The History of Gift Baskets

Posted by Kristie Newland on Apr 4th 2019

A friend of mine found this in her Father’s basement. It is an original House and Garden magazine dated November 1939. I’m happy to say, that is older than me!

The cover is typical Gone With the Wind style and had all the tips for throwing a delightful party.

In the back of the magazine there were advertisements for a fruit basket and a gift basket. This was fun to see how long gift baskets have been a gift of choice.

This basket is described as being a thoughtful gift for returning travelers. What a lovely gift to come home to! Maybe I can mention this to my adult children! The contents include anti-pasto, yellow tomato juice, turtle soup, smoked trout, Prague ham, asparagus, French peas, chutney, wild strawberries, oyster nuts, Ry-crisp, coffee, mints, and etc. Goodness! I wonder what the etc. was. This basket seems to contain it all!

All this for $10.00! What a bargain! Not only is the presentation high standard, the basket looks quite nice as well.

The Vendome building in New York is now a historic landmark and was converted to condos starting at just under two million dollars.

For Polished Industries to duplicate this basket would be tough because the ingredients are rare for this time. Turtle soup is now illegal in some areas, so that would be tricky!

It would still make an attractive basket, no doubt! The price at today’s going rate would be $181.00. For those of you that want to order this basket, give me about one-year lead time to locate the goods! I’m just kidding, but some of the goods would be difficult to track down.

This fruit basket is described as “yummy looking”. It certainly appears that way!

The contents include Royal Riviera pears that you can eat with a spoon. Also, stuffed dates, apricots, pecans, candies and exotic preserves. This indeed is a grand gift for special people. They list the weight because fruit is really heavy, but it appears that they were willing to pay the freight. All for the low price of $10.98!

These ingredients would be easier for us to duplicate, fruit has not evolved and is still in style! For Polished Industries to replicate this lovely basket would come at a price of $198.34 today. And we would have to charge the going rate for delivery. There go the good old days!

Bear Creek Orchards is still operation. Those are some prolific trees! The name has changed though. Bear Creek Orchards now goes by the name of Harry and David, a company known nationwide for their fruit baskets. Harry and David’s fruit of the month club began in 1930. In 1934 Harry set off to New York City with 15 boxes of un-ripened pears to gain notoriety for the company. The brothers are said to be the innovators of specialty item mail order. Amazon has the fruit basket industry to thank for their success!

While we may not offer turtle soup and yellow tomato juice in our standard gifts baskets, Polished Industries offers many modern choices for your selection. We can create a basket to your specifications and it will be unique for your special person. We look forward for serving you soon.