Our antiques expert appraises a Father Christmas Belsnickle figure to determine what it's worth today.
This 7-inch Santa belonged to my grandmother. How old is it, and what’s it worth?
—T.S., West Mansfield, Ohio
What’s It Worth?
A: Your Father Christmas Belsnickle figure, a candy container, dates to the early 1800s. By gently pulling the boots off, you could hide a few pieces of homemade candy in the body. According to German tradition, this elfin old man accompanied St. Nicholas, carrying sugarplums for good children, and switches for naughty ones. The tree branch the figures carried was generally made of goose or turkey feathers; your figure’s holly was added later.
Your molded cardboard figure’s red felt robe is glued on, and trimmed in cotton batting. His beard is rabbit or goat fur. A few Belsnickle wear green or blue coats. These candy containers weren’t meant to last, but in an era of few specialty decorations, families often treasured them for years. Yours is worth about $125.
—Barbara J. Eash (Country Woman Magazine’s Antiques Expert)