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Volume 4  Issue 8




It is believed by some anthropologists that even the people from the "Stone Age" used their own version of toothpicks. Japan was introduced to toothpicks approximately in 528 via China and Korea. The neem tree was used to make toothpicks in India. In China the bamboo, cedar, peach, or willow tree was used. Even the Greeks and Romans used toothpicks. Theirs were acquired from porcupine quills. In the Middle Ages, personal toothpicks of silver, gold or ivory were used and carried along with a spoon and knife as a traveling set.

Toothpick holders, often called "toothpicks" by collectors dates from the Victorian era, when the wooden toothpick was introduced. It became a staple on the dinner table. They were sometimes part of a set which included a mustard, cruets, and shakers. They can be found to be made from just about every kind of media; glass, porcelain, pottery, wood, bisque, metal, etc. They can be found in any color and sometimes have decals or are handpainted.

After the turn of the century, they were usually only found in china cabinets as collectibles, as it was no longer considered "polite" to pick ones teeth in public. Since they are small and can be easily displayed they are the perfect collectible. They can be found to fit anyone's budget; from just a few dollars to several hundred. There are many reproductions and are sometimes sitting among the originals. To be sure that you are buying an original, deal with a reputable seller. Repros usually sell for $10.00-$30.00. The makers can be American or European firms.


To view some examples of many types of toothpick holders:
Carole's Classy Glass


Garage Sale & Flea Market Annual - Third Edition
Warman's Antiques And Collectibles Price Guide - 32nd Edition
Schroeder's Antiques Price Guide - Eighteenth Edition
Home and Garden Television
EAPG Toothpick Holders
Association of Small Collectors Of Antique Silver
Americana Resources

The Next Newsletter will feature Steins .


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