Home » Decade » 1960 » Vintage 1960s Lee Wards Christmas Catalog For Sale…….and It’s The End of The World as We Know it………for Mid Century Modern Brasilia Lovers That Is

December 5, 2013

Vintage 1960s Lee Wards Christmas Catalog For Sale…….and It’s The End of The World as We Know it………for Mid Century Modern Brasilia Lovers That Is

By Sara In AZ

I recently came across this vintage Lee Wards Christmas catalog up for sale on eBay and wanted to share it with y’all. I mean seriously – combine Christmas and vintage and it is the best of both worlds!

Vintage 1966 Lee Wards Christmas Catalog from seller bringmegiants


Ok, I don’t know about you but I am all about those Mistletoe Pixie’s! Cute!!!


If I could place an order today I’d be all over that entire angel door panel/bell light set/light-up candle display!


Awwww, ornaments…who doesn’t love ornaments!? For me the red satin ornaments have special memories. When I was young we would travel to Grandmother’s house for Christmas where she had the most beautiful tree all decked out in red satin ornaments. I remember gazing in wonderment at that tree….it looked SO perfect compared to all the mismatched ornaments and popcorn strands we had on the tree back home!


Oh boy….get a load of ALL those elves….and ONLY 23 cents each…and 17 cents each for the girl pixie elves…….sign me up for that please!!!! WOW!!!


And finally……..the most horrible, heart wrenching tragedy any mid-century piece of furniture could EVER face……………….but first the price – for the tidy sum of $550 this piece can be all yours…..maybe some of you already recognize this line by those drawer pulls.


For those of you faint of heart you may want to have the smelling salts ready…………….Yes…….a white painted, shabby chic’d, distressed Broyhill Brasilia Breakfront Hutch. *grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr*


Painting wood MCM furniture is a BIG no-no in my book. I am guessing that the original finish was kinda shot on this piece and the dealer was not sure how to deal with it…..and I know sometimes people just want an easy fix and paint seems like the quickest way to achieve that, but now any value this piece had has been virtually destroyed. If the dealer had just researched a little tiny bit they would have found out there is a HUGE collector base for Brasilia and maybe they could have restored this with one of the great Howard’s products out there like “Restore A Finish” or “Feed N Wax” ….what Mid Century furniture collector is going to want this piece now?

I have refinished a lot of Heywood Wakefield furniture in the past and honestly I personally would NEVER touch a painted piece of H-W as a project to refinish. First, you don’t know what condition the wood in underneath all of that paint….and second – you are going to have to strip off ALL of the paint. Yes, you can try to sand – but in my experience sanding paint is one of the most horrible experiences ever. When I refinished the white painted doors in my Mom’s time capsule condo I initially tried to sand the white paint off ….and I quickly gave up and bought the most hard-core paint stripper I could find. If you try to sand paint the sanding action turns the paint into these little hard grains (almost pebble like) it will wreck your sandpaper in no time…and mess up your wood in the process. So, you will need to strip every nook and cranny and then sand on top of that. ugghhhh. It would have been SO much better, even if the finish was horrible, just to sell it as-is and let someone else restore it to it’s intended glory.

*shakes fist at shabby chic’d out MCM furniture*



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26 Responses to Vintage 1960s Lee Wards Christmas Catalog For Sale…….and It’s The End of The World as We Know it………for Mid Century Modern Brasilia Lovers That Is

  1. thatmidcenturyfella Reply

    December 5, 2013 at 7:26 am

    I love all those Christmas goodies! I wish I could go back in time and pick up a few for those prices! And painted furniture? I can’t stand it either. I’ve seen so many painted pieces in my area it gets really overwhelming. A lot of the time, people like to paint things because they think it will help them sell better. They blindly slather anything with that chalk paint and wax, then bump the price up. We should contact our legislators to get something in the books for stuff like this!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      December 5, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      Let’s build a time machine and go back to shop ’till we drop midcenturyfella! Bummer about ALL the painted MCM furniture in your area……Yes, let’s see if we can get a law passed to prevent future abuse of MCM furniture!!! 🙂

  2. Liz Reply

    December 5, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Oh my gosh, that hutch is the saddest piece of redone furniture I’ve EVER seen. The shabby chic and mid century modern just don’t mix at ALL!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      December 5, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      I know, it’s just SO wrong on SO many levels isn’t it Liz??? Ugggghhhhhhh……………….

  3. Ann Kennedy Reply

    December 5, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Too bad about the hutch–could have been wonderful left alone. And as for the Lee Wards catalog, thanks so much for the memories! Among my favorite childhood Christmas keepsakes are some Lee Wards ornaments and felt items. As a kid, I loved the catalogs, enjoyed filling out order blanks and pretending to order everything I wanted.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      December 5, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      I SO wish they would have left that poor hutch alone Ann!

      And I am so glad you enjoyed the Lee Wards catalog so much! I have to say that Lee Wards had some really great stuff!

      To this day I love going through the few vintage catalogs I have and dream about ordering my favorite things!

  4. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    December 5, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Wow! That catalog! I sure wish that was in my price range. That poor Brasilia. That’s one of the pieces that I’ve wanted for a long time. Someone has done shabby chic’d it up. Or something.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      December 5, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      I’m totally obsessed about that catalog too Eartha…..I’m dying to know what’s on all the rest of the pages!

      That Brasilia is just about the saddest thing EVER…..shabby chic and MCM…..really, really horrible! eeps!!!

  5. Andrea Reply

    December 5, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Noooooooooooooooo! There’s nothing I hate more than “shabby chic” 🙁

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      December 5, 2013 at 1:24 pm

      I know Andrea – ESP. when it’s done on MCM furniture…..grrrrrrrrrr!!!

