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1960s Ashtray Collectibles: Iconic Retro & Mid-Century Finds

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If you’re on the hunt for a distinctive and fashionable method to inject some old-school charm into your living spaces, considering the collection of 1960s ashtrays might be right up your alley. These retro accessories are more than just practical items; they are artistic and expressive, epitomizing the design trends and cultural shifts characteristic of the mid-century period. For instance, imagine a floor standing 1960s ashtray, making a statement as both a functional piece and a conversation starter.

In this guide, we’ll delve into why 1960s ashtrays captivate so many, offering tips on how to kickstart and expand your own collection, and how to creatively incorporate them into your contemporary decor. Irrespective of whether you smoke or not, you’ll discover that these iconic pieces can introduce an irresistible charm and personality to any area of your home.

The Appeal of 1960s Ashtrays: A Blend of Function and Art

Why are 1960s ashtrays so appealing to collectors and enthusiasts? The answer lies in the variety and creativity of these vintage items, which reflect the artistic and cultural influences of the mid-century period. 1960s ashtrays are not just simple receptacles for cigarette butts, but rather expressions of function and art.

One of the most distinctive features of 1960s ashtrays is their shape. Unlike the conventional round or square ashtrays, many 1960s ashtrays have geometric, organic, or abstract forms, such as boomerangs, stars, flowers, shells, or balls. Some of them are designed to catch the eye, with the orange space age ashtray being a coveted item for those looking to reflect the era’s fascination with exploration and futuristic designs. These shapes add a touch of whimsy and personality to the ashtrays, making them more than just practical accessories.

Another characteristic of 1960s ashtrays is their material. Glass, metal, and ceramic are the most common materials used for these ashtrays, but they are often enhanced with colors, patterns, textures, or effects that make them stand out. For example, some glass ashtrays have bubbles, swirls, or crackles, while some metal ashtrays have chrome, brass, or enamel finishes. Some ceramic ashtrays have glazes, drips, or splatters, while some others have hand-painted or carved details. These materials give the ashtrays a unique and artistic look, as well as a sense of quality and craftsmanship.

Finally, 1960s ashtrays are appealing because they represent the design trends and cultural movements of the mid-century era. Some of them are influenced by the modernist, minimalist, or futuristic styles, while some others are inspired by the pop art, psychedelic, or hippie movements. Some of them are made by famous designers or brands, such as Murano, Venini, or Heath Ceramics, while some others are made by unknown or anonymous artists. Among these, the fornasetti iconic ashtray stands out as a testament to timeless design and artistry. These ashtrays capture the spirit and the mood of the 1960s, a decade of change, innovation, and experimentation.

Collecting 1960s Ashtrays: A Beginner’s Guide

Embarking on the journey of collecting 1960s ashtrays opens up a world of retro and mid-century treasures. As you start this fascinating hobby, you’ll find yourself delving into a variety of factors, including the ashtrays’ shape, material, style, brand, and condition. This guide offers essential tips and resources to navigate your path as a new collector.

First, determining the specific types of ashtrays that pique your interest is crucial. Do unique shapes like boomerangs, stars, or balls captivate you? Are you drawn to particular materials, such as glass, metal, or ceramic? Maybe you’re fascinated by a certain style, whether it be modernist, pop art, or psychedelic. And do you have a desire to focus on notable brands like Murano, Venini, or Hermes, or would you rather curate a diverse and eclectic collection that highlights the innovation and creativity of 1960s ashtrays?

Making these distinctions early can sharpen your focus and streamline your search, helping you to find pieces that truly resonate with your collecting ethos.

Second, knowing where to unearth these vintage gems is an adventure in itself. From antique shops and thrift stores to flea markets and garage sales, 1960s ashtrays are waiting to be discovered. Online auctions and specialty websites, including popular platforms like eBay, 1stDibs, and Etsy, also offer vast collections. Engaging with online communities, such as the Vintage Ashtray Collectors Club on Facebook or the Vintage Ashtrays subreddit on Reddit, can provide valuable insights, enabling you to connect with fellow enthusiasts who share your passion and can offer helpful tips, history, and advice for caring for and showcasing your finds.

