75 Vintage Christmas Ornaments Worth Money

Vintage Christmas ornaments are sure pieces to beautify your trees and homes as the festive season draws closer. From Kugels to Shiny Brites, Jewel Brites, and glass decors, the options are endless to decorate your house.

Based on research, an average vintage Christmas ornament costs $200 either as a lot or a single item. As forever relevant items, these decorative pieces are always in demand and still in production years after their creation.

We’ve listed the most valuable vintage ornaments per eBay sold listing between May to August 2022 and a few tips to help you make informed decisions.

Table of Contents

What are Christmas Ornaments?

A Christmas tree without decorations is simply a pine tree. Can you imagine Christmas morning or the season without gifts, snow globes, stars, and other adornments? That’s why Christmas Ornaments exist – to brighten up your tree.

They come in different shapes and sizes, unlike the popular globes with snowflakes everywhere.

Origin of Christmas Ornaments

Christians worldwide follow a tradition of getting pine trees and decorating them with ornaments towards December 25, in celebration of Christmas Day. However, many don’t know the origin of the lifelong practice and why it became a norm.

What are the Most Collectible Christmas Ornaments?

The most collectible Christmas ornaments are those with the ability to increase in value. Some brands top the list because of their unique designs and high-quality materials. Look out for the following names;

  • Christopher Radko
  • Diorama
  • Gorham
  • Hallmark
  • Kugel
  • Mirrorettes
  • Pixie
  • Tiffany & Co.

75 Most Valuable Vintage Christmas Ornaments

 NO. Name Price
1 Gorham Sterling Silver Snowflake $1,499
2 Chenille Santa Clause $537.77
3 Tiffany & Co. Sterling Silver Reindeer $510
4 Hallmark TV Sports Keepsake $390
5 Santa Belsnickel $350
6 VTG Shiny Brite Mica Reflector $349
7 Atomic Curved Arms $325
8 Glass Spintop $324.95
9 Snow Globe Ornament $306.51



Snoopy Ornament  



Insect Bug Pixie Face
13 James Avery Shephard $275
14 Twinkler Spinner $270
15 Clown Heads With Ruffles $267
16 Cozy Mitts Garland $259
17 Nutcracker $250



Mushroom Faces de Carlini  



German Steinbach Wooden
Birdcage & Star Twirls


Silent Night Ornament  


MCM Satin Beaded Ornament
23 Star Wars & Star Trek $245
24 Set of Four Satin Ornaments $236.50
25 Shiny Brite Tree Centerpiece Window $232.49
26 Pinecone Ornament $230
27 Caterpillar Bug Pixie $229.36
28 Sleigh Bell Ornament $229
29 VTG Pink CHild Head Ornament $225
30 Shiny Brite Glass $222.50
31 Glass Ball Ornament $212.50
32 Pearl Elf Reflector $205.50
33 Arm Fantasy Ornament $205.02
34 Fish Kahlina $203









Waterford Crystal Snowflakes  






Satin Push Pin Ornament
Radko Toy Chest Glass
Insect bug Pixie
Icicle Man
Elf Knee Hugger
Butterfly / Moth


Celestial Crystal Christmas Ornament  


Pixie Ladybug
44 Bimini Horses $191.40


Frosted Shiny Brite  


Double Indented Shiny Brite
47 Graf Zeppelin Glass Ornament $189.49
48 Winter Wonderland Tear Drop $180
49 Glass Fir Tree Collection $179.99
50 Polish Jumbo Glass Ornament $179.95



Sterling Silver Tree Ornament  


Hallmark Rocking Horse
53 Hallmark Collection $177.50
54 Insect Bug with Mesh Wings $172.50
55 Mirrorettes Glass Hornet $172.16
56 Pixie Face Glittered Gold $169.99
57 Norman Rockwell Collection $165
58 Girl in Tam Hat $164.11
59 Santa on Rooftop $162.49


Handmade Soldiers  


Glass Glitter Tear Drop
62 Santa With Tree $159.99
63 Japan Miniature Feather Tree $155.02
64 Pink Reflector $152.50






VTG Jewel Brite  





Tear Drop Garland
Santa’s Helper by Gorham
Red Glass Kugel Ornament
NAPCO Sweetheart
Fluted Colorful Ornament
Diorama Shiny Brite
72 MMA Museum Art Star $148.50


Blown Glass Feather  


Classic Multicolor Ball
75 Patriotic Jumbo Tier Ball $143.50

75. Patriotic Jumbo Tier Ball

Price: $143.50

Patriotic Jumbo Tier Ball

This triple-tiered glass ornament has the American colors on it hence its name. It’s also a unique style of tree decor because there aren’t many stacked ornaments and it was sold in pristine condition.

