Spring is the Time to Hop on Easter Collectibles

This “surprise” Faberge-style gold bejeweled was inspired by the work of the House of Faberge when creating one-of-a-kind specialty eggs for the royal family of Russia from 1885 to 1917.

A time of bunnies bearing eggs is just one tradition of Easter. Many religions have been celebrating early spring as a time of renewal, warmth and new life. It is a social festival involving bonfires, baskets, food, family, community and faith all around the world. So, while the traditions have been handed down for millennia, the memorabilia associated with the holiday are relatively recent.

Postcards, commemorative eggs, Easter baskets, bunnies, plates, toys, games and so much more play an important role in celebrating the coming of spring and a time of resurrection. Let’s hop over to the WorthPointWorthopedia and see the values of many Easter collectibles.

Faberge Surprise

Naturally, finding a very famous symbol of Easter is also one of great excess and one of the costliest in the Worthopedia auction records, a Faberge-style egg. The House of Faberge was famous for creating elaborate, one-of-a-kind, decorative eggs exclusively for the royal family of Russia from 1885 until 1917 to celebrate the Eastern Orthodox Easter as a religious holiday. Each opulent egg opened to reveal an equally elaborate “surprise” inside. No two were ever alike. A Faberge-style surprise egg I found was a gold jeweled guilloche creation with a jeweled elephant inside that auctioned for $32,312. However, for the rest of us, there are vintage decorative Easter eggs made by Lenox selling at auction recently for more moderate $51.

One of the more interesting items I discovered was also one of the earliest depictions of Easter that wasn’t religious in nature. It is a watercolor by artist Johann Conrad Gilbert from the late 18th or early 19th century featuring a brown paisley bunny with a basketful of colorful eggs, both symbols of fertility since ancient times. Since the season of spring is known as a time of rebirth from the cold winter, the bunny and the egg now make symbolic sense to help celebrate the temporal Easter holiday. This unique, symbolic watercolor sold at auction for $28,440 in 2011.

Lenox produces a number of specialty ceramic Easter eggs every season, like the ones above.

A late 18th-century watercolor of one of the earliest depictions of bunny and Easter basket by Johann Conrad Gilbert of Pennsylvania.

Continuing with the bunny and basket of egg theme leads us to find vintage Easter postcards starting at about $3 and going as high as $10. The lithograph and colors are quite vivd and quite collectible because of their association with a equally vivid holiday. Or a Peter Cottontail musical easter basket is a great seasonal decoration at $47.50 if you place it next to the Lladro ceramic depiction of two animated Easter bunnies surrounding a large ceramic egg auctioned for $202.

Another great favorite for Easter are the commemorative plates. Bing & Grondahl, a Danish porcelain company located in Copenhagen, began manufacturing porceling place settings, tea services, bisque figurines, plates and more beginning in 1853. Their trademark of three towers were taken from the national coat-of-arms of Denmark featured on all of their pieces. Besides the annual blue and white Christmas plates issued since 1895, this Easter plate is another annual issue; this one from 1933 that sold at auction for $220. The company became Royal Copenhagen in 1987 after merging with the Royal Porcelain company.

Vintage postcards featuring Easter themes are still available from $3 to $20.

This iconic blue and white Easter plate is another annual issue by Bing & Grondahl. From 1933, it sold at auction for $220.

Lladro made this animated set of bunnies surrounding a large ceramic Easter egg. One recently auctioned for $202.

One of the more unique Easter items was this Christmas-style gold-colored ornament with raised bas relief Easter bunny and basket that sold for $55.

One of the more unusual Easter items was this quite unique Victorian Easter egg ornament. The gold-colored glass ornament has bas relief bunny with basket and eggs and makes quite an unusual seasonal decoration for either Easter or Christmas, I guess. Still, it did sell at auction at $55, but I wasn’t able to find another one quite like it to compare.

Since we’re listing annually issued commemorative Easter items, we must go to where the eggs are guarded by the United States Secret Service (yes, the same officers protecting the president of the United States). Since the 1870s, the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House has enchanted kids under the age of 12 with games, celebrities and the president, too. But since 1981, they received a specially created wooden egg that feature a special Easter bunny design, the year, and facsimile signatures of the President and First Lady in oh-so-many different pastel colors. And they are quite collectible. A 2010 President Obama wooden Easter egg auctioned recently auctioned for $195, while others, depending on design, have sold for $25 and, if actually signed, near $400.

Additionally, the U.S. Secret Service, the White House Historical Association and other agencies sell glass versions of their own commemorative eggs to collectors for $25 to $75 each. Also look for White House Easter specialty, items official 2010 White House Easter Egg Roll buttons, complete with bunny ears and tail. The one pictured auctioned for $195. There are also posters, coins, aprons and even specialty books ranging from $10 to $100 that are fast becoming a great longterm White House collectible. 

A White House wooden Easter egg from 1993 features the facsimile signatures of President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton on the reverse.

Another unique White House Easter collectible is this expressive button from 2010 featuring attached Easter bunny ears and fluffy tail that sold for $195.

Spring is a time of renewal and resurrection, of faith and warmth, of family and a continuance of life. Bunnies and baskets are just symbols we use to mark the time, but the collectibles help us to remember that joy of life every other day of the year, too. Of course, there are chocolate bunnies, marshmallow peeps and jelly beans that help celebrate Easter right now.

Enjoy the spring of life all up and down the bunny trail.

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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