With Sale of This Tree, 'the Magic of Christmas Lives On'

'Humblest Christmas tree in the world' is 100-plus years old, just sold for $4.3K
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2023 9:25 AM CST
This Charlie Brown-Style Tree Just Sold for $4.3K
Charles Hanson of Hansons Auctioneers holds the renowned tree.   (Hansons Auctioneers)

If you've always had a soft spot for Charlie Brown-style Christmas trees, this story will warm the cockles. An auction for what's been deemed "the humblest Christmas tree in the world" has come to a close, though the final price tag was far from humble itself. The Guardian reports that the 31-inch, 25-branch artificial tree, complete with a dozen tiny berries and six small candleholders, has sold for more than $4,300—around 50 times its estimated asking price of between $75 and $100. "Astonishing" is how Hansons Auctioneers describes the sale, which involved an unnamed buyer in the UK who will give the tree "a new festive life."

The origin story of the tree, which is believed to be one of the world's first mass-produced artificial Christmas trees, begins more than a century ago, when the family of 8-year-old Dorothy Grant picked up the sparse specimen for less than a dime and brought it to their Leicestershire home in the UK for the 1920 holiday season. Baubles were considered an "extravagance" at the time, so little Dorothy decorated the tree that year with cotton wool, Smithsonian notes, quoting the Hansons statement.

Grant kept the tree until her death in 2014 at the age of 101; after she died, the tree was passed on to her daughter Shirley Hall, now 84, who says she thinks her mom's family bought the tree at a shop in London. "The magic of Christmas lives on!" Charles Hanson, the auction house's owner, notes in the release. "The humblest Christmas tree in the world has a new home and we're delighted for both buyer and seller." He thinks bidding for the tree shot up due "to the power of nostalgia," noting, "Dorothy's story resonated with people." (More uplifting news stories.)

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