great quantity that (if all the pieces in existence were lined up and put together they would probably go around the world) although no one has ever attempted to prove such a feat.

Collectors search for such items at flea markets, garage sales, resale shops, house sales, and other such places where old stuff is offered. Such pieces were made in Japan for export to the United States during the period of American Occupation following World War II, and were mass produced somewhere between 1945 and 1952 (the Occupation lasted 6 1/2 years) and can be recognized by their "Made in Occupied Japan", or "Occupied Japan" marks which identifies them as O.J. pieces dating from that time.

O.J. items were made of porcelain, pottery, tin, stamped and plated metal, paper, glass, wood, celluloid, papier-mâché, and from other materials some of which were beautifully hand-decorated or painted. They are interesting to collect because of their historical significance and particular (or peculiar) type of charm. Aside from the numerous O.J. novelties that were produced, collectors can find figurines of people, animals, and children along with toys, dolls, cigarette lighters, ashtrays, clocks, watches, lamps, desk and sewing paraphernalia, salt and pepper shakers, perfume bottles, and a zillion other things ranging from canisters to Christmas ornaments made for the American market.

Although most of the pieces sold for low prices being cheaply made, other pieces such as exquisite lacquerware, full sets and services of dinnerware, and many other items were of fine workmanship too, which included more expensively made pieces crafted to imitate Wedgwood, English Staffordshire, Irish Belleek, Majolica, etc. However, such O.J. copycats (which are in a collectible category of their own) can never be compared to the finely made, and far more expensive pieces of better quality that were produced in England, Germany, France, Austria, and other countries known for their distinctive porcelain and pottery. But O.J. ware was far less expensive, and therefore found its way into almost every American home simply because everyone could afford it.

Especially desirable, are O.J. figurines depicting people of various types (including Colonial couples, German musicians, Scandinavian fishermen, Italian organ grinders, Dutch children, Siamese dancers, Oriental characters plus people of other races and regions, as well as little elves, imps, and angels along with little pixies, beautiful ballerinas, and a huge assortment of romantic and religious figures and everything else imaginable ranging from mugs to jugs to rugs.

The most important thing that O.J. collectors are concerned with is the mark that such pieces must have to identify them. Authentic O.J. pieces must be either stamped, printed, embossed, impressed, or have a paper or cloth label which says "Made In Occupied Japan" or "Occupied Japan" which is most important. However, sometimes the mark on an O.J. piece may be hard to spot, and therefore when O.J. hunting, it's wise to take along a magnifying glass to examine pieces at all angles for "hidden" O.J. marks that often go unnoticed.

Countless O.J. pieces can be found pictured in color with their descriptions, and updated values, in "Occupied Japan Collectibles - Identification & Value Guide" by Gene Florence, available in a large full color, 271-page hardcover edition, for $27.95 from AMI Publications, P.O. Box 500, Western Springs, IL 60558. You'll love this book that's certain to keep you occupied.

Q. Can you recommend a collector's price guide for Rolling Stone magazines? Also can you recommend a price guide for magazines in general? S. Mitchell, Rockford, IL

A. You'll find Rolling Stone and other magazines listed, described, dated, and priced in the 2003 edition of the "Old Magazines Price Guide" available in a 5x8", 112-page edition for $13.45 postpaid, as well as countless other magazines (with the exception of Rolling Stone and other rock magazines) that can be found listed, described, pictured in color, and priced in the new 2003 edition of "Old Magazines - Identification & Value Guide" by Richard E. Clear, available in a large 287-page edition for $22.95 postpaid. Both books are different and can be purchased from AMI Publications, P.O. Box 500, Western Springs, IL 60558.

Q. Where can I find information on, and values for postage stamps printed with mistakes that I'm told could be valuable? Betty Peterson, Brooklyn, NY

A. It's always a good idea to check out such stamps that could be worth big and bigger four-figure sum bucks. You?ll find such stamps pictured, fully described, and priced in the 2003 "Catalogue Of Errors On U.S. Postage Stamps - 12th Edition" by Stephen R. Datz available in a 185-page book loaded with specific information, photos, freaks, fakes, forgeries, oddities, the latest prices, a dealers directory, and lots more for $18.95 postpaid from Krause Publications, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990-0001. Or phone (888)-457-2873 toll-free to order.

NOTE: To view Skinner's spectacular June 17, 2003 auctions one on Fine Jewelry, and the other on Fine Judaica & Silver both held on the same day, visit

NOTE: Slater's Provenance Auction Catalog featuring 863 eye popping lots of incredible sports, political, historical and popular culture Americana one can place absentee bids on from June 19 through June 26, can be seen in color by visiting WEBSITE: Or phone 317-257-0863 for details.

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Anita Gold has been writing this column for over 30 years. To comment or ask a question, please click here.


06/03/03: Patches and patterns from other days; Dick Clark doll
05/28/03: Blue Willow lovers romance
05/22/03: Collecting Silver Patterns Stir Collectors Passions; assessing silver dollars and old milk glass; Cracker Jack collectibles
05/14/03: Picky, Picky, Picky Collectors; teddy value; egg trees; big band records
05/08/03: Collectors pumped up over gas & oil items; old soda pop bottles; info on collecting autographs
04/29/03: Collectors can tyg this one on; value of a weird PEZ candy dispenser
04/22/03: Identify Authenticity and Value
04/15/03: Patriotic Songs and Memories of Long Ago Wars
04/08/03: Restore Grandmother's jewelry and memories

© 2003, Anita Gold