40% of Americans Have Family Heirlooms Over 50 Years Old—See Which Items They Cherish Most

How long do you keep things in the family? According to new research, 42% of Americans have a generational heirlooms that’s over 50 years old.

The survey asked 2,000 Americans about their family history and their most valued possessions that have been passed down from generation to generation.

75 percent of those surveyed said they loved learning about their family’s history while they were growing up, and some of their most cherished childhood memories were looking through old family photo albums—so it’s no surprise that 65% cited their family photos as their most cherished items.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Shinola, the survey found nearly half of those polled cited a family heirloom as one of their most prized possessions today.

On average, people were 24-years-old when they started to inquire about items they hoped could be passed down to them one day.

Aside from the family’s engagement rings and wedding rings, 26% of respondents shared they’re hoping to inherit a watch one day.

“Being given a family heirloom is so much more than just receiving a physical gift – it’s something that has lived a life already, and now it’s going to make more memories with a new owner,” said Shannon Washburn, Shinola’s CEO.

“Getting dad’s old watch, or mom’s leather journal, for example—there are stories engrained in those goods that are special to that piece only. It’s like being handed a piece of your own family’s history that you’re lucky enough to carry on.”

25% of respondents hoped to inherit a wedding dress. Other clothing, too, made the Top Ten list of keenly admired items. (Remember, if you hope to pass down a wedding dress, make sure you get it cleaned promptly after the wedding, and store it in the proper materials to prevent deterioration.)

Engagement ring – 32%
Piece of jewelry – 29%
Wedding ring – 26%
Watch – 26%
Wedding dress – 25%
Wedding veil – 19%
Family home – 18%
Kitchen item – 17%
Suit – 16%
Item of clothing – 14%

Even outside of their families, respondents say they put the same amount of effort and love into making or purchasing gifts.

In fact, 77% of respondents said it was important to them that they give a gift that will be around for years and even potentially become a family heirloom later in life. Check out the most valued items in peoples’ current lives.

Family photos – 65%
Wedding ring – 56%
Piece of jewelry – 54%
Engagement ring – 50%
Family heirloom – 49%
Computer laptop – 49%
Car – 44%
Wedding dress – 41%
Child’s memory box – 39%
TV – 38%
Item of clothing – 37%
Favorite book – 37%
Piece of art – 36%
Camera – 36%
Video game console – 36%
Musical instrument – 35%
Scrapbook – 33%