      • Maureen Reply

        December 5, 2013 at 7:44 pm

        I could not agree more! I think “shabby chic” is my least favorite phrase!

  6. Carrie Reply

    December 5, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    The Christmas clowns in that catalog scare me, lol!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      December 5, 2013 at 1:24 pm

      I’m totally with you on that Carrie!!!! 🙂

  7. tammyCA Reply

    December 5, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    I saw that Lee Wards catalog the other day…I loved Lee Wards. I don’t know if they were nationwide but they were in my home state & they had THE BEST STUFF! Do they even exist anymore? The current craft stores don’t even have such fabulous stuff (‘tho I think they are trying by copying some retro/vintage things).
    The Shabby chic can go TOO far…you’re right, they could’ve tried to sell it as is and I bet now they won’t even be able to get rid of it, esp. at that price! It just doesn’t even look right in the shabby style..this is a more masculine, straight line furniture whereas shabby chic is more Queen Ann, etc. I’ve painted cheapy castoff, beat up old furniture to give it new life but never anything worth anything. And, I’m getting over the constant flaking painted furniture thing…I want warm wood.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      December 5, 2013 at 8:46 pm

      Hi Tammy! I just looked it up and it looks like LeeWards was bought out by Michael’s in 1994…that was when the last LeeWards store closed it’s doors in Illinois too. So sad. I remember Benjamin Franklin craft stores too….wish they were still around!

      I guess I should have clarified….there is definitely a time and a place for shabby chic – if that is the look someone loves and I totally, totally agree with painting old beat up cheap furniture to give it new life….but yeah – to paint a very desirable piece of MCM furniture in a manner that is SO inconsistent with it’s very design……SO, SO wrong! And I know – how will they ever be able to get rid of it!?

  8. sherree Reply

    December 5, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    I love that catalog 🙂 I reminds me of Christmas when I was little.
    I cannot believe anyone could paint that piece of furniture 🙁 Dang.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      December 5, 2013 at 8:47 pm

      That catalog is the BEST Sherree…and I know, when I saw that hutch I almost wanted to throw a fit on the floor right then and there!

  9. Maureen Reply

    December 5, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    I couldn’t help myself-Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas to me!! I had to buy this catalog, and I rationalized it as giving myself a present for my birthday (which is on the 23rd)and a present from Santa 🙂 I mean when you break it down that way, it is only $17.50 a pop, right??

    Thanks for posting about this Sara, I know I am going to love it!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      December 5, 2013 at 9:15 pm

      Whooooo-Hoooooo Maureen!!!!! I am SO completely thrilled that you got this catalog…and a bit jealous too! 🙂 Seriously though, I am REALLY excited for you, as it looks like an AMAZING catalog. If you have the time please let me know what the catalog is like once you receive it…dying to know what else is in all of those pages!

      And Happy Birthday Christmas Baby! We should have a party together…my b-day is the very next day on the 24th!!!

  10. Patty Reply

    December 5, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    OMG!!! I’ve painted heavy dark mahogany victorian pieces white/shabby chic/distressed but mid century pieces are not good candidates for this style!! Although I have seen some in this part of the country (Boston) done in white’s and turquoises…revamped and “repurposed” and they don’t look terrible, they are actually kind of cool..but the piece shown looks terrible!!! I’ve thought about painting my retro sewing cabinet (now television stand) and record player cabinet bright shiny reds and limes but I have yet to do it – I bought a bright blue teak clean lined sofa and added some funky colors to the room – lots of oranges and reds, and would like to paint the shabbier pieces…they are not great quality and were not expensive so when I’m tired of the scuffy look I’ll try it!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      December 6, 2013 at 11:34 am

      Patty – I could totally see painting Victorian pieces in the shabby chic style….as those styles kind of blend….and I agree that some MCM furniture looks good with a painted look…..but when the piece is supposed to be a natural wood, kind of warm look, like this Brasilia piece (or painted Heywood Wakefield furniture) it just looks SO, SO wrong. Your sofa sounds FAB though!

  11. Jen Reply

    December 5, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    I was all happy because of the catalog and then…


    Oh my goodness. I should send this to the gal who runs the Boomerang Room here in Columbus—she nearly ALWAYS has a beautiful piece of Brasilia Hubby and I lust over. Then again, this might give her a heart attack.

    Gahhhh! I need to Listerine my eyeballs now!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      December 6, 2013 at 11:40 am

      Uggghhhh Jen, SO sorry to completely ruin the fun by showing the Brasilia horrible-ness. And you are SO right…..people are CRAZY! Let me know if you do show this to the gal who runs the Boomerang Room…hope she comes through ok :)…..off to Listerine my eyeballs too!

  12. Neenah S. Reply

    December 11, 2013 at 1:51 am

    My grandma and grandpa had that little pixie mistletoe guy! As well as that beautiful red light up bell garland around their door. Man I would love to get my hands on some of these items!

  13. Jon Reply

    December 13, 2013 at 2:14 am

    As a child I loved it when my mother took me to the Lee Wards warehouse outlet store. Years later when I moved back to the Midwest, it was one of the places I tried to take my southern bride. Unfortunately, by that time they had been bought by (Michaels?) and the warehouse/store was no longer.

  14. Ruth Reply

    December 14, 2013 at 6:49 am

    I gotta say–I hate with a passion furniture that has been painted, especially with chalkboard paint!! It just gets my goat to see a gorgeous piece of furniture, nice wood and lines, ruined by painting. There are ways to restore them like you said without resorting to that kind of thing. Save that for the cheapie stuff that needs covering up!!

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