74. Classic Multicolor Ball

Price: $145

Classic Multicolor Ball
(Source: eBay)

As much as we love rare pieces, you can’t overlook the classics too. This complete collection of multicolored ornaments with shiny paints is just what the Doctor ordered for Christmas.

73. Blown Glass Feather 

Price: $145

Blown Glass Feather 
(Source: eBay)

Blown glass ornaments are easy to mold into different shapes as seen in the picture above. This 12-in-1 set is a group of colorful, festive and shiny acorns with metal cap hangers.

72. MMA Museum Art Star

Price: $148.50

MMA Museum Art Star
(Source: eBay)

MMA Museum Art stars are made of Gold-coated sterling silver pieces. When you mix two high-quality metals the MMA snowflakes in different designs is what you get.  

65. Diorama Shiny Brite

Price: $150

Diorama Shiny Brite
(Source: eBay)

These rare Shiny Brite ornaments were made in Japan and have a unique snow globe design. There aren’t many of this exact model left in existence hence its cost.

65. Fluted Colorful Ornaments

Price: $150

Fluted Colorful Ornaments
(Source: eBay)

These fluted pieces are worth hundreds of dollars as German ornaments, but their sizes added to the value. According to the seller, jumbo flutes are rare for any collector.

65. NAPCO Sweetheart

Price: $150

NAPCO Sweetheart
(Source: eBay)

These dual angel figurines were given as gifts by NAPCO in the fifties, and they came with bell sets and a box. Every add-on was present when the seller offered it for sale, keeping its value at equilibrium.

65. Red Glass Kugel Ornaments

Price: $150

Red Glass Kugel Ornaments
(Source: eBay)

As you’ve learned above, Kugel Ornaments are one of the oldest designs, and many of them have crossed the vintage threshold into antiques. These three pieces were made in Germany and come in three sizes with metal cap hangers.

65. Santa’s Helper by Gorham

Price: $150

Santa's Helper by Gorham
(Source: eBay)

Gorham is a leading manufacturer of sterling silver hence the highly valued ornament depicting Santa’s little helper. It’s an elf carrying a Christmas ornament and wearing a work apron.

65. Tear Drop Garland

Price: $150

Tear Drop Garland
(Source: eBay)

Ornaments with multifaceted designs are rare finds for collectors, like this teardrop VTG mercury glass garland. It links multicolored balls with vertical extensions forming a curtain.

65. VTG Jewel Brite

Price: $150

VTG Jewel Brite
(Source: eBay)

Christians traditionally celebrate Christmas, so these Décor Diorama jewel Brite pieces are fitting. They’re all made of the three primary colors – blue, red, and yellow.

64. Pink Reflectors

Price: $152.50

Pink Reflectors
(Source: eBay)

These Polish décors have multiple unique designs, from their bright pink colors to the indentation on their sides, double-tiers, and hanging reflector bulbs. There are 10 pieces in this lot with the same designs and sizes.

63. Japan miniature Feather Tree

Price: $155.02

Japan miniature Feather Tree
(Source: eBay)

Japanese ornaments always have a cultural element, and this feather tree miniature set isn’t different. It’s carefully crafted with glass and painted over with shiny colors.

62. Santa with Tree

Price: $159.99

Santa with Tree
(Source: eBay)

This Christopher Radko piece is a rare ornament depicting Santa Claus in a gold jacket, red pants, and a complimentary hat. He’s holding a pine tree imitation and has a metal-plated hanger cap on his hat.

