Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ninth Book of Christmas

Published: 2004. Click on the cover to buy from your local Booksense-affiliated bookseller.

On the Ninth Day of Christmas my husband and I finally got out to my favorite antique shop to look for Christmas tree pins. I've been collecting them for about four years now; there's this one little shop that I just love, and we haven't had the time to get out there. But tonight, we made it!

It turns out that lots of people share my hobby and there have been several books published focusing on Christmas jewelry as a specialty of costume jewelry collecting. My favorite it Christmas Pins Past and Present by Jill Galina. Galina is a long-time collector who has assembled a terrific reference book.

The book specializes in Christmas tree pins but is divided into several sections- signed pins, unsigned pins, different kinds of tree pins (blue, white, partridge-in-a-pear-tree, etc.) and includes sections on figurals such as candy canes, wreaths, reindeer, Santa and cats and dogs. Each pin is identified with a maker when known and assigned a value.

Even though the book is relatively recent, I think the valuations should be taken as guidelines only. Some of the retail values of currently-available pins did not reflect prices in my area but that is probably to be expected to some degree. Galina does include a caveat about variations in pricing. What it comes down to is what you want to pay for a given pin but the valuations are helpful in relative terms. For example, it's good to know that certain brands tend to be priced around $20-30 and others are more like $200-300 or higher. And it's fun to compare what I paid for something to what she estimates as the value; almost every time I've found a given pin for less than the price she lists. The valuations also tell the collector what a given dealer knows about the market for the pins, especially those on the very high or very low end.

Christmas Pins Past and Present is great at showing the diversity of the Christmas jewelry out there and for introducing the curious reader to brands and resources that might be of interest. There is a section at the end listing web sites of various sellers and most of the links still work as of today. And there is a great section at the beginning giving background information on many of the manufacturers whose pins are featured. It's useful, and it's also one of those books that's fun to put out on the coffee table and browse. Mine is pretty marked up but I still use it every season!

2 comments:

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Marie said...

thanks, i'll check them out when i have a chance & happy holidays!