What’s it Worth: Sputnik Ornaments

Our antiques expert assesses Sputnik ornaments to help determine what they're worth today.

Pink and green Sputnik ornaments

What's It Worth: Sputnik Ornaments

Known as Sputnik ornaments, these plastic stars are nicknamed after the first artificial Earth satellite.

Red, silver and gold Sputnik ornaments

Three Sputnik Ornaments

The Bradford Co. sold these bright metallic-colored ornaments under the name Star of Bethlehem.

 

Collectors love vintage Christmas decor. Especially popular right now, thanks to baby boomers, are items made from the 1940s to the 1960s, commonly called mid-century Christmas collectibles. One of these are star or Sputnik ornaments.

Of course, stars have long figured prominently in Christmas decor! But in the 1950s, celestial objects reached new heights of popularity with designers of everything from fabric and furniture to cars and toys.

And no wonder. With the 1957 launch of Sputnik, the first artificial Earth satellite, the space race was on everyone’s mind.

Plastic, too, was trendy, and sturdier than fragile glass for tree ornaments. The Bradford Co. sold lightweight Star of Bethlehem ornaments in packages of four. In metallic colors, with hanging loops attached, they were an instant hit. Today, collectors often call these Sputniks; in good condition, they sell for $12 apiece.

Tip: To store treasured ornaments safely, nest each individually in layers of white tissue paper, storing away from dampness and heat. Never spray ornaments with artificial snow.

—Barbara J. Eash (Country Woman Magazine’s Antiques Expert)

Photography by Country Woman.

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