Santa and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer have a new home. The two figures used in the stop-motion television special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer have fetched $368,000 at auction this week. Both figures sold by Profiles in History on Friday served as the original stop-motion puppets in the classic Christmas story, and were revealed to be up for sale late last month. Though the auction house didn't reveal the name of the buyer, the figures were put up for sale by Peter Lutrario, a collector who purchased them in 2005 and subsequently restored them.
In the original auction promotion, Profiles in History revealed it expected the figures to sell for a sum between $150,000 and $250,000. "Profiles in History is proud to announce, two of the most iconic and rare puppets of all time, “Rudolph” and “Santa” from the 1964 classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, will be going up for sale November 13th in Los Angeles. The film has not only become a classic but a holiday tradition to baby boomers and their children and grandchildren," the listing said at the time.
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The listing added, “The rarity of these puppets cannot be overstated. These primary character puppets are the only examples from this multi-generational holiday classic that Profiles in History has ever encountered! They remain icons in stop motion animation as well as American pop culture. They will be sold together as one lot that is estimated to sell for $150,000 – $250,000.”
Crafted by Ichiro Komuro in Tokyo during the 1960's, Rudolph stands at 6 inches tall while Santa is nearly one-foot tall. The figures are made using wood, wire, cloth, and leather and can still be posed in their current state.
At one point, the figures even found their ways to PBS's Antiques Roadshow, where appraisers estimated the pair could fetch just $10,000 at auction in an unrestored state. After the restoration, the show's appraisers re-assessed the collectibles and appraised them at $50,000, still a far cry from the $360,000-plus they actually fetched at auction.