Most Valuable Vintage Christmas Ornaments
Christmas is a magical time for most people. And anyone looking for an extra dose of happiness and cheer might not have to look any further than that dusty box of decorations in the attic.
Christmas ornaments that were commonplace when they were produced can evolve into valuable collectibles as the years pass. Grandma's antique German ornament collection might just fund this year's shopping expedition.
These are the most valuable vintage Christmas ornaments.
55. Lot of 25 Vintage Disney Ornaments
Bottom line: Disney fans will go nuts over this lot of vintage Disney Christmas ornaments. All of them were made in 1989, and while one can admittedly still purchase a Mickey Mouse ornament today for a few bucks, these collector's items are one of a kind.
The lot was made up of 25 different ornaments, including Winnie the Pooh, 101 Dalmatians, Ariel, Tinkerbell, Dale, Beauty, Beast, Huey, Dewey and Louie, Figaro, Pluto, Donald, Mowgli, Pinocchio, Bambi, Snow White, Scrooge, Jiminy, Minnie, Chip, Pocahontas, Aladdin, the Genie, Peter Pan, Meeko, Dopey and Daisy.
Phew. That's a lot of vintage Disney goodness in one listing.
54. Antique Clip-On Cat Christmas Ornament
Bottom line: Many vintage Christmas ornaments were made with clips built in to easily clip on to Christmas tree branches. This German glass cat ornament had minor imperfections, but it was still extremely valuable thanks to its rarity.
In John Lightner's book "Christmas Rarities," it was ranked R1, the most rare ranking possible. The seller estimated that it was produced between 1910 and 1919.
53. 1890s Heubach Boy Spun Cotton Ornament
Bottom line: In the 1800s, people didn't have much to do in the cold of winter. To pass the time and make extra money, they fashioned ornaments by hand using cotton and whatever materials were available.
This one, dressed in a blue and white suit, measures four and a half inches in height and has blush hand painted on his cheeks. It was estimated to have been made in 1890.
52. 1971 First Ed Wallace Silver-Plated Sleigh Bell Christmas Ornament
Bottom line: Like something straight out of "The Polar Express," this sleigh bell rings loud and clear for all to hear. It was one of many in a series of silver-plated annual sleigh bells released by the Wallace company, and finding first editions is very difficult.
This one was made in 1971 and was sold in excellent condition in its original box.
51. Antique German Blown Glass Two-Sided Christmas Ornament
Bottom line: This vintage Christmas ornament gives us the creeps, but someone evidently thought it was a lucky find.
The two-sided ornament has a face on each side. It was made around 1920 in Germany, selling for over $700 despite some minor paint loss.
50. Antique German Composition Mache Nutcracker
Bottom line: Nutcrackers have been a Christmas tradition as long as we can remember. This one features striking detail for such a small vintage ornament, with a working handle and mouth that works just like bigger versions.
It was made in the early 1900s out of a combination of wood and paper mache.
49. Vintage Christopher Radko Complete Set
Bottom line: One of the elements that influence a vintage Christmas ornament's value is whether or not it's a complete set. This Christopher Radko Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs set was made in the 1990s, and the eBay listing included every ornament in the set in like new condition.
Had just one of the dwarves been missing, the set would have been worth considerably less.
48. Antique German Blown Glass Christmas Ornament
Bottom line: Some of the antique Christmas ornaments with faces are eerie, probably thanks to their iris-less eyes and partly painted lips.
This one was intended to hold a candle on a Christmas tree, back when people weren't too worried about burning their house down to put lit candles on a dry, wooden tree.
47. Vintage Christmas Tree Blumchen Ornament Collection
Bottom line: A more Victorian-style ornament set, this pair of Blumchen angels matches the style of decor that was popular in mid-20th-century Germany.
While some opt to make reproductions of them at home, true collectors go after originals like these.
46. Antique German Dresden Paper Pipe Christmas Ornament
Bottom line: With an $800 price tag, one would expect this old pipe to actually function. It's only function, however, is sprucing up the tree.
It can store candy as well, but not very much since it's just over four inches tall.
