1998 precious moments figurines

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Precious moments figurines collecting

Collecting and knowing the value of Precious Moments figures

Collecting Precious Moments figurines is a fun and rewarding hobby for many. Some people have been acquiring and cherishing figurines since childhood. Precious moments figurines are one of the most easily recognized and most loved types of figurines in the world.

Precious Moments history

More than thirty years ago, artist Sam Butcher, drew an endearing teardrop-eyed children. He named his creations Precious Moments. Those drawings are intended for his family and friends as encouragement and comfort. He simply called them Precious Moments because they spread endearing messages of love, care, and sharing.
Sam is a man with deep personal faith and conviction. Sam Butcher was encouraged by his mother to pursue a formal art training after his high school graduation. His dedication earned him a scholarship to the College of Arts & Crafts in Berkeley.

In early 1970’s, Sam and Biel – a friend, started a small company that produces cards and posters. After a successful introduction of their products Enesco Corporation approached Sam. He was asked to develop a three-dimensional figurine based on his artwork titled “Love One Another”. It was then the beginning of Sam and the figurine industry.

By the end of 1978, the first twenty-one original Precious Moments figurines were introduced to the market. In less than a year after their introduction, the demand of Precious Moments figurines was overwhelming.

Each year, Precious Moments introduces a new design for the collectors. Members of Precious Moments collector’s clubs were so amazed of the different designs.

Where will I find Precious Moments Figurines?

There are hundreds of different styles of Precious Moments figurines, but they all share the same rounded face, teardrop eyes, and soft pastel color that make them stand out among all other figurines.

Some of the most popular Precious moments figurines are the Birthday series. Each month Precious Moments features different figurines incorporated with month’s birthstone or flower to make them extra special gift for anyone.

Sam Butcher also made Precious Moments figures that feature Jesus’ nativity, Precious Moments wedding figurines, Precious Moments Disney figurines etc.

There are online websites that sell PM figurines. You can search Precious Moments figure by product type, occasion, price, keyword, of series. And you can also search by typing brief description or stock number of the Precious Moment collectible that you desire. (E.g. nun, graduation, birthday, blonde bride)

There are lots of figurine shops that sell Precious Moments Figurine collectibles. You can buy Precious Moments figurines in some authorize figurine dealers. But before purchasing Precious Moments figures make sure that it is not a fake one.

What is a Chapel Exclusive figurine?

Each year new precious Moments figurines are produced. Some are limited in distribution for special occasions or to members of collectors club. The Chapel Exclusive figurines are a special group of figurines.

These figurines are only available at Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage, Missouri. Because of their limited distribution, Chapel Exclusives are the most sought after Precious Moments figurines collectible.

What is a limited edition figurine?

Each year there are new Precious Moments figurines that were produced. And these are limited in distribution. Once the figurines are sold, the mold is retired and indefinitely withdrawn from production. Because of their limited in distribution, these limited editions of Precious Moments are sought after by figurine collectors for their value.

How to determine the production year of the Precious Moment figurines

Each Precious Moment figurine has its name at the bottom of the figurines. But there are few exceptions: when it is very petite and part of a set or it is a very early dated figurine.

The production number is listed on the bottom of most Precious Moments figurine. This is a three to seven digit number. Three and four digit numbers have a letter prefix to distinguish what club they are from. The first Precious Moments figurines that where produced in the market have 4-digit number with an “E” prefix.

Each PM figurine has different production number. The production symbol or mark is used to identify when a Precious Moments figure was actually produced.

• Triangle – Late 1981
• Hourglass – 1982
• Fish – 1983
• Cross – 1984
• Dove – 1985
• Olive Branch – 1986
• Cedar Tree – 1987
• Flower – 1988
• Bow & Arrow – 1989
• Flame – 1990
• Vessel – 1991
• G-Clef – 1992
• Butterfly – 1993
• Trumpet – 1994
• Ship – 1995
• Heart – 1996
• Sword – 1997
• Eyeglasses – 1998
• Star – 1999
• Egg – 2000
• Sandal – 2001
• Cross in Heart – 2002
• Crown – 2003
• Three-Petal Flower – 2004
• Bread – 2005
• House – 2006

Unmarked pieces may have been produced in error. Precious Moments figurines values were higher if the figurines were produced before 1981, unless the figurine was made exclusively for the Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage, MO. All of the first year’s production at the Chapel was left unmarked.

Value of Precious Moments figurines

There are several things that you should consider when determining the value of a Precious Moments figurines. Name, product type, production number, production symbol, and status are all important things to know when buying Precious Moments figures.
As of 2009, the following are list of few popular but rare Precious Moments collectible figurines:

Precious Moments Value Book
1978 God Loveth a Cheerful Giver
Estimated Value: $535.00

This Precious Moment Figurines has come off the secondary market today (2009). It is a beautiful piece that shows the unique original style of the Precious Moments figures. Because it is an old PM figurines, the color scheme and design is different from modern Precious Moments figurines collectibles. Its difference made it rare and a must own Precious Moments figurine among collectors.

