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Devil's Reef Tiki Mug - the truth is stranger than fiction

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In response to Tikiracers inspired Devil's Reef collectibles topic, TravelingJones posted the following picture as an example of a possible Cthulhu tiki mug.

The sight of this "Devil's Reef" mug raised the hair on the back of my neck, not for the dread implications of such a terrible vessel but since I have known of this mug for sometime and had known it as the "Maltese Tiki mug".

This I should note is not because it was the central McGuffin in a Noir detective adventure but due to it being marked "Malta" on the base.


Excited by the sight of another Maltese/devil's reef mug I got in contact with TravelingJones..

Hi TravelingJones,
where did you get that mug you posted on the Tikiracer Devil Reef thread? I have two of them and mine are marked "Malta" on the bottom, I always thought they were part copies of "Orchid of Hawaii" headhunter mugs.

..and Jonesy responded..

ALoooHA Johann!

Coool, I was wondering if anyone else had one of these...you've got two! Mine is marked "Malta 6P" on bottom. It's a crudely carved pottery (even the handle is offset on backside). I just figured it was a homemade pottery craft? I got it off eBay a couple years ago from Australia. No idea of it's origin (if NZ?) My specimen is a light cocoa powder/ brown-ish tan color.

What's story on yours Johann?

..and i shot back..

Aren't they most horrible mugs ever?

The mugs were the first ever ceramic tiki mugs I found and for years I was in two minds whether they were actual tiki mugs. Then I found out that that you can have tiki mugs produced outside of the US, so then I started thinking how come they casting on them is quite detailed in some parts and really crap-tacular in others?

Then one day i saw a picture of a Orchids of Hawaii R-1 headhunter mug..


...and I figured out that in fact the "Devil Reef" tiki mug possibly started out as a copy of the headhunter but had been cut down in size from a tall mug into short mug with a handle.


I guess some tiki bar in malta needed tiki mugs but rather than import them had a local pottery to knock up these as bootlegs.

I have some CSI style pictures I did comparing the two mugs, would you mind if i start a thread about the mug and quote your message?



...and with Jonseys' approval I started this thread.

The "Devil's Reef Mug" isn't the only Eurotiki mug that was counterfeited so brazenly, below we have the "Ghost of a clown" PMP
from Majorca (a direct copy made of the original) and the Arte 4 arte_4_front

totem pole topper mug adapted from an Orchids of Hawaii design.

[ Edited by atomictonytiki on 2022-07-04 13:43:30 ]

Where on Majorca did that mug come from? I was just in Palma back in September, and I saw zero Tiki.

Sorry no idea, the mug just has "Majorca" written on the bottom, found it in a charity shop/thrift store in Edinburgh.

I can find strange tiki mugs but information is something on them is the one thing I can't get. Take the "Devil's Reef" mug above, they were the first ever ceramic tiki mugs I ever found, spotted them at a carboot sale and being keen I asked the stall holder did he know anything about them or where they came from. The prime example of Scottish manhood looked at me highly quizzically and said "Thur two fur fufty pee!" so I gave him his 50p and took them home.

Well, if I had to guess, I'd say it probably came from a local nightclub or disco in Palma. I spent most of my time sailing this last trip, so maybe I'll have to do some poking around the city on my next visit and see if I can figure out who's serving alco-pops in ripoff tiki mugs...:D

Yeah, thrifting for tiki in the UK must be very frustrating. I bought this wonderful "Honolulu Cheerio" glass in Portobello Road last year for 50p, and would love to know where it came from.

Weblog: Eye of the Goof

[ Edited by: MrBaliHai 2008-11-22 15:29 ]

Probably not connected but this mug was posted by Bongofury over in the Tiki Finds thread..

On 2008-12-02 19:26, bongofury wrote:
He also let me have this beast....Libbey mug, "Malta 1954" on the back...

It's not 6P it's BP....the game is afoot!

Maori Salt & Pepper Set, BP Malta


I received this cruet set from my sister-in-law for my birthday and liked their sharp lines and distinctive look.

I initially suspected that they were actual NZ souvenir ceramics but on inspecting the bottom I discovered marks which led to a stranger provenance and connections to the mysterious Maltese Tiki Mug

This cruet set is marked on the base next to the plastic cap that keeps the salt or pepper in, the salt was unclear but B P M M ?? T but the pepper was a heartstoppingly clear BP MALTA the same makers as the Maltese Tiki Mug.

Who are BP Malta? Where were these made for? Are there other Maltese Tiki Mugs?

[ Edited by atomictonytiki on 2022-07-06 01:15:34 ]


I don't know how many potteries there are in Malta that might fit the BP initials, but I''m guessing that a good contender might be Bristow Potteries at https://www.bristowpotteries.com/about

Who are BP Malta?

So last Monday my sister-in-law, who is a professor of zoology, had a terrible last week at work and as a result procrastinated by turning her considerable research abilities, to my question of who were BP MALTA.

When I'm searching for tiki mugs I'd naturally use that as a starting point for my research, I'd look for the possible bar or menus but the professor likes a nice piece of handmade studio pottery, so she went searching on vintage pottery websites for Bristow.

Many hits and much confusion, Bristow Pottery in Isle of Wight, Malta, Florida and two names Tony and Andrew.

Tony Bristow worked at Bonchurch Pottery, a village located just East of Ventnor on the Isle of Wight from 1961-1967. Tony’s son, Andrew, started at Bonchurch Pottery, in 1974, using different self taught styles from his father, although some early work by Andrew does resemble his father’s style, Bonchurch Pottery is still producing today.

Bristow Pottery Malta, opened in the late sixties we think, after Tony spent his winters there producing, and was taken over by Adrian and Mark Grima in 1972, with the pottery still going very strong now. A number of pieces output from this location were marked to the base both MALTA alongside BP

For Bristow Pottery (Tony) locations:

Bonchurch from 1961-1967 Shanklin 1966-1972 Malta 1968-1970 (during the winters I believe) Palm Beach 1972-1974 Chillington 1974-2003 (As far as I know)

Andrew started in Bonchurch in 1974

Where were these mugs made for?

It's the Shanklin location that got my heart racing, are these Maltese Tiki Mugs made for the Shanklin Beachcomber? Have we found lost Britiki mugs?

Are there other Maltese Tiki Mugs?

Maori Lidded Pot, Tony Bristow, Bristow Potteries Malta


While searching we spotted this Lidded pot marked BP Malta, the person who took the pictures was holding it to show of the spirals and marks but with my heart thumping I could see the eyes and face on the bowl.

The blue pot was posted several years ago, I hope the person bought it. A quick check on eBay and we found this grey version and we quickly bought it.


[ Edited by atomictonytiki on 2022-07-11 05:13:29 ]

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