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:


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.)


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?