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Searching the Worthopedia for the Top Holidays and Celebration Collectibles

by Tom Carrier (01/22/13).

A concert poster for Hank Williams on New Year’s Day in Canton, Ohio. The poster can be had for $15.50, but where do you think New Year’s ranked on the list of the Top 25 Holidays and Celebrations collectibles in the WorthPoint Worthopedia? Check the chart below.

Now that the 2012 Holiday Season is safely behind up, we can take a breath and consider the how holidays, as well as birthdays, personal anniversaries and family celebrations, help mark our lives. We look forward to special days like Easter, the Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas all to spend with family, friends, coworkers. Taken together, these events create memories that we remember throughout our lives.

They are all great times, but which holiday or celebration does WorthPoint show actually has the most collectibles associated with it?

Using WorthPoint’s immense database—the Worthopedia—I set out to determine which holidays or celebrations traded the most collectibles from both Europe and the United States. Altogether, I found 26 holidays or celebrations, large and small, important enough to research. The top five are below, along with a few of the best reasons to collect.

1. Christmas Tops Them All
The first most collectible holiday, as would be expected, is Christmas. The Worthopedia shows that there were a total of 2.1 million Christmas collectibles auctioned, about four times the next seasonal celebration, the wedding. Most were Christmas-themed decorations of one sort or another at 635,603. Ornaments represented 505, 522 items, the Christmas tree logged in at 361,536 and the Christmas card tallied 291,912 hits. Santa comes in at No. 5 with 237,285 auction items sold.

The most expensive Christmas item auctioned was a handcrafted Polish glass Christmas ornamentcalled Scerry Christmas by Slavic Treasures created in 2002 which sold in 2007 for, wait for it, $19.8 million on eBay (this does not mean the transaction was ever completes, only that this was the winning bid).

Christmas cards were introduced commercially in 1843 (according to Wikipedia) by Sir Henry Cole in England and illustrated by Jon Calcott Horsley. Only 1,000 hand-colored cards were ever produced and only about 20 have survived. In 2001, an original card sold at auction for about $40,000, the highest paid for the card so far. Sending a card really took off around the Victorian era and many of those cards still survive at about $8 for a trade card to $355 for a 3D die-cut card.

This Mexican Royal 8 Escudos gold coin, weighing just a shade under a troy ounce, sold at auction for $270,000 in 2008.

2. Say ‘I Do’ For Collectibles
The next collectible holiday or celebration is the Wedding, with 597,364 auction entries. No. 1 under the weddings category was a Mexican Royal 8 Escudos gold coin weighing just a shade under a troy ounce sold at auction for $270,000 in 2008. Minted in 1714, a gold coin like this one was probably given as a wedding gift to King Philip IV of Spain on his marriage to Elisabeth Parnese. Most other wedding collectibles were vintage dresses, rings, quilts, cake chandeliers, gifts, royal wedding memorabilia and even dress swords.

A Hummel plate for Mother’s Day, 1979. It can be had for $2

3. You Can Count on Mom
Mother’s Day collectibles came in third. Begun officially in the United States in 1908 through the efforts of Anna Jarvis to honor her own mother, WorthPoint shows an amazing 370,666 items auctioned to honor mothers all over. Most collectibles are more commercially produced now, but there have been a lot of mother-related memorabilia well before that. For that reason, I’m including a mother-related item as the most expensive sold at auction. Titled “Mother and Daughters on Shore” and painted by Joseph De Camp in early 20th century, it sold at auction for $616,000 in 2004. Besides jewelry, vases, bells, baskets, figurines, stuffed animals and much more, Hummel plates are another traditional gift for mother each year and are available usually for $10 to $25.

A Memorial Day card featuring the Grand Army of the Republic, $13

A Memorial Day card with a Confederate State flag, $23.

4. Memorials are for Remembering
The ceremony of commemoration predates the official Memorial Day established in the United States by federal law in 1967. While placing flowers on the graves of soldiers is a longtime tradition, according to Wikipedia, it became more of a tradition at the time of the U.S. Civil War in 1862 and began to be known as Decoration Day. But memorials exist to commemorate all manner of civic, military and national occurrences. The Worthopedia lists 331,995 auction items that were intended as a memorial or remembrance. For that reason, I’ve included all types of memorial memorabilia—many not necessarily military in nature—including a Louis Tiffany stained glass window “Madonna and Child,” created as a memorial to the child of Myra and W.C. Parr, who died at the age of 8 in 1888. The very large stain glass window was installed in the First Presbyterian Church in Dyersburg, Tenn. It sold at auction in 2005 for $1.5 million. Other more traditional Memorial Day memorabilia include postcards from the Grand Army of the Republic or Civil War-era cards—which are readily available from $10 to $25—military medals, Hummel remembrance figurines, stamps, police memorial badges, books, booklets and personal memories.

“Halloween in Ducksburg” is an original oil painted by Carl Barks in 1973 that sold at auction in 2011 for $83,650.

5. Halloween Outgrown Harvest Origin
Traditionally a harvest festival, Halloween has evolved into much more that. WorthPoint has 309, 037 auctions related to Halloween memorabilia. Mostly because commercial sales of Halloween-related items have gone from a child’s holiday of costumes and Trick-or-Treat to one of more sophisticated, adult nights out. Many use the symbols of Halloween to more religious and personal use all year long, such as “Halloween in Ducksburg” is an original oil painted by Carl Barks in 1973 that sold at auction in 2011 for $83,650. There are early 1940s postcards selling easily at auction from $15 to $45, but the more traditional black cat, witch, pumpkin, bat, skeleton, spider, costume, candle and other theme-related items can be found at all price levels.

These are the top five holiday and celebration auction categories based on WorthPoint’s immense database. Be sure to check the list at the end of the blog for your favorite holiday and how it ranks with all others. Just a note: all of the categories will have a certain small percentage of items that won’t match the category exactly, but are included because the key word apparently appears somewhere in its title or description.

A program from the Cal-Stanford football game, played in San Francisco’s Recreation Park on Thanksgiving Day, 1898.

As the list will show, Thanksgiving, Flag Day, Easter, even funerals and birthdays are very well represented in auction records. It is important to say, though, that while all memorabilia will have a certain value in the collectibles market, sometimes the value is relatively low only because it is based on supply and demand. But understand that because these are all family-oriented events in one form or another, sentiment will always have value, too.

Auction Items for Holiday and Celebrations found on WorthPoint’s Worthopedia as of Jan. 21, 2012

Christmas 2,118,231
Wedding 597,364
Mothers Day 370,666
Memorial Day 331,995
Halloween 309,037
Fathers Day 234,157
Fathers Day 230,411
Flag Day 190,106
President’s Day 184,654
All Religious 111,956
Valentines Day 105,445
All Saints Day 76,992
Thanksgiving 44,066
Independence Day U.S. 43,522
Labor Day, U.S./U.K. 42,205
Funeral 33,880
Easter 24,943
Mardi Gras 8,999
New Year’s 3,242
Martin Luther King Jr. 3,243
Cinco de Mayo 2,623
Groundhog Day 2,100
Kwanzaa 1,306
Good Friday 1,304
Boxing Day UK 1,064

 

Tom Carrier is a general Worthologist, with an expertise in a wide variety of subjects, including vexillology, or the study of flags.

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