• 23
    Dec

Circus Christmas Cards — A Colorful Big Top Collectible

[caption id="attachment_2525306" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Roland Butler was working on the design for the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. card when he died in 1961. The design was used for many years after his death.[/caption] During the Christmas season, circuses are typically at winter quarters preparing for another year on the road. Circus owners have always been alert to use any...

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  • 22
    Dec

A Three-Minute Gift of Christmas Magic

I stomped the dirty slush off my boots as I push open the restaurant door, cursing the season and the phony Ho-Ho-Ho of it all, letting the cold wind blast past. Everyone looked round to see who else was crazy enough to be out in this weather and then settling back to the Mama’s special of bacon, pancakes,...

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  • 21
    Dec

The Giant, Menacing Department Store Santa

[caption id="attachment_2525330" align="aligncenter" width="269"] Boo![/caption] Dana H. had a bit of a scare in the loft of an old carriage house on a gloomy day, a property she and her husband were thinking of buying. The sun breaking through a window cast a shadow of a large man standing behind her. Spinning about, it turned out to be...

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  • 18
    Dec

Naughty or Nice: ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ Capra, Commies and the FBI

[caption id="attachment_2517583" align="aligncenter" width="491"] The finale of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover didn’t like the themes of the movie and sent agents to investigate the production.[/caption] “He’s making a list, checking it twice; gonna find out who’s naughty or nice…” When Coots & Gillespie’s famous Christmas song debuted on Eddie Cantor’s radio show in...

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  • 17
    Dec

Novelty, Sentimental Value make Santa Claus Trading Cards and Sets worth Collecting

Santa Claus is an iconic figure the world over and, as such, has been used to market everything from laundry detergent to Coca-Cola. It should come as no surprise, then, that he, too, has been paid the ultimate tribute by being immortalized on cardboard. Through the years, Santa has been the subject of many a trading card, including...

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  • 16
    Dec

Collector’s Minute: First Commercial Christmas Card

[caption id="attachment_2494843" align="aligncenter" width="437"] An example of the first commercially produced Christmas card. The original 1843 run of the cards were hand-colored lithographs and 2,050 were printed. There are only 20 believed to exist today.[/caption] To collectors, there is always a “Holy Grail” or the “Stuff of Dreams” for their category of collecting, for which, of course, a...

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  • 15
    Dec

Rinker on Collectibles: Harry’s Holiday Reads 2015

[caption id="attachment_2525375" align="alignright" width="300"] Jane Cleland’s “Ornaments of Death,” published by Minotaur Books, is the 10th cozy mystery in the Josie Prescott Mystery Series.[/caption] Now that we are deep into the 2015 holiday season, it is time to consider how to spend the downtime during the final week of the year. Traditionally, men overdose not on turkey but...

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  • 15
    Dec

In Christmases Past, Wicker Made the List

[caption id="attachment_2517517" align="alignleft" width="282"] Add a few millennia and you'll find the historical roots of this Victorian wicker sleigh.[/caption] In the past, Christmas was a much simpler time, and the emphasis was more on family, church and 
community rather than the monumental gift extravaganza it is today. Then, money was often
 tight and credit cards were a thing...

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  • 14
    Dec

Winter-Themed Animals are Favorite Christmas-Time Steiff Collectibles

[caption id="attachment_2517566" align="alignright" width="214"] Santa Claus, who made his grand debut in the Steiff catalog in 1953, was produced as a five-ways jointed 31-cm doll with a rubber head.[/caption] Christmas and Steiff really do go hand in hand and for many families all over the world, it simply would not be the holidays without a little something “Steiff-y”...

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  • 11
    Dec

Christmas Memories of My Mom, the Antique Collector, Dealer and Family Historian

[caption id="attachment_2517667" align="aligncenter" width="483"] My mom and my girls. As an antique dealer, Mom collected a few things, such as elephants, paperweights, dolls, baby feeding dishes and Dresden flowers.[/caption] Around this time every year, I get a bit melancholy. It is difficult to think about the upcoming holiday season with any sense of true joy. I lost my...

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