Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The History of 13 Colonies

Last November while running Rep 2, I noticed the props dept. was using a black vintage metal tray with the state of Virginia painted on it in the show. "Neat" I thought, "That looks so vintage-y. I'll have to keep an eye out for an Oregon one."  A few months later I saw a post on SF Troy and his Eichler ranch house. (Click over to drool, now close your mouth, we are not a codfish.) In his kitchen he has artfully arranged his GIANT collection of vacation platters or what I like to call State Souviner Trays. Soon after I discovered a Cape Cod tray at the Goodwill and an obsession was born.

They are the perfect thifters collecting item. Usually they are one or two dollars a peice, they are small and easy to transport. And I've noticed there is no correlation between the state I find them in and the state represented by the tray. For instance after my last trip to Portland I found:
Washington, predictable.

Texas, unexpected.

Nevada, not too far off the mark.
In the car my mother asked me: "Why is there a raincloud in the middle?"
Me: "That's a mushroom cloud, Mother." 
Mom: "Well, that's inappropriate."
Me: "Yes, yes it is."

I also found an Alaska Lazy Susan. Fancy!

Now my family likes to give them to me as gifts. Hence, this blog is kind of here so they can keep up and I don't end up with (too many) duplicates.  It's funny how you have to hunt them down in a thrift store. At Goodwill sometimes they are with the metal, sometimes with the dishes. At Savers I've found them both in the souviner area and the serving stuff.

Garth gave me Idaho, which he found in NY.


New Mexico, Wisconsin and Indiana were gifts from Mom for my birthday this year. 

It's so interesting how different they can be. Some are smooth metal with a matte finish, some are hammered with a shiny finish. Most of them have a black rim with gold swirling, some are gold with black. I'm assuming that has to do with the date of manufacture. I would like to find out more about how these came about and someday I will sit down at the computer and do the research. I do know thay are still being manufactured or were recently. My friend Janet has a new Texas one with white detailing AND a set of matching coasters. Dude, if I found coasters for any state, I would just up and die!

Oklahoma found in Sacramento.

Recent finds from the CT Goodwill in the last month: Louisiana, Mississippi, California,
and a non-Lazy Susan Alaska. Now the LS Alaska can be used as an actual  Lazy Susan somewhere.

All of these live in my kitchen in a ring around the room. There is a line of electrical conduit about 18" down  from the ceiling that runs around the walls without cabinets. It's a perfect space for these to hang. (Thanks SF Troy for the inspiration.) I love the way they look and am loving searching for them. Sure it would be easy to find them on ebay or Etsy, but I like the thrill of the hunt! And they are waaay cheaper when thrifted. I think a new one (or maybe two) is coming tomorrow when Garth visits. Can't wait!


  1. I found some of these at an antique store in St. Joseph, Missouri in the original packaging for $2 a piece. They were marked "Decorator Styled Souvenir Tray or Wall Plaque, Meldrum's Inc. Made in America" on the packaging. I sold them on ebay as I don't collect this style of souvenir plate or trays but they are cool and quite detailed and can be picked up for a reasonable price at garage sales and thrift stores. The same antique store had a booth that probably had nearly all 50 states for $1 a piece a couple of years ago. I could kick myself for not buying them. Have fun with the hunt - that is the best part!

  2. Thanks Hunting Tigress! They came in packaging once upon a time? How curious. I'm going to have to do some ebay scoping and see if any others turn up MIB. That info is a great jumping off point for further research.

    The hunt is absolutely the best part!

  3. love it, i am in for the ride, and a wild kitschy ride it will be

  4. I see these fairly often and always have to stop myself from buying them. I do have one from my home state of Missouri and I know if I didn't limit myself to that one I wouldn't stop until I had them all! A few months ago an estate sale had a few for 15 cents or something insanely cheap and I almost caved. If only I had unlimited display space!

  5. I searched your blog till I found this post...and it just blows me away where you've found all these. So cool!

  6. I'm from Maine and I have both the platter and the set of coasters from my state. I love them! I found the platter at Goodwill (where I work - it's a lesson in self-restraint, I tell ya!)and I think I found the coasters (mint in package) at a church rummage sale. Fun!