61. Glass Glitter Tear Drop

Price: $160

Glass Glitter Tear Drop

Apart from the fact that this lot contains several ornaments, it’s a teardrop shape with hand-painted festive colors. All parts are also intact, making it aesthetically pleasing.

60. Handmade Soldiers

Price: $160

Handmade Soldiers
(Source: eBay)

This set of seven handmade dolls was made of spun wool, and they depict soldiers, albeit as animals. It’s traditionally indigenous to Ukraine.

59. Santa on Rooftop

Price: $162.49

Santa on Rooftop
(Source: eBay)

Wouldn’t it be nice for Santa to slide down the chimney and find a replica of his rooftop landing adorning your Christmas tree? Christopher Radko thought of that and designed this rooftop Santa with bright colors.

58. Girl in Tam Hat

Price: $164.11

Girl in Tam Hat

German ornaments are often top of the value chain because they’re the oldest and most unique pieces. This figurine is a little girl’s head wrapped in a tam hat while her flesh face is painted in natural tones and rosy cheeks.

57. Norman Rockwell Collection

Price: $165

Norman Rockwell Collection
(Source: eBay)

Saying Merry Christmas is better with a Norman Rockwell ornament collection from the Danbury Mint. These three rings with festive figures – Santa’s head, resting Santa, and an elf sold with their original packages.

56. Pixie Face Glittered Gold

Price: $169.99

Pixie Face Glittered Gold
(Source: eBay)

Think of the Japanese Pixie ornament without the insect body, and then you have this cute little girl in a mini dress. The plastic figurine has golden foil wings and her brown hair tied in a bun.

55. Mirrorettes Glass Ornaments

Price: $172.16

Mirrorettes Glass Ornaments
(Source: eBay)

Seeing the neat packets and intact figurines, you should be able to tell why this collection sold for its value. Also, mirrorettes aren’t readily available for purchase though they’re in demand.

54. Insect Bug with Mesh Wings

Price: $172.50

Insect Bug with Mesh Wings

This plastic ornament is a humanoid insect with a bug body and human limbs. It also has a mesh wing with diamante studs. Like other Pixie bugs from the manufacturer, this doll has Japanese Geisha makeup on her face.

53. Hallmark Collection

Price: $177.50

Hallmark Collection

This lot contains many unique designs, including the Three Stooges, I love Lucy, Popeyes, and other vintage TV/Christmas icons.

51. Hallmark Rocking Horse

Price: $179

Hallmark Rocking Horse

As the first in its series, this rocking horse has the edge over other ornaments. The owner sold it with its original package and labels, adding to its value.

51. Sterling Silver Tree Ornament

Price: $179

Sterling Silver Tree Ornament
(Source: eBay)

When you hear Tiffany & Co., you should think of luxury; the same rule applies to the brand’s vintage pieces. This tree décor didn’t make the owner break the bank, but it’s worth more than the average ornament sold today.

50. Polish Jumbo Glass Ornaments

Price: $179.95

Polish Jumbo Glass Ornaments
(Source: eBay)

It has six jumbo never-been-used hand-painted ornaments from the fifties. Of course, it’ll sell for a lot of dollars.

49. Glass Fir Tree Collection

Price: $179.99

Glass Fir Tree Collection
(Source: eBay)

Since the dissolution of the former USSR, items made in the defunct province have become historically relevant. These glass fir ornaments come from the region now identified as Ukraine, and with the current Russo-Ukraine war, their value has increased.

48. Winter Wonderland Tear Drop Ornament

Price: $180

Winter Wonderland Tear Drop Ornament
(Source: eBay)

Once again, a Christopher Radko glass ornament makes this list, and it looks nothing like the others before it or still to come. The oval-shaped décor shows a snowy street with a red fence hence its name, Winter Wonderland.

47. Graf Zeppelin Glass Ornaments

Price: $189.49

Graf Zeppelin Glass Ornaments
(Source: eBay)

These four-in-one glass ornaments Graf Zeppelin make different designs from pinecones to free-blown hanging spirals and painted graphics. That diversity alone is worthy of some hundred dollars.