We Would See Jesus
Estimated Value: $410.00

This limited edition Precious Moments figurine is designed to be a large one making it rare and valuable enough. The value of this PM figurine collectible would go up by $460 if the original card describing how Mr. Butcher designed the figurine is included.

Making Music Together for 30 Years
Estimated Value: $362

During the 30th anniversary of Precious Moments figurines, a limited edition od Precious figures was released.

Get Your Kicks on Route 66
Estimated Value: $299.00

One of the Precious Moments figurines collectibles is the Get Your Kicks on Route 66 design. Only 1000 Precious Moments figurines collectibles made from this design.

Come Let Us Adore Him
Estimated Value: $250

This nativity set is a hand-crafted by Sam Butcher. This was released in 1979 and stands as one of the greatest nativities in the figurine world to date and stands as one of the greatest nativities in the figurine world to date.

Birthday Train (Complete Set)
Estimated Value: $250

This Precious Moments figurine set consists of 17 pieces. Each figurine has an original box. If you own this Precious Moments figurines collectibles expect that this set would go up in value up to $50 every year.

Lighted Inn
Estimated Value: $245

Lighted Inn Precious Moments figurines complete the nativity set of Precious Moments collectibles. This Pm piece is a rare and valuable because it is one of the listed figurines Sam Butcher made.

Celebrating the Gift of Life Now and Forever
Estimated Value: $190

There were only 5030 pieces of this Precious Moments figurines produced. It was part of Precious Moments figurines collectibles 30th anniversary. This is one of the rare Precious Moment’s figurines that cost in a low price. This is a great piece for a beginner collector to start with.

Thanksgiving Family
Estimated Value: $200

This set is considered complete if all 6 pieces are included and intact. The box is an added bonus, raising the value by around $10.

Sharing of Ourselves Brings a Wealth of Joy
Estimated Value: $190

This is one of the lovely and rare examples of Precious Moments figures. The estimated value of this Precious Moments figure changes over time.

How many figurine designs are made each year?

There are 25 to 40 new designs of Precious Moments figurines are produced each year. 12 to 20 of the existing figurines are retired or suspended from production.

Care and cleaning Precious Moments figurines

Caring of Precious Moments figurines is easy, since they are all made of durable and easy to clean porcelain. They can be placed on a shelf or in a cabinet. And you must remember to dust the PM figurines to keep them looking presentable.

In cleaning collectible Precious Moments figures, a mild soap is used to create foamy water, and then gently wipe each Precious Moments figures with a damp soft cloth. The figurines must NEVER be submerged in water. Wipe off excess water with a dry cloth. Before putting them back in their place, the figurines must be placed on a towel to air dry the collectible Precious Moments figurines.

There are times that recklessness really happens. If you broke your Precious Moments figurines you can still repair it. But the fact that when you figurine collection is chipped or nicked it diminishes its value. There are two kinds of adhesives that assist in repairing a broken figurine such as Ducco Cement and Adhesive Clear.

Is there any Precious Moments collectors club that I can join in?

Yes, Enesco Corporation made an official collectors club that gives collectors opportunity to purchase specially created Precious Moments figurines collectibles throughout the year, as well as high quality cases and figurine stands. Some people are making an independent Precious Moments collectors club in each State.

It is also a way to make friends with other people and mingle while collecting Precious Moments figures, especially the retired Precious Moments figurines.

For some, it was Beanie Babies. For others, it was Precious Moments figurines. In my experience, those are pretty much the only two camps you could fall into as far as collectors’ items were concerned back in the 1990s.

If you happen to still have some of those little doll figurines hanging around your home, they could be worth a lot of money — if you’re willing to part with them, that is. (Of course, that’s not to snub Beanie Babies, because they can be worth quite a bit, too!).

Now, keep in mind, we’re not suggesting that all of your figurines will be worth money — only those that are rare, hard to find or special in some way will get you some cash. It’s a supply and demand thing!

Below we’ve provided some relevant details for what makes a Precious Moments figurine valuable, so read on to learn more.

As shown on the offical Precious Moments Instagram account, these figurines are adorable as well as valuable:

View this post on Instagram

Here’s a sneak peek for you to enjoy, please let us know what you think! This piece will be available around the end of November on preciousmoments.com! #preciousmoments #sneakpeek #friends #friendsforever #pinkiepromise #besties

A post shared by Precious Moments Official (@preciousmomentsofficial) on Oct 21, 2014 at 9:46am PDT

What’s The Appeal?

Part of what makes the Precious Moments figurines worth so much money is that only one of the “Original 21” figurines is still available for purchase. (You can learn more about all of the Original 21 figures here.)

If you want to get your hands on some of the earliest figurines, you’ll have to be willing to shell out big bucks for them.

