Snow Globes : A Fascinating History and Collectible Market Complete Guide

Are you wondering why snow globes captivate us?

Learn about their fascinating history and current collectible market. From the 19th century to modern day, they evoke a sense of wonder, immersing us in glittering moments of joy. Discover how you can join the exciting world of snow globe collecting.


Snow globes have been around for over 200 years and have a long history of being used as gifts, souvenirs and home décor. They come in all shapes and sizes, with some of the most elaborate being incredibly detailed works of art. Today, snow globes are highly collectible items too.

In this guide, we’ll explore the fascinating history behind snow globe design, look into how they’re made and examine the current collectible market for snowglobes.

History of Snow Globes

Snow globes began to appear in France in the early 1800s. The earliest models were crafted from glass and brass with a small landscape inside, such as pastoral scenes or a village street – eventually, figures of characters from fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and nursery stories began to appear. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, popularity surged and these little glass creations were found in almost every European home.

Inventors continued to innovate this popular item over the years. Biedermeier designs created in 1840-1850 featured multicolored scenes enclosed within the globe. Later models of snow globes incorporated interior snowfall effects made with foam flakes or modified soap flakes. By 1900 snow globes had become popular throughout Europe; however, not until 1950 science fiction inspired plastic Edison Globes became widely used because they allowed for larger forms and more imaginative shapes such as space ships or cartoon character scenes that could not be achieved with glass hand blown pieces.

In present day snow globes often have elaborate sculpted bases depicting famous landmarks while many other varieties exist on the market including illuminated snow globes that feature a charming light effect designed to delight children and adults alike. In some cases mini speakers are embedded in the base which can play up to 20 seconds of sound upon activation adding an additional lighthearted effect for many affluent buyers who appreciate these unique marvels of modern technology.

Origin and early designs

The concept of a snow globe originated in France in the early 19th century, beginning with a “paperweight” made of glass with water and white paper snowflakes. These were a popular item but there were limited designs available.

In 1878, an Austrian expanded on the earlier design and created the first snow-globe featuring a scene inside it. He set tiny figures in plaster into the base of his globe along with glitter and liquid. This new product, which featured mainly religious scenes, was very successful and by 1890 similar models became mass produced.

The earliest globes showcased hand-painted decorations, but as technology kept advancing these designs became more sophisticated. Around 1900, manufacturers started to use mechanical processes such as lithography to print images on paper first, before transferring them onto plastic or glass sheets that make up the inner surface of a globe; this allowed for more intricate details typical of larger-scale production.

 Types of Snow Globes

Snow globes come with various types and shapes, depending upon their origin and when they were made. The earliest snow globes were made in the 1800s which circulated water, then glycerin or liquid paraffin was added until being replaced with modern antifreeze.

The three main types of snow globes used today are mechanical, non-mechanical (waterless), and musical. Mechanical snow globes contain a mechanism to move the glitter suspended in the fluid around when it is shaken. This can be accomplished manually or with a pressure valve attached to an air source such as compressed air tank. Non-mechanical snow globes also known as ‘waterless’ do not contain any type of moving parts. The glitter suspended within is moved by shaking the globe itself. Musical snow globes contain an internal music box that plays a predetermined song when activated by shaking or pressing down on a plastic plunger component located at the base of the globe.

In terms of their shapes, exterior materials and designs, modern snow globes are quite varied and intricate, larger sizes usually feature multiple LED lights around the base that either flash rhythmically or light up continuously in high-quality models; resins may be used instead of glass in some cheap models while many traditional ones feature hand painted artwork which require close inspection prior to buying to detect any errors that may appear due to factory production processes not using strict quality control measures; as for sizes and shapes they range from tall cylindrical towers up to basketball-size domed Balls with Over 500 millimeters diameters leaving room for considerable creativity even within traditional looking models where water may still be circulated inside after all these years so customers have plenty of choices at their disposal before purchase one that fits their wants best without compromising on quality assurance standards whatsoever!

