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July 1, 2013

Our Vintage Illinois Moulding Company Mirrored Shadowbox Is Finally On The Wall!

By RetroRuth

Last week I showed you guys the new retro chair we bought for our living room, but this week we focus on a vintage piece that we are pretty proud of!


Behold! Our almost pristine gold mirrored shadowbox made by the Illinois Moulding Company. I seriously love this thing, and surprisingly, so does Tom. This makes the shortlist of kitsch that he actually allows upstairs!

How we got this was actually kind of funny. Sara in AZ has one filled with poodles in her living room. She sent me a picture one day, and while I squealed with joy and envy, Tom wasn’t quite on board. Maybe it was because Sara’s is filled with poodles, or maybe because Tom didn’t see it up close and personal. We will never know. Either way, he declared he didn’t like it and we moved on.

Fast forward to about two months later. There was a new coffee shop in one of our favorite little towns and the theme of the shop was MCM! It was a really fun little place (it is sadly closed up now) and the best part was that it was filled with lots of vintage MCM pieces.

“That,” Tom whispered to me, “Is awesome.”

“What? That floor lamp with the sputnik shade?”


“That collection of carafes? Because I like that one on the-“

“No! That mirror thing!”

“What mirror thing?”

“That one.” He pointed to giant, gold shadowbox behind the counter that was filled with owl figurines.

I turned to face him. “You mean the SHADOWBOX?”

“Is that what that thing is called?”

I was speechless.


“But you…but I…Sara’s poodles-“

He smiled down at me. “I like it. We should get one.”


So, we started to look for a golden shadowbox, but it was tough. We found a few that were beat up, some that were too expensive, some that were beat up AND too expensive, and some that were just plain wrong.

By the way, big thanks to my Dad, who you see in the pictures here helping Tom drill into our cinder block walls so we can hang the shadowbox. Thanks, Dad!


Anyway, a few months went by and no luck. Then, one day, I opened up my email early in the morning and just about spit milk all over my computer screen.

“Tom! This is it! It’s the one!”

“What are you screaming about?”

“I got an email from Sara! She found a shadowbox for us on eBay!”

“That’s cool. How much is it?”

“The right price.”

“Nice. What the…why did Sara write, ‘Buy this or I will seriously have to kill you!’?”

“She is just joking. The best part is that the shadowbox is here in Michigan! We can just drive and pick it up and we don’t even have to worry about shipping.”

“If she is joking, why is it in all caps?”

“You don’t have to worry about her killing you, because I am buying it right now.”



He sipped his coffee while he watched me finish paying on eBay. “Just so we’re clear, she NOT going to kill me.”

“No, because I just bought it.”



He took another sip of coffee. “Sara is pretty serious about her mid-century stuff isn’t she?”

“Yes. Yes she is.”


So, that is the story of the shadowbox! It took us about a year to track one down, but with some help (Thanks, Sara!) we were finally able to get one in the house.


And thanks to Tom and my Dad, we were able to get it up on the wall, too!

By the way, this shadowbox was made by the Illinois Moulding Company, which was a company in Chicago that mass-produced decorative goods like these mirrored shadowboxes and various kinds of wall art for sale in department stores.  (Thanks to Mid-Centuria for the info.) If you are looking for one of these, you should make lots of trips to Midwestern antique stores and shows, and keep an eye out on eBay!

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22 Responses to Our Vintage Illinois Moulding Company Mirrored Shadowbox Is Finally On The Wall!

  1. Sherree Reply

    July 1, 2013 at 9:40 am

    I love it! I also have one from Illinois Moulding (in a little different style) that I picked up in Peoria, IL. I just think they are so cool.
    Great find for both you and Sara.
    Here is a photo of mine:
    I always enjoy your posts 🙂

    • RetroRuth Reply

      July 2, 2013 at 11:48 am

      Thanks, Sherree! I love your style box, too! If it were up to me, I’d have both styles all over the house. 🙂

    • Brent durbin Reply

      December 30, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      I have the exact same shadow box as featured in this article. My grandparents bought it new and handed it down to me. It’s now on my living room wall. Can’t believe someone els has one! Too cool

  2. Sara In AZ Reply

    July 1, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Ha, ha, ha!!!! 🙂 Oh yes, I am VERY serious about my mid century stuff!!!!!

    Wow, it looks SO amazing….and I am SO super glad y’all got it…….now onto my plans of secretly filling it ALL up with poodles. bwhahahaha

    • RetroRuth Reply

      July 2, 2013 at 11:49 am

      Yes! Very, very serious!