Precious Moments figurines are adorable and each scene tells a story, making them great to put on display. Check out this cute figurine from Instagram:

View this post on Instagram

Remember that first, heavenly kiss? When you just knew that you were with the love of your life? Celebrate all of it – the day you met, your first kiss, your second date and your third grandchild. Treasure your greatest catch, each and every day! #PreciousMoments #LifesPreciousMoments #truelove #love

A post shared by Precious Moments Official (@preciousmomentsofficial) on Jan 11, 2019 at 10:57am PST

Most of the figurines are Christianity-inspired. They’re especially cute decorations for a new baby’s room and can make great keepsakes.

And you’d want to show them off, especially if you’d dropped a lot of cash on them.

Based on previous purchases on eBay, people certainly are willing to pay for these tiny dolls.

In 2017, one figurine sold for more than $400, and if you’re willing to get rid of an entire lot of them at once, well, that’s worth thousands.

It only cost $15 to purchase one back in the day, so selling would definitely be a return on investment.

Some precious Moments figures, like this Christmas-themed one, are seasonal:

View this post on Instagram

Gracefully cradling the newborn king in her loving arms, Mary gazes upon two young angels who kneel in prayerful respect for he divine miracle of our Savior’s birth. This is a beautiful gift for any religious occasion or holiday. SHOP NOW: http://bit.ly/2KjcJgz #PreciousMoments #LifesPreciousMoments #Angel #Exclusive

A post shared by Precious Moments Official (@preciousmomentsofficial) on Jun 2, 2019 at 9:10am PDT

What Makes For A High Selling Price?

The older these figurines are, the more they sell for, and it’s important that they’re in good condition.

If you’re willing to part with your entire collection, as opposed to just one figurine, you could stand to make a lot of money.

Some figurines were limited edition, so if you’ve got one of those sitting on a shelf somewhere, it’d definitely be worth quite a bit of cash if listed online.

Some of the limited edition pieces will be holiday-themed, like this one from the @preciousmomentsofficial Instagram:

View this post on Instagram

Create a smile on the face of the one you love most; Send a gift designed to please sweet hearts and better halves. Say Happy Valentine’s Day in a way they’ll always remember. #PreciousMoments #LifesPreciousMoments #love

A post shared by Precious Moments Official (@preciousmomentsofficial) on Jan 8, 2019 at 5:48pm PST

How Have Previous Sales Performed?

We took it upon ourselves to research how much Precious Moments items have sold for in the past:

1. Limited Edition

Years ago, a version of this “Make A Joyful Noise” figurine sold for $409 on eBay.

eBay

Precious Moments has also teamed up with Disney on a number of figurines and collections. This powerhouse team can bring in the big bucks from collectors! Take a look at this piece featuring Belle from “Beauty and the Beast,” which sold for $440 in 2017. One is currently on sale for $809 and counting!

2. Rare

In these examples, you’ll see that these cute little figurines can be worth hundreds when sold individually, and thousands when sold in bulk. In February of 2019, a rare 2010 edition Disney Cinderella horse-drawn carriage piece sold for $1,500 — and there were just 1,500 total figurines of this type made in the world.

eBay

3. Original 21

As one of the original 21 designs, this “God Loveth A Cheerful Giver” figurine sold for $275 back in 2017. A couple of eBay sellers have the whole 21 available right now for $950-$1000.

eBay

4. Entire Lot

A large collection of these figurines once sold for $5,000 in 2017, so if you’ve been collecting these for years, there’s potential for a lot of extra money to be made.

eBay

Studying the previous sales on eBay will help you determine how to price your vintage items. So if you’re prepared to sell your Precious Moments figurines, do your research and get ready to make some money!

About the Author

Augusta Statz

Augusta Statz holds a B.F.A. in Writing from the Savannah College of Art and Design. She’s an avid writer with a genuine sense of curiosity. She feels the best way to absorb the world around you is through fashion, art and food, so that’s what she spends most of her time writing about. Learn More.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

WEBSITE QUESTIONS

  • How do I find a specific figurine?
  • Can I place an order without “Setting up an Account”?
  • How can I follow-up on an order I have already placed?
  • I forgot my ‘My Account’ password. How can I retrieve it?
  • How soon will I get my order?
  • Is sales tax added to my order?
  • What is the “source code” that is asked for at checkout?
  • How can I receive a catalog in the mail?

PRODUCT QUESTIONS

  • What is a Chapel Exclusive figurine?
  • What is a Limited Edition figurine?
  • When was the Precious Moments Collection first introduced?
  • How many Precious Moments figurines were included in the first introduction?
  • How many figurines have been made?
  • How many figurines are made each year?
  • Some of my figurines are dusty, how can they be cleaned?
  • What do I do if I break or chip a figurine?
  • A piece in my Nativity Set is broken. Can I replace it? How?
  • There are different markings on the bottom of my figurines. What do these markings represent?

