Everything You Need to Know When Selecting a Snow Globe

Just in time for the 1889 Paris Expo, inventors started making glass snow globes with a scene of the Eiffel Tower inside. While a few U.S. manufacturers started created snow globes earlier, the trend got its start in the 1960s when Americans started visiting roadside attractions, many of which offered scenes of their facilities inside a snow globe.

Manufacturers of snow globes in the United States

Many collectors seeking snow globes for sale concentrate on those made by a particular company. Until about 1990, workers at three companies made most of them. They are:

  • Karol Western Corp: They are still making souvenirs in Commerce, Calif. Ruben Cordova created their designs from 1966 to 1991. Many collectors choose his Universal Studios and roadside attractions snow globes.
  • Nancy Sales Co. (NANCO): Now a major manufacturer of plush animals, NANCO started making their first snow globes in the late 1930s at their factory near Boston, Mass.
  • Allen-Lewis Manufacturing Company: This Denver, Colo., company made many collectible snow globes for roadside attractions.
  • Atlas Crystal Works: This Trenton, N.J., company made many of the earliest examples in America.
What are some more recent snow globes?

Some collectors are looking for snow globes issued to commemorate an event or holiday, like the 2011 Target snow globe or the 2016 Target snow globe. These eBay snow globes can often be found by collectors looking to decorate their homes or complete a set.

What makes the snow inside snow globes?

Over time, many different substances have been used to make the snow. The first choice was flakes of bone china. The snow in these globes is an off-white colour. Then, manufacturers turned to porcelain flakes, which created whiter snow. By the 1960s, most manufacturers were using nonsoluble soap flakes. Most recently, the industry has begun using plastic chips.

Factors that determine the value of a snow globe

Different factors may determine a vintage snow globe's value. The subject matter makes a huge difference, with those from abandoned tourist attractions often bringing a premium. Those featuring Disney or Universal Studio characters or famous Hollywood stars often bring a higher amount. This is especially true for stars from Hollywood's Golden Era. Collectors in different categories are looking for them. Holiday globes featuring obsolete holidays often fetch a premium. Advertising globes are often sought after by collectors. Additionally, music box or lighted globes usually sell for more. Of course, people want every kind of globe to be in excellent condition. Glass snow globes are typically considered more valuable than plastic globes. People looking for cheap snow globes can still find great deals in many listings on eBay.