Keep It

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 Santa

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.

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