Collecting: Homer Laughlin Mexicana

27 Nov

Most vintage enthusiasts I know have certain things that they collect, and usually the list is long. Because of space constraints and my own dislike of clutter, I’m not a huge collector. I think this helps me as a reseller, because I don’t usually struggle with myself to let go of the treasures that I find at estate sales, auctions or the flea market.

But…I do have a few things. One of them is the Enid Collins bags, which I have mentioned many times. And another is a line of circa 1938-44 dinnerware produced by Homer Laughlin, in a pattern called Mexicana.

Cutest dinnerware ever

Homer Laughlin is an American dinnerware manufacturer most well-known for producing Fiestaware, which is still enormously popular. I have a set of Fiestaware myself which I use for everyday, in colors which coordinate with this Mexicana set.

I was attracted to the Mexicana pattern because of the square-shaped plates with the red trim and , of course, the western-kitschy decals of pots and cactus.  I am from AZ, and went to college in TX, so I’m a big sucker for a western motif. My collection started when I spotted the smallest tray in a Murfreesboro antique mall. I had never seen the pattern before, so I made a note of it and looked it up on Ebay when I got home.  There wasn’t a lot of it on Ebay–some plates, teacups…but I started following auctions and predictably, bidding.  Over a period of several months, I learned more about it and bought a lot of it. The square shapes of the plates were a common one for Homer Laughlin at the time, and they were issued with a variety of decals–including other western themes. I have some dishes in the complimentary Hacienda pattern, as well. The plate on the right in the picture below is Hacienda.

Hacienda is pretty cute, but not quite AS cute as Mexicana. The two are often confused on Ebay by sellers who don’t know much about it, and so if you are looking for it, it is best to search under both names.

I am always looking to complete my collection but some pieces are very hard to find. I have the serving trays in all three sizes–a huge score. I have the sugar bowl with lid and the creamer, and the round and oval serving dishes…all of which are harder to find and took me awhile. But some things rarely show up on Ebay and when the do, they are expensive and the bidding is fierce. These are the teapot, the gravy boat and the batter pitcher and syrup pitcher set. Yes, in the 1930’s-’40s making pancakes could be a fancy affair, with your own special batter pitcher with lid and matching syrup pitcher. I had never seen either pitcher on Ebay…until today, when I found the syrup.

You only wish your syrup was this fancy.

Le Sigh. It is already at $87 with four bids and five days to go.  I would have to snipe it and have an insanely high bid to have a shot at winning it. But it’s cute, right? Ah, well…if you have a complete collection of anything, then you are done and where’s the fun in that?

Do you have a collection-in-progress? Are there some “holy grail” items that you look for to complete your collection? I’d love to hear about them…and happy Tuesday! xoxo, Lauren T

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11 Responses to “Collecting: Homer Laughlin Mexicana”

  1. Jamie November 27, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

    Love the detail on the corners of these pieces – very sweet!

    • apronstringsvintage November 27, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

      The shape of the plates/platters combined with that red trim just looks particularly vintage and cute, doesn’t it?

  2. Jen H November 27, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    I have a small (6 pieces) collection of 2 piece ceramic hens in baskets. My grandmother kept a large hen in a basket on her kitchen table and it was usually full of warm tortillas. When she passed away I asked for it, but I’m sure you’ve seen enough estate sales to know how family members can get when it comes to splitting things. I found a hen years later and bought it as a reminder. It’s a popular motif so I soon had several more, no particular brand, just the same style. I can’t display them any longer in my wee kitchen so they are packed away. I guess her perfectly tortilla-sized one was always my holy grail.

  3. Lisa November 28, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Man! I did not know about these! What a cool collection. It’s neat to see the rustic pots motif decorating these dainty, deco sort of plates and accessories. The shape of that syrup piece! I hope you find one waiting for you in some estate sale kitchen cupboard for a criminally low price, to even out the unfairness of that ebay bidding war. $87?! Cuckoo.

    • Mary January 2, 2013 at 12:58 am #

      I have a huge set of the homer laughlin mexicana china i`m looking to sell… Every piece is in excellent shape & if your interested, write a reply here as I will check it daily..

      • apronstringsvintage January 2, 2013 at 1:46 am #

        Hi Mary! Thanks for dropping by! My collection is nowhere near complete…if you would like to email me pictures and prices, you can send them to lwrightn@gmail.com. Thanks!

      • Mary January 6, 2013 at 5:44 am #

        Hello there, Sorry for the late reply…. Was busy last couple of days…. Anyway, I sure can email you some pictures of the china…. Any idea on price as I want to be fair if you buy all or most of it? All china was bought new from my mother`s mother & is in excellent condition. Also, all pieces are from 1938 & 1939 and those are the first and second years it was made…. There`s even a couple of the kitchen kraft mexicana pieces in there too….. As far as how many pieces, I don`t have a count till I count it, but can estimate at least 60 pieces or so. I will also send a inventory list along also so it can be easier to come to a price agreement… Thanks! & start thinking about a price as I`m not the best at that… I rather have it go to a collector then a auction house or ebay…. even if a get a couple of bucks less per item… Talk/email soon!!!! I`m in pennsylvania by the way….. I tried to email you but it would not go through.. It came back telling me it wasn`t a valid email address…. Try my email address @ keith1836@gmail.com If that goes through to me, I can then send pics of the china…. Thanks!!!

  4. Wendie Caputo May 6, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    Thank you for the information! My mom bought a Mexicana platter for me like the one in the first picture. There aren’t any markings on the back so I’ve been scouring the net for info. Plus I found a round Mexicana platter in great condition in a run-down antique store in Exmore, VA. It sat so long the price sticker had yellowed with age. I bought it for $8.00 and now I wonder what it’s really worth…not that I’m selling it!

    As you said, it plays well with Fiesta and I’ve plenty of that!

  5. Kristen Haynes June 14, 2015 at 1:40 am #

    Hi. I have a piece from the Homer Laughlin Mexicana set that I can’t seem to find any information about, and, to my dismay, you also don’t have it in your collection. Might you be interested in taking a look at it to tell me if you know anything about it?
    KEH

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