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Antiques Collection Appraisal

Updated: May 25


Antique hood ornament
Antique Auto Hood Ornament Collection

During a recent antiques collection appraisal project, we had the pleasure to examine and appraise a collection of automobile mascots recently for one of our estate clients. Automobile hood ornaments, also known as mascots or emblems, have a long history as collector items. These decorative ornaments, often placed on the front hood of vehicles, serve as a symbol of a car manufacturer's brand identity, and they can carry a lot of historical and aesthetic value. Here are some key points about automobile hood ornaments as collectibles:



Antique Hood Ornament
Antique Hood Ornament

1. Historical Significance: Hood ornaments have been used since the early days of automobiles as a way for manufacturers to distinguish their brands and showcase their design aesthetics. Many classic and vintage cars featured elaborate and artistic hood ornaments that reflected the era's style and culture. 2. Artistic Value: Hood ornaments are often intricately designed pieces of art. They can range from simple logos to elaborate sculptures of animals, mythological figures, and more. Collectors appreciate the craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into creating these ornaments.



Antique Hood Ornament
Antique Hood Ornament

3. Brand Identity: Hood ornaments are closely tied to the history and identity of car manufacturers. As companies evolve and rebrand over time, these ornaments can reflect changes in design philosophies and corporate identities. Collecting a range of hood ornaments can provide a visual timeline of a manufacturer's history. 4. Rarity and Scarcity: Some hood ornaments were only produced for a limited time or in limited quantities, making them rare and valuable for collectors. Certain vintage and discontinued ornaments can be particularly sought after due to their scarcity. 5. Investment Potential: Like many collectibles, the value of hood ornaments can appreciate over time, especially for rare or historically significant pieces. However, the collectibles market can be unpredictable, so it's important to research and collect ornaments that you personally appreciate rather than solely for investment purposes.



Antique Hood Ornament
Antique Hood Ornament

6. Restorations and Authenticity: Collectors often seek original, unaltered hood ornaments in the best condition possible. Restoration or alteration can significantly impact the value of an ornament. Ensuring the authenticity and provenance of an ornament is crucial for maintaining its value. 7. Community and Networking: Collecting hood ornaments can provide an opportunity to connect with fellow enthusiasts, attend car shows, and participate in online forums or clubs dedicated to automobile collectibles. 8. Display and Preservation: Many collectors take pride in displaying their hood ornaments as part of their collection. Proper storage, cleaning, and preservation techniques are important to maintain the value and condition of these delicate items.



Antique Hood Ornament
Antique Hood Ornament

9. Diverse Themes: Hood ornaments can represent various themes, from automotive history and technological advancements to cultural and artistic influences. Collectors often focus on specific themes, manufacturers, or time periods. Remember that the value of collectibles can vary widely based on factors such as rarity, condition, demand, and current trends in the collector's market. If you're interested in collecting automobile hood ornaments, it's a good idea to educate yourself about the specific brands, models, and historical periods you're interested in, and to connect with experienced collectors or experts in the field.


Some of the more sought after examples in this field of the collectables world include


  • Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy: The Spirit of Ecstasy is one of the most iconic and recognizable hood ornaments. Originally designed by Charles Robinson Sykes for Rolls-Royce, this graceful sculpture of a woman leaning forward with outstretched arms has been a symbol of luxury and elegance. Early versions of the Spirit of Ecstasy, particularly those made before the 1930s, are highly collectible.

  • Mercedes-Benz "Goddess of Speed": The "Goddess of Speed" ornament, officially known as the "Mercedes-Benz Three-Pointed Star," was used on certain pre-war Mercedes-Benz models. Its distinctive design features a winged female figure holding a laurel wreath and is highly prized among collectors due to its rarity and historical significance.

  • Packard Cormorant: The Packard Cormorant is a hood ornament that depicts a stylized bird, resembling a cormorant, with its wings outstretched. This emblem was used on Packard cars from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. Its unique design and association with the Packard brand make it a sought-after collectible.

  • Pierce-Arrow Archer: The Pierce-Arrow Archer is known for its distinctive depiction of an archer aiming a bow and arrow. Pierce-Arrow, a luxury car manufacturer, used this ornament on their vehicles in the early 20th century. Due to its rarity and historical significance, the Archer is a prized emblem among automotive collectors.

  • Jaguar Leaper: The Jaguar Leaper is a well-known emblem that features a leaping jaguar, symbolizing agility and power. It has been used on various Jaguar models over the years. Older versions of the Leaper, especially those made in the 1950s and 1960s, are considered rare and collectible.

  • Stutz Bearcat Radiator Cap: While not a traditional hood ornament, the Stutz Bearcat radiator cap is a distinctive and rare collectible. The Stutz Bearcat was a classic American sports car, and its radiator cap often featured a bear in a racing helmet. Original Stutz Bearcat radiator caps are highly sought after by collectors.

  • Isotta Fraschini Radiator Emblems: Isotta Fraschini, an Italian luxury car manufacturer, produced hood emblems with intricate designs, often featuring their brand name surrounded by ornate details. These emblems are rare due to the limited production of Isotta Fraschini vehicles.


Antique Hood Ornament
Antique Hood Ornament

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