How to Sell: Salt & Pepper Shakers

People collect strange things. I have an affinity for skeleton keys that I just can’t explain. What draws us to certain items? Why do we like amethyst carnival glass over rootbeer carnival glass? Or elephant figurines instead of dog figurines? I honestly don’t know.

So, even though it sounds a little strange, just trust me when I say that some people are crazy about salt and pepper shakers. I can sort of see why: they’re tiny and usually pretty inexpensive. They make great gifts to give and receive. And they come in a million sizes and shapes. You can collect these things for your entire life and still not have a complete collection.

I’m going to give you a run down on some of the more interesting types and give you examples of the ones that have passed through our doors. All the information that I’m supplying you here is coming from the Salt & Pepper Novelty Shakers Club. However, I’m not going to relay the information verbatim, and I’m definitely not going to be able to talk about each and every style of shaker that exists out there. If this is something that interests you, I highly suggest you check out that website – they’ve got invaluable information!

First up we need to answer the question: anthropomorphic or figural? As I said in a previous post, the word figural refers to something that is in the shape of a person or an animal. If something is anthropomorphic (that’s a mouthful!) it means that human characteristics were given to other objects that would normally not have a face or body. This can cover a wide array of subjects (including abstract ideas, which I always find interesting), but in shakers the most common anthropomorphic items seem to be…vegetables!

Here’s a pair of shakers that are figural.

Some people collect regular salt and pepper shakers because they like the shapes or simplicity of them.

These are tiny and plain, but they’re also simple and elegant.

These are a beautiful pair of iridescent shakers. Somebody is definitely going to enjoy having these on their table!

The novelty shakers are much more popular, though. Here are two types that we’ve recently run across:

Go-Withs

These are really neat because they take two related objects and make them a pair – even if they don’t initially look like they belong together. Some examples the site gives include an ink bottle and typewriter and a kitten and ball of yarn. (You can see our own examples down a bit further.)

Nesters/Stackers

These are also fun because they don’t necessarily look like two pieces at first glance. Oftentimes one shaker sits on top of another one. Here’s a couple of pictures of an Enesco shaker in the shape of a kitten sitting on a pillow:

This one is a “nester” or a “stacker.”

The pillow is one shaker and the cat is the other!

There are all sorts of interesting types left to explore. Hangers, Nodders, Huggers, Squeakers, and Longboys are just a few! Visit this page to learn about these and more!

Shaker sets (and sometimes even individuals) are usually worth putting up on eBay to see if they sell. The more unique and strange they are, the faster they’ll go! We recently had to make the decision to get rid of some inventory that had been sitting around here for a while, so we combined all the shakers we had and sold them off in a lot in order to clear some space as quickly as possible.

Here’s a picture of the lot. Note that most of them are figural. And check out the three go-withs that we had! (The broom/stove, the bear/beehive, and the turtle/frog.)

What’s the weirdest thing that you collect? Have you ever come across any strange salt and pepper shakers?

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10 thoughts on “How to Sell: Salt & Pepper Shakers

  1. lisa laudig says:

    I’m trying to help a friend. Sell her salt n pepper shakers she had for years. Packed up.

    • Was there supposed to be a question here somewhere? I’d be happy to help if you’re looking for some guidance!

      • Dee Schneck says:

        I am cleaning out my mother’s attic (she just passed away) & found boxes of antique salt & pepper shakers from all around the world. They originally belonged to my grandmother, whose 3 sons were in the military & sent them back to her. I know she had over 400 sets at one time. We don’t want them, but I would like to see them go to homes that would really like them. I’m needing help on finding out where I can sell them, how to sell them – basically any type of guidance that you could give me would be greatly appreciated!

  2. Rebecca sumner says:

    I have over 60 pairs of salt and pepper shakers such as aunt Jemima,Sylvester and tweety bird looney tunes,vase shaped with roses,plenty of people kinds,Christmas,pumpkins,apples,bears,elephants,pigs,cows,chickens,etc.bery nice from porcelain to glass.very nice need to sell immediately.please email me ASAP to let’s know if interested

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Rebecca,
      I see this conversation happened 5 months ago, but just thought it might be worth a try. I received a box in the mail today with a Tweety Bird salt and pepper that I purchased on Etsy: it’s a Warner. Bros. porcelain set marked 1980. Something happened in transit, I guess–the salt shaker is broken in pieces. Just wondering if you might have the same set and are willing to sell. Let me know, if possible.
      Thanks so much,
      Lynne

  3. Rebecca sumner says:

    Oh yes and old vintage ones like I love Lucy

  4. Rebecca Walker says:

    I am looking to sell my salt and pepper collection. I have a wide variety like a rabbit and a carrot, a poodle dog with the salt and pepper jugs hanging off each side, Pepsi bottles, USA cannons, pigs, birds, flowers which go into a bush, a wine o holding his jugs, and many many more. How do I find out the value of these

  5. Michelle says:

    Hi, I live in CT and I am looking to sell a bunch of vintage Salt and Pepper shakers but not sure where to start. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thank You,

    Michelle

  6. Kristine says:

    Hi, if anyone is still interested in selling their inherited salt and pepper shaker collections, contact sales@youbulkit.com. We would be willing to possibly buy collections that can be relocated to homes where they can be once again displayed proudly.

  7. Annette Gibson says:

    My Mother has been collecting salt and peppers for several years and has 4 cabinets that are full–from pepsi bottles to every vegetable and just about everything in between. Her husband recently died and she is looking to move and does not wish to pack up and take with her and we are trying to find someone that is looking to buy a few or even several.
    Please contact Marion Carpenter at 434-985-3769 for an apt to come and view or talk about what she has that you may be interested in obtaining. We live about 15 miles North of Charlottesville, Virginia.

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