45. Vintage Teardrop Christmas Ornaments
Bottom line: At first glance, this set of teardrop ornaments seems like something you could pick up at Homegoods. The brand name on the box, however, indicates how old the ornaments are.
Shiny Brite hasn't been in business for years, and even though the box was damaged, the small collection sold for over $800.
44. 1994 Vintage Tiffany & Co. Sterling Silver Stocking Christmas Ornament
Bottom line: Every year, Tiffany & Co. releases a sterling silver collectible Christmas ornament. This one was produced in 1994, shaped like a stocking filled with presents and adorned with poinsettias.
It's not shocking that a sterling silver ornament would be valuable, but $900 is an impressive sum for a single small Christmas decoration.
43. Antique German Cotton Girl
Bottom line: Germany was known for its beautiful handmade decorations throughout the early 20th century. This vintage Christmas ornament was handcrafted with spun cotton. It features a painted paper face and a pair of metal ice skates.
When you're not looking, maybe she'll hop off the tree and enjoy some festive Christmas Eve skating by starlight.
42. Vintage Gucci Christmas Tree Topper
Bottom line: We had no idea that Gucci made Christmas decorations, but lo and behold, here it is: a limited-edition Gucci blown glass tree topper. Only 25 copies were made, and each one was painted by hand.
This one was marked number two, indicating it was the second made out of 25. It was sold in its original box, which was lined with elegant green velvet.
41. Antique German Cotton Santa Bell Christmas Ornament
Bottom line: Santa's face looks awfully serious on this ornament. Whoever purchased it should put out some extra milk and cookies to cheer him up.
The bell-shaped vintage Christmas ornament was made with a combination of cotton and paper mache around 1920.
40. Vintage Biedermann Brass Holiday Collectable Ornament Set
Bottom line: Several companies in the 1900s released annual ornaments for collectors to enjoy. Biederman produced this line of brass ornaments starting in the 1970s, with each ornament cut by hand.
A set like this is hard to come by, with most sellers listing single ornaments for over $1,000 apiece. Despite the daunting price tag, the set includes every Christmas ornament made from 1970 to 1982.
39. Vintage Clay Face Santa on a Bicycle
Bottom line: A clay Santa with a rabbit fur beard on a bicycle with toys? We're sold. And we're not alone. This impressive antique German Christmas ornament is in good condition and sold for over $1,000.
It's a nice addition to anyone's Christmas collection and perfect for the Christmas collector who is also a cycling enthusiast.
38. Antique German Dresden Christmas Ornament
Bottom line: Why would anyone buy a Christmas ornament of some German rowers hauling out in their canoe? This one's popularity has us stumped, but the golden figurines and boat look amazing.
37. Antique German Blown Glass Santa Ornament
Bottom line: Father Christmas Riding Horse Ornament seems like a good way to get in the holiday spirit.
Made around 1900 to 1910, we hope it's a strong ornament, because Grandma will throw a fit if you don't look excited.
36. Antique German Spun Cotton Pig Ornament
Bottom line: If an ornament in your collection is made of spun cotton, there's a good chance it's a collector's item.
You can tell just by looking at this sweet pig ornament that it's very old, although the exact year of production wasn't mentioned in the product listing.
35. Antique German Dresden Paper Horse
Bottom line: While many ornaments today are made of brightly colored glass, antique German ornaments usually featured more muted colors. This was partly a stylistic choice and partly due to the scarcity of materials used to make more vibrantly colored decorations.
This Dresden vintage Christmas ornament is less than three inches tall, but it still sold for more than the cost of a new smartphone.
34. Christopher Radko 'Northern Lights' Ornament
Bottom line: If this vintage Christmas ornament looks like something straight out of the 1960s, that's exactly what Christopher Radko was going for. He designed this 12-inch tall ornament in 2003 as part of his Vintage Collection.
The ornament itself is entitled "Northern Lights," and the geometric, rainbow decoration sold for over $1,200 on eBay in like-new condition.
33. Antique German Dresden Angel Christmas Ornament
Bottom line: At first glance, one would think this ornament was made of metal. In actuality, it's made of nothing more than paper and metallic paint.
Slightly larger than the ornaments appearing earlier on this list, the four-inch tall angel has elegant wings with etched feathers, commanding an impressive selling price.
