Types of Antique Silver Baby Rattles
Collectors should consider the types of materials that antique baby rattles were made of before buying. Pre-1800 versions of baby rattles were made of clay. They were created from hollow shapes of clay with small balls inside for the rattle. However, clay is brittle and by the 1800s, silversmith Paul Revere and others made baby rattles out of silver, eventually moving towards materials like pewter and gold.
Vintage Victorian rattles, including Georgian and Regency models made around the early 1800's to around 1901 and were considered lavish by today's standards, but made of materials not considered suitable for teething by today's standards, and are collected strictly for display.
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Georgian Baby Rattles
Original Georgian rattles date back to the 1700s and 1800s. In addition to being made of solid silver, some of these vintage rattles include gilt on the exterior as well as one or more rows of bells. Collectors of antique Georgian rattles should know that gold rattles or those with few signs of age are more difficult to find and are far more expensive.
Regency Baby Rattles
Collectors of antique rattles might find Regency era items mixed in with Georgian rattles, since they were manufactured around the same time. Wealthy families received and gave silver or gold rattles with red coral teething posts, bells, and whistles. Superstition says that the precious metals held mystical properties. Silver or gold bells offered a clear sound that was believed to attract good spirits.
Silver rattles were popular throughout the early 20th century. Solid silver as well as silver-coated rattles date back as early as the Gallo-Roman period.Tiffany & Co. offered sterling silver rattles in their baby gift collection in the 1900s. Collectors interested in Tiffany Silver Baby Rattles should look for the 925 hallmark for top quality silver items.
Mid-20th Century Antique Baby Rattles
The terms "vintage" and "antique" often refer to the same items. Collectors interested specifically in "vintage" rattles may want to search for items around 50 years old or older. However, the term also refers to specific periods, such as the vintage 1950s or 1960s.
Collectors of Antique Silver Baby Rattles should look for Regency or Victorian items. Collectors might also look for items made of modern materials such as wood, tin, and plastic baby rattles. Pewter baby rattles are a less expensive alternative to silver rattles of the period as well.
Note: All antique and vintage baby rattles should be collected for display purposes only since they are not considered suitable for teething by today's standards.