Coolest Novelty Vintage Ashtrays Worth Collecting

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Vintage ashtrays are becoming more and more popular as a cost-effective way to bring historical style and nostalgia into homes.

Originally intended to catch cigarette ashes, these mid-century modern decor items are now being utilized as catchalls, trinket trays, or even useful accessories to hold votive candles, jewelry, or jelly beans. Ashtrays are becoming more and more necessary because of the legalization of cannabis in some areas, which is also contributing to its rise in popularity.

There’s a vintage ashtray to fit every taste and style thanks to the overwhelming variety of options, which range from ceramic boomerangs to hand blown Murano glass pieces.

Whether you’re drawn to the eternal optimism of mid-century modern design or the glitz of classic films, vintage ashtrays may add a special touch to any space.

Is There a Market for Vintage Ashtrays?

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An additional round of vintage ashtrays is being placed on the coffee table. Since smoking inside became uncool and unwanted, the ubiquitous 1950s and 1960s item has been tucked away in closets and basements, but fans of mid-century modern design have long recognized the excellent design of many premium glass and ceramic vintage ashtrays. Thrifters who want to give their homes a little affordable nostalgia, character, and design history are now a part of the market.

According to Jay Kruz, co-owner of Retro Image Antiques and Vintage in Dearborn, Michigan, “they contribute to the entire atmosphere of a room, and many are less than $20.” The store’s clients are interested in copper enamel or mosaic ashtrays. They have been portrayed in vintage films. Just as the cocktail craze did, this item exudes glitz. At yard sales and resale stores, ashtrays are frequently available for only a few bucks. However, the premium ones fetch hundreds at sites such as Chairish or First Dibs. 

The general manager of eBay’s home and hard goods division, Mari Corella, stated in an email that “tens of thousands of vintage ashtrays sold on eBay in North America in 2022.” In February 2023, sales of mid-century modern ashtrays exceeded those of the previous year by “double digits,” according to her. “There’s also been a surge in interest in some of the most recognizable brands that produced these nostalgic vintage ashtrays,” she continued. She claims that American potter M.A. Hadley, glass artist Alfredo Barbini from Murano, and Hermes are popular searches.

According to Corella, the reason mid-century modern is still in style for clothing and home design is that it “embraces a timeless optimism.” Vintage ashtrays are excellent examples of design items that give a room a certain, individual touch, the speaker continues.

Read More: 11 Most Expensive Watch Brands in the World

The Value of Vintage Ashtrays in the Collectors’ Market

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Ashtrays are now quite popular collectibles in the market, drawing enthusiasts for a variety of motives. Determining the worth of an ashtray can be a fascinating endeavor for collectors, regardless of its aesthetic or historical relevance.

A collector’s market ashtray’s worth can be impacted by a number of factors, including the type of material, the maker, the complexity of the design, and historical relevance. Due to their scarcity and collectors’ desire, rare and distinctive ashtrays typically fetch higher prices.

Some vintage ashtrays’ models are highly valuable because they are rare and have a distinctive style. Ashtrays with memorable branding or those connected to certain eras or occasions are a few examples. To bolster their priceless collections, collectors frequently search for these uncommon models.

It is crucial for anyone wishing to purchase or sell collectible ashtrays to investigate current market trends and pricing. For both buyers and sellers, online auction sites, antique shops, and specialty websites for collectibles can be quite helpful.

In addition, networking opportunities and market research for distinctive ashtrays can be obtained by participating in collector communities and trade exhibitions. Collectors may navigate the market with confidence and improve their collections by knowing the elements that go into an ashtray’s worth, spotting uncommon models, and using the appropriate channels for buying and selling.

Types of Vintage Ashtrays

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The selection of vintage ashtrays is overwhelming: there are aqua ceramic atomic boomerangs, handblown Murano glass pieces in candy colors (as seen on the 1960s-themed set of “Mad Men”), bronze or brass models, souvenirs with branding that were once taken from hotels and nightclubs, and the standard stackable pastel melamine models found in motels. While bent glass vintage ashtrays with maps of Bermuda are ideal for a beach house, heavy Bohemian cut-crystal ashtrays lend a touch of Hollywood Regency to a room. Pabst Blue Ribbon and Pan Am are two campy options with logos (yep, smoking was once permitted on airplanes). Occasionally, tall metal smoking stands have a magazine rack underneath.

Large ashtrays made of stone and agate from the 1950s and 1960s are a favorite of designer Barry Dixon of Warrenton, Virginia, who has been known to pull over when he spots a nice antique mall or vintage store. Dixon commented, “These are lovely designs and can be used in many ways.” He has used them in his own and his clients’ houses as wine coasters and soap dishes. He also enjoys vintage copper or bronze models, as well as Murano glass. Be imaginative, he said. “You can use them for sushi sauces or olive pits.” It is enduring.

Also Read: 10 Historical Pieces of Civil War Memorabilia

Glass Ashtrays

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Collectors prize glass ashtrays for their exquisite workmanship and distinctive designs. These ashtrays are available in an array of sizes, styles, and colors; some even include elaborate designs or well-known brand logos.

Together with being utilitarian, they also frequently function as beautiful elements. You can visit the Journal of Antiques to learn more about glass vintage ashtrays.

Ceramic and Pottery Ashtrays

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Ashtrays made of ceramic and pottery are renowned for their strength and visual beauty.

The wide variety of styles, from sleek and contemporary to rustic and hand-painted pieces, appeals to collectors. Some aficionados concentrate on particular eras or geographical areas that are well-known for making unique ceramic ashtrays.