32. Antique German Blown Grapes With Face Christmas Ornament
Bottom line: We're not sure what the intention was when this ornament was designed, but it bears a strong resemblance to Dionysus, the Greek god of wine. This vintage ornament is an example of early German glass blowing techniques.
The ornament was produced in a solid color, and the details were later painted on by hand.
31. Antique German Dresden White Dove Christmas Ornament
Bottom line: This antique German Dresden dove ornament is simplistic and special. Made over 100 years ago in 1910, it's apparent that the ornament isn't new.
The white paint has worn in spots and had yellowed to a more creamy hue, but the dove's sweet face and detailed wings make this a priceless find for the right collector.
30. Antique German Spun Cotton Little Red Riding Hood Christmas Ornament
Bottom line: Would you spend over $1,000 for an item made of nothing more than cotton and paper? Yet another valuable cotton Christmas ornament, this one is supposed to portray Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf.
It looks more like a ghostly little girl and a deranged dog of some sort, but whoever bought it must have thought it was beautiful.
29. Christopher Radko 12 Days of Christmas Ornament Set
Bottom line: No Christmas would be complete without a shoutout to "The Twelve Days of Christmas." It might be one of the more annoying Christmas songs written, but it's still a classic.
In 2000, Christopher Radko made a set of handblown ornaments featuring every one of the animals and items mentioned in the song, along with the numbers 1-12.
When it sold on eBay, the set included all of the original packaging and tags aside from the ones that came with the number one ornament.
28. Antique German Dresden Paper Man on the Moon Christmas
Bottom line: The man in the moon never looked so good. The petite three-inch antique Christmas ornament depicts a detailed profile view of a man's face in the shape of a crescent moon, complete with hair, realistic ears and a pointed hat.
It's hard to believe that it was molded entirely of paper, but it was.
27. Antique German Spun Cotton Camel Ornament
Bottom line: Antique spun cotton ornaments were never as detailed as molded paper ornaments, but they still required hours of work by talented craftsmen to produce.
This large ornament was made in the year 1900, featuring a man riding a realistically proportioned camel with a miniature burlap pack strapped on the side.
Perhaps he was one of the wise men?
26. Antique German Spun Cotton Elephant Ornament
Bottom line: This antique cotton elephant ornament looks so similar to the previous ornament listed that we suspect they were produced by the same maker.
The ornament is five inches tall and was sold in very good condition, aside from minor discoloration on the elephant's side.
25. Antique German Dresden Paper Elephant Head Christmas
Bottom line: These paper ornaments are getting increasingly impressive. The details on this elephant head are impeccable, with realistic lines giving the elephant's trunk a leathery look.
The elephant is also pictured with an exquisitely ornate headdress. While some collectibles seem overpriced to us, this one is so detailed that the selling price of more than $1,700 seems justified.
24. Hallmark 2020 Gone With The Wind Scarlett O’Hara Christmas Keepsake Ornament
Bottom line: Hallmark Keepsake ornaments vary in value depending on how rare they are. While many valuable ornaments are genuinely vintage, this one isn't. It was made in 2020, but we included it because it's almost unheard of for such a recently made collectible to be worth so much.
This Gone With the Wind ornament was recalled before it was officially released, and a precious few ever made it to the shelves. Because of how hard (nearly impossible, really) it is to find, it's worth a substantial sum.
If you have one similar to it, hang on to it. It will only gain value over time.
23. Antique German Red Grape Kugel Christmas Ornament
Bottom line: If you're craving a nice, juicy grape, don't reach for this bunch. One of the oldest vintage Christmas ornaments sold, this German ornament was made all the way back in 1890.
Glass production is time intensive and challenging even today. In the 1800s, producing an ornament like this one was a true labor of love.
22. Antique German Dresden Rhino Christmas Ornament
Bottom line: It's interesting how perspective changes how we perceive things. This rare rhinoceros ornament looks huge, but it's actually smaller than the elephant head ornament listed above.
As you can see, these figures weren't completely three-dimensional. Instead, they were made using molds, leaving one side of the ornament hollow.
