Sometimes when I’m winnowing thrift shops for great finds to fill my own online stores, I come across a HOMCO lady. Recently I found six at once! These handpainted porcelain beauties are about 9″ tall. They were sold by Home Interiors and Gifts, a purveyor of fine porcelain figurines.
Called Victorian Ladies, these collectibles sell well, with some being highly sought due to rarity or great beauty. The lady with the parasol is the most valuable in the set pictured above. Most ladies have names, the parasol woman is Miss Georgia. The seated lady is Courtney. All these figurines are currently for sale in my eBay shop.
The history of HOMCO is quite interesting. The business was founded in Texas in 1957 by Mary C. Crowley, a single mother of two. She had been working for others and wanted to do more. She scraped and borrowed enough cash for a start up. Her business was based on part-time sellers, women who were mothers like herself and needed extra money. The sellers were called “displayers” and the wares were displayed in homes. The saleswomen kept about 60% of the profit from each sale. The merchandise was all carefully selected decorative items and useful objects for the home.
Mary’s business grew so that by the early 1960s she had $1 million in sales. Her philosophies were maintained throughout the time she ran the company, even when her children became the operators. The salespeople were all women and her business was based on Christian values. Many of the items sold had religious significance. By the 1980s her business was making multi-millions in profits. Mary passed away in 1987. The company was finally sold in 1998, and went bankrupt in 2008. It was bought by Home & Garden Party.
The Victorian Ladies are just one of the popular lines. Denim Days, figurines featuring children wearing denim are very collectible. Also in demand are the Nativity series and the teddy bears. The HOMCO marks include an early crossed arrows with four feathers, later crossed swords and house roofline with chimney, most included numbers to identify the particular model. Many figurines are identified today by the model number.