Take a nostalgic trip down Santa Claus Lane.
Sleigh and Reindeer
Patented by inventor John Wesley Hyatt in 1870, celluloid is a very thin plastic. By the 1880s, it was being used for toys, and holiday items were not far behind. Around 1900, German manufacturers began blow-molding celluloid, and business grew throughout Europe, Japan and the U.S. Beginning in the 1920s, Japanese manufacturers reproduced many German and American holiday items for export. By the 1950s, celluloid began to lose popularity due to its flammability. The piece pictured still bears its paper export stamp and reads “Japan” on the bottom.
Worth: $35-$50, depending on condition.
Musical Jewelry Box
Musical boxes as we think of them today date back to Switzerland in the late 1700s. This novelty Christmas music box winds in the back, plays “Jingle Bells” when the drawer is opened and features
Santa dancing to the music. While no manufacturer’s name appears, a similar one online is attributed to Yap’s Industrial Limited from
1980. Worth: $30-$40
Blow-mold toys and lawn ornaments have been around since the late 1940s. They hit the big time in 1957 when Union Products introduced the Pink Flamingo, designed by Don Featherstone. Today’s most collectible blow-molded objects feature Christmas or Halloween themes, with Union Products and the Empire Plastic Corporation being the preferred manufacturers. The circa
1970 Santa pictured stands about 3 feet tall. Worth: $50-$75 depending on condition, color and presence of a working electric light.
Bobblehead Candy Container
Bobbleheads, also known as nodders, feature oversized heads on springs or wires and possibly originated in Asia. Novelty candy containers have been popular in the U.S. and Europe since the 19th century, so it’s no surprise the two got together in an extraspecial container for presenting sweets. A German exchange student brought this example to the States in the 1950s. Worth: $45-$60
Joe Kenz and Sandy Garrison are co-owners of Rhubarb Reign, an antiques and design business. The authors thank the Marshall County Historical Society in Indiana for access to its collection and community relations coordinator Mindy Langdon for access to her compilation.