Psycho Ceramics: A Primer for Collectors

Psycho Ceramics, collection of San Francisco-based artist, Dirty Donny.

Psycho Ceramics, collection of San Francisco-based artist, Dirty Donny.

Psycho Ceramics were a range of zany novelty ceramics made by US-based Kreiss company and manufactured in Japan between the 1960s and 1970s. They are characterized by a crudeness that one might call “lovably fugly”. (Basically, if Precious Moments were on the honor roll, Psycho Ceramics were the dropouts and burnouts.)  In addition to the Psychos, Kreiss also made Crazy Creatures, Elegant Heirs, Beatniks, Nudeniks and a variety of weirdo collectible figures, mugs, banks and ashtrays.

Psycho Ceramics

Mike King, the author of the 1998 reference book, Kreiss Novelty Ceramics, is currently selling a bunch of his Psycho Ceramics here on eBay. For $15, you can get a signed copy of his out-of-print book with 273 photos of Psycho Ceramics here. Across the world, RPM, a fantastic-looking shop crammed full of collectible vintage American toys, just got in a shipment of Psychos too.

Psycho Ceramics

Here’s where the plot thickens. Did you know that there’s another meaning for “psychoceramics”? It’s also “the study of crackpots and crackpot phenomena. This includes things such as weird science and pseudoscience, bizarre religion, kooky solutions to the world problem and other things.” I wonder which came first: the science or the ceramics?

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