Christmas Tree Ornaments

Collecting Christmas Tree Ornaments

Collecting Christmas Tree Ornaments and decorations, or anything Christmas, is a real serious passion for many group of people. These Christmas goods collectors take more than just a fancy to the little round objects they call Christmas Tree Ornaments. They look at anything Christmas through different eyes than most people. It’s a passion for many of these people. NO! . . . It’s an obsession.

You the collector have been hunting down and Collecting oldKugels Ornaments Christmas Tree Ornaments all year long and its finally time to show off your fine collection to the “VERLD” I mean world.

It’s Christmas Time in Canada at last Eh!

Hell, Collecting Christmas Tree Ornaments and the likes is an addiction of sorts.

We all know there’s not a proper way of decorating your Christmas tree. There’s no book of rules. As long as you make it pleasurable looking for you and your family, that’s all that counts. Your kids bring home ornaments they have made a school and you hang these personalized drawings on the tree. Christmas cards are strategically placed between the branches along with the lights, tinsel and the beautiful colored hanging decorations that come in every shape and size. This is a special time of year for a lot of folks.

People take this Special Day of the year quite seriously.

The tradition comes alive but sadly only once a year, except, for this one fella on U Tube video . . . .”Christmas is all year long.”

Please watch an excellent U Tube video on collecting Christmas Tree Ornaments.

Did you know that the way we spend Christmas in the modern world,  wasn’t always like that? Some old documentations date decorating Christmas trees back to the 1600’s. But Christmas as we know it today didn’t really become popular until much later on, around the 1800’s. But I’m sure people celebrated Saint Nickolas Day in some form of celebration.

 A LITTLE HISTORY ON CHRISTMAS IN EUROPE

German Santa was called the Belsnickel and Wikipedia.org says Belsnickel means;

German for to wallop or to drub and Nickel being a hypocorism of the given name Nikolaus) is a crotchety, fur-clad Christmas gift-bringer figure in the folklore of the Palatinate region of southwestern Germany along the Rhine, the Saarland, and the Odenwald area of Baden-Württemberg. The figure is also preserved in Pennsylvania Dutch communities in the USA.

Christmas Tree Ornaments

Kovels Antiques and Collectable Guide says.       https://www.kovels.com

Christmas collectables include not only Christmas trees and ornaments, but they also include. Santa Claus figures, special dishes,, games, wrapping paper. Belsnickle is a 19th century figure of Father Christmas, made of paper mache

A popular Kugel is an early, heavy ornament made of thick blown glass, lined with zinc or lead and often covered with colored wax. Christmas cards, tin toys are also highly collectable. I was personally  collecting still banks. The Santa Clause cast iron bank were a hard find, but they were my favorite. So Christmas décor comes in many different shapes, sizes and themes.

Something to look for on Kugel tree ornaments.

1840s-1900s they were heavy, blown glass. (Kugel in Germany) means round ball but don’t let that fool you. They came in different shapes and styles like fruits, apples, berries and the like. The older additions had their name stamped on the steel collar of the ornament. (like many other makes) A very light chrome coating covered some, so look for flaking  or the worn tarnish after many years. The spring clips that attached the string to the ornament were attached inside the top of the bulb. Not like today’s push on attachment.  During the war years, the ornaments and decorations had a paper or cardboard collar (instead of steel), mainly because of the mass shortage in material, due to the war effort.

** Point to remember in collecting anything. The war years changed how many things were made or not made due to the war machine.  “Steel, paints and most or all material in general were cut back for public use. Etc”.

Christmas Snow Baby

Christmas Snow Baby

(1864) Early Snow babies are highly collectable. They were made of candy and used as Christmas decorations. In later years they were made from bisque and spattered with glitter sand. There are also Snow babies tableware  made by Royal Bayreuth. Copies of the small Snow Babies figurines are being made today in a line called “Snow-Babies” re- pro. But that’s not a bad thing.

The least you should know on Christmas Tree Ornaments. ∞

Imposed identifying marks on the ring or, some people call them caps.

The older caps were smaller than the newer versions.

Look for a paper /cardboard ring/ cap.  That will date it into the war years.

Look for a tarnished ring.

Check the lip under the ring. Is the glass flush or has it a lip. Older ones are flush.

Plastic is a dead giveaway of newer ornaments.

Countries to look for when collecting old Christmas Tree Ornaments

*Czechoslovakia *Poland *Germany

Shiny Brites Ornaments

Shiny Brites Ornaments

Shiny Brite Tree ORNAMENTS 1930-1960s seem to be the most popular for collectors. Before the war they were just plain decorative balls for the tree. After the war, they became a little more colorful. Some came with concave starburst (reflectors) with lots of glitter, different  shapes and styles .

