While I like to decorate for the holidays as much as the next guy, knowing the value of those holiday decorations does inspire me to continue to deck the halls and look for the money! Here are the top three overlooked holiday collectibles and their values:
Kugels are those small blown glass ornaments which originated in Lauscha, Germany. Look for the round ones in the shape of pinecones or grape clusters with silver inside. In the 1970s, my Mom had these on our Christmas tree from my Grandmother when we were growing up but we never knew how old or how pricey they were back then. If we did know, my Mom would have never let us play with them. Kugels from the 1910s to 1930s can be valued as much as a hundred bucks each. Read more and watch a video where I talk about collectible ornaments and how snowglobes got their start.
Nutcrackers remind me of my father who loved to collect them and boy, did he ever collect them. He had a huge nutcracker collection and had them on display year round. He figured that nutcrackers were in style at any time of the year--like fishing rods, his other favorite collection on display! Today's collectible nutcrackers are based on guardian figures of the Bavarian military. Nutcrackers grew in popularity as nuts did during the holiday season--I mean real nuts, not those in your family! A fine 18th Century nutcracker in the traditional form of a soldier in military garb recently sold for five thousand dollars.
From Germany, Dresdens were named for the city where they originated. They were made out of paper and cardboard and molded into recognizable holiday forms like Santa, reindeer, or snowmen. These containers, valued at a few hundred dollars each in good condition, were used to hold candy, small gifts, or candied fruit. Personally, I prefer the candy to the containers. Watch a video where I provide more tips about Dresdens figurines and appraise a set for twelve hundred dollars.
If you are at a holiday party, take a look around and see if you can spot these valuable decorations. Snap a cell phone photo and send it to me for an appraisal. If your host has a few pricey kugels or valuable Dresdens, you won’t feel so bad having another glass of your host's expensive champagne. Happy holidays!