It is hard to come up with the perfect gift for the collector in your life. Fret no more. Here at the Kovels, we put our vintage-loving heads together and came up with a “Top 10” list of original and fun ideas that will make this holiday season memorable.

Pull out your laptop or good walking shoes, and let’s start tracking down a perfect gift.

1.      Swarovski collectible star/snowflake ornaments. Swarovski started selling a collectible star Christmas ornament in 1991. The next year, it was a snowflake. Now, it is up to the eye of the beholder whether it is a snowflake or a star. The older ones sell for $1,500 or higher. The 2022 version (start a tradition!) can still be found for less than $50.

2.      Unique perfume bottles. This can be for a male or female collector — and be an unexpected present. We’ve seen vintage perfume bottles in the shape for airplanes, tanks, and even male figures wearing “leather” jackets. The value of perfume bottles is related to age and the companies that made them, but they also have value if they just catch your eye!

3.      Cut glass. We suggest vintage Waterford vases, goblets and wine glasses. They are everywhere. American Brilliant cut glass serving bowls of all shapes and sizes are a great option too. Hand-cut American Brilliant Period cut glass was produced from about 1876 to roughly 1920. It is called “crystal” because it has 50% lead content (versus 24% for modern crystal).

4.      Vintage jewelry. Today’s styles were inspired by yesterday’s fashions. Look for long pendants and earrings, layered pearl necklaces and bracelets, and flashy cocktail rings.

5.      Window frames from salvage stores. Put in some mirrors instead of clear windowpanes and suddenly you have a unique and stylish piece of home decor for that friend who has everything.

6.      Old plates. Go into any thrift store and you’ll find donated china sets someone inherited from grandma and didn’t want. Buy several plates or buy a whole set. Eat on fancy china. Make them somebody’s everyday plates.

7.      Cigar boxes. Cigar makers spend a lot of time designing the graphics on cigar boxes. They wanted to catch the eye of the consumer. The boxes and labels are fun collectibles and can be used for everything from home decor to (why not!) conversion to a purse.

8.      Ceramic “lady head vases.” These blasts from the past of ladies with bright red lipstick, wavy hairstyles, black eyelashes and, sometimes, jewelry were originally made to hold flower arrangements by florists. The earliest examples of the lady head vases Americans are most familiar with are from the 1930s, and thousands of different kinds were made until the 1970s. They peaked in the 1950s. They are fun (one of our collecting “musts!”) and make great gifts for the midcentury modern living room styles popping up everywhere. Prices have come down from their peak so now is a good time to buy one.

9.  Anything 1980s. Who doesn’t love the 1980s, with its height-defying hairdos for women and mullets for men? Old and young love iconic mementos from that decade. Find something fun for your collector, including vintage Cabbage Patch dolls (the faces and the backstory on those dolls …. oh my), fashion items such as maxi- and midi-skirts, and crocheted anything. Come to think of it, how about gifting an iconic brown and orange crocheted afghan. Yep, they can still be found in antiques malls, keeping people warm in the 2020s.

Final tip:

Don’t forget the option of buying your collector the latest version of Kovels’ Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide 2023. The Kovels are the most trusted source for both the casual and expert collector. With 12,500 actual prices and 3,150 full-color photographs, the 2023 price guide (Black Dog & Leventhal; release date September 27) has organized, wide-ranging, and up-to-the-minute information and includes more tips, marks, logos, and photographs than any other competitive title.

perfume bottle cigar box head vase church window waterford cut crystal vase

Photos: Abington Auction Gallery, Robert Edward Auctions, Ruby Lane, Brunk Auctions, Bunch Auctions


5 responses to “Top 9 Presents for the Collector in Your Life”

  1. says:

    You’re right, and thanks for reminding us! We still think lady head vases aren’t as valuable as collectibles as they once were. But they’re still terrific as gifts. And the good news is that prices are way down. (By the way, we love our lady heads, here’s proof!), click on the link,

  2. Jeffrey Cheek says:

    In your post “6 Collectibles NOT to Collect Anymore” you say not to collect lady head vases any longer but here you suggest giving them as a gift to a collector and call them one of your collecting “musts”. Hmmm. Different writers?

  3. had2haveit says:

    had2haveit again…..
    This is the listing posted Sept 2021 under the heading “6 Collectible Not To Collect” that I was referring to in my previous comment. I found it at the bottom of the page just posted about “Top 9 Presents for the Collector in Your Life.” And I quote:
    ” Lady head vases: These used to be very hot, especially when icon Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis owned one. At just about any antiques show you’ll find them under $100 unless they are one of the celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis or Princess Diana.”

  4. had2haveit says:

    I’m surprised to see Lady Head vases listed here as a suggestion to gift a collector as I’m positive that within this year on this site Lady Head vases were listed ( in a what not to buy kind of listing) as they were no longer very collectible. What changed ?

  5. BoPeep2 says:

    It is interesting that a couple of months ago you published an article that listed Lady Head vases in an article on what not to collect so why are you recommending them as a gift?

Leave a Reply

Featured Articles