ALSO LOOK FOR 

Advertising SIGNS- Example – “Coca Cola sign with Santa drinking a coke”

DISHES- glassware with a Christmas theme.

Decorative hand painted balls and shapes like animals and little, hand- carved people, etc.

Decorative bells

Hanging lanterns

Snowbabies are highly collectables        https://www.kovels.com/price-guide/snow-babies.html

Cardboard cutout of St. Nickolas figurine

Betty Boop hanging ornament.

Novelty hanging decorations.

“German Dresden ornaments are embossed cardboard with very fine detailing.”

Christmas post cards come in pages of 4 and you just cut out the one you want. They’re collectable!

There is no written rule on decorating your tree but there are some real neat old looking ornaments and decorations out there to be uncovered.

AS THE STORY GOES, THEY EVEN HUNG COOKIES FROM THE TREE BRANCHES AS PER STORY.

“When I grew up in Europe there were no artificial trees nor electric lights to brighten up the tree. The Christmas decorations were mostly passed down from generation to generation and were hand painted, small ornaments, about 3-4 inches in diameter.

There were also many bird- shaped ornaments with angel hair tails, fancy home made cookies, strings of various nuts, and of course with real candles about 3 inches high.

The candles were only lit for a half hour or so, because it was so dangerous and one of the adults would be on watch with a candle snuffer and water, in case the tree caught fire.”

  Author Unknown

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Rare Santa Bank

Very Rare Santa clause Bank

Do your research on Christmas Collectables. You will find a wealth of information on Christmas Tree Ornaments and oddities on the web.  So don’t be too surprised if you get hooked on this interesting hobby. Bonus, you can show off your fine Christmas collection the same time, every year.

”So let’s get started.” Eh!

Old Christmas postcard

Old Christmas Post Card

Lots of places to find treasures: the thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales, and church bazaars. Nobody thinks of Christmas in the off season, (summer), but that is the best time to buy. Do your research now,  get armed with what to look for, get ready for the off season, and remember in any collecting,

 “Knowledge is power”.

Let’s get started! Oh, I already said that Eh.  Remember, they’re everywhere. You just have to look and find them.

“Please leave me a comment or any suggestions.”

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 INTERESTING WEBSITES FOR YOUR RESEARCH.

https://www.kovels.com/price-guide/snow-babies.html

https://oodlesandoodles.typepad.com/my_weblog/2011/11/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-vintage-christmas-ornaments.html

https://www.realorrepro.com/article/Christmas-Kugels

https://www.marthastewart.com/1532933/history-antique-kugel-christmas-ornaments

Pictorial Guide To Christmas Ornaments & Collectibles, Identification and Values (BOOK)

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Cast Iron Collectables

 

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#47 of a Series of 50

Comparing good and bad casting

Comparing Good and Bad Casting

BUT HOW DO YOU KNOW IF IT’s OLD?  

In order to understand the difference between an older piece of cast iron and a newer piece (reproduction), you have to somewhat understand what cast iron is and how it’s made. Especially cast iron Collectables and antiques.

Very general rules

In the olden, golden days talented wood craftsmen would have carved out the perfect shape of a item with fine detailing and then heated up molted metal to around 2000 decrease (give or take) and pour it into the mold. When cooled the two or more parts of the mold are separated and wa-la, the shape of whatever you designed is made. Most wood molds are generally only used once due to the heat.

Cast or casting is generally referring to a mold. People that do ceramics in most part use molds and they blow hot glass into it to get it’s shape and what it’s going to look like is determined by the shape of the mold.

Cast iron is the same

Now having said that, cost effective reusable molds would be made of sand and water Solutions, which are referred to as “SAND MOLDS” They’re more widely used especially on smaller items, such as toys, banks etc.

THE FINER THE SAND THE FINER, SMOOTHER AND DETAILED THE ITEM WILL BE. THE COARSER THE SAND,AND ROUGHER TO THE TOUCH, THE DETAIL AND QUALITY WOULD BE GONE,  “you get the idea”.

I never understood this part of today’s technology. By far our way of casting exceeds the casting from 50 or 200 years back. But the cast iron parts made today are coarser to the touch, crudely made, and in most part, in my thinking, not really attractive looking. In other words, they’re cheaply machine made, especially on reproduction antique and collectable Parts.

Cast Iron Collectables

So if we’re talking old cast iron money banks, cast iron door stops, door hammers, even cast iron toys, frying pans anything that has been molded, check the surface for fine or rough texture.

