Antiques and Collectibles: These collectibles fit the cookie-cutter mold
Interest in collecting cookie cutters has risen in the last few years, and manufacturers are pumping out cutters of all shapes and sizes to meet the demands.
Joyce Moorhouse, of Cannon Falls, is an avid cookie-cutter collector. Her husband, Al, also makes cookie cutters for their business, ASM Cutters & Things.
Joyce Moorhouse remembers some of the first cookie cutters she ever received.
"Mother’s aluminum rabbit cutters and an HRM red plastic cross cutter, from the HRM Cookie Cutter company, which has been making cookie cutters since the 1940s, were some of my first in my personal collection," Moorhouse says. "In 1954, I was given my grandmother Alma’s cookie cutters. I had approximately 400 cutters before I knew I had become a collector."
Holiday cookie cutters are some of the most collectible. Easter is an excellent time to start collecting cookie cutters for young children, with choices including bunnies of all shapes and sizes, chickens, hens and eggs.
"I became very interested in cookie cutters when the Hallmark company started issuing plastic cutters," Moorhouse says. "I loved their Easter cutters: the rabbits, the pink tulip — my favorite — and the lambs, which are fun cutters for kids."
These days, prices for cookie cutters are on the rise, along with demand. However, they still can be found almost anywhere, and older cookie cutters can be found for as little at 5 cents at a garage sale or 25 cents at a thrift shop.
"Even my close friends got interested in cookie cutters," Moorhouse says. "We started hunting them when we went to flea markets and garage sales, and of course the Hallmark stores.
"The older cookie cutters — if they are of good design — would influence me to buy more. Prices do vary on the market as to how unusual the cutter is."
Some bakery shop owners are also finding it fun to collect cookie cutters, especially because demand for cut-out cookies is still high.
Bloedow Bakery in Winona is a 1920s-era bakery that offers homemade, cut-out cookies of various shapes. Hugh Polus, who began working at Bloedow's at age 15, now runs the business with his wife, Mary. They took over the business in 2004.
"Most of the cookie cutters we use at Bloedow's are not very old," Polus says. "We replace them as needed, when the bottoms get worn down, which makes it harder to cut through the dough."
As for decorating your cut-out cookies, Moorhouse says bakers are becoming more creative, too.
When shopping for cookie cutters, keep in mind that the options are seemingly endless.
"I no longer have a count on how many various Easter cookie cutters I have, but my guess would be over 800 out of the 40,000 cutters I now have," Moorhouse says. "I have some that are soldered together in large ovals or circles that cut many cookies at one time."
When buying cookie cutters, be sure to check the quality of the cutter and inspect for wear or damage.
"I don’t like to put money out for poor quality products," Moorhouse says. "Easter cookie cutters should be of value and add to the collection. The price is whatever you are willing to pay."