      Ha! That sounds like a pretty great plan to me. Tom wants to fill it with vintage space stuff, but if I should just so happen to slip a poodle in here and there…

  3. Joyce Wagner Reply

    July 1, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Awesome – I also have one that looks like it was made by them but another style.

    • RetroRuth Reply

      July 2, 2013 at 11:50 am

      Holy cow, Joyce!!!! I have NEVER seen one like that. Ever! Can I ask, where did you get it. And how in the heck did you get it into your house??? That thing is massive!

  4. MissC Reply

    July 2, 2013 at 10:20 am

    If I’m not prying, what is ‘affordable’ for a shadowbox like the one you have? The only one I ever saw in person was $500 and the ones on ebay aren’t much cheaper than that. For me, that’s just not affordable. I live somewhere between cheap and poor.

    • RetroRuth Reply

      July 2, 2013 at 11:55 am

      Hey MissC –

      No probs, you aren’t prying at all. Affordable for us was $320, but it was in perfect condition (no repairs needed) and we didn’t have to pay for shipping since we went and picked it up. We also bargained with the seller on eBay and got it down some from her original asking price of $450. In my opinion, eBay is super, way overpriced. I know Sara has seen them for much cheaper in antique stores and on Craigslist. I would advise hitting up some antique festivals in your area this summer (I have seen them pop up there) and checking Craigslist often. Good luck!

  5. Angie Reply

    July 2, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    I want that table!

    • RetroRuth Reply

      July 3, 2013 at 6:00 pm

      Thanks, Angie! It’s Russell Wright design for Conant Ball table, and I looooove it!

  6. Joyce Wagner Reply

    July 2, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Ruth – I found mine at an Antique store in Coloma, MI. It had been in the booth forever. I finally asked one day what the bottom dollar price they would take. Well they called the booth owner and she wanted it gone so bad, she gave it to me for……$14.00!!!! Yes, it fit in the door no problem. But it take up one whole wall when we put it up in our basement when it’s done. It has one small crack in the little square cup on the right side (as you are looking at it). Otherwise it’s in perfect condition.

    • Sherree Reply

      July 2, 2013 at 4:00 pm

      Joyce, I am with Ruth; yours is the coolest one I have ever seen! I thought mine was a bargain for $60! Please post photos when you get yours put up 🙂

      • RetroRuth Reply

        July 3, 2013 at 6:03 pm

        $60 is pretty good, too! Call me jealous. 🙂

    • RetroRuth Reply

      July 3, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      Get out of town!!! $14!!! Holy cats!

      Michigan is really the place to score great mid-century!

      What are you working on in your basement? I would love to hear details.

  7. Andrea Reply

    July 3, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Wow, Ruth, your shadow box is absolutely gorgeous! And kudos to Sara with her mad eBay skills for finding it!

    • RetroRuth Reply

      July 3, 2013 at 6:03 pm

      Thanks, Andrea! I totally love it.

  8. Laura Reply

    July 5, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    That shadow box fits perfectly in your home. Apparently Sara issues threats for good reasons. 😉
    And I may have said it before but I’ll say it again, I can’t get over how amazing your fireplace stone looks. You are so lucky some bozo in the intervening years didn’t try to drywall it over or worse yet, paint it. It is truly beautiful.

  9. judy sucietto Reply

    March 2, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    I just purchased one for $5.00 at a church sale for my daughter and her mid century modern home! They are beautuful! Love ’em!

  10. Cindy Reply

    December 15, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Oooh! That one is so cool looking! I havent seen one like that. I have one simular to that one but diff. Shape in design with the star blocks on it also and it is for sale.Im asking $500 its in excellent shape and Im also open to taking offers.My daughter plans on placing it on craigslist for me.I really hate to part with it,You dont see them around,so Unique and Beautiful! The one you have is the first i’ve seen compared to mine also from Illinois Moulding Co.

  11. Linda Straley Reply

    June 21, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    I really enjoyed your story! I too!! am very serious about my mid-century treasure’s…. I love the quality and the art of the crafting these beautiful piece’s that were made with so much thought and hard work, so long ago. Linda here in my home of beautiful, Oklahoma.

  12. Clifford Lilly Reply

    August 30, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    A Shadow box was placed on the street along with two TV’s with a sign that read free So We picked it up right away it is a very unique peace of work, with one flaw, one tiny mirror is missing we plan on find a mirror if possible. if the numbers on the back are in reference to how many were made this one is 4,104, Love it!

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