An avid collector of egg cups for many years and following in the footsteps of her mother has seen Denise acquire an amazing array of treasured items of all sizes, shapes and colours, from far and wide. The results of her dedication to Pocillovy are a wonder to behold …
What do you collect?
Egg cups – the collecting of egg cups is called Pocillovy (pronounced Po-sil-ovy).
How long have you been collecting?
I have been collecting egg cups for about 20 years. I have a wide and varied range from all over the world.
What prompted you to start collecting – and why egg cups?
My mother stared the collection in the early ‘90s, and straight away I, too, was addicted.
To start with, we collected any type of egg cup: plastic, fine china, wood – some cups were chipped and cracked. It didn’t matter: we accepted the egg cups as they came to us.
Mum and dad travelled around Europe and came back home with hundreds from all over the world. My husband and I travelled to New Zealand in 2000 and arrived home with an esky full of egg cups.
Twenty years ago, prices were 10, 20 ,30 cents up to $2 – $3 for the good ones. Now you can pay up to $20 for a piece that is very much middle of the range. I am not sure what prompted mum to collect egg cups. Prior to starting the collection, she had travelled around and collected teaspoons. Obviously that got a bit boring for her!
Do you remember the first piece that stared your collection?
Mum started the collection with 3 animal style egg cups that had belonged to my 3 brothers … not really sure what happened to my egg cup!
Do you ever use your egg cups, or are they kept purely as a collection?
The egg cups were for looks, not practicality, if you’d tried to use them for their true function, you would have been shot. They were always purely to be looked at and enjoyed visually.
I am lucky that egg cups are small, and it is relatively easy to display them all. Over the last few years I have lost an exact count; however, my collection is estimated at 3,000 egg cups of assorted designs and styles.
Where do you find all your egg cups and are they hard to source?
I love Easter time. Each year I am able to buy lots of new egg cups. It is getting harder and harder to find ones that I don’t have. I have seen a lot of pictures of egg cups that I don’t have in books and on eBay. I actually don’t buy on eBay – I prefer to go to Antique and Collectable Fairs locally and further afield.
Is your collection still growing?
I have become more discerning and only buy egg cups that really interest me these days – mostly fine or bone china.
I can recall a holiday to Canberra with my husband years ago. We went to an antique store that was actually a great big tin shed.
We purchased over 100 egg cups from that one place. We didn’t pay more than $1 for any – bring back the good old days!
Do you have one favourite piece in your collection?
Being a Polcillovist, I love all my egg cups. I don’t have a favourite as such; however, the egg cups that friends and family have given to me from far flung places hold a special place in the collection for me. My mum and dad lived in Glennifer for over 40 years. They befriended George Negus in that time, and he returned from a trip to Russia with 2 egg cups for mum. Lovely thought.
Are you a member of any collectors and/ or enthusiasts clubs?
I am a member of the Coffs Harbour Collectors Club. We meet on the first Wednesday of each month at Pacific Bay.
It’s a great group, and there are lots of different collections. We hold a fair in May each year, and now monies raised are donated to local charities. One of the biggest problems with collecting egg cups is the lack of makers’ marks on the bottom of the base of the cup itself.
A lot of egg cups were originally part of a breakfast or dinner set, where only the larger pieces were marked. I am continually looking through china plates to see if I can match the patterns to anything I have in my collection, in order to find the origin of my unmarked egg cup. Over the years I have heard of egg cup collecting clubs and groups that are in America and the UK. I would love to start one here in Australia
What makes your collection unique?
I have heard of other egg cup collections, but they are compiled of only a particular type of animal or style. My collection consists of styles and designs from across the board.
I think of what will happen to my collection one day. I have two daughters fighting over who will not take them! Fortunately, I have three beautiful granddaughters who are fascinated with the collection
I am sure they will treasure them.
This story was published in issue 24 of the Coffs Coast Focus