The holiday season is here and most of us are either decorating for the celebration or still working our energies up to make it out to the garage to drag out the memories of yore. 

Well, just maybe, a treasure or two lurks wrapped in the tissue paper that should be treated with special attention instead of being tossed back into storage once the season dims. Christmas tree ornaments and decorations are tender reminders of a festive season that brings back hidden and seemingly lost memories. So, what should you look for in your treasure chest? 

Santa, the traditional symbol of innocence, is always desirable. Plastic, paper, glass, or cardboard and the older the better is what the collector wants. To highlight just a few, the light-up 1940s and 1950s specialized Santas holding everything from a Christmas tree to a bubble light are coveted. Remember the ones with faux velvet with outstretched arms that sat looking anxiously from the living room window? The smaller plastic Santas that were hooked on to the tree with an accompanying reindeer are also on collectors’ want lists.  

Any Santa that is pre-1960 should be treated with care and respect. Value for the favored plastic Santas for the early 1940 rendition range from $35 on up to $60. The same value applies for the red and white bearded tree ornaments and larger replicas that adorned the fireplace. Condition is everything. 

Finely crafted old glass ornaments are also wanted. Bells that symbolize the ringing in of the season; delicate coffee pots symbolic of hospitality; rabbits holding on to carrots which symbolized man and his hope and faith for protection; birds of all sorts which is the universal symbol of happiness; traditional blown ornaments that have been hand painted, American Shiny Brite in original boxes, and figural vintage ornaments are all in demand.  

A box of twelve usually sells for $12 to $20, while individual turn of the century German-blown ornaments can bring in as much as $80. And don’t forget the pickle. The Christmas Pickle was an old German tradition and was the last ornament to be hung on the Christmas tree. The first child to find the pickle got an extra present. Renew the age-old tradition with this year’s tree. 

And just in case you might have a vintage “Snow Baby” hiding in the bottom of the box, you might want to tuck it in a safe place. The bisque 2 ½ to 6 inch range jointed angel babies are still quite popular and can range in value up to $35 each. The earlier ones made during the 1890s can command even more money, especially the “Santa Elves.” 

Happy Holidays from Ask the Appraisers. 

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