Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the 1964 TV special made by Rankin/Bass Productions (then known as Videocraft), is arguably the most important Christmas special ever made. It is still shown on TV annually, and its signature stop-motion style is among the most influential things to ever happen to Christmas programming.
Now, you can own a piece of its history... but only if you have a lot of money.
An eBay user named Peter Lutrario recently put up for auction the original puppets of both Rudolph and Santa Claus used to make the iconic special. His asking price? Ten million dollars. Yes, $10,000,000 for a pair of small figures used to make a famous Christmas special more than 50 years ago.
Now, there's no question that these legendary Rudolph puppets are extremely valuable, but are they this valuable? Even according to Lutrario, the answer is: probably not. He just wanted to see how far he could go. The eBay auction also has a "best offer" option, so if you don't have 10 million dollars handy, you can just take your chances.
“I was just curious to see what the market would bear,” Lutrario told WPIX.
It's an amusing ploy, but not everyone is happy with it. Among them is Rankin/Bass expert and historian Rick Goldschmidt, who actually used to display these very same puppets to the public. While acknowledging that the puppets are virtually priceless, he also bemoans the idea of continuing to pass them around to private collectors, arguing instead that they be returned to public display.
“People love to see them. It’s something that’s a treasured part of Americana,” he said. “I’d like to see it in a museum — not in someone’s briefcase.”
So, if you're a museum curator and you'd like to make Lutrario an offer... 'tis the season.