Friday, June 28, 2013

What Makes A Christmas Ornament Collectible?

      A collectable or collectible (aka collector's item) is any object regarded as being of value or interest to a collector and there are numerous types of collectables and terms to denote those types. In this article I will explain the most common variety of ornaments available for ornament enthusiasts to collect today.
Post-War NOMA plastic, electrified
angel tree topper, circa middle
twentieth century
      Antique ornaments are collectable because they are old. Early versions of these products were manufactured in smaller quantities before their popularity as a collectables developed and sometimes they command exorbitant premiums on the secondary market. These secondary markets include auctions, fairs, flee markets and antique dealers who keep shops with either a physical location or online, usually both.
      Ornaments made during an adult collector's childhood can command such premiums because of the demand and nostalgic appeal of the object demonstrated during private and public auctions. In cases such as these, rare ornaments have been sold for literally thousands of dollars. Examples such as those molded cardboard paper ornaments originating from Dresden and Leipzig, Germany during the late 1800s through World War I are highly prized among collectors at auction. This is because the factories that produced such detailed and original copies were bombed during the war and the molds were consequently lost. Thus making these ornaments more valuable over time as they began to perish from use and display. 
      Another example of a popular antique ornaments that were at one time a big part of cottage industry are those ornaments made from spun cotton. Not all antique ornaments were produced in big factories. Cottage industries were small-scale, family run businesses that used their own equipment and formulas to produce ornaments that looked handcrafted but also produced product of excellent quality.
     A curio is a small, usually fascinating or unusual item sought after by collectors. It may be either antique or it may have been manufactured last year. "Manufactured" collectables are items made specifically for people to collect. Manufacturers and retailers have used these kinds of collectables in a number of ways to increase sales. One use is in the form of licensed collectables based on intellectual properties, such as images, characters and logos from literature, music, movies, radio, television, and video games. A large subsection of licensing includes advertising, brandname, and character collectibles. Ornaments inspired by this memorabilia, which includes collectables related to a person, organization, event or media are saved by fans and accumulated by collectors for future profits are often designed by companies like: Hallmark, Disney, Christoper Radko, WaterfordMary Engelbreit and Department 58.
Large hand painted free-blown glass
 permanent bauble on stand
      Collectable ornaments have also played an important role in tourism as form of souvenirs. People  purchase these items as tokens to remember a particular event or place that they have experienced. This creates opportunities for small business owners to market ornaments year round and is apparently profitable enough for Christmas ornaments to be purchased "out of season."
      Contemporary handmade ornaments may be divided into two categories: those objects that are made by everyday enthusiasts who are crafting ornaments for either profit or enjoyment and those objects that are crafted by artisans who are known for their consistent production, quality and design of their own unique ornament designs. 
      Although the web provides great opportunity for those who wish to create their own Christmas ornament collections to read and view a seemingly endless supply of possibilities, it is also affords unique opportunities for collectors to purchase directly from artists/designers in a market place that has never been nearly so accessible before. Before the internet, one had to depend entirely on being in the right place at the right time, so to speak. But now, collectors only need to click a button to inquire about the availability of a particular ornament.

Check out the links here for reproductions of antique Christmas ornament designs.

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