The enduring appeal of Vintage Tupperware
Tupperware has long been an iconic kitchen staple.Invented in the 1950’s by Earl Tupper it was a revolution in kitchen storage keeping food fresher longer. They were also the first “home party” or in today’s parlance the first MLM. Offered as a way for housewives to help with the family finances. Like most MLMs, those at the top some found huge success while others further down the line of sales did not.
Tupperware, in its fun colors and iconic shapes, has become a hot collectable. For years I’ve been adding Tupperware to my vintage offerings on my Etsy site and the demand for pieces has been incredible. Certain items like the canister sets are in high demand, especially the midcentury orange and yellow sets.
Facebook groups have been popping up where collectors can showcase their collections or sell pieces.
Vintage Tupperware Still In The Wild
The fun part about collecting vintage Tupperware is that it’s everywhere. You can find pieces at your local thrift stores and garage sales. Prices range from reasonable to off the charts expensive depending on where you shop.
Thrift stores have caught on to the vintage Tupperware trend and are starting to price things way outside market value for these pieces. Check out the Rocker Scoop that a friend of mine found while out thrifting.
For context, I only charge $3 for a Rocker Scoop when I’m lucky enough to get them. To me this seems like an insane price. I’ve seen worse like a single canister marked $35 (I only charge $45 for a complete set.)
Despite these crazy prices you can still find pieces at a decent price.
From what I’ve noticed when collectors come into the shop they are looking to collect specific eras. Some of the younger ladies (20s-30s) want the orange and yellow pieces to go along with their cottage core aesthetic.
Others like the crystal colors or the pastel pinks and blues. These hues are so popular that Tupperware issued a new set of containers called the Heritage Line in these beautiful pastel colors that you can buy from retailers like Amazon.
Is Vintage Tupperware Safe?
Since I sell vintage Tupperware I’ve been asked a lot if vintage Tupperware is safe. We’re all concerned about BPA plastics and the toxins that can leach into our foods.
So I did some digging. After-all if I’m going to sell vintage Tupperware I’d better know the answer. BPA is found mostly in plastics that are single use like disposable (or preferably recyclable) water bottles and hard plastics. These are manufactured with a polycarbonate plastic which leeches chemicals into your food or water.
The traditional Tupperware bowls with the burping lids are made with a polyethylene plastic which does NOT contain BPA plastics. This article from Popular Science explains that a few of the hard plastic pieces that were sold as microwavable are known to have BPA and should not be used. Side note I do not sell these pieces.
As mentioned above the Heritage Collection from Tupperware is an attempt at capturing the nostalgia of the early Tupperware line with its pastel colors. It was issued as The Marvelous Mrs Maizel collection to tie in with Amazon’s popular program, but Tupperware is also issuing other products that have been so popular in the past.
The Tupperware Midgets are pieces I can’t keep in stock. People love these little containers to hold salad dressings, or other condiments in lunch boxes. They’ve been reissued and made available through Amazon. They also have the smaller Smidgets available.
Another piece I can’t keep in stock that has been reissued by the company is the Pick A Deli Pickle/Olive Keeper. This square container fits perfectly on the refrigerator door and allows you to lift pickles and olives out of the brine so your family isn’t digging there dirty fingers in a jar.
They also still make the iconic colander. I sell a bunch of these every year in yellow and orange, but if you just want the functionality and don’t care about the color the company sells a pretty new blue version.
The Holy Grail of Vintage Tupperware
So what are collectors looking for? What is the “holy grail” or Tupperware? Opinions vary.
I know as a seller I’ve been asked for the kids sets of Tupperware the most. These are elusive because kids played with their sets until they were destroyed. Parents more than likely just tossed when their kids had grown out of paying for them.
In all the years I’ve been selling I haven’t found one set. I look at the toy section every thrift store hoping that one day I will find the elusive miniatures.
On the adult side the Millionaire drink glasses are devilishly hard to find. I don’t think the design was as popular as the tumblers were. I have been able to find the sugar and creamers from this set but never the handled cups.
In the end I think the piece that is the “holy grail” is the one that a given collector doesn’t have yet.
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