Remember when handkerchiefs were fine gifts to give? Practical & pretty! This vintage one remains in its original greeting card, complete with a pocket for the hanky to sit in. Made by Treasure Masters, Boston, U.S.A.
We don’t discuss a lot of new things here at Inherited Values, but today we make an exception…
One of my friends is helping a friend with her wedding plans and the subject of wedding gifts came up. Specifically those wedding gifts the bride and groom give to those in the bridal party, the groomsmen, the parents, etc. As lovers of vintage and antiques, we naturally gravitated to the idea of an excuse to scour antique malls and online stores for just the right gifts. But not everyone loves old things.
Since weddings are special occasions, when families grow and joint memories begin, you want to give pieces which will be saved — you want to give things which will become heirlooms.
Heirlooms are those items saved and passed along within a family for generations. They all have to begin somewhere. But in order to become an heirloom, they must be special enough to be saved by the first person they are given to. This means they should be special from the start, carrying not just the weight of the special occasion itself, but the warmth and significance of the relationship itself as well as offering some sort of practicality or use that make the items more than jut dust collectors. (If that “practicality” notion bothers you, please see the history and origins of the word!)
When selecting gifts to mark the occasion of a wedding, consider who the item is for, their role in the special day, and what sentiments are likely to be attached to that day. Drinking glasses and flasks are popular for men because items associated with drinking are reminders of the wedding toasts made. Jewelry and jewelry boxes are popular for female attendants because they are reminders of special days in the past as well as more to come. Personalized teddy bears are great options for children because they are playmates for that day, and toys that sit proudly on display to remind kids of the special day they took part in.
Of course, the more weddings a person has participated in, the more glassware and jewelry they are likely to have, but it just requires a bit more thinking…
There really aren’t any wrong gifts to give, but thinking about the future use of items helps ensure that they will be saved — and on their way to becoming heirlooms!
OK, so you waited around, hoping just the right thing was going to pop up at eBay or some other site, and now, as the shipping delivery window narrows, you’re starting to worry that all you can do is go with the obvious eBay gift card or get something lame. Gift certificates, from eBay, your local antique mall or online dealer, aren’t bad ideas. But here are a few other options you might wish to consider…
Gift Idea #1 Newspaper Archives is the largest online newspaper archive, with over 100 million pages, covering more than 400 years, from more than 10 countries — and growing! I know that as a collector and researcher, having an online database of old newspapers to search through is one of the most awesome things ever. Let me repeat that: One of the most awesome things ever.
This isn’t just a great gift idea for collectors, history nuts, or those obsessed with research; it’s a great tool for genealogists too. While genealogy sites offer lots of information, old newspapers help fill in more of the stories… Not just information on people and events, but it’s a great way to find photographs of buildings, family businesses, and other places long gone.
Gift Idea #2 Magazines, such as Antique Trader, The Magazine Antiques, and other collectible publications as well as genealogy magazines can still be subscribed to online at Amazon — and even though it may take 6 to 10 weeks for the first issue to arrive, you can have a gift notice sent to the recipient!
1.) Add the magazine to your cart,
2.) On the next page mark the “this will be a gift” box
3.) Enter your gift recipient’s address during the checkout process.
4.) After placing your order, look for the “Send Magazine Gift Notification” link on the order confirmation page, or go directly to the Magazine Subscription Manager to manage your gift subscriptions.
Gift Idea #3 Maybe you’ve already settled on a gift card, but aren’t sure how to present it? How about a nifty greeting card that’s also a bookmark? In My Book® is a line of 15 cards which are perforated, so tearing along the perforations changes the greeting card into a bookmark!
These novel gifts and cards in one are printed in Pennsylvania, shipped from Brooklyn, New York, and cost just $3.95 (plus shipping) each. (I’ve interviewed the creator, Robin Blum, here, having met her at the first annual Bookmark Collectors Virtual Convention.)
In this economy, finding the perfect gift may be easier than affording it; but eBay has good news for those who collect antiques and vintage collectibles — and those who buy antiques and vintage collectibles as holiday gifts.
Ebay now has two new announcements to help making afford gifts more possible.
The first is eBay Group Gifts (Beta). This new program allows you, your friends, your family, &/or your coworkers, to “chip-in” on gifts. To set up a Group Gift, all you need is an eBay and PayPal account -– then anyone with a credit card can chip in. You can even use FaceBook to coordinate the group gift.
If group purchases aren’t your thing (or at least not for every gift), eBay now offers Bill Me Later through PayPal — which, if used between now and November 30, 2010, will get you n$10 back on your first Bill Me Later purchase on eBay.