21. Antique German Unusual Kugel Christmas Ornament
Bottom line: This antique Kugel ornament was made in Germany in 1910. The unusual shape was meant to represent a golden pinecone hanging from the tree, so it was often sold in sets.
It's smaller than it appears, measuring just two and a half inches in height.
20. 1991 Swarovski Holiday Crystal Ornament
Bottom line: This gorgeous collectible was produced in Austria in 1991 by Swarovski, the all-time king of crystal production. Decorations and jewelry made by Swarovski are never cheap, but ones this old are so rare that they're more than ten times their original worth.
To ensure the item's authenticity, the seller included the original Swarovski certificate with purchase.
19. Hallmark Mary's Angels Vintage Ornament
Bottom line: You probably knew that Disney has exclusive clubs that offer collectors items the rest of us can only dream of, but few realized that Hallmark does the same.
This Mary's Angels ornament was sold as a 2013 Club Even Exclusive, and only 60 of them exist.
17. 2005 Frosty Friends Hallmark Ornament (Tie)
Bottom line: Another collectible Hallmark ornament, this one dates back to 2005. It's even rarer than the last one, given out exclusively in a "register to win" giveaway promotion.
A cheerful little girl in a warm coat is delivering a letter to a mailbox shaped like an igloo, and if we had an extra $2,000 to drop, we'd probably add it to our collection.
17. Antique German Dresden Santa (Tie)
Bottom line: German-made vintage Christmas ornaments are incredibly tough to find. This antique Father Christmas ornament was produced in 1910, featuring a boy and a girl by Santa's side, hopefully looking up to his basket of toys.
The rare ornament, made by Dresden, is less than four inches tall, but it still sold for around $2,000.
16. Antique German Dresden Paper Rooster Ornament
Bottom line: Cock-a-doodle-doo! Rare Christmas ornaments from Germany often contained a secret compartment for storing a small piece of candy or chocolate.
Produced in 1910, this one measures only three inches in height, but it's big enough to hide a red silk pouch to hold a tasty surprise.
15. Antique German Painted Clip Ornament Set
Bottom line: By now, you've probably noticed a pattern. Many vintage Christmas ornaments were made in Germany, and these are no exception. They are, however, made with much different materials and styles than the paper and spun cotton ornaments that were popular in the early 1900s.
This set of 11 antique tin Santa ornaments was made around 1890. At the time, Victorian-era homes didn't have electricity. Instead, tin candle holder ornaments like these were clipped to Christmas tree branches to hold small candles.
The vibrant shades of blue, pink, orange and red are ultra-rare, particularly in such fine condition.
14. Antique German Reindeer Santa Loofah Sleigh Christmas Ornament
Bottom line: Antique German decorations are almost universally valuable. This one is larger than most, featuring Santa in a handmade sleigh paired with a robust reindeer, antlers and all.
The reindeer is 10 inches tall, and the sleigh is 11 inches long, making the entire set a prime candidate for displaying on the mantel or as a Christmas dinner centerpiece.
Since it showed very little wear for its age, it commanded an impressive selling price of $2,225.
13. Vintage Christmas Ornaments Christmas Bells
Bottom line: These brightly colored bell Christmas ornaments look brand-new, but they were actually made in the 1950s.
They're larger than they appear, measuring four inches across, and these jumbo-sized bells add a pop of color to any Christmas collection.
12. Vintage Christopher Radko Gold Finial Stand Set of Three
Bottom line: Christopher Radko is one of the kings of Christmas. He designed so many stunning ornaments over the years, and he also produced stars and finials to decorate the tops of Christmas trees.
While the age of this set of finials wasn't listed, finding a tree topper with a similar style in today's stores would be impossible. These were likely made in the 1980s or 1990s, and the largest shines in vibrant jewel tones.
11. Rare German Antique Clip Scrooge Ornament
Bottom line: Instead of the hanging ornaments that are most common today, vintage Christmas ornaments often had built-in clips instead. This clip-on decoration is extremely old, but even the seller wasn't positive about what character he's intended to portray.
Is it Scrooge? Is it Marley? We're not sure, but even with the dubious origins and lack of a backstory, the 4.5-inch man sold for thousands. He does feature a colored clip, which is supposedly more rare than silver ones.
