Volume 4 Issue 4
The vestiges of Spring start collectors of Easter collectibles to start thinking of Easter eggs, baskets, bunnies, and chicks. The collector might want to bring back the memories and excitement of their childhood, duplicating the memories for their children, or just like the combination of the bright colors of the Easter eggs, bunnies, and chicks. Whatever the reason, collecting items of Easter is ever growing.
The word "Easter" comes from the word "Eostre", which was the goddess of Spring. This was a festival that was celebrated before the birth of Christ in April.
It wasn't until 325 A.D. that the Council of Nice designated the first Sunday after the full moon appearing on or after March 21st as the date to celebrate Easter.
Because of the scarcity of eggs, they were given as gifts during the Spring to symbolize new life by the ancient Persians. Later, as eggs became more plentiful, they began to color them to signify the end of the harsh winters.
The Easter bunny also has an ancient origin. The ancient Egyptians considered the "hare" as a sacred symbol of fertility. It has been written that the hare was believed to be the earthly form of the goddess Eostre, which links it to Springtime.
In the 19th centry the word "hare" was translated into "rabbit" in America. During that time, Germany began making chocolate rabbits, eggs, chickens, and other Easter goodies. The German items that date back to the turn of the century hold the most value. They are also the hardest to find and the most expensive. The German immigrants brought the custom to the United States.
Japan also produced Easter collectibles. Some of the items produced were toy rabbits, figurines, and celluloid candy containers. Most of these were produced after the mid-1930's. Those produced in the 40's are more affordable.
Candy containers are another highly prized collectible. In the past, candy was considered a rare treat for children. Containers made of paper-mache from Europe during the late 1800's to the 20th century are highly prized. They are usually found in the form of an Easter bunny dressed in Victorian finery to a realistic bunny in the forest. There were rabbits and eggs that had a hollow interior that could be used for special candy or gifts. Some of the rabbits also might carry, pull, or rest on a container which could be filled with candy or gifts.
Rabbits are valued higher than ducks or chicks. Paper-mache rabbits from the 40's and 50's, marked USA do not have the value of the composition rabbits from Germany. Rabbits can also be found made of felt, mohair, and velveteen. They are usually filled with cellulose, cotton, or straw.
Another special treat are the sugar eggs which were hollow and had a peephole to view a diorama of an Easter setting. Some have survived due to very careful storing. I received some of these as a child in the 50's. I wish I still had mine!
Other than the typical baskets, Easter eggs, chicks, ducks, or rabbits, there are many other Easter collectibles. Some of them are postcards, greeting cards, pamphlets, and tins. They have Easter themes such as Easter lillies, crosses, pictures of Christ, and children in Easter settings. These are not as pricey and can be easily found.
To view some examples of Easter Collectibles
Schroeder's Antiques Price Guide-18th Edition
Better Homes & Garden
Garage Sale & Flea Market Annual - Third Edition
Next Month's Newsletter will feature Majolica.
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