45. Double Indented Shiny Brite

Price: $189.99

Double Indented Shiny Brite

What’s better than one indented shiny Brite ornament? Two. These plain-colored balls have colorful shiny floral designs in the double indentation. It also has metal hanger caps and comes in its original carton package, although slightly wrinkled.

45. Frosted Shiny Brite

Price: $189.99

Frosted Shiny Brite
(Source: eBay)

These rare PERMACAP ornaments of Frosted Shiny Brite have a unique teal color. The owner also sold it in its original packaging despite having been removed in the past.

44. Bimini Horses

Price: $191.40

Bimini Horses
(Source: eBay)

German Bimini horses are hand-blown, giving them streamlined features such as exaggerated heads, thin legs, and tails. It also has natural golden color from the hand-blowing technique and red stripes. They’re early 1920s German pieces making their rare finds.

42. Celestial Christmas Ornament

Price: $195

Celestial Christmas Ornament
(Source: eBay)

These Bloomingdale ornaments depict Celestial creatures in a combination of silver and gold pieces. Also, they’re clip-on attachments from Italy, one of the rarest vintage pieces of the 1900s.

42. Pixie Ladybug

Price: $195

Pixie Ladybug
(Source: eBay)

Cute, colorful, and unique. Those words describe the pixie ladybug, and this model differs from her counterpart in style and form.

42. Sterling Silver Icicle

Price: $195

Sterling Silver Icicle
(Source: eBay)

Gorham made this sterling silver icicle, and the owner sold it with its original blue branded pouch.

35. Butterfly/Moth

Price: $200

Butterfly Moth
(Source: eBay)

Is it a butterfly or a moth? The answer depends on your imagination. However, this multicolored ornament made of spun glass has its colors intact despite its years of existence. Like most glass ornaments, its birthplace is Germany.

35. Elf Knee Hugger Pixie

Price: $200

Elf Knee Hugger Pixie
(Source: eBay)

Like many 21, these small fairytale characters can complete a medium-sized tree. They were made circa 1950 – 1960 and are dressed in multicolored outfits with different expressions. All these unique characteristics add to its appeal.

35. Icicle Man

Price: $200

Icicle Man
(Source: eBay)

George Fusek, an American manufacturer, designed these Lucite icicle men ornaments in 1962. They’re made of glass to look like real icicles and have red dots in the center to add a little Christmas cheer.

35. Insect Bug Pixie

Price: $200

Insect Bug Pixie
(Source: eBay)

Bugs aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but this glittered gold fairy is wearing a bright smile. The ornament originated from Japan hence its rosy cheeks and thick lashes. It’s made of plastic putting its year at about 1960.

35. Radko Toy Chest Glass Ornament

Price: $200

Radko Toy Chest Glass Ornament
(Source: eBay)

Firstly, this Toy Chest contains multiple glass Christmas ornaments making it an assortment of unique pieces. Christopher Radko, the manufacturer, was a leading brand in the mid-1900s. It made this chest, especially for Marshall Field’s Walnut Room’s Christmas celebration.

35. Satin Push Pin Ornaments

Price: $200

Satin Push Pin Ornaments
(Source: eBay)

Not all vintage Christmas ornaments have hangers, as some come with push pins and other means of installment. This lot of 41 is a prime example of push pin ornaments made of satin, and it contains an assortment of designs from shape to colors.

Most of the pieces come in duos, while a few are quartets and singles. Two valuable qualities here are the attachment methods and material.

35. Waterford Crystal Snowflakes

Price: $200

Waterford Crystal Snowflakes
(Source: eBay)

Like the Sterling silver snowflake collection, these crystal pieces made by the Waterford company contain an assortment of designs. It includes the classic pointed snowflakes and other shapes like a shell and bell.

34. Fish Kahlina

Price: $203

Fish Kahlina
(Source: eBay)

Firstly, this ornament is made in the form of a fish with Swarovski crystals – red on the tail, yellow on the body, and green on the fins. Secondly, it had a metal hanger making it sturdy enough to survive years of transportation and ownership.

