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Chalkware figures were produced from approximately 1860 to 1890. Although it is said that William Hutchinson, an Englishman, invented chalkware in 1848, some believe they are of Italian immigrant origin. They were produced from gypsum or plaster of paris from a mold and handpainted in oils or watercolors. They were often sold door to door and were made in the shape of various animals, birds, banks, toys, figures, and religious icons. Many were molded after the more expensive Staffordshire figures. Some collectors regard them as 19th folk art and can bring in prices in the hundreds of dollars.
Another type of collectible chalkware from the 20th century is the Carnival Chalkware. They range in time from about 1910 to the 1950's. They were prizes awarded to winners of the carnival games. Those made in the likenesses of popular figures bring in the most. It might represent Popeye, Donald Duck, Alice the Goon(from Popeye), Mae West, Jackie Coogan, or a Kewpie. They were initally made of a plaster with a pink cast and ranged in size from 5" to 16". Once stuffed animals became available, the chalkware figures were no longer used. The chalkware figures had to be carefully packed because of the ease in breakage or chipping, where the stuffed animals could be tossed into a box for shipping to the next carnival site.
Schroeder's Antiques Price Guide-Eighteenth Edition
Garage Sale and Flea Market Annual-Third Edition
Warman's Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide - 32nd Edition
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