Celebrate your graduate with a gift that honors their achievement – something that reminds them of the past, has personal significance or is just plain beautiful. Kovels has 6 gift ideas that will delight a graduate (and who knows—maybe they will make them collectors!).


1. Antique or vintage jewelry. A unique midcentury silver cuff or bangle bracelet for a young woman or cuff links for a young man can be statement pieces that will always be a reminder of this major step in their lives and never go out of style. This sterling silver link bracelet is stamped with Georg Jensen markings for designer Vivianna Torun Bulow Hube. It sold at Susanin’s in Chicago for $344.


2. For the medical grad, a piece of vintage medical equipment like this 19th-century phrenology head or an apothecary chest with lots of small drawers. This ceramic phrenology head was a teaching tool in the late 19th century, made by L.N. Fowler, London. It sold for $938 at Leslie Hindman in Chicago.



3. For the scientist or engineer, a scientific instrument like an old microscope, electromagnetic motor, navigation tool, chronometer or even an hourglass. The Bausch and Lomb compound microscope pictured here was made about 1890 and sold with a fitted wooden case for $108 at Thomaston in Maine.



4. For the aspiring writer, an antique (but working!) typewriter. This funky midcentury red plastic typewriter was designed in 1969 by Ettore Sottsass and made in Italy by Olivetti. It sold at Rago in New Jersey for $375.



5. For that first real apartment. Lots of choices here. An antique globe or map print will be a reminder of where they are from and where they are going. If a particular city is their post-grad destination, a vintage print or historic scene of that city can be a good start. Also good for décor, Kovels suggests a vintage trunk or blanket chest to use for a coffee table, storage or a footrest, or desk accessories such as heavy vintage bookends, paperweights or an unusual letter holder. The vintage wise old owl bookends pictured are brass and signed C. Jere 1977. The pair sold for about $300 in an online shop.


6. For the flowers that are bound to come, a beautiful art pottery or art glass vase. Or a trinket box for special things. Can be something with a history, or from a historic local factory or workshop. This vase with matte iris glaze sold for $520 at Treadway in Cincinnati. It was made by Rookwood in Cincinnati, signed and dated 1946 by artist Jens Jensen.



Congratulations to all 2019 graduates!