Traditional snow globes

Traditional snow globes have been around as early as the mid-18th century, with the earliest examples being paperweights containing water and snow made of feathers or ash. As technology advanced, so did the snow globes’ construction materials and design. For example, in 1878 Louis Rebisso patented the use of glass to create a contained environment in his snow globes.

Today, classic and traditional designs that mimic earlier techniques are still popular among both new and seasoned collectors. Antique craftsmanship, delicate details, engravings and hand-painted scenes characterize vintage snow globes from this era. What’s more is that antique snow globes reflect historical moments and ideas – from classic fairy tales to iconic landmarks of particular countries or regions – giving each a unique story behind its making.

Collecting Snow Globes

Collecting snow globes is a hobby of many people, from recreational to serious collectors. Those looking for special items use various approaches to ensure that the snow globes they buy are attractive and in proper working order, as well as meaningful to them in some way. There are a few ways to go about collecting snow globes:

1) Specialty stores: Many specialty stores have decades-old snow globes on offer, usually costing more than those found at modern stores due to their value and rarity.

2) Thrift shops/flea markets: Thrift shops or flea markets are great places to find unique and beautiful vintage pieces that add flavor and charm to any collection. Such items may be especially sought-after depending on their sentimental or noteworthy value.

3) Online shopping: Shoppers can search for variety of original commercial pieces or limited-edition artworks with an ease of just a few clicks online. Sites like eBay are especially valuable for buyers as there is an abundance of items from which one can choose from, often provided at reasonable prices. Keep in mind that some vendors may sell reproductions or damaged items at higher prices than what would be expected; always familiarize yourself with contributing factors before making purchases online such as shipping policies and terms & conditions of the store/website you are purchasing from.

4) Auctions: Snow globe auctions provide enthusiasts the chance to seize rarer specimens available only through such specialized events; this approach appeals most dramatically to those with vast collections who might otherwise have trouble finding exquisite trinkets elsewhere (in an affordable manner). Always study information carefully before deciding whether it would be worth participating in any auction, including appraisal bonuses and estimated costs of further maintenance/preservations efforts (if necessary).

How to start a snow globe collection

Snow globes are a classic collectible and widely enjoyed for their charm and beauty. Despite the popularity of snow globes, the history of these collectibles is largely unknown. The most common form of a snow globe is an airtight glass sphere containing water with flakes of paper suspended inside. These flakes tend to represent falling snow when shaken, providing a whimsical effect when viewed from the outside.

Collecting snow globes can be an exciting hobby for those interested in vintage finds and popular culture, as well as those that simply appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship behind each one. To get started in collecting snow globes, there are some key steps to consider – including building your knowledge, setting a budget, and determining where to buy.

Knowledge is key when collecting anything valuable; researching your preferred type of snow globe lets you gain a better understanding of age ranges, production methodsand materials used over time. Additionally, becoming familiar with different types of snow globe designs and manufacturers can help guide purchases that will bring long-term value beyond personal enjoyment.

It’s important to set a budget when starting any kind of collection — this helps manage spending while also giving an idea on how often you can add new items or search for rare pieces to enhance your collection’s quality. Setting boundaries on spending also allows you to feel in control from start to finish so you can focus on what really matters — finding quality pieces at sensible prices that speak directly to your interests!

There are many brick-and-mortar options for collecting snow globes — antique malls and resale shops often have excellently priced finds available if you’re willing to dig through their inventory racks regularly or look out for different types online through various dealers or members-only clubs. Be sure to inspect the condition of any new piece before buying; it may be necessaryto factor in some extra costsfor repair work if needed later on!

Tips for finding rare and valuable snow globes

When collecting snow globes, one of the most important things to keep in mind when looking for rare and valuable pieces is condition. Age is less important as a Snow Globe can look vintage even though it was lately made. Most Snow Globes will develop chips or darkening over time, particularly if they have been handled or exposed to sunlight or heat. In general, a good rule of thumb is that the more original a Snow Globe looks, the more it’s worth.

