Q: I recently received five terra-cotta garden gnomes that are each about 13 inches tall. They came from Germany and were bought in the 1960s. They are in desperate need of painting. If I repaint them, will it affect their value? Do they have any value?

A: Garden gnomes were first made in Europe in the late 1800s. One of the first known makers was Philipp Griebel, who established a terra-cotta factory in Grafenroda, Germany, in 1874. The factory is still run by members of the Griebel family. The most desirable gnomes are made of terra-cotta. Gnomes made of concrete, plastic, or resin are worth less. Gnomes typically have a white beard and wear a pointed red hat tipped slightly to one side. Your gnomes have hands with holes in them that look as though they held a tool or some other item. These missing pieces lower the value of your gnomes. The condition of the paint may or may not affect price–it depends on what the potential buyer likes. If you ever decide to sell them at auction, it's best to have them repainted. If your gnomes are terra-cotta, not concrete, they are worth about $200 each.