I have been collecting little tin antique cookie cutters for some years now, although it is quite small as collections go. I've often passed them up at various antique stores because they didn't quite meet my standards for quirkiness or didn't look primitive enough. Well, yes, I have certain traits I'm looking for. Given the number of collectibles and artifacts saved by several generations of women, I'm surprised that I never found any in the various stashes of kitchen kitch that I inherited. Some of them have backs with handles but most are cut-out designs. Have you looked on line to check prices lately------wow, they aren't cheap. I particularly am drawn to animals or birds (usually chickens) but now and then odd shapes can be found. I can only imagine that long ago in a kitchen warmed by a wood burning stove a mother made home made cut out cookies around her weathered wood table with her children. Well, I'm sure baking was a necessity more than a fun shared activity and those children probably were very adept at making cookies without the fun of folk-art style cookie cutters.
The history of "biscuit" cutters (English), molds, or imprinted design makers started in Europe and slowly made its way to America as new immigrants brought their traditions to their new homes. Tinsmith's in this country tried to conserve every bit of metal so some cutters may be thinner than others, may or may not have a complete backing or strap handles.
I have to admit I find these vintage/antique kitchen collectibles much more charming than the holiday plastic ones that were produced when I was a young housewife making cookies with my three sons. But as always, time marches on and who wants to use a bunch of rusty old tin cutters--------ME!