It’s finally the holiday season, and this time of year always has a way of bringing out the child in all of us. The year 2020 is coming to a close, and what better way to celebrate than to give an amazing and unique antique gift from M.S. Rau to a loved one? Searching for that perfect gift can sometimes be tedious, but have no fear! From selecting rare coins to gifting an antique carousel horse, our experts have compiled a list of gifts for the young at heart. From the nostalgic to the heartwarming, these gifts are perfect for those who are young at heart and are unlike anything you can find elsewhere. Read on to discover more!
C.W. Dare Carousel Horse, circa 1880.
Ever ask Santa for a pony as a child? A carousel horse such as this will transport any viewer to a night at the carnival as a child. This incredible 19th-century carousel horse is not only undeniably charming, but is also an extremely rare piece of Americana. This particular piece was created by one of the first carousel makers in the United States, Charles W. Dare. Dare began as a toymaker working out of Brooklyn, NY, delighting children with rocking horses, whirligigs, sleighs, drums and more. He was also the founder of country-fair style carousels and made one of the country’s first Ferris wheels, given the exciting name of the Dare wheel. Pieces made by Dare are among the oldest and most desirable carousel antiques among collectors and are rarely seen outside of private collections and museums. This particular steed exudes a distinctive folk charm with it’s “bird” saddle, realistic wind-blown mane, and life-like tail. This piece would make for a wonderful gift for the young at heart.
The Battle of Issus Chess Set
For those who enjoy playing games, this Battle of Issus Chess Set is the perfect gift choice. Crafted with incredible detail, this chess set is certainly unlike any other. Depicting what was considered the most well-known battle in ancient history, each piece of the elaborate board has a mechanical movement for an extra level of playfulness. Gods and goddesses, ancient structures, and creatures from both ancient Greek and Persian origin are crafted in 14k gold and encrusted with semi-precious stones. This incredible and lively work of art was made by a skilled American jeweler for his daughter, adding an air of sentiment to this piece.
Bruguier Tortoiseshell Swiss Fusée Singing Bird Box, circa 1840.
This delightful music box has a lovely surprise that reveals itself with the touch of a button. Certain to make viewers of all ages smile, this Swiss Fusée singing bird box is extremely rare and made by the renowned Charles Bruguier. Bird boxes contain intricately constructed mechanisms that not only play music, but also power the movements of a miniature automaton bird. When the lid of a bird box lifts and a tiny bird emerges to sing its birdsong, one is inevitably filled with wonder. This example, housed in a luxurious tortoiseshell box, features a singing bird automaton of red and green plumage. The bird rises from a pierced gold stage to surprise the recipient with a lovely tune. The bird moves not only its beak but also its head and wings, a remarkable accomplishment for such a small piece of machinery. If this is not impressive enough, the bird is outfitted with actual hummingbird feathers that give off a beautiful iridescence. This would be a remarkable gift for a loved one of any age, and will undoubtedly be the most charming present of the season.
Miniature Bowling Cane
Fishing Rod Cane
System canes make for some of the rarest and most exciting antique gifts. Two functions are presented in one: a practical walking stick to add flair to an outfit or assist in walking, and a hidden miniature game or accessory for your favorite hobby. This miniature bowling cane, for instance, makes for a wonderful and entertaining gift idea. The knob handle unscrews to reveal six miniature pins and a ball so that the young at heart can play a small bowling game anywhere and at any time of day. The recipient of this gift could entertain themselves and also those around them! Additionally, a clever fishing rod system cane might be the perfect gift for anyone who enjoyed fishing outings as a child.
Swiss Ideal Music Box and Cabinet by Mermod Frères, circa 1886.
This wonderful Swiss Ideal antique music box and cabinet would be a beautiful addition to almost any room, and it possesses a functional element as well! The cylinder music box was made by the famed Mermod Frères and is one of only two examples known to exist today. The case itself is a marvelous example of 19th-century furniture decorated with plaques of Sévres porcelain and ormolu mountings. The cylinder mechanism inside the case produces an incredible, clear and crisp sound. The recipient of this gift would be able to choose from a variety of songs from eight cylinders with the option to adjust tempo and amplitude.
Apollo 15 Flown Moonstone
Do you know that person who dreamed of growing up to become an astronaut? This unique piece would be a perfect gift for the young at heart with insatiable wanderlust. The encapsulated moonstone flew with the American astronaut James Irwin on the July 26, 1971, Apollo 15 mission. During the 12-day mission to the moon, Irwin and his crew member, Dave Scott, spent three days on the lunar surface. Artifacts from this historic mission are incredibly rare. Due to strict weight restrictions, astronauts are limited on what personal belongings they may bring on spaceflights, and this stone is one of the few items James Irwin chose to bring with him to the moon. Items that have left the earth and traveled to the lunar surface are extremely coveted among collectors and space enthusiasts alike.
Browse M.S. Rau’s gift guide for more gift-giving inspiration.