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Antique or Junque: Electric Santa Ornament Lights Up 4 Generations

Anne Mccollam on

Q: Enclosed is a picture of a Santa ornament. He is about 9 inches tall and made of plastic with a metal back. There is an electric cord, and he lights up when it's plugged in. His metal back is flat, so he can be hung on the wall or can stand on a shelf or table. All is in very good condition, including the electric cord and plug. There are no markings on it that would tell us anything about its origin. We know he is at least 85 years old because my husband's mother gave it to us when our first child was born, and it was a Christmas decoration when my husband, who will be 89 next year, was a child.

Now the fourth generation is enjoying it, and we would appreciate any information about its background. We would also like to know if it is of any value other than as a family keepsake.

A: Without a manufacturer's name, it can be problematic to identify the maker and origin of your Santa. Many were made in the United States, Germany and Japan. Judging from your picture and description, he was made of celluloid, an early plastic that was invented in the mid-1800s. Celluloid objects can be extremely flammable. They should not be exposed to heat and must be kept away from flames. They should be stored properly and separate from other types of objects. From the early 1900s to the 1940s, celluloid was used to make a variety of collectibles that included ornaments, toys, dresser sets and jewelry. Your Santa was probably also used as a Christmas tree light, which would not be advised today.

Your circa-1930, lighted Santa ornament might be worth $50 to $125.

Q: This mark is on the back of a set of four sauce bowls that I have. Each one is decorated with dense pattern of pink flowers against a black background and trimmed with gold. They are all in mint condition.

Anything you can tell me about the vintage, origin and value of my bowls will be appreciated.


A: Your bowls are examples of Crown Ducal chintzware and were made by A.G. Richardson and Co. Ltd. in England around 1930. Chintzware patterns were made by several potteries that included Shelly, Royal Winton and Royal Ducal/ A.G. Richardson and Co. Ltd. The busy transferware patterns were inspired by the chintz fabrics that were made in India from 1600 to 1800.

Your set of four sauce bowls would probably fetch $50 to $75 in an antiques shop.


Address your questions to Anne McCollam, P. O. Box 247, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Items of a general interest will be answered in this column. Due to the volume of inquiries, she cannot answer individual letters. To find out more about Anne McCollam and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com


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