When I’m referring to casting, once you make that mold, you could theoretically pour molted aluminum instead of iron. That would make it cast aluminum. Many everyday items are cast aluminum.

If you look at any bottle, (pop bottle to beer bottle) look at the side from the bottom to the top, see and feel the 2 lines, one on each side of the bottle. That’s from where the two half’s of the mold met and separated to make the bottle.

That’s one way of telling how old the bottle is, but that’s a different subject all together.

There are many things that are made from molds. Fiberglass boats and cars parts, to name a few, are made from molds. So that technology is widely used today.

BUT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT CAST IRON. Eh!

By the way, iron is a very cheap “metal” by-product of steel.

Seven fast ways I check the age of cast iron.

  • Check the smoothness of the piece.

    POOR CAST IRON REPRODUCTION bank

    REPRODUCTION ROUGH CAST IRON

  • Check how parts fit together, tight with very little to no gaps, that’s a  good thing. Remember craftsmanship, real people assembled these pieces not machines.
  • Check inside of the part. Sometimes the casting is reasonably smooth on the outside but very coarse on the inside. That would be a red flag.
  • Check the quality of paint. In most cases, depending on the manufacturer, they dip the items in paint, which makes the paint thicker. Today items are sprayed on with very low quality paint and thickness.
  • 100 year old paint would in most part still look like last week’s paint job.
  • Check the screw or screws holding the sections/parts together. Older items before and around the industrial evolution were slotted screw heads, and, don’t get me wrong
    Slotted Screw HEAD on old cast iron banks

    WHAT A SLOTTED SCREW LOOKS LIKE IN AN ANTIQUE

    (that’s not saying the screw was not changed), but it does devalue the piece no less and could just throw you off from thinking it’s not an original.

  • They say compare the size of the part to a known authentic WHAT EVER. The reproduction one would be a different size than the original. There are some reference books that will give you measurements and  that’s only if you’re really concerned or paying large dollars for the item.

Once you get used to a few simple tricks, you might have a better understanding what to look for. There are more good reproductions of cast iron parts out there than the old authentic ones.  But you will at least  be armed with a few general things to look for.

Please check out my blog on “Cast Iron Trivets” (LINK)

Note.

By the way, small cast iron items such as banks, toy figurine, kitchen ware, skillets, anything small are good sellers, or on the other hand, just good collector items. Just remember, collecting cast iron “anything”, doesn’t take up a lot of room.

I’m not an expert by any means, This is just a simple guide on how I check, “anything cast iron”. Do your research, and learn more

Please check out my post on Collecting Space Age Toys.

Collecting Space Age Memorabellia.

This is part of of a series of 50

“THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW” 50 series.

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Expert in Collecting Antiques?

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# 49 of a Series of 50

Keady Farmers Market

Famous Keady Farmers Market

  I asked this guy …what makes you an expert? “Because I say I am”

I read an article about an antique dealer on the hunt for unusual things, and he came across this fellow at an antique market who was highly recommended, but this dealer was taken by surprise as to how young he was and how he was so into collecting antiques.

This person was about 20 years old and said he was an expert in collecting antiques.

I asked this young guy what made him an expert. “Because I said I am”… Little on the smart ass side, but I was young once.

hit and miss engine

Antique hit and miss engine

Was he really an expert?

Nobody asked him what school he went to, college or university degrees he had and in the end, did it really matter? Everyone just went to him and trusted his area of expertise.  There are no better credentials then all your peers in the Antique community saying, “if you want to know anything about …………..  Then look up this “John Doe” fellow.  He’s an expert in that field.

If you’re thinking of getting into Antiques or Collectables for a hobby, investment or, like my wife and I (Mercenaries) That is a person who buys and sells, and doesn’t get attached to the goods. Learn all you can about your choice of interest.

The web, even though it’s an information overload, does supply you with a valid intake of good quality information as well. Do your research!

So, yeah, this young fellow was an expert, so age, looks, and schooling did not play into the equation. He just studied everything there was to know about his fancy of antiquities and in this dealers eyes, he was a highly respected (smart ass) expert in his field.

             “Remember KNOWLEDGE is power”

We can’t know it all, but we can be real, real good at certain things of interest….. And hopefully make money too.

Excellent local antique newspaper paper. 

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Antique Because You Love To

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  • So, you’re a collector of old things or just have a fascination of the past

Maybe you’re a history buff or just occasionally go down memory lane.  Maybe you just want to decorate your rec. room/man cave with unusual things, well, …  then you’re not alone.

Collecting unusual items from your past and collecting Antiques are the latest crave.  We all love artifacts that we see, touch and remember from days gone by like that heirloom broach grandma gave you, you know, the one that was handed down to her from her mom. Ah …  ”There’s one just like it”!

