Why collect toothpick holders? I’ve always been fascinated by these diminutive objects. My interest may stem from early childhood influences. My father, to my mother’s frequent dismay, was often found with a toothpick dangling from his lips.
As a collectible, there is infinite variety in the design, material of making, and functionality of toothpick holders. They are easily found in thrift & consignment stores, antique shops, and gift shops. Held in the palm of the hand, the holders are easily scrutinized and enjoyed. Their small size makes it easy to store and display your collection.
My collection consists mainly of glass and ceramic objects. The figural toothpick holder pictured here is a new addition to my collection, a recent Christmas gift, and my first holder made of metal with a functional design. Depressing the bird’s head will impale a toothpick with the sharply-pointed double-prong protruding from the bird’s beak; the spring-loaded mechanism draws the toothpick out of the tree-trunk shaped receptacle.
Molded inside the tree trunk is the inscription “PAT NO D-151773,” a U.S Patent Office “First Design Number” which can be traced to 1948.
An eBay search will reveal a wide variety of woodpecker toothpick holders of various designs and manufacture.
To learn more about toothpick holders: National Toothpick Holder Collectors’ Society