PRECIOUS MOMENTS PARK QUESTIONS

  • How do I get to the Precious Moments Park?
  • How much does it cost to tour the Chapel?
  • What are the operating hours of the Chapel?
  • What is there to do at the Precious Moments Park?
  • Do I have to be a Collectors’ Club member to be able to attend the Collector events?
  • Are reservations required for the Chapel tours?
  • How much land does does the Precious Moments Park cover?
  • How many people come to the Precious Moments Park each year?
  • How old is the Chapel?

QUESTIONS ABOUT SAM BUTCHER

  • When did Mr. Butcher first create Precious Moments art?
  • Does Mr. Butcher still work or paint at the Chapel?
  • Does Mr. Butcher have children?
  • Are Mr. Butcher’s Children involved in Precious Moments?
  • Where does Mr. Butcher get his ideas?
  • Where does Mr. Butcher live?

How do I find a specific figurine?

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Locating a specific figurine on our website is easy! Use the search browser to locate items by product type, occasion, price, keyword, series or item number. If you are unable to locate the item with this function, feel free to contact our Mail Order Division:

Via Toll-Free Call: 800-445-2220 Monday-Friday 8:00am – 6:00pm CST

Via Post: Precious Moments, Inc.
Attn: Mail Order Division
4105 Chapel Road
Carthage, Missouri 64836 U.S.A.

Contact Us Page: Select ‘Customer Service’ on our Contact Us Page

Can I place an order without “Setting up an Account”?

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Yes! By registering as a guest, you are not required to set up an account. Checking out as a guest will not allow you to save your billing or shipping information for future orders. Create a ‘My Account’ profile to expedite the ordering process. If you still wish to checkout without registering, click on option that says “Click Here to purchase as a guest” option on the Checkout Page.

How can I follow-up on an order I have already placed?

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Check the status of your order easily by logging in to your ‘My Account’ profile. Select “My Orders” from the toolbar to see the current status of each order placed. For additional information, feel free to contact our Mail Order Division:

Via Toll-Free Call: 800-445-2220 Monday-Friday 8:00am – 6:00pm CST

Via Post: Precious Moments, Inc.
Attn: Mail Order Division
4105 Chapel Road
Carthage, Missouri 64836 U.S.A.

Contact Us Page: Select ‘Customer Service’ on our Contact Us Page

I forgot my ‘My Account’ password. How can I retrieve it?

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If you have forgotten your password, please click on “Forgot My Password” in the Checkout/Login screen. An email will be sent to you which contains a link to a page where you can enter a new password for your account.

How soon will I get my order?

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Orders placed within the 48 contiguous states are typically processed and shipped within 7 – 10 business days of receipt. International orders and those placed in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico or U.S. Virgin Islands may take 4 – 6 weeks.

For expedited shipping, upgrade to ‘Express shipping’ for an additional charge.

Is sales tax added to my order?

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Sales tax rates vary by state. Applicable tax may be charged at order checkout.

What is the “source code” that is asked for at checkout?

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The source code can be found on the back cover of your catalog, near your name and address. It is usually an 8-digit code corresponding with any special offers that may be available in the catalog you received.

How can I receive a catalog in the mail?

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Click on the “FREE CATALOG” option on the navigation bar to be added to our mailing list. Include your email address to receive notification of special sales, events and promotions.

What is a Chapel Exclusive figurine?

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Each year, new Precious Moments figurines are produced and some are limited to distribution for special occasions or to members of collectors clubs. One special group of figurines is called Chapel Exclusive figurines. These figurines are only available at the Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage, Missouri, on this website or through our Mail Order Division.

What is a Limited Edition figurine?

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Each year new Precious Moments figurines are produced and some are limited in production. Once those figurines are sold, the mold is retired and indefinitely withdrawn from production.

When was the Precious Moments Collection first introduced?

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The Precious Moments Collection first premiered to retailers in October 1978 and was available in stores spring of 1979.

How many figurines were included in the first introduction?

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The first collection introduced twenty-one figurines. This collection now bears the name “The Original 21.”

How many figurines have been made?

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The Precious Moments figurine line has produced well over 2,500 figurines.

How many figurines are made each year?

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Generally, 25 to 40 new figurines are produced each launch, four times per year. Some figurines may be suspended or retired. Once a figurine is retired, the mold is broken and it will never again be produced. A suspended figurine means the figurine is indefinitely withdrawn from production.

Some of my figurines are dusty, how can they be cleaned?

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Maintaining the original delicateness of your Precious Moments collection requires only minimal attention. Figurines may be gently washed with warm water and mild soap. Air dry, making certain the hollow inside is completely dry before display or packing. Abrasives should not be used as they will damage the figurine. This simple procedure will help preserve the lasting beauty of your hand-painted porcelain bisque collection.

What do I do if I break or chip a figurine?

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Our Development team found two kinds of adhesive that will assist in repairing broken or damaged figurines. Contact your local hardware store representative for information about Duco® Cement or Loctite® (Super glue or gel).

A piece in my Nativity Set is broken. Can I replace it? How?

