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Christmas Collectibles
by Lissa & Dick Smith

A fact-filled guide to Christmas collectibles offers information on and full-color photographs of Yuletide items from the Victorian era to the present.

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Origins of Christmas

The celebration of Christmas as we know it today stems from the traditions of several different cultures.

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Featured Antique

18th-Century Crotal Bell

AN-TIQUE (an-teek) An object having special value because of its age, especially a domestic item, piece of furniture or decorative arts object esteemed for its artistry, beauty, mechanical ingenuity, or period of origin.

The Antiques Almanac, a five-edition-per-year online magazine for beginning and intermediate antiques collectors and those just interested in finding out about old things, is your first stop on the Web in your search for information about antiques and collectibles. Here, you’ll find articles on a variety of American and international antiques, including furniture, china, glass, silver, and other decorative arts from the Colonial, Empire, Victorian, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco Periods, plus vintage and modern collectibles, interesting historical facts, antique tips, and recommendations for caring for your collections. Come back often to see what's new. And be sure to tell your friends about us.

This edition's theme:
"The Antiques of Christmas"
Volume 14 No. 5

This edition  features articles on antiques associated with the celebration of Christmas.


And They Brought Forth Gifts
On a clear starry night in ancient Judea, three men—Patisar, Caspar, and Melchior— riding camels paused to look at the brightest star in the heavens. As was the tradition in those days, they came bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, all in small boxes called caskets.
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Sweet Sweet Santas
Of all the holiday decorations produced since the mid-19th century, few remain as cherished as early German Santa Claus candy containers, called springheads. These little novelties feature a Santa wearing a red-flocked coat and a cone-shaped hat, carrying a small Christmas tree decorated with colored beads. These handmade characterizations of Father Christmas remain a popular collectible.

                           More Collectibles Articles

The Origin of Christmas
The first recorded incidence of Christmas being celebrated actually dates all the way back to Rome on December 25, 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. So it seems the Romans invented it, although there’s no specific person credited with having done so.
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Lighting the Nights of Christmas
Antique candlesticks are favorites among collectors. Beautifully crafted, they create an intimate and memorable setting, especially during the Christmas holidays. Their twinkling light offers hope during long winter nights.

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Ring Those Christmas Bells
Silver bells, jingle bells, sleigh bells, church bells—all help to bring cheer and merriment to holiday celebrations today. But the tradition of ringing bells at the onslaught of winter goes back centuries when people rang bells to ward off evil spirits who they thought would bring bad fortune and disease during the winter months.
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Caring for Quadruple Silver
The process of silver plating is done by electroplating a thin layer of silver over a stronger and usually less expensive base metal. With its silver finish, improved durability and pricing that was more affordable than pure silver pieces, quadruple silver plate soared in popularity during the late 19th century.

                           More Caring for Collections


The following articles from past Holiday Editions of The Antiques Almanac may also be of interest.

A Look at the Wintry World Inside
NutcrackersA Christmas Tradition
A Way With the Manger
Little World Under the Christmas Tree
Pinning Hopes on Goodwill
Celebrating an Olde Fashioned Christmas
The Origin of the Holiday Feast


An Editorial on Antiques

Decorating with Antiques

Bob discusses using antiques in the home.


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2021 Holiday
The Antiques of Christmas"
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Yuletide at Winterthur
by Bob Brooke

"Deck the Halls" must surely have been written with Winterthur Museum's Yuletide Tour in mind. Though today Christmas has become a rather formula holiday, America's forefathers celebrated it in many creative ways. While Winterthur is magical any time of the year, it’s especially so during the holidays.
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Mumming in the New Year
by Bob Brooke

Mummers can trace their roots as far back as ancient Egypt. They're best documented during the medieval period, where the mummers' play was a popular pastime for the poor. There's a wide variety of mummer plays, but mostly they weree characterized by big masks and pantomime traditions.
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And the Stockings
Were Hung by the Chimney with Care

Before getting into the history of the Christmas stocking tradition, it’s important to put the collecting of these stockings in perspective. While people actively followed this tradition throughout the 19th century, children back then used their own stockings for the most part. At the height of the Victorian Era, specially made Christmas stockings began to appear, often made in crazy quilt designs using scraps of cloth leftover from making clothes.
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How to Recognize and Refinish Antiques for Pleasure and Profit

Book: How to Recognizing and Refinishing Antiques for Pleasure and Profit

Have you ever bought an antique or collectible that was less than perfect and needed some TLC? Bob's book offers tips and step-by- step instructions for simple maintenance and restoration of common antiques.                 Read an Excerpt


Birdwatcher Stumbles on  Roman Gold Coins

A birdwatcher  in England stumbled upon a hoard of 1,300 Iron Age gold coins while out spotting a buzzard in a field. Dating to around the time of the Roman invasion, the coins are believed to be worth in excess of $1,070,480.

17th-Century Chinese Chair Brings $8.5 Million

A 17th-century huanghuali folding horse-shoe back armchair, which sold for $8.5 million, more than five times its high estimate. From the late Ming/early Qing dynasties, the chair is one of only a few known surviving examples and featured the qilin motif, suggesting its use by the imperial family and nobility. The chair had come to market at Christie’s in March 2002, when it brought $248,000. It was part of a collection assembled over 20 years by the owner of Hevingham Hall in Suffolk County, England.

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