Antique & Vintage Snow Globes



2015-06-26 11:18:23

Antique & Vintage Snow Globes


History & Description

A snow globe is a small ornament that consists of a miniaturized scene.

It is unclear when the first snow globes were invented, but they began to appear in the early-nineteenth century in France. It is possible that they were designed as a successor to the glass paperweight, which had become common at the end of the eighteenth century.

Snow globes became extremely popular following the Paris Universal Expo of 1878 and within a year there were already half a dozen companies in Europe producing snow globes.

Originally, snow globes were made from a heavy lead glass dome on a sealed ceramic base, filled with water. The snow was created from fine pieces of porcelain, sand or bone chips.

Guide for collectors

The majority of snow globes are mass-produced and as a result they are a relatively inexpensive collectors’ commodity. The more valuable models usually possess hand-painted figurines or complex dioramas enclosed within the globe. Essentially, the individuality and rarity of a snow globe correlates precisely with its value and price.

A very small number of antique snow globes have appeared at international auction houses, like Sotheby’s and Bonhams.

However, antique snow globes are typically found at antique stores, housewares shops and theme parks. In recent years, a few antique snow globes have appeared on online bidding sites, such as eBay. Typically, most snow globes sell between $5 and $25 but there have been some instances where prices have exceeded $300. On March 4th 2012, a vintage 1966 Batman snow globe was sold on eBay $391.

There are a number of sites and blogs on the internet that are a great source of information for antique snow globe collectors. Sites such as Snow Globe Central have a comprehensive list of the places collectors are most likely to purchase antique snow globes and how to distinguish antiques from new models.

Notable auction sales

In January 2011, an eight piece set of Royal Doulton “Bunnykin” snow globes, circa 1940, was sold for £46 through Bonhams, Knowle.

On January 29th 2012, an antique snow globe was sold on eBay for $380. The snow globe was purchased as a souvenir from the World’s Fair Sesquicentennial Exposition in France, 1926.

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