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Unfortunately, we do not stock replacement parts for sets. We occasionally receive a partially damaged set as a return. Please contact Customer Service for availablity. This can be done by calling 888-778-7275 or via email: [email protected]

There are different markings on the bottom of my figurines. What do these markings represent?

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Yearly production marks provide us with a guide to determining the age of a particular figurine. The “triangle” marking signifies production during 1981, which was the first yearly production mark. The latest, the “tear drop” is the yearly production mark for 2019.

PRECIOUS MOMENTS PARK QUESTIONS

How do I get to the Precious Moments Park?

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Precious Moments Park is located at 4321 South Chapel Road, Carthage, Missouri 64836. Click here for more information: Directions

How much does it cost to tour the Chapel?

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Touring the Chapel is always FREE; however donations are graciously accepted. to find our more about each of our Park Attractions.

What are the operating hours of the Chapel?

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Click here for current hours of operation. Hours of Operation

What is there to do at the Precious Moments Park?

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Visitors of the Park enjoy the sights and sounds of the inspiring Chapel, historical museum and beautifully crafted grounds and gardens. A stroll through the Visitor’s Center provides information about the Park and Precious Moments brand, as well as shopping at the world’s largest Precious Moments gift shop and dining in the Taste Of Italy Restaurant. Join us throughout the year for special seasonal events including our annual Precious Moments Family Reunion Event, Collectors’ Club Christmas Event and Lighting Ceremony with Choirs of Christmas.

Chapel
Gift Shop
Grounds and Gardens
Visitor Center

Do I have to be a Collectors’ Club member to be able to attend the
Collector events?

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The annual Precious Moments Family Reunion Event is a pre-registered, pre-paid event open to anyone with an interest in Precious Moments. Membership in the Club is not required for attendance. to learn more about the annual event and to request a registration packet for this year’s events!

Are reservations required for the Chapel tours?

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Reservations are not required, but are highly recommended for groups of 20 or more. For group reservations and information, feel free to contact our Customer Service department:

Via Toll-Free Call: 800-543-7975 Monday – Friday 8:00am – 6:00pm CST
Contact Us Page: Select ‘Park Visitor Information’ on our Contact Us page

How much land does the Precious Moments Park cover?

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In 1984, Mr. Butcher and the Precious Moments company acquired 17 ½ acres of land in Carthage, Missouri as the site of the Precious Moments Park. Over the years, as the company expanded, additional acreage was added. The property now sits on more than 3,000 acres.

How many people come to the Precious Moments Park each year?

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No one knows for certain how many people come to Precious Moments in a given year. Unlike many attractions where guests go through turnstiles or purchase tickets just to enter the attractions, Chapel guests are free to wander the grounds. Based on visitor counts, we estimate the number of annual visitors to the Park is approximately 100,000.

How old is the Chapel?

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Mr. Butcher began construction on the Chapel in 1985 and opened the Chapel in the Summer of 1989.

COLLECTORS’ CLUB QUESTIONS

for more information about The Precious Moments Collectors’ Club.

When did Mr. Butcher first create Precious Moments art?

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In 1974 Mr. Butcher created and sold a line of greeting cards using the Precious Moments character artwork. The ‘Original 21’ marked the launch of the collectible figurine line in 1978.

Does Mr. Butcher still work or paint at the Chapel?

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While Mr. Butcher is semi-retired, he will always be the inspiration behind the Precious Moments artwork and the activity at the Park. Mr. Butcher considers only one mural, the main ceiling, in the Chapel as “complete”, as such; he continues to make additions to all other murals in the Chapel.

Does Mr. Butcher have children?

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Yes, Mr. Butcher and his late wife had a total of seven children, who also provided him with several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Are any of Mr. Butcher’s Children involved with the company?

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Mr. Butcher’s five surviving children are all gifted in many areas. Some are active participants in the business.

Where does Mr. Butcher get his ideas?

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Mr. Butcher is blessed with an active mind, drawing inspiration for his artwork from scripture, everyday experience, songs, or sayings. He is continually alert of life’s situations, never knowing which will spark an idea!

Where does Mr. Butcher live?

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Mr. Butcher has art studios and residences in Illinois, Missouri and the Philippines.

The History Of Precious Moments, Part 2: The Founding Of Jonathan And David

The Precious Moments story is really a story about the profound faith of the Precious Moments founder, Samuel J. Butcher. He trusts God completely, even when it seems like there is no earthly solution. In this video, you can see for yourself just how deeply Sam Butcher and his wife relied on God. When you understand the depth of this faith, it’s easy to see God’s hand in the history of Precious Moments. It all began with a company called Jonathan & David.

The orignal Jonathan & David painting by Sam Butcher measures 6 feet by 6 feet. As tall as a man, it depicts the Old Testament story of Prince Jonathan willingly relinquishing his crown and power to David. This impressively sized artwork hung in the Grand Rapids, Michigan headquarters of Jonathan & David, Inc. Though many know the story of Jonathan and David from the Bible, the significance of this story moves beyond the pages, to the business created by Sam Butcher and his business partner, Bill Biel. It was the beginning of Precious Moments.

