Good Old Days Updates

In the Good Old Days Antiques Corner This Week in History
Antiques Corner

An Antique Angel

Click here for larger image.

Question: I bought this pink-and-green art deco angel for my granddaughter at an antiques shop because she loves those colors. It's plaster and measures about 4 1/2 inches high. Based on the angel's style, can you tell me if it was originally part of a Nativity set? How old is it?

Answer: The creche, a representation of the Nativity scene, was an important religious symbol of Christmas during the mid-20th century. Although the first Nativity figures were imported from Italy and Germany, the most affordable ones were made in Japan. Your cast chalkware angel, which lacks the detail of European varieties, is the type and quality of those Nativity pieces made in Japan in the 1950s or a little later. Many like it are marked "hand painted Japan." Individual figurines such as this were widely available in stores such as S.S. Kresge and F.W. Woolworth, enabling families to grow their Nativity scenes every year. Expect to pay $12 to $20 for similar Nativity scene additions made in Japan.

-- By Tom Hoepf, associate editor of Auction Central News