From Victorian mourning brooches containing carefully coiffed locks of hair, to plush prayer kneelers and parking signs, you’ll be surprised by the amount of funeral memorabilia available to bid for, online.
Our pick of 10 fascinating curios listed on eBay is a surprisingly colourful array of museum-pieces, which are becoming increasingly prized as collectibles.
They reflect the sense of occasion experienced at funerals by generations past, while you can’t help but wonder about the stories of strangers who were much-loved and mourned more than a century ago.
These candy-coloured vintage canvas flags were once used by a U.S. funeral home on their hearse to ensure a smooth journey through the busy traffic and are certainly eye-catching.
The Sad Hour
This unusual Art-Deco coffin plate could be set to indicate a person’s time of death. It was sold in California on January 1 – an interesting way to celebrate the New Year – or perhaps to mark the departure of 2016?
Sign From Above
This vintage car-topper may have once been illuminated, as the hearse made its way from the funeral home. The wear and tear hint that this relic was a long time in service.
Comfort in Prayer
This is one of several vibrant vintage prie-dieux listed online. The casket would have been placed on one side, while on the other is a plushly-upholstered kneeler, where loved-ones could spend a few quiet moments in contemplation.
Coffin plaques were often personalised with a name or tribute to the deceased. This antique silver-plated one suggests that they could also be bought off the shelf.
We probably all own a ballpoint pen or two advertising a bank or business, but this coffin company promoted its products with a celluloid tape measure – a useful gadget, as well as a tool of the funeral profession.
In the days before air conditioning, funeral homes in the U.S. would often provide fans to mourners. The funeral keepsakes also advertised their services. This one, depicting a charming beach scene, was a gift from the Meyer Funeral Home in Ohio.
Even in days when there were fewer cars on the road, it wasn’t always easy to find a parking space. This embossed cast iron sign would have been placed on the kerb to ensure that people were respectfully aware of a funeral taking place and keep clear.
In Victorian times, you could expect up to seven deliveries a day through the post in some parts of the world, so sending funeral cards like this was a quick and reliable way of notifying friends and family about someone’s death. This much-loved lady’s life spanned two centuries.
Mourning jewellery, including mourning rings and mourning lockets, was embraced by the Victorians as a way of keeping loved-ones close to their hearts. Jewellery containing precious locks of hair like this mourning brooch were especially sentimental reminders – while hairwork was often exchanged, too, between the living as love-tokens.
This list was compiled from items listed on eBay.com in January 2017.