Lifestyle: Gnomes have the last laugh

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The Independent Online
Arbiters of good taste be warned - garden gnomes could be making a comeback. The plastic variety is still taboo, but interest in antique German terracotta little men is surging, according to Gardening Which? magazine.

Collectors are paying up to pounds 2,000 for the oldest figurines, and there are plenty of gnomes going for upwards of pounds 100. The first garden gnome to be introduced to Britain, a 6-inch porcelain figure imported in the late-1860s, is now deemed "priceless". Germany is the still the biggest producer of gnomes, and they are considerably more popular on the Continent than in Britain. A recent Consumers' Association poll put gnomes bottom of a list of desirable garden ornaments. Alistair Ayres, editor of the magazine, said: "We may love to hate them, but ... the market for collecting old and rare gnomes shows no sign of collapsing."

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