#10: 1991 U.S.S. Enterprise
2021 Secondary Market: $124.95
Size: 5.25” L x 2.5” W x 1.75” H
The 1991 U.S.S. Enterprise was not only the first in the Star Trek line of ornaments but helped blaze the way for Hallmark’s entry into pop culture ornaments, so it is fitting that we begin our countdown of the Top 10 Star Trek Keepsakes with this ornament.
Released to celebrate Star Trek’s 25th anniversary, the ornament is a fairly detailed reproduction of the Enterprise. The ornament had a pigtail that plugged into a light strand that provided power for its light features. In the early days Hallmark was hesitant to stray too far from the holiday theme so simple red and green blinking lights were added to the hull’s edge to give it a Christmas feel. In addition to the holiday lights, the bridge dome and primary phaser array dome on the underside would light up white. Unfortunately, the Enterprise’s nacelles did not light up and there was no audio function for the ornament.
The Enterprise was sculpted by long-time Hallmark artist, Lynn Norton, who explained the early design days of the Enterprise,
“We really had to convince our art directors we could go beyond cute and traditional and make really believable small models to be used as ornaments. Our commitment to high quality fit right into the Hallmark ideals for product. Now, I also had to fight the initial idea of having a string of garland hanging along the edge of the primary hull, and Santa Claus popping out of the bridge — true story! I wanted to make it as accurate as possible. I’m very aware of the changes to that first ornament. Because it had big, thick circuitry inside for lights, the ornament had heat dissipation problems. We had to build a big cavity into it so the circuit board would not melt the plastic. Also, the ornament had to fit into a ‘printer’s box’ store display with a limited space, and I had to shorten the nacelles for it to fit.”startrek.com
The Enterprise ornament proved to be hugely popular upon release. Kevin Stevens reported on it’s popularity:
“The Starship Enterprise ornament was unveiled in July 1991. By August, Hallmark found that demand for this particular ornament was overwhelming; it appealed to collectors of Keepsake Ornaments as well as Star Trek fans and collectors. The Enterprise proved to be the most popular ornament made by Hallmark since the Keepsake line was introduced in 1973. By October 1991, Hallmark made the unprecedented decision to go back into production with the Enterprise ornament. Still, by December these supplies of ornaments were also depleted. It immediately began climbing in value on the secondary market.”Strange New Worlds
The 1991 Starship Enterprise has held its own after thirty years and, no question, deserves a spot in our Top 10 list of Hallmark Star Trek Hallmark ornaments.
Check out the Top 10 and stay tooned for #9 next week!