We have all seen the adorable, wide-eyed cast of characters who make up the collection of Precious Moments figurines, but do we really know the story behind them?
I can remember visiting the Precious Moments Chapel as a child, but I had no idea how heartbreaking the tales behind some of the artwork really are — or exactly how much money I can get for the old school designs I have gathering dust in my old bedroom at my mom’s house! Of course, I’m still a bit too sentimental to really part with them any time soon, but those dollar signs sure are tempting.
Do you have any of the charming statuettes sitting at home? Take a look below to see some of the surprising secrets behind the spiritual company you might not have realized while adding to your collection.
Let us know in the comments if we missed your favorite fact and be sure to SHARE with your loved ones!
Thumbnail sources: Flickr 1, 2, 3, 4
1. The Artist Started As A Janitor
While spreading Christian teachings, a young Sam Butcher earned the nickname “Chalkboard Minister” for his use of drawings in each lesson. However, since that didn’t quite pay the bills, he also got a day job as a janitor.
2. Butcher's Daughter Inspired The First Design
Butcher created the “Love One Another” figurine after seeing his daughter Tammy sitting on a stump with her uncle. It is currently the only design from the “Original 21″ that is still available to purchase through the company.
3. Up To 20 Designs Retire Each Year
However, they also produce new designs four times a year, which balances out to about 25 to 40 new figurines taking the place of those that are retired.
4. You Can Still Buy Retired Figurines
If you’re willing to shell out plenty of dough, that is. The most valuable figurine in the collection, “God Loveth a Cheerful Giver,” is worth nearly $800, though you might be able to find it on sale for only a few hundred every now and then.
5. And Some Even Come Back Due To Demand
Occasionally the public demand for specific figurines will be powerful enough to convince the company to bring the character back, as was the case with the design for mothers who have lost their young children, “Mommy’s Love Goes With You.”
6. The Most Expensive Design Costs Close To $1,000
And it isn’t a retired one getting marked up in value — the “The Power of Your Love Astounds Me” is currently available on the Precious Moments website for a whopping $975 and is part of their limited edition Disney-inspired collection.
It stands at over two feet in height and shows a scene from Tangled.
7. The Symbol Underneath Changes Every Year
Each symbol marks the year the figurine was created, starting in 1981 with a triangle, then an hourglass in 1982, all the way to the lighthouse symbol which will appear on those made in 2017. Above you’ll find the olive branch embedded in a 1986 figurine.
You can use this handy guide to find out when your own figurines were made.
8. There Is A Chapel Covered In The Artwork
Butcher, a devout Roman Catholic, pays homage to the Sistine Chapel with his own stunningly decorated Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage, MO. Almost every inch of the walls are covered with his characters depicting scenes from the bible.
9. Butcher's Son Has His Own Room In The Chapel
After his son Phillip was killed in an automobile accident in 1990, Butcher sank into a deep depression and neglected his artwork.
He finally found a way to work through his heartbreak by returning to his passion and channeling his pain into a mural in what is now known as Phillip’s Room in the chapel, showing his son as a childlike angel being welcomed into heaven.
Did we miss your favorite fact about the heartwarming figurines? Let us know below and be sure to SHARE with your friends!