Valuable Holiday Decorations

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:

1. Ornaments:

Pine cone ornament

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.

2. Nutcrackers:


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.

3. Dresdens:

Santa Dresden

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!

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Duck Dynasty’s Auction Mistake

The Duck Dynasty folks have put their one millionth duck call up for auction for the second time after the highest bidder at their first online auction couldn’t come up with the cash. The bidder bid 80,100 dollars for the collectible duck call, but that doesn’t mean anything because he couldn’t come up with the money when the time came to pay the bill. I provide online auction tips that they should have reviewed first.

Don’t fall victim to these three traps that industry insiders know about auction bidding:

1. Bids vs. Payments

Ever been to an auction and can’t believe somebody just paid that much for an item? There is a good chance they didn’t.  It is a payment not a bid that matters. It is rarely reported when the high bidder does not come up with the money. People will think that the duck call is worth 80,000 dollars because of its bid, but in actuality, it’s not. It’s only worth what somebody is willing to pay not bid for it.

2. Second chance

The hype about a high bid helps drive the auction excitement for future auctions when they try again to sell it. It makes people think they have a second chance on a missed opportunity. It’s still not worth 80,000 dollars.

3. Deadbeats

Most auction houses do not pre-check their bidders and don’t know if they have the money to stand behind their bid. Auction houses spend a lot of their time chasing down deadbeats.

So, what is significant about the one-millionth duck call anyway? Not much. When it comes to collectability, the one millionth duck call isn’t any better than any other duck call … it just happens to be the one millionth one. There is no history there. Personally, I’d rather have the first one that was made which might tell us something about how the Duck Dynasty folks got started making duck calls.

Some valuable duck decoys have brought high values at auction but not duck calls dating as recently as 2011. No way is that duck call worth a bid of 80,000 dollars. Would you pay that much? Tell me what you would pay on my Facebook page.

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