Look at that Roy Rodgers cowboy suit. I remember wearing one when I was a lot, lot younger.

So here’s a story of a  lady walking down the aisle at a Big Antique Mall. She looked like she was a little distressed so I asked her if there was anything I could do for her. She turned around and said that she was having one of those memorable moments from years gone by, and a few tears ran down her cheeks.

  • Now there’s a lady that had a good childhood, so yeah, some things do have a good effect on people.
  • It’s healthy to jog the good memories of your days gone by.

       The Hard Work

Look at how simple the machines were made back then. No computers to do the math, lasers to form, shape or cut out your parts. They were all calculated by slide rule (you know a tool that looks like a piece of wood with numbers on it. How could they have done that?

Did you ever look at an Apple Peeler from the early days?  The machine peels one apple at a time, not 50…….ONE at a time!!

Look at those ordinary house nails. Before the industrial revolution, they were made one at a time, hand forged, shaped …. one nail at a time and not a thousand nails an hour … but one nail at a time.

These handmade square shank nails are a collectible item on their own. In 2017, they were being sold for $1-$2.00 a nail.

Look at that big sturdy looking antique picture frame. You’d have to mortgage your house for it today and look how solid that kitchen table is for being 100 years old.

How about that porcelain service station sign. That would look good in my Man cave/garage!!

But you have to dig real deep to buy those signs. They are really pricey.

  • Collect because you want too.

Some people collect because it could be a good  “investment”, but most collect because of the beauty, the history, or stories these antiques and collectibles could tell.

Whatever the Reason,

Collect and buy antiques because you enjoy the hunt, the fun, the nostalgia, and the memories, and let’s not forget the hard work that went into everything made in those days.

                             so …  “HUNTAWAY”

REMEMBER WHAT THEY SAY

“If you have any more than 3 items the same,

“You’re already considered a collector”.

If you find any problem with my wording, check out my link.

 

Antique Furniture and Recycling

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# 50 of a Series of 50

∞∞∞ What does Antique Furniture and Recycling have in common?

Acres of tree cut down

Acres of tree cut down

When it comes to wood, well, up to the 20th Century it was plentiful but since then, we’ve been cutting trees down faster than they can grow.

The industrial revolution changed the way we make furniture modernization, assembly lines machine-made products, faster, let’s use more.

Quantity and not quality was the thinking [and that’s not all a bad thing]

Recycling some of that old furniture,( heritage, history) makes a lot of sense in many ways.

Century-old furniture, in most cases, would still be good for another 100 years if they weren’t being discarded, thrown out and in some cases,  just because we need a change.

With a little imagination, you can save many destined pieces of furniture from an unworthy demise and you are doing your part with the carbon imprint problem and overfilling of the landfill.

Breathe new life into something that was built to last, from hard-working, caring people.

If you are a true blue recycler then consider what it takes to make new furniture, the imprint it makes … needlessly.

Just one furniture company, and we’re only talking one, uses 1% of all the global wood a year, mashes the wood up just to make particle board, and that’s how they make their line of furniture.

[Real Wood vs. Particle Board] ??? Google. Particle board for more info.

Trees aren’t getting big enough before they are harvested and the lumber is getting smaller, so they have to find creative ways to do the same with less.

trees cut down

trees cut down

This BLURP is not about industrial revolution, but recycling items from the past with history & personality, and let’s not forget [in most cases quality]

I’m not talking about furnishing your whole place of residence with the old/new refurbished furnishings but if everybody considered a few pieces, it would make a big difference.

With all the colors of the rainbow [paints, stains] at your disposal, with love, care, pride, and imagination, you will end up with a fine piece of furniture that you saved …. And that’s what they call

“RECYCLING”.

Never forget the money factor…..check prices online for the item you’re looking for, ….  a small (student) secretary desk …. curio cabinets, etc and bonus,  you would pay a fraction of the cost compared to a newly made of press-board,

skids made into furniture

skids made into furniture

If you have never considered antiquing before, you might be pleasantly surprised how reasonably priced good old solid furniture is worth.

Please check Reno these sites … Refurbished Furniture … there’s truly a lot of good ideas how to decorate your home with some older furniture that are some cases pieces of  “ ARTWORK”

Let your imagination flow.

antiqur storeCheck out your local ..Antique Markets, Estate Auction, Downsizing Sales  Auctions, Garage Sales etc.

Remember antiques older furniture have History, Personality and some have good stories to tell V/S Machine made, NO personality & NO history

I’m not an expert by any means, but we all are trying to do our part …Right.

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