Simeon Lipman is always a little wary when someone comes to the Antiques Roadshow with a Tupperware container. But this time he was delighted but what was inside.
It was 2005 when the antiques appraiser first encountered Santa and Rudolph and he would keep track of them for the next 16 years. The two puppets are instantly recognizable as the characters from the beloved TV animated classic Rudolf the red nosed Reindeer that aired in 1964.
Lipman was first sceptical that he was seeing the original production puppets but George related the story how his family came to get them.
“It’s like seeing old friends,” Lipman said. He didn’t estimate them as worth too much at the time due to the condition he estimated them to be between $8,000 to $10,000. Santa and Rudolph changed hands a few times. In 2020, Lipman revised his estimate. He relates that the pair were restored and he guesses they would sell for well over $100,000. By the end of that year they did go to auction and sold for an astounding $368,000!
But in a twist that Santa would be proud of, the anonymous buyer donated the pair of puppets to the Center For Puppetry Arts museum in Atlanta where they can be viewed by the public. They certainly deserve to be preserved as a piece of history.
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