Tag Archives: Moomin Mugs

Flea Markets

11 Jun

My not-so-subtle obsession are Finnish flea markets. Luckily, there are loads of them filled with gorgeous used children clothes, Iittala/Arabia plates etc, Marimekko fabrics, toys, books, furniture, hats – in short everything. There are car boot sale type flea markets, but more and more hall type of self service flea markets where the sellers hire a table and leave their stuff there with price tags on among other tables. Some of these are even specialized for children! Shopping is easy as you can hunt through all tables and when finished proceed to the till where usually also cards are accepted (dangerous!).

I usually look for children’s books (as these are expensive in book stores), toys (lots of brio – today saw a Dachshund for €4 and last week Brio stove for €25, plasto, lego etc) and children’s clothes (despite having my own shop – clearly need some therapy). I also keep my eye out for Iittala/Arabia glassware but usually sellers are aware of the value of rare moomin mugs – for example spotted a brown Nipsu mug this morning priced at €60 in a flea market! Other than that, estates usually dump homes into the flea markets and there are lots of old Arabia ware that offers a great starting point for collections or topping up existing collections!

Our recent finds have been Julia Donaldson ‘Hide and seek Pig’ book (in Finnish) for €0.50 and moomin laptop €12

Moomin Mugs

28 Feb

Like many Finns, I’ve got an addiction to Moomin mugs! I’ve only started to collect them once living abroad, but I’m catching up quite fast.

Moomin mugs are made by Finnish Arabia (part of Iittala group). There is a vast variety of them and every Summer and Winter seasonal mugs are being sold too. Every now and then the production of one mug is finished and everyone rushes to buy that mug. There are different levels of addiction and some collectors are willing to pay thousands of euros for the rare and most sought after mugs. It was only yesterday that it was in the Finnish press that a Moomin Fazer mug (Fazer is a Finnish chocolate company) was sold by an auction website for €1800! And that’s for a mug that was sold originally for around €15-€30 euros but only 400 mugs were made.

Fazer Mug

Maybe it’s a good thing that I cannot afford prices like that. I’ve got my base collection and I keep adding the seasonal and annual mugs to it. Before I collected the mugs, I was lucky the get some of the mugs as presents from my friends, like the Winter mug ‘snow lantern’ and ‘brown sniff’.

Part of my collection – they have now relocated

Recently, I’ve started to add moomin plates and bowls to this ever expanding collection. This is because Arabia changed the plate collection recently and stopped making the plates with one figure on, so they are becoming rare. I’ve also got one ‘old’ style plate where there is an image also on the bottom side of the plate. My collection lives on our kitchen top shelf – I don’t use the mugs as they are too small for coffee or tea in my opinion!

In short, if you are beginner moomin mug collector the things to look are:

– In Finland, Iittala’s prices are usually the highest, moomin mugs are usually cheaper at Anttila, Prisma, Vapaa Valinta etc shops.

– Each Winter and Summer a new seasonal mugs is out – get it then and avoid paying higher prices later on. In fact why not get 2 and sell the other one later?

– Winter mug usually has more going on in the picture and the Summer mug tends to have just a figure and stripes on the background. There is no winter bowl, although there is a Summer bowl.

– Iittala sells second class mugs as well and usually the faults are minor, such as the stamp at the bottom is not straight. These are sold without the original stickers.

– Don’t hang the mugs from the ear (handle) as with time it may become loose.

– See the list of all moomin mugs here (pdf file) – the mugs from the 90’s are rare and expensive and are not sold in shops anymore.

– Only original characters from Moomin books by Tove Jansson are used for moomin mugs.

– Some of the rare ones – not the really rare ones, but the basic mugs that no longer are manufactured, are sometimes produced especially for some supermarket chain, like the green little my sliding last year for Citymarket.

– Some of the newer mugs have a little number stamp at the bottom, it’s thought to be the month and year the mug was made. This is important for the reruns of the older mugs .

– This year there is a special ‘Hurraa’ mug for Helsinki Design Capital 2012 – get this if you can as it’s sold only this year and hopefully becomes one of those rare ones! I’m getting it on my next trip to Finland.

– Word of warning – The hobby of collecting the mugs may become addictive and expensive!

Hurraa Mug 2012

In addition to the Hurraa mug, new additions to the moomin mug family in 2012 are:

Mymmelin aiti

Primadonnan Hevonen – Seasonal Mug for Summer 2012

Mymmelin aiti, should be available in March 2012 and Primadonnan Hevonen in April 2012. I’m glad that these mugs look slightly different from the previous ones, so I probably must get them too.

In the UK, one good moomin mug selection is at the Cloudberryliving online shop. From time to time they also run moomin mug competitions on their Facebook page.

UPDATE: Iittala has announced that they’ll stop producing the blue Moomin troll on ice and the yellow Snorkmaiden mugs by the end of 2012 so get them now if you don’t have them! They are still available in many webshops!