Metal Ashtrays

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Ashtrays made of metal are distinguished by their durability and classic style. These ashtrays, which are made of brass, silver, or other metals, have beautiful craftsmanship and frequently include elaborate engravings or embossments.

Some vintage metal ashtrays are highly prized by collectors who value the patina that accumulates over time. Visit Ashtray Planet to learn more about the world of collecting metal ashtrays.

Novelty and Branded Ashtrays

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Ashtrays with novelty and branding appeal to collectors looking for one-of-a-kind and sentimental items. This area offers an extensive selection of collectibles, ranging from unique shapes and designs to branded ashtrays with logos of famous businesses or establishments. For many aficionados, these vintage ashtrays have personal importance and frequently arouse feelings of nostalgia. 

Do People Collect Vintage Ashtrays?

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Are you a passionate ashtray collector seeking to establish connections with like-minded people? You need look no farther than clubs dedicated to collecting ashtrays, where aficionados come together to share their love of antique, vintage, and novelty ashtrays.

Social media groups and online forums make it easier than ever to connect with other ashtray collectors. Social media communities such as the Ashtray Collectors Group on Facebook and the Reddits r/coolcollections and r/vintage offer a platform to present valuable collections and interact with a worldwide community of collectors.

By participating in these forums, you can increase your understanding and appreciation of ashtray collecting while also forming deep relationships with people who are as passionate about this unusual pastime as you are. These organizations are a fantastic resource for any vintage ashtray aficionado because to their quantity of information and friendship.

Starting Your Collection of Vintage Ashtrays

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To focus your search while beginning an ashtray collection, think about concentrating on particular types, materials, or historical periods.

Seek out uncommon artifacts with intriguing forms, distinctive designs, and potential artistic or historical value. The ashtrays’ worth may be impacted by chips, cracks, or discolouration, so be sure to inspect them carefully.

Additionally, make sure each ashtray fits your collection objectives and personal preferences by taking into account its utility and beauty.

Where Can I Find Them?

Collectible vintage ashtrays are available at antique stores, flea markets, estate sales, and internet marketplaces such as Facebook groups like this one, eBay, and Etsy. Go to your neighborhood thrift or vintage stores to find hidden treasures that could give your collection some personality. Visit auctions and collector fairs to meet other fans and look at a variety of ashtrays.

Watch look for swap meetings and garage sales; occasionally, you can find interesting and reasonably priced items for your collection there. Particularly, two internet retailers can assist in locating some exquisitely styled ashtrays. They are as follows: Although their arts and crafts are their specialty, you might not be aware of their wide selection of treasures. You may be taken aback! If you’re looking to buy something today or win something at an online auction, eBay is a great place to go. I suggest frequently visiting eBay because there’s always something new to see. 

The world of ashtray collecting changes along with trends and advancements in technology. The emphasis on rare and vintage ashtrays is one new trend, with collectors looking for one-of-a-kind items from various historical periods and geographical locations. There is a newfound appreciation for mid-century modern ashtrays as a result of the rebirth of interest in that style of design.

Additionally, the popularity of internet marketplaces and auction sites has increased collectors’ ability to interact and trade, thereby broadening the hobby’s appeal. Furthermore, the inclusion of ashtray collecting in the larger tobacciana category has increased awareness of this specialty and given collectors access to a greater selection of products.

Also Read: 10 Famous Paintings of Women and the History Behind Them

How Do You Clean Vintage Ashtrays?

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If you are an ashtray collector, you must take good care of and maintain your collection to keep its aesthetic appeal and worth intact. For your unique ashtrays to last a long time, you must provide them with regular cleaning and maintenance, cautious display, and appropriate storage.

Maintaining the aesthetic appeal and practicality of your assortment of ashtrays requires frequent cleaning. First, take out all of the ashtrays and properly dispose of the cigarette butts and ashes. If necessary, use a small vacuum cleaner to remove everything completely.

After that, clean the ashtrays with soap and water to get rid of any debris. A mild detergent should be used on metal ashtrays. To avoid corrosion and preserve their immaculate beauty, properly dry the ashtrays with a clean cloth or paper towel after rinsing them with clean water to get rid of any residue.

Try using white vinegar in your ashtrays to keep the smell fresh as it works wonders to get rid of residual smells. Before emptying and cleaning the ashtrays, fill them with white vinegar and let them sit for a few hours. Moreover, utilizing a charcoal filter might assist retain the freshness of your ashtrays by absorbing odors.

Displaying and Storing Your Budding Collection

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Displaying your ashtrays correctly draws attention to their distinctive designs and improves their aesthetic appeal. To avoid smoke and odor development, think about putting your collection in a well-ventilated room.

Ash and residue can quickly dissipate in a well-ventilated space, which helps to minimize any residual smells. Remember that showcasing your ashtrays in a well-lit space can draw attention to their fine craftsmanship and minute details, adding to their overall appeal.

It’s critical to store your ashtrays correctly while not in use to prevent damage and dust buildup. Should you want to maintain your collection organized and protected from the weather, think about making an investment in display cases or shelving. Overly damp conditions and temperature swings should be avoided in the storage area because they can eventually erode the integrity of your ashtrays.

You can preserve the aesthetic appeal and financial worth of your collection of vintage ashtrays for many years to come by following these care and maintenance procedures.

Ella is a digital content intern who loves writing about entertainment, media, technology, and culture. She is a recent... More about Ella Burch

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