Chicago Antiques Guide

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Old Christmas Ornaments

Posted Wednesday, October 05 by CAG

I saw your offer for free antiques information on the bighappyfunhouse site (one of my regular stops on the internet).
I've been wondering about the worth of some antique Christmas ornaments. My mom recently handed down a couple boxfuls to me. They are WWII era or perhaps a little before. The paint on some of the ornaments is somewhat cracked and they are not perfectly round, but slightly oblate. Some are teardrop shaped or other fancier shapes. I have an assortment of colors and sizes ranging from 1" diameter to 4" diameter. Could you give an estimate of their value, or do you know any book or web resource that I could refer to? There's one bird, some that have textures to look like pine cones, a couple heart-shaped ones (no photo of those), and some with painted-on decorations. Quite a variety and I love them all.

Thanks so much for taking the time to look at them!
Orn1-200.jpgorn2-200.jpg
Plain round colored ornaments, even though old, have minimal value because there are so many of them around. Collectors like ornaments that are figural (shaped like things we know), such as animals, houses, cars, people, santa, etc.. As the prices for these more desireable ornaments has risen (many are now $30 to $100), more common ornaments have begun selling at higher prices too. Plain colored balls can be bought at estate sales in boxes of 12 for $2-$6 a box. In shops, they would be slightly higher.

But fancier (painted, textured, indented, twisted, etc.) ornaments are now selling for $2-$8 each (and more) in antique stores.

orn3-200.jpgorn4-200.jpg
Of the figural ornaments, pine cones and birds are the most common and go in the $6-$15 range (some rarer ones higher). The hearts you have (not pictured) could go more in the $20 range.

For a good introduction to the thousands of different ornaments that are available, visit the web site of Christmas Legacy, Inc. Click the links at left to see Galleries of different types of ornaments and their prices.

The Pictorial Guide To Christmas Ornaments & Collectibles
is available from Collector Books as well as other Christmas and Holiday collectible books. No matter what the monetary value of your ornaments, they will always have much more value in the memories that we have of them.

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