Auntique & Uncle Tony

Sellers of Antique Bookends, Vintage Glass, & Collectibles

A Word or Two About Pricing Vintage Bookends

When you go into a retail store to buy software, you might pick up a large empty box with one or two CDs inside, at a price of a $1000. What makes it worth a thousand bucks?  Is that big empty box really worth it?  If you need the technical expertise and talent of its creators, and the support services of the company behind it… and if it will make your life easier… definitely, YES.


So it is with vintage bookends.  Are you paying for an old pot-metal object, or a beautiful piece of the past?  The intangibles of artistic styles, design, subject matter, condition, rarity, and history are some of the things that effect the collectability and pricing of art metal bookends.


Even though they are considered “mass-produced”, each piece was not simply stamped out.  Foundries needed to employ skilled artists, designers and sculptors to create these miniature metal art pieces.  Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, some companies went out of business trying to keep up with the costs of such talent. Once the molds were designed,  individual pieces took several days to complete, requiring long production processes and extensive hand finishing.   The amount of skilled labor and talent that went into creating each of these little beauties is a long way from today’s “mass-produced” products.


Once in a while an interesting pair of old metal bookends turns up in an antique shop or online. But the reality is that very few of them have survived the decades. Those that did  are historical reminders of the fads, fashions and passions of the early 20th Century when  Art Nouveau replaced Victorian styles…  Art Deco was the rage throughout the Roaring Twenties and 1930s, up to World War II.


In 1914 bookends sold for $5.00 a pair.  In the 1920s gasoline was 18 cents a gallon… and in the 1940s, hot dogs were a nickel.  Things change.