View Full Version : BILLIKEN - The god of things as they ought to be

01-22-2013, 08:43 PM
I haven't posted a picture in a while and seeing an item on Ebay prompted me to share this. I always enjoy a post about an adventure or the back story of an acquisition so I will attempt a little embellishment also. Please don't expect this to be as eloquent or entertaining as those from potlidboy / Mike and others.

About 10 years ago my beautiful Wife and I decided to attend a 2 day auction in Moscow, Idaho, about 75 miles south of our home. The advertisements were mouthwatering as this was to auction off the 50 year collection of a rather well to do couple who collected numerous things of high quality though not all high priced. The variety was truly outstanding and somewhat overwhelming.
We arrived at the fairgrounds early Saturday morning as we wanted ample time to peruse the wares. We were looking not only for collectible items but for specific pieces with which to furnish and / or decorate our home. We spotted numerous pieces we wanted and over the two days added at least a half dozen items to our stash. As usual the priced varied from ridiculous to sublime. We got a few items at a steal and overpaid on one or two. We even were offered double for one item we now use as a coffee table.
At the very end of the auction, very late in the evening Sunday, everyone, including and especially the auction staff, were exhausted. They finally decided to invite the few of us diehards remaining to pick out items from the large number of items still left for sale to be brought to the front to be auctioned and that would be it. We picked a few things we had waited for and when they were offered we got trounced badly. I remember I was actually angry as I expected to get them for a song. That would be cheap as I can’t carry a tune in a Fruit Jar.
Anyway, the item in the following pictures was picked out and brought forward by someone else. Even though I was an avid bottle collector at the time and accustomed to paying rather large amounts for bottles I thought this thing was UGLY, heathenistic and I could not imagine why anyone would want it. The auctioneer started it out at a ridiculously high amount but after getting no bids he got it down to $2.00. Still no one bid, not even the person who brought it forward. So he was about to put it down and out of my mouth came “I’ll give you a buck”. I was dumb struck. “SOLD! And thank you”. With that the auction was over.
I have wondered ever since why I bought this crazy thing and have felt sort of guilty as being a Christian it seems a little like idol worship even though I certainly don’t worship it. But recently I have done some research on it and it turns out that BILLIKEN was first an Alaskan Inuit tribe good luck object and others picked up its likeness for their various purposes. At any given time there are numerous BILLIKEN items For Sale on Ebay, some made by a company named BILLIKEN that are just toys of odd creatures looking nothing like other Billiken items.
Anyway, to cut off this over long post, this bottle appears to be something like a candy container. I can’t even imagine what else it might have been used for. Please enjoy the pictures and comment as you will.


01-22-2013, 08:44 PM


01-22-2013, 08:45 PM


01-22-2013, 08:46 PM
Right side


01-22-2013, 08:49 PM
Base reads "PATENT (backward P) DESIGN 39603" HELP?


digger dun
01-22-2013, 08:49 PM
this little dude is great!

01-22-2013, 08:54 PM
Last pic. Sheared or snapped off lip, not ground but slightly rough. Would like to know approximate age. All original paint, hair is RED as most of this style Billiken seem to be.


01-22-2013, 08:57 PM
Check this out. I am absolutely astounded.


01-22-2013, 09:03 PM
Great piece and story Jim, I have seen a few of these in auctions and on Ebay. That Patent Design number is also the same on a cast iron bank of the same exact form without the spout...

01-22-2013, 09:08 PM
I believe this design dates to 1907-08...

01-22-2013, 09:33 PM
ORIGINAL: epackage

I believe this design dates to 1907-08...

Yea, I did find it, finally, AFTER I posted this. 1908 is correct.


01-22-2013, 09:37 PM
Very nice candy container you have[;)] Jim is in the right date range!~~they command a hight $$$$$----you got a GooooooD deal on it.~~Fred. He was called The God of things as they ought to be. Also a Salt Shaker. 2.5 in long( by) 4.5 H.

01-25-2013, 09:49 PM
I know an antique dealer who had one once. I thought it was ugly and something no one would want. It sat in his display for a couple years at $95 but eventually it did sell.

01-25-2013, 10:03 PM
BILLIKEN objects of all shapes, types, forms, material go for some pretty big prices. There are the coin banks, both old and repro but they want too much money for my budget. There is one exactly like mine except in Milk Glass and I'm interested but expecting it to go for more than I can afford.

The St. Louis University mascot is Billiken and there is a lodge type organization formed aroud him. Strange character.