Sam Butcher Meets Bill Biel – The Friendship That Made History

Sam Butcher and Bill Biel met at Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This organization describes itself as “a Bible-centered organization composed of born-again believers whose purpose is to evangelize boys and girls with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to establish (disciple) them in the Word of God and in a local church for Christian living.” Mr. Butcher and Mr. Biel met at CEF as one was leaving and the other arriving.

Sam began work in the shipping department of CEF and he was quickly promoted to the art department. His workload and his hours grew, as did his family and responsibilities at home. Even though his hours were long, Sam needed to supplement his income by cleaning office buildings. Afterwards, he’d go home to finish more CEF work. Eventually the heavy workload and the pressure became too much for one person. But when Sam suggested an assistant, he was informed that the company was hiring a replacement who could handle the workload, Though shaken by this turn of events, something good came from it. On his final day at CEF, Sam Butcher met his replacement, Bill Biel.

“He truly had the kindest eyes I had ever seen. God brought us together and from the beginning, we were friends.”- Sam Butcher, describing Bill Biel

God Leads The Way: The Unlikely Partnership of Sam Butcher and Bill Biel

In an unforeseen turn of events Sam found himself at CEF once again, and as he well knew, the workload was indeed too much for one person. Within only a few weeks on the job, Bill needed help. CEF, now realizing Sam’s worth, reached out to Sam and the two men who originally met going opposite directions now found themselves in the same place. These friends turned into coworkers. This twist of fate would eventually change their lives.

“The work they had demanded of Sam was ridiculous,” said Bill of Sam’s previous time at CEF. “I have never known an artist who could produce the amount of artwork that Sam can. He is the most prolific artist I have ever known.”

Their time together in Grand Rapids was not one of permanence, though. Eventually Sam left Michigan and returned to California, this time of his own accord. Due to his wife’s ill health, he wanted to be nearer to family for help with the care of his children. He continued to teach the Bible as a Regional Director for CEF, and he loved his work. Unfortunately, though, the pay was not nearly enough to support his family. In addition, his work no longer included art.

After two years in California and the birth of their sixth child, Sam received an offer to return to his old job in the art department at CEF. The reason: Bill had chosen to leave CEF to take a new job with a different company, creating the opportunity for Sam’s return to Michigan. With Katie’s health improved and the opportunity to once again use his artistic skills professionally, Sam accepted the offer, returning to Grand Rapids in 1970.

Not long after Bill’s departure from CEF, and Sam’s return to it and Michigan for the third time, the men found themselves working together once again. It seems nothing could keep these two friends apart. Bill had not been happy in his new job and asked to return to CEF. This second round of working together continued to strengthen their friendship.

Jonathan & David: A New Business Is Born

About a year after Sam’s return to Grand Rapids, he became the storyteller for CEEG’s national television program, The Treehouse Club.

On the show, he was known as “Quick Draw Sam” because he would tell a Bible story and then draw it. This illustrative work was a key component to something extraordinary that was destined to change the direction of the men’s lives.

On one occasion, Sam and Bill were watching a film together when the idea came to them for visual aids in the Christian teaching field. This revelation planted the seed that made Sam and Bill decide to go out on their own as commercial artists. It was also the beginning of the Jonathan & David business partnership, which was the foundation for Precious Moments. The official company, Jonathan & David, Inc. was formed in 1974.

“Because of our close friendship, we named our company Jonathan & David, after the beautiful Biblical friends of David and Prince Jonathan,” said Sam. “We fit perfectly together, not only as close friends, but as a successful working team. I was the illustrator and Bill, the designer.”

Bill adds to the story, “Sam had a left hand and I had a right hand; our talents overlapped. Sam refused to do the bookkeeping so I had to do it,” he said with a laugh.

By 1975, the partners were creating buttons and Bible flannel graph backgrounds (a storytelling medium using a board covered with flannel fabric usually resting on an easel) for Sunday schools, as well as doing freelance work for other companies; their clients mostly local. One of those companies, Mott Media, wanted the pair to attend the upcoming Christian Booksellers Convention being held in Anaheim, California so they could introduce the Jonathan & David duo to those in attendance. Though the artist and designer had initial reservations and didn’t want to go, that changed when they were told they could have their own booth at the show.

The Precious Moments Story: It’s All In A Name

In order to have product to display and sell, Sam quickly began preparing greeting cards featuring the children with the teardrop-shaped eyes he had been drawing for years for friends and family. Bill came up with the name Precious Moments, “and that’s how it all began” Sam said.