10. Hallmark Lincoln Logs Ornament
Bottom line: All right, who's down to stop by a Hallmark store this weekend? So many of their Christmas ornaments become valuable collectibles, including this Lincoln Logs ornament.
It was released in a collaboration with Hasbro in 2017, and the item launched a bidding war. The winning bid was for almost $2,400.
9. Antique Dresden German Paper Halloween Jack-O'-Lantern Christmas Ornament
Bottom line: This rare jack-o'-lantern ornament is considered a crossover piece, doubling as a Halloween decoration. As noted previously, many valuable collectible decorations were produced in Germany.
The grinning pumpkin ornament measures only one inch by two inches, made of molded paper and painted by hand. The paint retained much of its vibrancy, but experienced collectors sometimes touch up the original paint to restore it to its former glory.
8. Vintage Porcelain Christmas Ornament Set
Bottom line: How cute are these? So-called "snow babies," these vintage Christmas ornaments were made in Japan out of fine porcelain.
Each snow baby has a cheerful, rounded face, and all six are one of a kind. They're only an inch and a half tall, but the set of six sold for over $2,500.
7. 1996 and 1997 John Deere Christmas Ornaments
Bottom line: John Deere is best known for manufacturing heavy machinery, like agricultural tools and forestry equipment, but they also release an annual Christmas ornament. Each one is made of pewter and resembles a coin, featuring a detailed Christmas illustration and the year it was released.
This particular listing included the first two John Deere ornaments produced, made in 1996 and 1997. Complete collections are worth even more.
6. Handmade Florence Nightingale Nurse Ornament
Bottom line: While this Christmas ornament isn't vintage, its origins are too meaningful not to share it. This Florence Nightingale ornament and others like it are made by a women-led Kork cooperative in the village of Kyrgyzstan.
The women there have taught each other how to produce fine artisan goods, and in doing so, they make an average of five times as much as most people in the region.
One handmade wool decoration like this can help a woman feed her family and become financially independent. If you ask us, that's a valuable Christmas ornament worth investing in.
4. Rare Barbie Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments (Tie)
Bottom line: If you've read our valuable Barbie story, you know that people love Barbie dolls. A lot. As it turns out, this also applies to Barbie ornaments. Hallmark has been making them for years, and this set included four different Barbie's:
- 1997 Club Edition Ornament, based on the Happy Holidays Barbie Doll
- 1999 Barbie As The Millennium Princess Ornament
- 1999 Barbie 40th Anniversary Ornament
- 2004 45th Anniversary Barbie Ornament
They were all preowned and show minor signs of wear, but they still sold for three grand.
4. Vintage Sterling Silver Snowflake Christmas Ornaments (Tie)
Bottom line: Why would someone spend $3,000 on a single snowflake ornament? They probably wouldn't, but serious collectors fought over this set of vintage sterling silver snowflakes from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The listing included every snowflake produced between 1971 and 2020, each one more beautiful than the last. All things considered, $3,000 seems like a steal.
3. Antique German Cobalt Blue Raspberry Kugel Ornament
Bottom line: The age of this antique Christmas ornament is the main reason it's so valuable. It's larger than it appears, measuring approximately five by five inches, and resembles a giant royal blue raspberry.
While it would look amazing on any tree, it was made in Germany in 1900. A collectible that old probably shouldn't be displayed anywhere less stable than a locked display case.
2. De Carlini Batman Christmas Ornament
Bottom line: Vintage Christmas ornaments usually don't have superpowers, but this Batman ornament might. A shimmering De Carlini "Batman" from his Super Heroes Christmas Ornament collection, this is no mass-produced Batman.
It was made in Italy by hand. The glass was blown by mouth, and the glass was painted by the artist himself. Few copies of the nine-and-a half-inch figure were produced, contributing to this super ornament's astronomical price tag.
1. Antique German Dresden Paper Elf Ornament
Bottom line: Dresden ornaments are some of the most sought-after antique Christmas ornaments on online auction sites. The name Dresden comes from the name of the region in Germany where the ornaments originated, and the more detailed the ornament, the greater its worth.
This one, made in 1910, features a functional candy container and a festive elf riding a goat-drawn wagon.