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Collectible Snowbabies: Discovering Value and Rarity

Snowbabies are not just adorable figurines; they are beloved collectibles that hold both sentimental and monetary value. With their cute baby shapes and furry snow outfits, these biscuit porcelain figurines have captured the hearts of collectors for over a century. In this article, we will delve into the history of snowbabies, explore the factors that impact their value, reveal the most valuable and rare snowbaby figurines, and offer tips on caring for and storing these precious treasures.

The History of Snowbabies Figurines

The story of snowbabies begins in the late 19th century when Johann Moll created the first snowbaby figurines as reusable cake toppers. Inspired by the sugar dolls used in Christmas decorations at the time, these delicate figurines were initially manufactured by Hertwig and Company in Germany. Soon, other German porcelain factories joined in the production, and snowbabies gained popularity as holiday decorations in Germany, England, and the United States.

During World War I, the production of snowbabies came to a temporary halt due to the war efforts. After the war, England and the United States tried to revive the trend but failed to replicate the quality and charm of the original German snowbabies. It wasn’t until 1987 that snowbabies experienced a resurgence when Department 56 started producing replicas with the same beloved baby characters. Today, both new snowbabies available in department stores and antique snowbaby versions are sought after by collectors worldwide.

Factors That Can Affect Snowbabies’ Value

The value of collectible snowbaby figurines is determined by three key factors: rarity, age, and condition.

Rarity

The older, original snowbabies are considered rare and therefore more valuable. These vintage snowbabies feature a more realistic appearance and are characterized by their blue snow. Additionally, other character snowbabies, such as Santa Claus, are often even more valuable than the baby-shaped figures.

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Age

Collectors are particularly interested in original antique snowbabies made in Germany. These limited-edition pieces exhibit meticulous craftsmanship and exquisite detailing, often with a more realistic look compared to newer snowbabies. They are highly sought after by collectors and frequently feature blue snow.

Condition

As with many collectibles, the condition of a snowbaby figurine directly affects its value. However, antique snowbabies are often challenging to find in pristine condition due to the nature of the paint used. The paint on these figurines was not fired onto the porcelain, resulting in gradual wear and, in some cases, loss of paint over time. Most collectors are understanding of this wear and accept it as part of the figurine’s history.

10 Most Valuable and Rare Snowbabies Figurines

If you’re eager to start or expand your snowbaby collection, here are ten of the most sought-after and rare snowbaby figurines:

  1. Antique German Snowbaby Sits or Stands – Valued at around $350, this figurine has movable arms and legs, allowing it to sit or stand.

  2. 1996 Dept 56 Snowbaby – This cute figurine with bunny ears holding a birthday cake is valued at approximately $22.

  3. Large Santa Claus Germany Snowbaby – Produced in 1910, this original piece is worth around $150. Snowbabies resembling other characters are highly valuable.

  4. Snowbaby “Send a Message” Angel – Worth around $25, this angel snowbaby was produced in 2001.

  5. Elf Hides Antique German Bisque Snowbaby – This rare find from 1904 features an elf hiding around the corner of a cottage from a witch.

  6. Rare Hertwig Santa Sleigh Snowbaby – Produced in 1916, this figure depicts Santa in his sleigh being pulled by reindeer and is valued at around $1,800.

  7. VTG Japan Christmas Snowbaby – These rare snowbabies feature blonde baby curls peeking out of their hooded snow outfits and are worth about $250 each.

  8. German Tiny Snowbaby – This small German snowbaby, produced in 1916, carries a value of around $25.

  9. Vintage Pico Sugared Snowbaby – Decorated to resemble sugared snow, this pixie snowbaby is worth approximately $50.

  10. Santa Gnome Plush Snowbaby – This Santa Gnome, holding a small snowbaby in its arms, is valued at around $35.

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How to Spot Fake or Reproduction Snowbabies

When purchasing snowbabies, it’s essential to be aware of reproductions that often appear in auctions and flea markets. Here are some tips to help you distinguish between genuine snowbabies and reproductions:

  • Watch out for new “snow.” If you notice little black specks in the white snow, it is often an indication of a reproduction.
  • Genuine antique snowbabies typically show some signs of wear, collected dust, or natural aging. Look for these characteristics as a mark of authenticity.
  • Be wary of snow that looks too white compared to the rest of the figurine. This could indicate the addition of porcelain snowflakes to enhance its appeal.

Where to Buy Desirable Snowbabies Figurines?

If you’re eager to start or expand your snowbaby collection, there are several options available. Newer snowbabies can be purchased from department stores and gift shops. Additionally, both new and antique snowbabies can be found online on platforms such as eBay, Etsy, replacements.com, Wayfair, and other online auctions.

Best Practices in Caring and Storing Snowbabies Figurines

To ensure the longevity of your snowbaby figurines, it is crucial to handle them with care. Here are some best practices for caring and storing your snowbabies:

  • Store your snowbabies in a safe place where they are unlikely to get bumped or broken. Consider placing them behind glass in a closed curio cabinet for optimal protection.
  • To clean your snowbabies, carefully soak them in warm soapy water and dry them with a gentle cloth.

FAQs

Are older snowbabies more valuable than newer ones?

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Yes, older snowbabies tend to be more valuable due to their rarity and unique characteristics. The wear and tear on the paint, which easily washed off on older porcelain figurines, is often a sign of their age and authenticity.

Can snowbaby figurines increase in value over time?

Genuine antique German snowbabies are highly valuable and likely to increase in value over time. However, newer versions may not appreciate in value to the same extent. It is best to collect snowbabies for their sentimental value and enjoyment, considering any increase in value as a delightful bonus.

How can I tell if a snowbabies figurine is authentic?

Beware of reproduction snowbabies, which are commonly found in the market. Look for figurines that have little black specks in the white snow, as this is often a sign of a reproduction. Genuine antique German snowbabies may exhibit wear and tear on the paint and collect dust over time. Additionally, snow that looks too white in comparison to the rest of the figurine may suggest a reproduction.

What is the best way to sell a valuable snowbabies figurine?

To ensure you receive the highest value for your collectible snowbaby figurines, it’s best to sell them individually on online auction sites such as eBay. Before listing them, conduct thorough research to determine their current market value. This will enable you to price them fairly and attract potential buyers who appreciate their worth.

Conclusion

Snowbabies are more than just delightful figurines; they are treasured collectibles that hold both sentimental and monetary value. From their origins in Germany to the factors influencing their value and the most sought-after snowbabies on the market, these figurines captivate the hearts of collectors worldwide. By understanding the history, rarity, and care of snowbabies, you can enhance your collection and preserve these charming treasures for generations to come. So start your journey into the enchanting world of snowbabies and let their joyous frolicking in the snow bring a smile to your face.

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