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Many times we only think of Hallmark or Carlton collectibles when one is beginning to collect Christmas ornaments. But the Christmas antique and vintage options are unending.

Photo:Vintage Christmas

Here is an insightful article on eBay: Starting a Collection of Antique Christmas Ornaments

There are a few very important things to consider prior to starting a vintage or antique Christmas ornament collection:

1) What type of tree will they be displayed on?

Depending on what you are trying to accomplish as far as circa or theme goes, will determine what type of tree will be used.
There are German feather trees, firs cedars & spruces, the scotch pine & other evergreens, as well as retro aluminum pom pom and other artificial trees.

2) What is your budget?

There are tons of affordable vintage & antique ornaments that can still be found in shops, yard sales, and auctions all across America, but some of the antique & more sought after ones can commend a much higher price tag depending on condition & rarity.
Until you can become a lot more informed and educated on the new reproductions on the market, I would stick with the more common ornaments and work your way up.
Unfortunately, as in any good collecting niches, there are a lot of people out there that will sell you fake or reproduction goods full well knowing that they are just that...FAKE  (Buyer Beware)

3) What kind of ornaments do you want to collect?

There are an assortment of glass, wax, paper & cardboard, wire wrapped & metal ornaments, with the largest variety being molded or blown glass.

4) Condition...Condition....Condition!

You would like to find old glass ornaments that are free from cracks and have the original metal caps if possible. The interior mercury or silvering should not be blotchy or see through, and the paint or decoration on the exterior should be in excellent condition as well.
If possible try to stay away from heavily fake snow flocked ornaments, as they are almost impossible to clean without destroying the exterior paint and or decoration.
With paper ornaments, look for ones that are free from creases, stains, or tears and have no missing flakes off of the brightly colored graphics.
When looking for metal ornaments, look for ones with no rust. There will most likely be some tarnishing which is considered fairly common, and a slight bend is not so bad as this can be bent back.

5) Telling The Old From The New

Most of the new glass ornaments today have gold colored metal caps and a heavier glass or plastic like feel to them. The "old" glass ornaments are almost paper thin and have hardly any weight to them at all.
The "old" ornaments are considered pre-WWII 1930's and prior, and the "newer" are considered post-WWII 1940's to 1950's.
After a while of collecting these little treasures, you will easily be able to tell the difference between the old and the new, but I always advise getting some good reference books to hone up on your skills."

This gives some pertinent information for all of us! What's your favorite? Are you enamoured with the shiny 'Shiny Brite' balls? Love the old metal ornaments to add a bit of rustic charm to the season? Favor paper ornaments that bring a big punch of nostalgia?

SHARE your tips and advice! And of course, photos of your collections!

Views: 1640

Replies to This Discussion

These 1989 ornaments by Lenox were beautiful! Vintage Ornaments

Beautiful vintage glass tree topper collection!

Perfectly Printed

Here's a collection for the record...Paper Santa Ornaments - Country Living

"For Barbara White, an antiques dealer turned interior-design consultant in Fredericksburg, Tex., Christmas comes early — at Thanksgiving. That's when the children and grandchildren come to visit Barbara and her husband, Wayne, and she starts unpacking box after box of Christmas treasures — Victorian scrap Santa Clauses, snow-covered miniature houses, glitter-dusted snowmen, feather trees and bottlebrush trees, holiday postcards and paper chenille wreaths.

Pictured: Victorian "scrap" Santas (images that were printed on paper to be cut out and then embellished) adorn an antique feather tree. Barbara White has collected nearly 150 paper Santas, many with old tinsel and glitter."
Victorian Christmas Decoration - Country Living

I Adore these ornaments, I have some I just need to get photos to post here. 

Just Lovely! 

Smiles, Cyndi

Good article...

Vintage Christmas Ornaments
Add Old-Fashioned Charm to Your Holiday Tree with Vintage Christmas Ornaments

By Leah French

"Holidays make us nostalgic, and vintage Christmas ornaments are physical reminders of past years. Even folks who prefer all new home décor often have a fondness for them, from delicate glass baubles passed down through the generations to elementary school craft projects of paper and macaroni made years ago by now adult children.

If you don’t have a huge collection of family pieces, you can still decorate your Christmas or New Year’s tree with vintage Christmas ornaments. Don’t spend a fortune on reproductions when you can find easily find the genuine articles in all price ranges.

Flea markets, yard sales, thrift stores, online auctions, and antique malls are all great sources, whether your taste runs to German glass, pure kitsch, or anything in between."

Does anyone know if "Ornamation Ornaments" are still made? I have a bin full I cannot use anymore. We got many in 80's and 90's.

I was wondering about selling them to someone who still has a large tree to hold them. We are so out of space for our big tree now. 

Smiles, Cyndi

Like the Ornamotion Ornaments, Cyndi? In other words, they have a motor and some kind of motion? I don't see any of them being sold as just released, so I would have to say no. But, for pricing resources, here's a few vintage ones like yours on Google And eBay

I bet these made a big tree interesting! I can understand having to downsize - as my giant fresh cut trees to reach my nine foot ceilings in the past have now come to a four foot artificial tree. But...it's much simpler, you have to say! :)

I bet someone would love to buy your collectibles, even if you sell them one at a time.

Here's the Ornamotion Angel! Well...angels hanging from a cloud. So cute.

Yes, This is what I meant, just did not have a box in front of me to spell it right. 

I Have a lot of them and I looked through them yesterday.  I will get photos and start listing them, thanks for the links for prices.   They are now vintage from 1991 - 1989...My husband loved them on our tree and also my daughter.  We do have great memories and I always say, "Make memories because no one can take them away"!

I also take more photos now than ever before in my life. I love my camera, It is just the set ups that take time. I wish I had a place always ready to go photograph items.  

The vintage

The vintage ornaments here in this thread are just awesome. I also have some of them, as well. I used to collect' Old World Christmas" in the 80-90' also. 

 I will keep going through my bins of Christmas.  

Thanks for your information!

Smiles, Cyndi

The Value of Vintage Holiday Tree Decorations by Pamela Wiggins

"When it comes to glass Christmas ornaments meant to hang on a holiday tree, the greatest value by and large lies in figurals. The definition of a figural is an ornament shaped like a person or thing, as opposed to a plain glass ball.

One aspect to keep in mind with these ornaments, like most collectibles, is condition. Those with little to no paint loss, all original components, and glass in all the right places will always bring higher values than less stellar examples. These items were used year after year on holiday trees around the turn of the 20th century on into the 1920s, so they rarely come to market in pristine condition now. Some have been reproduced as well. It’s wise to question authenticity if the condition of an ornament you’re considering is too good to be true.

It’s also a good idea if you’re bargain-minded to shop for these collectibles in the off season, just as you would when you’re seeking modern Christmas decorations."

Speaking of figural ornaments...look at these adorable Vintage German Glass Ornaments that were added today in the Holiday Collectibles group!

Added by CraveCute on December 3, 2013

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