Antique & Vintage Christmas Price Guide

Vintage Christmas Decorations

Centuries ago, people living in colder climates used evergreens to decorate their homes during the long months of winter. Medieval Germans hung apples from the branches and called them “Paradise Trees,” after the Garden of Eden.

Historians suspect that it didn’t take long for a connection to be made between these evergreen decorations and the Christmas celebration (at the Winter Solstice)–sometime in the 17th century. This early practice then led to the development of other forms of tree decorations: candles, candy, paper, and eventually glass.

A cottage industry formed in Lauscha, Germany, producing beautiful, hand-blown glass ornaments. These, along with numerous other kinds of decoration, including cardboard, spun cotton, and tinsel, are highly sought after today.

Santa die cut with plaid thermoses and text: ChristmasAt the same time, many cultures birthed “Santa Claus” myths that pointed to a kindly, generous man who gave gifts to children. And Santa Clause was born. The American artist, Thomas Nast, created the jolly, red-suited character we all know and love, based on the description written by Clement Moore in his story, A Visit from St. Nicholas.

In the early 20th century, Japan entered the Christmas market, consistently underselling the Germans. Just before WWII, and in anticipation of the growing scarcity of German ornaments, an American company began manufacturing its own versions of these delicate, glass baubles. We know them as “Shiny Brites.”

After the Berlin Wall came down in the late 20th century, German companies in the former East Germany re-opened and began producing glass ornaments using the “old” methods. 80% of these are sold to Americans.

About This Vintage Christmas Price Guide

Each of the items in the photos below I currently own or have owned in the past. Most are pieces that an “average” buyer or seller might come across, unlike many price guides that contain only higher end items.

Values are based on my personal experience being in the antique business for almost twenty years. Note that values vary from state to state, region to region, and country to country; for example, I live in Upstate New York, which has a very different market than New York City. Other factors affecting value include condition and market (auction, store, eBay, etc.). My goal is to provide helpful information, so please accept this Guide in the spirit it was intended.

Vintage Santas

Antique German Santa Clause Bulb

Glass Santa Bulb
c.1930, 3 3/4″, Marked “Germany”

Vintage Chenille Santa

Chenille Santa
c.1950s, 3 1/4″ (Japan)
$5.00 (sold 2014, Etsy)

Vintage Die Cut Santa Decoration

Vintage Cardboard Santa
c.1950, 15.5″ x 7″, Marked “Made in the USA”

Vintage Molded Plastic Santa

Plastic Santa
c.1950, 3 1/4″

vintage night before christmas story

Night Before Christmas (rare)
c.1958, 15″ x 7″ (Whitman Pub.)
$35.00 (sold 2014, Etsy)

vintage astronaut santa

Plastic Astronaut Santa
c.1950, 3 1/2″
$5.00 (sold 2014, Etsy)

Vintage Bulbs

Box of Vintage Shiny Brites

Shiny Brite Glass Ornaments
$15.00 (Sold 2014, Etsy)

Italian Glass Ornament of girl

Glass Figural Bulb
c.1950s, 4.5″, Italian
$40.00 (sold 2014, Etsy)

German mercury glass clown ornament

Glass Clown Bulb
c.1930s, 3.5″, German(?)
$45.00 (sold 2014, Etsy)

vintage shiny brite pink bulbs

Shiny Brite Feather Tree Bulbs
c.1950, 4.5″ x 3″, USA
$8.00 (sold 2014, Etsy)

Vintage Putz Houses

Collection of vintage putz houses

Putz Houses
c.1950, 4.5″ x 3″, Japan
$18.00 (sold 2014, Etsy)

Vintage Putz church and house

Putz Church & House
c.1950, 4.5″ x 3″, Japan
$15.00 (sold 2014, Etsy)

Miscellaneous Vintage Christmas

arge Vintage Decorated Bottle Brush Tree

Bottle Brush Tree
c.1940s, 12″, marked “Japan”
$43.00 (sold 2014, Etsy)

Vintage Kurt Adler Christmas Ornaments c.1970s

Kurt S. Adler  Ornament Set
c.1970s, 5.5″-7.5″, USA
$9.00 (sold 2014, Etsy)

Vintage ceramic deer

Ceramic Deer
c.1950, 4.5″ x 3″, Japan
$12.00 (sold 2014, Etsy)

Antique Spun Cotton Pear Christmas Decorations

Spun Cotton Pears
c.1950, 1 7/8″ & 2 1/4″, German(?)
$17.00 (sold 2014, Etsy)

Vintage Christmas Plastic Light reflectors

Tinsel & Plastic Light Reflector Set
c.1950s, 2 1/4″
$10.00 (sold 2014 Etsy)

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Antique & Vintage Christmas Price Guide

Discover what your vintage Christmas decorations are worth!

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