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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Otagiri Mercantile Company

The Otagiri Mercantile Company was a Japanese-based manufacturer of ceramics. The company was headquartered in the United States in San Francisco.

OMC is best known for its tiki-themed products for bars and restaurants, although they also sold a wide range of higher-end of ceramics carried by retail stores. Their tiki line, which is highly prized by collectors of tiki mugs and other ceramic pieces, started in the 1960s. Most Otagiri ceramics can be identified by the initials "OMC" and "Japan" on a stylized yellow and gold sticker or a similarly shaped gold sticker that reads "Hand Crafted Otagiri Original" and "Japan" at the bottom.

I became interested in Otagiri products when we realized that a tea set we in our store was manufactured by the company. I was surprised to learn its origin, because I would have guessed its spare, cylindrical design to be American or Scandinavian. It is quite different from all the other examples of OMC pieces I found.

The company was sold in 1994 and the OMC line was discontinued.

From tikipedia.com

Otagiri Mercantile Company tea set in our store

Aloha Hut tiki mug
from the collection of Tattoo
ooga-mooga.com

Hu Ke Lau Kon-Tiki mug
from the collection of ScarabaTiki
ooga-mooga.com

Fireside Moai
from the collection of TikiDiego
ooga-mooga.com

Aki Tiki Lounge droopy mug
from the collection of ScarabaTiki
ooga-mooga.com

Peacock modern dinnerware
freeimagefinder.com

Bittersweet cups and saucers
ebay.com - rockido1

Casserole dish
ebay.com - twasonce

Diamond Dot vase
ebay.com - modmodmodinc

Horizon tea set
ebay.com - 918cottageofcontent

Otagiri sticker
ebay.com - californiatull

OMC sticker
ebay.com - corrnucopia

10 comments:

  1. You had me at the Aloha Hut Tiki. I seriously think he is calling to me. Not sure what he's saying - I don't speak tiki and that may be for the best.

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    1. I think we all have our little collectible niches, and tiki usually isn't one of mine (as I'm sure my Russel Wright isn't everyone's passion either), but there's something about the Fireside Moai that I love. Just goes to show that if you keep an open mind, there's no telling what you might end up collecting at some point. Is a tiki bar in my future?

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  2. The Otagiri tea set that you show here....do you still have it in your store and is it for sale?

    Tracy

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    Replies
    1. No, sorry, Tracy. It sold quite some time ago.

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  3. My tiki looks just like your photo above: Hu Ke Lau Kon-Tiki mug from the collection of ScarabaTiki ooga-mooga.com However, mine does not have the name/marking on the back and the mark on the bottom reads "Import By Otagiri Co" - do you know anything about this mark? Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. From the little research I did for this post, I can only guess that the mug was a special order for a tiki bar somewhere called Hu Ke Lau or Hu Ke Lau Kon-Tiki.

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  4. I found your website while trying to research an estate sale find. It appears OMC wasn't only into ceramics as I have two little girl wood figurine music boxes and they too look to be Scandinavian or Dutch. Both have the yellow & gold OMC sticker on them. How can I send pictures? Then gain this blog is so old you may never see this message.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Annie, I'd love to see them. You can send pictures to dana@mid2mod.com.

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    2. Thanks Dana, I sent you the pictures.
      Annie

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  5. does anyone know when they stopped stamping otagiri on the bottom of cups?

    ReplyDelete