With Christmas quickly approaching, it’s time once again to break out the holiday decorations. If your family is anything like mine, perhaps you have more ornaments that you know what to do with and it might just be a good time to downsize. Yet before you toss out or give away some of the older or unwanted items, perhaps they may be worth selling instead.
For example, if you happen to have any belsnickles, they might be worth something. What a belsnickle, you ask? Typically 12” or smaller, early belsnickles were bearded figurines made of painted paper mache or cardboard. The name originated from of the German legend of “Pelze Nichol”, which translates to “Nicholas in furs”. Pelze Nichol was bearded and sometimes wore a mask. On Christmas Eve, he would enter homes through the keyhole and leave sweets for the good children and switches for the parents of bad children. Depending upon their condition and rarity, figurines from the late 1800s to early 1900s can be worth a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars each.
If you don’t happen to have any belsnickles in the attic, perhaps you may have some nutcrackers. They come in all shapes and sizes, from a few inches in height to life-sized versions. Some of the most collectible nutcrackers are made by the Steinbach Company of Germany, which has produced nutcrackers and other wooden products for nearly 200 years and spanning seven generations of family. If you’re lucky enough to have a vintage nutcracker signed by Christian Steinbach (who led the company to its current prominence), they’ve sold for up to $3,000 apiece recently.
Finally, we turn to tree trimmings. There are all sorts of interesting items that adorn Christmas trees, such as garland, lights, and ornaments. While most of the value from these ornaments is sentimental (anything I made when I was in elementary school is now priceless, according to my Mom…) some ornaments have become quite valuable in a short amount time. Swarovski started a series of annual Christmas ornaments in 1991. Their crystal stars were sold for about $50 each, which is no small sum for a single ornament. Since that time however, those ornaments have appreciated in value tremendously and can sell for $1500 or more, an increase in value of nearly 2900%.
Perhaps this holiday season, you’ll give some thought to the gifts on the tree and not just under it. They might just turn out to be the best gifts from Aunt Mary and Uncle Ned yet!
The original article can be found in the December 2012 issue of Southern Neighbor available here: http://www.southernneighbor.com/upload/Dec12web.pdf