33. Arm Fantasy Ornament

Price: $205.02

Arm Fantasy Ornament
(Source: eBay)

This Fantasy Arm vintage Christmas ornament has a dual attachment due to its metal hanger and round red base. Essentially, you can decide to hang it on your tree or any flat surface, from mantelpieces to center tables.

It’s made of glass and has two silver bells hanging like a balance scale.

32. Pearl Elf Reflector

Price: $205.50

Pearl Elf Reflector
(Source: eBay)

Another Christopher Radko vintage Christmas ornament making this list is the pearl Elf reflector sold for a decent $200+. The ball has a star designed on an indentation on the side, while a small pearl ball hangs on the bottom.

It has a traditional silver hanger and colorful paintings on the body. There’s no reason it couldn’t be worth as much.

31. Glass Ball Ornaments

Price: $212.50

Glass Ball Ornaments
(Source: eBay)

Due to their Polish origin, these hand-painted glass balls (set of 6) sold for over $200. They have a pink shade colorway with thin metal hangers.

30. Shiny Brite Glass

Price: $222.50

Shiny Brite Glass

Like many other mixed lots on this list, these shiny Brite ornaments contain multiple designs making them a collection of rare models.

29. VTG Pink Child Head Ornament

Price: $225

VTG Pink Child Head Ornament
(Source: eBay)

It was made in Germany with glass blowing technique but hand painted with pink, white, and yellow tones to forge a baby’s head in a rose petal. You can’t deny the uniqueness of this decoration, even from the picture.

28. Sleigh Bell Ornament

Price: $229

Sleigh Bell Ornament

Despite not being a sterling silver ornament, this Wallace Sleigh Bell is worth some money. The décor has a silverplated exterior with a sleigh bell bearing gifts embossed around its middle. It was a limited-edition piece, and the seller had the complete packaging.

The ball also has an embossment of the manufacturing year on its body making it more ostentatious.

27. Caterpillar Bug Pixie

Price: $229.36

Caterpillar Bug Pixie

Also a Japanese piece, this vintage flocked pixie ornament is a caterpillar bug with a thin string hanger attached to its hair bun. It has a rosy cheek, long thin eyelashes, and thin red smiling lips.  

26. Pinecone Ornament

Price: $230

Pinecone Ornament
(Source: eBay)

This German-made pinecone has a hook hanger and two mini Pinecones hanging on each side of a bigger piece. The main figure is yellow gold, while the attached pieces are bright pink, and while they may not look like so, they’re glass.

25. Shiny Brite Tree Centerpiece Window

Price: $232.49

Shiny Brite Tree Centerpiece Window
(Source: eBay)

Imagine having all your ornaments in one place without having to hang them; that’s what this centerpiece window offers. It had a standing hanger shaped like a cathedral window holding 15 pieces of ornaments in different colors.

24. Set of Four Satin Ornaments

Price: $236.50

Set of Four Satin Ornaments
(Source: eBay)

Barbie, Scooby Doo, Coca-Cola, and Pink Panther all in one lot shouldn’t surprise you when it makes a top dollar. These satin ornaments were sold in their original packs.

23. Star Trek & Star Wars

Price: $245

Star Trek & Star Wars
(Source: eBay)

As Hallmark ornaments, this lot of Star Wars and Star Trek light-up décor sold for almost $300. Sci-Fi collectibles are always in hot demand and will continue to be so for as long as the franchises have fans.

21. MCM Satin Beaded Ornaments

Price: $249.95

MCM Satin Beaded Ornaments
(Source: eBay)

There are 60 pieces of handmade satin beaded balls in this lot, and that’s all you need to know it sold at such a high value. Each piece is a creative blend of colors embracing the Christmas spirit.

21. Silent Night Ornament

Price: $249.95

Silent Night Ornament
(Source: eBay)

This is another Christopher Radko piece, albeit a retired vintage ornament. It sold with its original label and packaging, assuring the buyer of its authenticity. The ball has a painted picture of a silent night with tiny carolers, snow-covered cottages & pine trees, the moon, and stars.

18. Birdcage & Star Twirls

Price: $249.99

Birdcage & Star Twirls
(Source: eBay)

Twirly Spinner Christmas ornaments were popular in the 1950s. They were made of pastel-colored plastics and had cheap metal hooks for hangers.