Third, developing an eye for evaluating and appreciating 1960s ashtrays will enhance your collecting experience. Factors such as condition, quality, design, maker, and provenance significantly impact a vintage ashtray’s value and allure. Inspect potential acquisitions for any damage, such as chips, cracks, stains, scratches, or repairs, that could detract from their value or attractiveness. Marks, labels, signatures, or stickers are key identifiers of an ashtray’s origin, date, or creator and are vital for authenticity.

It’s also wise to stay informed about market trends and price points for vintage ashtrays, utilizing online resources like WorthPoint or Kovels to gauge current and historical values. Engaging with literature focusing on 1960s ashtrays, through books, magazines, blogs, or articles, enriches your understanding and appreciation of their design and cultural significance.

By following these steps, you are well on your way to building a magnificent collection of 1960s ashtrays that not only reflects your personal taste but also captures the spirit and creativity of the era.

Retro Chic Decor: Incorporating 1960s Ashtrays into Contemporary Interiors

Transforming your home with elements of vintage charm, particularly with a collection of 1960s ashtrays, infuses a retro chic aesthetic into contemporary spaces. This integration of past elegance into modern decor not only creates a captivating contrast of styles and colors but also elevates the overall stylish quotient of your interiors. Explore the myriad of ways to weave these classic accessories seamlessly into your living spaces.

Consider positioning 1960s ashtrays as accent pieces on your coffee table, side table, console, or any shelf. The flexibility to either select ashtrays that harmonize with your room’s color scheme and theme or to opt for a more eclectic, mixed assortment permits a playful yet sophisticated addition to your decor.

These vintage ashtrays can serve dual purposes, acting as catchalls for keys, coins, jewelry, or other small items, thus melding functional organization with decorative flair.

Moreover, repurposing 1960s ashtrays as planters for succulents, cacti, or air plants introduces an inventive green touch. Filling these ashtrays with soil, pebbles, or moss before placing your plants converts these unique items into conversation-worthy planters.

Beyond greenery, these ashtrays can illuminate your space when transformed into candle holders. Whether used as dining table centerpieces, mantel decorations, or to adorn a windowsill, integrating candles into these vintage pieces infuses a cozy warmth into your surroundings.

Additionally, elevating 1960s ashtrays to the realm of wall art presents an original décor idea. Mounting them on walls with various attachments opens up creative possibilities for arrangement, from structured grids to whimsical clusters, adding a dynamic visual element to your space. Utilizing these ashtrays as coasters also protects your surfaces with a flair, ensuring your beverages rest on pieces steeped in history.

The versatility of 1960s ashtrays in contemporary interiors is boundless, drawing inspiration from platforms like Etsy, Pinterest, or 1stDibs for either acquisition or creative brainstorming. Venturing into personalized décor adaptations with these vintage treasures allows for a unique expression of style, infusing your modern home with an essence of retro chic.


1960s ashtrays are more than just smoking accessories. They are also collectible items that encapsulate the design and culture of the mid-century era.

These pieces come in an array of shapes, materials, styles, and brands, each boasting its own history, value, and rarity. Additionally, they can elevate your contemporary interiors, injecting a dose of retro chic into your environment.

If you’re intrigued by the prospect of collecting 1960s ashtrays, begin by pinpointing the specific types you’re interested in. Explore various sources to find these unique items, and take time to evaluate and cherish them. Their versatility extends beyond their original purpose; consider repurposing them into planters, candle holders, wall art, or coasters, tapping into your creative side. For more insights and guidance, you can effortlessly access tips and resources online or connect with like-minded collectors in online communities.

1960s ashtrays stand out as iconic retro and mid-century finds that can introduce a unique charm and personality to your domicile. Embrace the opportunity to start your collection today and delight in the fun and beauty of these vintage ashtrays.

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