2011 44¢ Blue Swirls Holiday Baubles
Issue Date: October 13, 2011
City: New York, NY
Printed By: Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products
Printing Method: Offset, Microprint "USPS"
An abundance of clear water, sand, and timber made the town of Lauscha, Germany, the perfect location for skilled glassblowers to settle. In the 16th century, the Lauscha artists set up ovens in their homes. Over the next 300 years, families worked together to craft drinking glasses, bowls, and decorative beads.
In 1847, the glassblowers started making molded glass ornaments to sell at Christmas markets. The balls shimmered from silver that had been swirled inside. Decorations shaped like fruits, nuts, and intricate flowers were crafted. Their popularity grew quickly, and soon Christmas trees all over Germany were graced with these glass ornaments.
In Britain, decorated trees were not popular until the beloved queen was pictured with one. Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Germany, who brought his Christmas traditions with him. After an English magazine pictured the royal family around their tree, every fashionable family in England and the U.S. had to have a tree of their own. When Lauscha’s glass ornaments were imported to England, they were an instant success.
Even today, expert glassblowers in Lauscha continue to create the delicate ornaments that became a Christmas tradition generations ago.