18. German Steinbach Wooden Ornament

Price: $249.99

German Steinbach Wooden Ornament
(Source: eBay)

The German Steinbach is a rare wooden ornament popular in the early 1900s, and this lot contained multiple pieces of that.

18. Mushroom Faces de Carlini

Price: $249.99

Mushroom Faces de Carlini
(Source: eBay)

Vintage ornament paying homage to cultural elements would always win with traditional collectors. This quartet of glass mushrooms comes in different shapes and sizes, carrying different expressions.

17. Nutcracker

Price: $250

(Source: eBay)

The nutcracker is one of the oldest Christmas mythological creatures, always in style. This red-gold vintage piece mixed the creature with another festive favorite, Santa Claus. It’s a free-standing model designed with stacked ornaments on the leg.

16. Cozy Mitts Garland

Price: $259

Cozy Mitts Garland
(Source: eBay)

Christopher Radko’s ornaments are always top-of-the-line, and this mittens garland isn’t different. The gloves have solid-colored ornaments separating each piece in the chain.

15. Clown Heads with Ruffles

Price: $267

Clown Heads with Ruffles
(Source: eBay)

The vintage German clown heads with ruffles come from Germany, and they’re made of glass, including their eyes. Although one of the duos lost its silvering and they’re both second-hand pieces, their production technique makes it a unique piece.

The clown heads were formed from hand-blown glass.

14. Twinkler Spinner

Price: $270

Twinkler Spinner
(Source: eBay)

A dozen twinklers with tiny shiny balls sold for $270 this year. They’re very colorful with pastel cages and glossy contents.

13. James Avery Shephard Boy

Price: $275

James Avery Shephard Boy
(Source: eBay)

As a Sterling Silver piece portraying a classic Christmas character – the Shephard, his staff, and sheep – this James Avery piece sold for $275. It’s a flat-surfaced décor that could pass for a paper-cut doll but was made of high-quality metal.

12. Insect Bug Pixie Face

Price: $300

Insect Bug Pixie Face
(Source: eBay)

The only difference with the Pixie face bug above is the clothing. In contrast, that one’s shiny gold, and this one is a matte green with gold and red accessories.

11. Santa

Price: $300

(Source: eBay)

Three wise men, three Santas. There’s something about threes at Christmas. These hand-blown glass figurines have hook hangers, and they’re carrying mini fir trees in their hands. Fun fact: They originate from former Czechoslovakia.

10. Snoopy Ornaments

Price: $300

Snoopy Ornaments
(Source: eBay)

These vintage Snoopy ornaments were made of ceramics meaning they’re fragile. That makes it all the more valuable since it’s difficult to keep it intact through transportation. This lot contains multiple designs and colors.

9. Snow Globe Ornament

Price: $306.51

Snow Globe Ornament
(Source: eBay)

Another Christopher Radko piece, this Snow Globe, has all the makings of a high-value collectible. It’s colorful with mixed elements, so what’s not to like about it?

8. Glass Spintop

Price: $324.95

Glass Spintop
(Source: eBay)

What’s more festive than a red, gold, and green ornament? This Spintop was made of glass by Christopher Radko in Poland.

7. Atomic Curved Arms

Price: $325

Atomic Curved Arms
(Source: eBay)

If you love rain bells, you’ll appreciate this figural atomic ornament with curved arms made of mercury glass. The ornament also has multi-colors adding to its appeal.

6. VTG Shiny Brite Mica Reflector

Price: $349

VTG Shiny Brite Mica Reflector
(Source: eBay)

These VTG Shiny Brite ornaments take on different shapes and have a wired triple reflector with a ribbed exterior. All 12 pieces in the collection are made of glass with one free-blown design and all painted blue.

5. Santa Belsnickel

Price: $350

Santa Belsnickel
(Source: eBay)

It’s made of mercury glass and originates from Germany. The Belsnickel Santa hat is a translucent red attached to the hanger, while the ornament is simply Santa’s head.

4. Hallmark TV & Sports Keepsake

Price: $390

Hallmark TV & Sports Keepsake

There were 51 items in this lot consisting of different TV & sports figurines in their element, from figure skaters to baseballers. Superheroes and more.