Another factor in determining rarity and value is production quanity— fewer limited edition pieces are naturally more sought after and can be worth quite a bit. Finally, DIY-style globes as well as specially commissioned ones tend to hold significant value for collectors as these are unique works that cannot be found elsewhere.

The key takeaways when collecting snowglobes are: condition, production quantity and uniqueness.

Displaying and Caring for Snow Globes

Displaying and taking care of snow globes can help ensure that your collection remains vibrant and beautiful for many years to come. Properly caring for a snow globe can also support its value in the collectible market. Take these steps to ensure that your snow globe maintains its original beauty:

-Place the snow globe out of direct sunlight, as the UV rays from the sun can cause fading or discoloration over time.

-Keep your snow globe at room temperature, so it minimizes warping due to extreme heat or cold.

-When storing, wrap each piece in protective paper or fabric to avoid scratches, dust accumulation and other potential damage.

-When moving large collections of snow globes, use larger containers that are big enough for each individual piece, providing additional protection if multiple globes are placed together during transport.

-Always handle the glass or acrylic dome portion with gentle care not to cause any hairline fractures.

-It is best to avoid using any abrasive cleaners or cloths when cleaning a snow globe as it could create mary undesired scratch surfaces or could possibly discolor surfaces on particularly older pieces. A soft cloth slightly lightly dampened with cold water should be used instead while avoiding contact between metal pieces in older globes and water as much as possible.

Tips for displaying snow globes

Snow globes have a fascinating history and offer a unique form of collecting. These delightful decorations can become conversation pieces or even treasured heirlooms, if taken care of properly. To ensure that your collector’s item remains in mint condition, take the time to learn about their maintenance and display requirements. Here are some tips for displaying snow globes:

  1. Avoid direct sunlight whenever possible. This could damage the resin material used in making snow globes as well as fade any colors on the figures inside the snow globe itself. Display your globe near a window, but out of any direct sunlight.
  2. Take care when placing your globes on surfaces too cold to touch. Snow globes contain liquid and can crack if their temperatures vary drastically over a short period of time (such as placing them on an ice-cold surface). It’s important to allow it to reach room temperature before displaying it rapidly in colder temperatures or bringing it outdoors during winter months (especially looks like with rock salt decorations which requires extreme caution).
  3. Make sure there is plenty of circulatory space around your globe to avoid dust buildup. Keep both front and back surfaces clean with gentle dusting to minimize potential damage from collected dust over time. Be sure not to use cleaners containing ammonia, vinegar, phenol or acetone which could damage the globe’s surface over time because these areas often contain lead paint for coloring details on figures within the dome glass bubble or on colorful paper art exterior bases used for designs outside the bubble dome glass make up this collector’s item.
  4. Handle your snowglobe gently at all times; its fragile components can easily crack or break if mishandled, often resulting in permanent damage. Snow globes should be stored upright while being transported and they should be turned motionless after transport without quickly agitating it so that watery sediment will remain undisturbed latent within internal fluids due to copper tube vented chimney pipe structure underlay making up internals parts of this collector’s item allowing air openings passage allowing air flow between internal chamber structures sealed by rubber o-ring seals situated below glass bubbles domed structures connecting with watertight gland nut systems located top exteriors solid metal exterior base portions rock salt decorations needing utmost extreme caution while handling these units while being careful when positioning itself towards storing away until next use otherwise debris from decorative artificial winter displays leaked through inflowing vented piping systems may harm internals rings valves functions located around main leveller floats placed near pumping machines used in blowing out air flow helping preserving 360° view area within curved borosillicate flattened dome shaped anti fog coatings main makeup components.


As you have read, snow globes are a curious and engaging collectible with a long and fascinating history. Though the purpose and design of snow globes may have shifted in different countries and eras, their appeal to collectors remains the same: nostalgia, decoration and the celebration of special occasions.

Whether you have become inspired to make your own oddities or explore this strange form of art through collecting rare finds, snow globes are sure to bring delight no matter where their glittery particles settle.

With our guide complete, we hope that you go forth with an appreciation for these wintry wonders and perhaps even add a few new models to your evergrowing collection!

See Also:

Leave a Comment