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Valuable Ornaments: Details to look for with decorations

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Christmas ornaments have been around since the 16th century. They became mainstream in the mid 1800's and have increased in popularity ever since. 

"Everyday people like us would get these from Woolworth's. It originally sold for 29 cents," said Barbara Ann Smith, Owner of Alexander's Antiques. 

Today, the retail cost of these ornaments from the 1930's would be $75 to $100. 

"The oldest ones are the ones that are made with fruits and nuts. These are probably from the 30's. Look for ornaments shaped like houses, teacups and birds. On the internet you can get a set, maybe a set of 6 or 8 for $200," Smith said. 

But how can you tell if you have a reproduction? One sign of age is discoloring around the top. Look for hand painted and stenciled pieces. Condition is everything, original packaging is a bonus. Having the box not only adds value, but also shows where the item was purchased. 

Hallmark started the collector's series in 1973 and I knew I had some from that era. So I decided to find out exactly what they're worth. 

"Hooked on Ornaments" buys and sells classic Hallmark figures year round. On the website, this partridge from 1976 sells for $25. This train from the Yesteryears collection is much more valuable. It goes for $49. And this little reindeer is considered rare - even though it doesn't have a box; it's priced at $50. But it makes me wish I had the hall family ornament from the same year - its worth about $200. 

The ornaments at Alexander's Antiques go on the auction block Thursday night at 6:30. If you want to know the value of your hallmark ornaments, click here.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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