3. Tiffany & Co. Sterling Silver Reindeer

Price: $510

Tiffany & Co. Sterling Silver Reindeer
(Source: eBay)

Apart from its sterling silver production material, this vintage Christmas ornament made by Tiffany & Co. is on brand for the festive season. It depicts a reindeer in motion with its head thrown back and long curved antlers.

2. Chenille Santa Clause

Price: $537.77

Chenille Santa Clause
(Source: eBay)

This Vintage Chenille Santa Claus set of 25 originated from Occupied Japan. They’re stuffed ornaments with long, thin black legs, baggy blue pants, and traditional Santa jackets with complimentary hats.

Apart from the multiple pieces in one lot adding to its monetary value, there aren’t many Occupied Japan items lefts today.

1. Gorham Sterling Silver Snowflake

Price: $1,499

Gorham Sterling Silver Snowflake

This Gorham Sterling Silver is a 14-lot consisting of multiple snowflake designs. It was made in the mid-1900s and you can tell by the cheap metal hook used for hanging.

Identifying Vintage Christmas Ornaments

You can tell how old a rare Christmas ornament is by its hanger cap. The cap is often light and thin with vintage ornaments since technological advancement has made it easy to process metals and cut precise shapes.

Kugel Christmas Ornaments

Kugel Christmas Ornaments
(Source: invaluable)

Before the fancy futuristic and streamlined vintage/modern Christmas ornaments, there were antique ornaments. The most popular of this era was the Kugel Christmas ornament made in Germany during the Biedermeier period.

Karen Knapstein, an antique trader, traced its origin back to the 1830 and it lasted until the early 1920s.

How can you tell a Kugel ornament?

They were made of thick glass in the late 1800s and gained popularity into the early 1900s before the new era phased them out. Kugel Christmas ornaments are typically fluted because of the blowing technique used in the late 19th century to form glass pieces.

When machines became more sophisticated and technological advancement hit the world, Christmas ornaments took a different form. This change ushered in a new vintage Christmas ornaments era from the 1930s to 1970s.

Types of Vintage Christmas Ornaments

Vintage Christmas Ornaments differ in material, style, and design as manufacturers have used many materials. There was the blown glass era, the beaded décor period, glitter add-ons, and more.

Although we mentioned handcrafting as one of the appeals of vintage Christmas ornaments, it’s important to know that many of them were made of mixed techniques.

Shiny Brites Ornaments

Shiny Brites Ornaments
(Source: Chica & Jo)

Because they were produced in the early 1900s, Shiny Brites are more antiques than vintage. However, some models haven’t clocked 100 years yet, making them tethered on the brink of antiquity.

These ornaments originated from Germany and found their way to the USA through importation until the late 1930s.

How do you tell if an ornament is a Shiny Brite?

Shiny Brite ornaments are colorful and spiral-shaped with metal caps and hangers. They have a glossy undertone hence the name, Shiny Brite.

Glass Ornaments

Glass Ornaments
(Source: eBay)

While both antique and vintage Christmas ornaments were made of glass, the former used silvered mercury more than the latter. Also, they lacked the precision of machine-generated designs despite artisans’ expert hands.

Antique artisans used the mouth-blowing technique on their mercury glass ornaments causing a pontil mark to show on the ornament cap. You can use this material to identify glass flakes, bubbles, and other aging signs.

At the beginning of the 20th century, glass ornaments took on a free-blown shape giving them one formed part and a hanging part. They sometimes came with garlands around their bodies, adding to their beauty.

Towards the mid-1900s, manufacturers started forming these glasses into figurines and other shapes.

Unsilvered Christmas Ornaments

Unsilvered Christmas Ornaments
(Source: Pinterest)

The 1940s changed the Christmas ornament market as manufacturers removed the antique silvered glasses for unsilvered ornaments. It was in the thick of World War II, and many recreational metal usages stopped to accommodate the need for wartime ammunition.

Instead of lining the ornament with silver and using metal hangers, the manufacturer used paper, giving the décor a new unique look. As wartime products, the unsilvered Christmas Ornaments are some of the rarest models left in the world.

