Saturday, December 11, 2010

24 Days of Advent - Day 11 - Gurley Candles

Every kid who grew up in the 1940s and 1950s played with Gurley candles at the holidays (Christmas, Halloween, Easter). They were inexpensive & colorful and easy to find -- sold a Woolworths & Kresge's and all the other five-and-dimes.

The candles were first made in the 1930s by Franklin Gurley and marketed under the name Tavern Novelty Candles, commissioned by Socony-Vacuum Oil Company (now ExxonMobile) as a way to use the excess paraffin byproduct of their refining process. If you have candles with a Tavern sticker or Tavern box, they're older than Gurleys, as Tavern became Gurley Novelty in 1949.

The most collected Gurley candles are the Halloween & Christmas lines, but there are also Easter and Thanksgiving that are gaining in popularity. The candles sold for as little as a dime to a dollar or more -- now you can expect to pay anywhere from $3-15 and as much as $30 for a set, all depending on the rarity and condition. I've been collecting them as I find them for years and never care if the wick has been burnt or they list a little to one side or another -- I just think that shows that they've been loved and have a history!

Angels of all kinds!

Trees, churches, choir singers & elves

Snowmen of all kinds!

Nativity set (not set up right now -- no room!)
Carolers (not set up right now - no room!)

I've intended to sell both the caroler and the nativity sets on Ebay (which is why the pictures look like they do) but every time I get ready to list them, I just can't bring myself to do it! Hopefully, I'll have a place to display them some day...

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