You can even combine the two, participating in Group Gift and using Bill Me Later for your part of the gift payment!
It’s that time of the year again, when people ask me, “What gifts can I get the collectors in my life?”
Some say it’s easier to buy gifts for those who collect modern collectibles; you simply run out and purchase the latest release — and boast to everyone else that you got it, they’ll have to come up with something else! For those who weren’t quick enough on the draw of their credit cards to get the latest issue in a collectible series, for those of you who have collectors of antiques and vintage collectibles in your circle, for those of you who know you have collectors to buy holiday gifts for — but you really have no idea what they collect, here are some practical but thoughtful ideas.
Some of these items are inexpensive stocking stuffers, but they certainly can be grouped together to form a larger gift too.
If you know what they collect, the general category of collectibles, or if they have a specific heirloom they cherish…
For collectibles display, storage, cleaning, & protection:
For those who collect small things, such as buttons, beads, pinbacks, sewing notions — and vintage fishing lures, of course — there’s tackle boxes, plastic hardware cabinets and craft containers to store collectibles in. (Tool boxes also work well for over-sized ephemera.)
For the collector of glass, pottery, figurines, plates and other breakables, Quakehold makes Museum Putty and Museum Wax. (These and similar products hold fragile pieces in place even when angry teens and other careless folk slam doors, etc.)
Vintage jewelry collectors have jewelry that needs polishing and cleaning, but the polishing cloths used by most fine jewelers will be too strong or abrasive for vintage costume jewelery — including the metal parts. Sunshine Cloths, however, clean and polish vintage costume jewelery without removing platings, washes, and most coatings. (For those who collect fine vintage and antique jewelry, there’s Sunshine® Polishing Cloth for Sterling Silver, Gold, Brass and Copper Jewelry.)
For collectors of silver, who are not fans of the patina, there’s Hagerty 10120 Silversmiths’ Silver Polishes.
For collectors of Bakelite radios, Lucite purses, buttons & costume jewelry, and other things made of vintage plastics, there’s the Novus Polish Kit, which contains both a scratch remover and a polish.
For collectors of books and bound ephemera, there are materials for archival book & pamphlet collection maintenance.
For those who collect vintage and antique textiles, linens, and fashions, there are specific archival materials too.
And of course there are a wide array of books and guides from publishers who specialize in the needs and interests of collectors (and dealers!), such as Krause Books and Schiffer Books. And don’t forget there are many magazine subscriptions too.
If you know they love to hunt for vintage and antiques, but you don’t know what…
My standard gift suggestions for collectors who enjoy the thrill of the hunt include the basic gear collectors need. If you want to make it look more “gifty,” pack up the gear for a collector in a new purse or tackle box! Even if the collector already has some (or even all) of these items, they won’t mind a spare set.
Publications such as Antique Week, show upcoming auctions and flea markets in your collector’s neck of the woods.
Perhaps your collector doesn’t have cable TV — or is too busy hunting to see the current spade of television shows about collecting; many of them have DVDs available. And if the collector on your list is a fan, perhaps they’d like the DVDs or some merchandise which they can sport while out hunting for their latest find.
A story from my mom, of No Egrets Antiques:
Christmas at our house was always wonderful! It was not that we got everything we wanted – kids always have expectations way beyond reality. But everything seemed bright and shiny. My mom had Christmas music on the radio (the one with the little, round red light in front), and later on the “new hi-fi system.” And she sang or hummed from Thanksgiving to New Years.
For as long as I can remember, her favorite was “Silver Bells.” My brother’s first year in the Army was when Elvis was really at his peak. His song “I’ll be Home for Christmas” was played over and over again. My brother had been told he would not be able to get leave and had told my mom several times. But she never, ever gave up believing. Her boy, her first born, would make it home. Sometimes we would tease her but she just took it in stride. “Just wait and see,” she’d say. But when it was the day before Christmas Eve, and still no sign of Mike, she began to lose a bit of her faith.
We were at a corner bar/restaurant, having a fish fry. My sister was standing outside, watching the snow come down. All of a sudden she tore back into the restaurant and said, “Mom, a soldier just got out of a car!” She told her to calm down, but she got up from the table and went to see for herself. So we all went to the front door. As long as I live, I’ll never forget how my brother picked her up in his arms and swung her around! There were beers and tears all around for in a small community, everyone knew everyone. His leave was short and it was so hard to see him go again, but her wish came true and we all rejoiced!
I think it was then that I learned that the best gifts do not necessarily come in colorful wrapping paper, nor need to be expensive. This gift, as they say in commercials now, was priceless! And one for my memory book!