“The cards were the product of a ministry that was rather personal to me. Through the years there were many people who had problems in their lives and needed someone to tell them, ‘I’m here if you need me,’ and I always felt I never like to push people. I want to be available but I don’t want to push myself on others. So, my way was to do an individual greeting card. I found people really responded and would say, ‘If you would do greeting cards like these so many people would be blessed.'”- Sam Butcher

Jonathan And David Greeting Cards

Sam and Bill viewed this upcoming convention opportunity as a greeting card ministry, a way for them to spread the message of God’s love through the cards. Working day and night together they produced a brochure, buttons and greeting cards with inspirational sayings and the distinctive looking children for the convention. Some of their early cards can be seen at the Samuel J. Butcher Museum located at the Precious Moments Chapel & Gardens in Carthage, Missouri. The Chapel & Gardens are open year-round while the Museum is open late May through mid-August; visit the Precious Moments Chapel & Gardens website for more information and hours of operation.

As the pair made their way to California, Sam became nervous, fearful no one would like his artwork. Having heard Sam’s anxieties before, Bill said, “Look, Sam: before we got here you were the one who was so convinced the Lord had opened this door for us and now that we’re here you don’t believe it! Well, I happen to still believe that God brought us here and He will take care of us. So, quit complaining. We still have a lot of work to do!”

And work they did.

The History Of Precious Moments: Meeting Challenges With Faith

On day one of the convention nothing happened for Sam and Bill. Because of this they decided to hand out the buttons they’d created. Word-of-mouth took over as people began asking where they could get the buttons; the Jonathan & David booth became a beehive of activity.

During the convention, they wrote around $10,000 worth of orders. They were so busy that people from other booths came over to help write the orders. They were a success! One evening after a celebratory pizza, Sam and Bill realized they needed serious money to fulfill their orders. They visited a bank with the orders as collateral and were promptly turned down for a loan. Next, they went to the Christian Businessmen’s Association, who wished them success and said they would pray for them. Finally, and most importantly, they decided to put their trust in the Lord to provide.

The pair began creating their business together as though they had all the money needed, even though for all practical purposes, they did not. They endured hardships, but by the end of the first year all of their bills were paid. This was made possible by angels on Earth, such as the owner of a building who had workspace available for $300 per month but who dropped the rent to $40 when told Sam and Bill only had $43. “He told us when we got to doing better to let him know and he would raise the rent,” Sam explained.

These miracles were becoming a reliable part of the Precious Moments story.

The Lord Provides: Angels Along The Way

There were many other angels along the way and Sam and Bill never forgot them when these people needed help. The eventual financial success of Jonathan & David allowed Sam and Bill to pay it forward, but first they had to learn the greeting card business, which wasn’t a smooth road to travel.

The new business duo learned “the hard way” according to Sam, such as the time they sold Christmas cards to businesses in November instead of months earlier. Still, they persevered.

“The Lord always met our needs and at very crucial moments. Not always our wants, but He did meet our needs.”- Bill Biel

Jonathan & David continued on even as Sam and Bill had to take the occasional odd job to survive. One year they painted Christmas scenes on store windows and garages to pay bills and provide food for their families; the soles of Sam’s shoes literally tied on with string.

“We made all of the Christmas presents for our families that year,” Sam recalled. They had trusted the Lord and put everything into their printing business.

Due to the enthusiastic reception they’d had at their first Christian Booksellers Convention, the principals of Jonathan & David decided that they should have a booth at the next year’s event in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Sam and Bill created four Precious Moments posters for this show, which were enthusiastically embraced by the attendees. One of the most important chapters in the Precious Moments story was about to unfold.

Precious Moments Figurines Become Real – Friendship And Miracles

From greeting cards to posters,“I use children as the subject matter because I feel they are the purest expression of innocence. It was Bill who encouraged me to do the Precious Moments children,” explained Sam.

Bill was also the one who originally envisioned the Precious Moments children in porcelain bisque, according to Sam. But both men knew knew that they lacked the required expertise and the necessary finances to create such a product. It would take a miracle to make this dream come true.

The miracle walked through the Jonathan & David door in early 1978. Eugene Freedman, the president of Enesco Imports at the time, proposed a life-changing idea; He asked Sam and Bill if they would like to transform their artwork into 3-dimensional bisque porcelain figurines. And he had the money and the expertise to make it happen.

Once again, the close friends and business partners had put their belief and faith in the Lord. And as always, God had a wonderful plan. Their business would soon change forever, as the Precious Moments story continued to unfold.

Learn More About The History Of Precious Moments

You’ve just read Part 2 of The History Of Precious Moments. If you’d like to read more about our history, please click on a title below:

Part 1, Sam Butcher’s Faithful Path To A Dream

Part 3, From Paper To Porcelain

Part 4, The Original 21 Figurines

Timmy’s Tower

Thank you so much for reading our posts, and may God bless you in all His miraculous ways.