Glitter Add-Ons

Mica glitter was the preferred material used in the mid-1900s, and you can recognize it from its bumpy texture. No matter the skill applied in creating the vintage Christmas ornament, Mica glitter always leaves a rough pattern because it’s not evenly grounded.

Beaded Ornaments

The mid-1900s (1940 – 1960) saw the rise in beaded items as people took to homemade decorations following the peak of WWII. Some manufacturers sold the beads in packs separate from the ornaments allowing consumers to create their décor.

Table Ornaments

Table Ornaments
(Source: Walmart)

Not all ornaments, like some decorated tabletops and mantelpieces, were made for hanging. These Christmas ornaments were made of glass and ceramic with light bulbs fitted into the former.

How to Determine the Value of a Vintage Christmas Ornament?

Evaluating a vintage Christmas ornament’s monetary worth depends on multiple factors from age to material, availability, condition, and design. Below is a breakdown of their importance.

How Old is the Christmas Ornament?

Typically, older vintage Christmas Ornaments are more valuable than recent ones for different reasons. Firstly, old items are mostly made of the highest quality materials and with the best techniques.

Also, vintage Christmas ornaments take on unique designs that are often extinct in today’s market.

Confirm if it is Available?

After identifying the vintage Ornament style you want, the next step is availability. Most vintage designs have been damaged from transportation through the years. Apart from broken or chipped vintage Christmas ornaments, there’s also the possibility of a finished supply.

Long-lasting brands for sale may re-release sought-after designs in their peak era as collectibles, or owners may resell them as second-hand products.

Verify if all parts are Intact

As much as vintage Christmas ornaments appeal to collectors for their old physical appearance, valuable pieces must be intact at the sale. These pieces are decorative and should have outer beauty coupled with intrinsic value.

Any slight damage, such as cracks, chips, patina, fading, and flaked paint jobs, automatically depreciates the value of the vintage Christmas ornament. If you want to sell, clean the item carefully and avoid altering its natural look.

Learn About the History of the Piece

Monetary value isn’t the only important aspect of trading vintage Christmas ornaments. For some collectors, the historical importance is worth more than the item’s price. Who owned the piece before now? What special story is attached to its creation?

On that note, recalled pieces and controversial designs are worth a lot of money.

Parting Note

Apart from the monetary value of collecting vintage Christmas ornaments, the process is exciting. You’ll find new collections you haven’t seen before and discover a community of like-minded people at conventions.

In your excitement, don’t forget to vet the items for authenticity. Here’s a short checklist to help you;

  • Design
  • Color
  • Material
  • Condition

Good luck with your search. For more information, read the Frequently Asked Questions below.


Q: How can you tell if an ornament is vintage?

Producers took advantage of the available technology to produce high-quality ornaments but complimented it by handcrafting add-ons and designs. Many vintage Christmas ornaments took on futuristic designs.

Q: How do you start collecting Christmas ornaments?

The internet is your friend in this modern age. Use any search engine like Google, Bing, or Safari and find Christmas Ornaments near you. Visit the physical auction store and use the tips in this guide to select the most suited piece for you.

You can also collect Christmas ornaments online from primary and secondary retail stores.

Watch this video for more info.

Q: Are old Christmas ornaments valuable?

Old Christmas ornaments are only valuable when they fit the criteria stipulated in this guide. They must be rare items made of high-quality materials by reputable brands. Also, items belonging to iconic people like movie stars or pieces from movie sets are valuable.

Q: What is the most valuable Christmas ornament?

The most valuable Christmas Ornament is a Diamond Christmas Wreath worth $4.6 million. It was made by Finnish florist Pasi Jokinen-Carter who fitted the wreath with 40 diamonds and luxurious flowers, including Helleborus, Blueberry Stems, Nobilis, and Lingonberry.

Q: Do Hallmark ornaments have value?

Hallmark launched its keepsake ornaments in 1973 and has since produced 8,500-plus designs. Many of the company’s ornaments are references to pop culture moments giving them a bankable personality. So, yes, Hallmark Ornaments have value.

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