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Vintage Wedding Cake Toppers Paperback – February 28, 2005
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Charming presentation of romantic decorations of the 20th century. -- Inside Antique, June 2005
About the Author
A longtime collecting enthusiast, Penny Henderson formerly owned and operated an antiques mall along with her husband, Rodger. She became fascinated with wedding cake toppers in 1989 and has been avidly collecting them ever since. The Hendersons reside in northern Georgia.
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As I stated above, I feel this is a collector book for vintage wedding cake top collectors and people that are interested in learning more about them. This book was not written on the subject of culinary arts or to learn about being a wedding advisor, although I believe that wedding experts and culinary artists would enjoy this book very much. There are many books available on Amazon and in the library about the subject of culinary art and weddings. There is such a wealth of information in this gorgeous paperback book. At almost an inch think and 183 pages, it is filled with 575 colored photographs and more than adequate tips on collecting. What more could a collector want!
When you peruse this book you'll see Penny and Mary Swafford's wonderful collections. Collections one only dreams about. I have Penny's book sitting in my "wedding" room along side of my wedding cake toppers and call it my "wish book". Someday, I can only hope to have so many lovely wedding cake toppers. Penny has told me that her favorite toppers are the early ones that are rare and hard to find. However, she also loves her later "plastic" cake toppers and discusses them in her book with as much zeal. My collection started with the plastic toppers from the 1950's, 60's, and 70's, and I feel there was more than enough information given about them. This book shows beautiful examples dating from the 1890's through the 1970's. If one wants to investigate the newer cake toppers from the 1980's onward, I'm almost sure that most craft stores or places that specialize in wedding cakes have manufacturer's catalogues. I think I am safe to say that most serious collectors do not normally collect toppers later than the decade of the 1970's unless the topper is incredibly different. I personally feel anything after 1980 is not rare so they are not included in my collection.
I found the section in Chapter Three about the bride and grooms wedding attire, more than exceptional. I have found it useful in my searches since the bride especially changed the style of costume over the decades. The hemline of the bride's gown went up and down. Her skirt went from full to form fitting to full again. Sleeve lengths changed with the styles. All these changes are reflected in the cake toppers of the era. Therefore, the drawings and their descriptions in Chapter Three are very useful in establishing a time period when you don't have any other reference or history. After talking with Penny I found out that she was very unhappy about not being able to use her antique and vintage wedding photograph collection due to the copyright and/or privacy laws. She was unable to contact the bride, groom, and photographer to obtain permission to use the photographs because most of her photographs were purchased in antique shops, flea markets, etc. She found out about this unfortunate predicament so close to her deadline that she did not have enough time to hire anyone to do the drawings therefore she had to do them herself. It was either that or leave out this important information. She chose to do the drawings, and I for one am glad she did, and feel they are very adequate.
Penny mentions in her book, that it is very rare to get information/history about the bride and groom whose wedding cake the topper appeared on. I find this to be true also. One purchases their cake toppers wherever they can find them.....antique shows, shops, and malls, flea markets, on-line auctions, and occasionally at an estate sale. The latter being the most likely place to find a cake topper with the history of the topper. Otherwise, and unfortunately, they rarely come with the historical facts attached. I only have one cake topper that came with any history. I have a couple that are dated with a hand written date, but other than that, I have no historical information on the near 100 other cake toppers in my collection. I see in many of Penny's descriptions with her photograph example that she mentions any history that was available with the cake topper she purchased. She does point out that most chalkware and plastic toppers are dated, and have a manufacture name, but again, not all have the actual history of the cake topper.
As one reads Penny's book, they will find that she states in Chapter Three, Determining Values that she did not establish her price guide from on-line auctions since "the difference in prices from one auction to the next varies greatly, depending on the types and activity of the bidders involved". I have found the same to be true. She collected her value ranges from antique markets and shows and therefore the prices are what we can expect to see in antique shops and malls country wide.
I have only known of one exceptional cake topper in a museum that I am hoping to visit this summer. If there are other museums or exhibits that display vintage wedding cake toppers please contact Penny with the information and she will in turn forward the information to me. In my opinion this is one of the best books available now and probably ever will be written on the subject of "Vintage Wedding Cake Toppers".
A joy for collectors and non-collectors alike.
Opening this book is comparable to stepping into another time. As I read I felt like I was taking a trip down memory lane, and back to gracious, long-past eras.
I gifted copies of "Vintage Wedding Cake Toppers" to two non-collecting friends, both of whom enthusiastically perused its pages. Among their comments to me: "text is easily understood, while at the same time extremely informative.... " ...wonderful photographs and charming line drawings beautifully supplement and complement the author's text."
Without hesitation or reservation, I recommend this book to collectors and non-collectors alike. Enjoy!
We can honestly say that we've never seen such painstaking care and detailing of any collectible collection. You can tell that the author truly enjoys her toppers and that she really wants to share that emotion with others. It was also very thoughtful of her to bring in other types of cake toppers, including the handmade ones. The time and effort that went into publishing this book is amazing.
We own and have read other books about collectibles, and as far as we're concerned, this book is right up there with the best of them!