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Giving Antiques and Collectibles as Gifts
by Bob Brooke

 

Majolica St. NicholasChristmas is a time of giving. And what better way to say "Happy Holidays" than to give an antique or collectible to your favorite collector. Giving an item that will add to a collection, especially one that’s unique, is really appreciated by collectors because it not only says that you cared enough to participate in the collection by giving, but also because it will remind the receiver of you throughout the year.

Many antique and collectibles are specifically centered around Christmas themes. Many Christmas collectibles are relatively easy to find. Perhaps the most common are Christmas tree ornaments. Some of the oldest ones are German since the first ornaments were "Kugels" or large bright, glass single-colored ornaments. But soon the kugel makers began to produce ornaments in all shapes and sizes–fruit, angels, even ones that looked like Saint Nick. Really old ornaments can be pricey, but to an ornament collector they’re as good as gold.

Nineteenth-century American antiques with Christmas motifs come in a wide variety. While there were many glass ornaments, from simple colored orbs to elaborate, beautiful, hand-painted creations, manufacturers produced many items from various metals such as lead or cast iron.

Santa Toby mugs.In the late 19th Century, new technical innovations allowed the printing of inexpensive Christmas and New Year’s cards for the first time. The better known makers associated with these Victorian cards are Meek, Howard, Ward and Whitney. If the card has a complex design, its price will be higher. Look especially for larger sizes, age, condition, and unique messages. In the last category, for example, might be cards for children.

Purchasing antiques and collectibles with Christmas themes isn’t any different than buying any other kind. Buy what you like and what you think or know the person to whom you plan to give it will like. Use common sense in evaluating an item. Reproduction cards, for example, are common. Apart form obvious factors such as condition, a piece that’s particularly unique and creative will command a higher value. Items that have a particular ethnic background associated with them, may be of particular interest to someone with that heritage.

piece–it would be a great idea to find out more about the item you plan to give as a gift, then write up your own history of the piece.

With the Christmas holidays soon on us, many antiques will shortly be changing hands. With their sentimental value and remembrance of Christmases past, antiques are an integral part of the season.

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