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After production began in 1978, Precious Moments took the gift-giving industry by storm. With a design for every occasion, collecting each teardrop-eyed figurine became a cultural phenomenon. And today, these cuties still make our heart sing. But they’re not just an adorable face — here’s what you might not know about these collectibles:

1. The marking on the bottom of your figurine means something.

Every Precious Moments figurine created after 1981 has a marking on the bottom that indicates its production year. For example, there is a triangle printed on the bottom of each 1981 figurine, and a chapel on each one from 2014. If you want to check when your Precious Moments were made, a full list of symbols can be found here. Many are religious markings, since the creator, Sam Butcher, used his art to express his personal Christian faith.

2. Each year, certain designs are retired — and that could make their value shoot up.

Approximately 25 to 40 designs are created each year and 12 to 20 are retired. Get them before they’re gone because once they are, many designs instantly become more valuable. In some instances, retired designs have come back into production in response to vocal customers’ pleas. This one, which is meant to comfort parents whose children have passed away, was originally retired in 2007 and is now back on shelves.

3. Collectors say “God Loveth A Cheerful Giver” is the most valuable design.

Courtesy of RetiredPreciousMoments.com

Want one? You’re going to have to pony up. Collectors say its worth anywhere between $300 and $600 (and a quick eBay search concurs). The design is one of the “Original 21” — the first collection of Precious Moments figurines ever produced, which hardcore collectors go crazy over. This particular design, a girl giving away free puppies, was retired in 1981.

4. Only one of the “Original 21” is still available.

Courtesy of Precious Moments, Inc.

“Love One Another” was the first drawing every made by Sam Butcher. It was inspired by his daughter Tammy sitting on a stump with her uncle. The figurine is available for purchase here (and it’s super sweet!).

5. There is a seriously elaborate Precious Moments attraction inspired by the Sistine Chapel.

Flickr User Missouri Division of Tourism Flickr User Missouri Division of Tourism

Sam Butcher hardly just crafted cute figurines. He also created the Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage, Missouri. Inspired by Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, Butcher designed and painted over 5,000 square feet of murals inside, all featuring Precious Moments characters. And yes, it’s exactly as amazing as it sounds.

There are several “Chapel Exclusive” figurines that can only be purchased in the gift shop. If you’re looking for a unique road trip stop, the chapel and park are open to visitors year round.

6. At the height of its popularity, the Precious Moments Collectors Club had over 500,000 members.

The club let people track their collection online, offered exclusive membership figurines and sent a quarterly Precious Moments magazine. Proving that the PM craze is mostly over, today the club only has 30,000 members.

7. In 1998, the Chicago Tribune reported that more than 2 million wedding cakes had been topped with Precious Moments bride and groom figurines.

Flickr User downing.amanda

They even have Disney-themed wedding toppers, if you need a double-dose of adorableness on your cake.

8. The company made animated, seasonal television specials.

Anyone remember curling up on the couch to watch one? All of the shows had religious themes and were released around Christian holidays. The first, Timmy’s Gift, was a 1991 Christmas Special in which a young boy follows a star to the newborn Jesus.

9. Limited editions will cost you a pretty penny.

Limited edition figurines are available for a short amount of time and generally only 3,000 copies of the design aremade. They typically cost between $150 and $250, although one is currently for sale for $975. Better start saving!

10. A limited edition figurine was created to honor a Missouri teen who died in 2010.

Only 1,200 “I Believe” figurines were made and they could only be purchased at a collectibles store in her hometown of Shelbina. Her family hoped the figurines would serve as a reminder of the lives touched by the 17-year-old girl.

11. In 2013, the family of a Missouri woman donated her 2,000-piece Precious Moments collection to a cancer organization after her death.

The Breast Cancer Organization of the Ozarks, who received the donation, estimated that it could be worth $100,000.

Precious Moments® Figurines and Ornaments

Few collectible figurines are as widely known as Precious Moments. With their enormous eyes and angelic expressions, the child-like porcelain figurines have been capturing hearts for more than four decades. Their artistry and attention to detail make them a favorite for collectors around the world.

These sweet-faced figures bring to life favorite Disney characters, from Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, to Disney Princesses. Whether you’re offering encouragement, honoring the loss of a loved one with a sympathy gift, or commemorating a major life event like a graduation or new baby, Precious Moments figurines, picture frames, snow globes, nightlights, and quote signs will put a smile on your face. Pair bride and groom figurines for a Precious Moments wedding cake topper.

Precious Moments ornaments adorning your Christmas tree provide an extra touch of holiday spirit for any collector, along with Nativity and other Christmas-themed figurines.

Introduce the youngest members of your family to them with Precious Moments dolls, stuffed animals and loveys, all super soft and ready for cuddling. Collecting birthday figurines, in blonde and brunette designs, makes a fun yearly tradition, and with the multitude of angels and other religious figurines as well as crosses and rosary boxes, you’ll find a gift perfect to commemorate a baptism or First Communion.

Browse Hallmark.com for hundreds of figurines and other home decor items. Are you giving it as a gift? Round out your purchase with the right Hallmark greeting card and gift wrap to take it to the next level.