Q: I recently found what I thought was a very unique item at a yard sale. It’s a ceramic pig with many tiny holes on its back. It took me all weekend to figure out what it is. I think it’s an hors d’oeuvres server because the holes are just the right size to it hold toothpicks. Is it unique and valuable?
A: Toothpick holders in the shape of animals became popular in the 1950s. Hedgehogs and porcupines were probably the first animal shapes made, since inserted toothpicks look like the animal’s quills. After that, cats, dogs, pigs and other animals were made in pottery, wood, plastic, silver and other metals. They are fun to use at a party but most aren’t worth more than $20 to $25. Toothpick holders made of silver are worth more.