Category Archives: 001) 1991 Enterprise

2021 Top 10 Hallmark Star Trek Ornaments: #10

#10: 1991 U.S.S. Enterprise

Retail: $24.00
2021 Secondary Market: $124.95
Size: 5.25” L x 2.5” W x 1.75” H
Code: QLX7199

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!

1991 Newspaper Article Reports High Demand for Enterprise Ornament

Article text:
Twenty-five years after embarking on its mission to “boldly go where no man has gone before” the USS Enterprise has crossed another frontier – onto Christmas trees across the country.
And even the stoical Mr. Spock would no doubt be tickled at its success.
Hallmark Cards has turned the famous starship into its newest Christmas ornament. The tiny model – about 5 inches long – features blinking red and green lights! Authentic markings and sells for $20.
The ornament immediately caught the fancy of Trekkies when it arrived in stores in July. Retailers now can’t get enough of the item to satisfy demand. Fans who want the Federation starship on their tree the Christmas are advised to get their names on a waiting list right away.
Dallasan Hallmark in Casa Linda Plaza has sold out of its stock three times, plus the display ornament, and is waiting for more.
That is, except for one ornament, whispch is tucked away out of sight of customers.
“I’m a Trekkie,” says cashier Josef Caldwell. “It’s for me.”
“It’s the biggest demand we’ve ever had for a single ornament,” said Betsy Helgager, spokeswoman for Hallmark in Kansas City, Mo. “We’ve heard about the waiting lists and all that. We expected it to do well, but… (Mitchell Diggs, Scripps Howard News Service)

Click on link in comments.

1991 Hallmark Star Trek Enterprise Buy Back Program

This clipping is from The Country Journal in May of 1994. It is an article that covers Patrick Stewart and the last days of Star Trek: The Next Generation but what catches the eye is the Hallmark ad in the lower right.

Unfortunately, the image is too blurry to make out the details but it is a Rowe-Manse Emporium and Country Store advertisement offering a buy back program of the 1991 Hallmark Enterprise ornament. As the ad shows, Rowe-Manse was offering $150 for Hallmark’s first Star Trek ornament. $150 in 1994 is equivalent to $268.50 in 2021. The ‘91 Enterprise is currently available on eBay for $75 and up. Originally sold for $20, the Enterprise was a huge success and supply did not keep up with the high demand.

Roxanne Roberts of the Washington Post wrote on the ornament’s rarity in 1991, “Demand for the Starship is the greatest that Hallmark has ever had for any ornament, says spokeswoman Betsy Helgager. The company will not release production figures but the Enterprise, which premiered this summer at about 11,000 retailers, was quickly reissued this fall when Hallmark realized it had a phenomenon on its branches. Each store got about 50. Since the ornament went on display in August, stores have been inundated with requests. Most started waiting lists; after a while, they stopped taking names. On Oct. 1, when retailers were allowed to reorder the spaceship, Hallmark received more than $1 million in orders, said one representative. Most shipments were sold out the day they arrived. People are still calling, even offering extra money.“

In 1993, Kevin Stevens wrote for Strange New Worlds, “Prices for the Starship Enterprise ornament climbed to $175, eventually topping out at about $250. One dealer at a Los Angeles area Star Trek convention had priced the ornament at $400. Prices for this piece have since stabilized at about $200.

The Rowe-Manse Emporium was a New Jersey business that sold collectibles, toys, jewelry, food and candy and was known for its wooden escalator. Unfortunately, this specialty department store went out of business in the early 2000s.

1991 Hallmark Article from Washington Post

Source: latimes.com

Star Trek Ornament Hits the Stars: A replica of the Starship Enterprise is this year’s hottest Christmas tree bauble

December 19, 1991|ROXANNE ROBERTS | THE WASHINGTON POST

WASHINGTON — Pick one: This year’s fastest-selling Christmas ornament is (a) a porcelain angel, (b) a Merry Olde Santa, (c) a replica of the Starship Enterprise from “Star Trek” complete with tiny red and green blinking lights on the spaceship’s bridge.

Answer: Beam me up, Santa.

The good news, for the clever shoppers who snapped up the $20 Hallmark Keepsake Magic ornament when it came out this summer, is that it’s the bauble to have. The bad news, for all of us who missed yet another hot trend, is that it’s completely sold out.

“If we had 1,000 of them, I’m sure we could have sold them all,” says Bonnie Dunnells, manager of Elm Tree Hallmark in Herndon, Va. “It’s the Cabbage Patch doll of ornaments.”

Demand for the Starship is the greatest that Hallmark has ever had for any ornament, says spokeswoman Betsy Helgager. The company will not release production figures but the Enterprise, which premiered this summer at about 11,000 retailers, was quickly reissued this fall when Hallmark realized it had a phenomenon on its branches. Each store got about 50.

Who knew? There was a spaceship last year, another one of the Keepsake Magic ornaments (“Lights! Music! Motion!”), but it wasn’t a big seller. This year Hallmark was banking on the $20 “It’s a Wonderful Life” with blinking lights, the $40 “Santa Special” train with talking Santa, and the $25 “Kringle’s Bumper Cars” with lights and motion.

But it’s the limited-edition Star Trek ornament, five inches long, which plugs into a miniature-bulb socket on the tree, that’s causing calls from desperate customers across the country. Hallmark attributes the demand to the show’s 25th anniversary, the recently released “Star Trek VI” movie and the death of the series’s creator, Gene Roddenberry.

Ornament collector Kay Layton of Germantown, Md., has 17 cartons of Christmas decorations. Usually she waits until the day after Christmas to buy, when everything goes on sale. But she snapped up an Enterprise in September. “I’m not a Trekkie but something told me to grab it.”

Since the ornament went on display in August, stores have been inundated with requests. Most started waiting lists; after a while, they stopped taking names. On Oct. 1, when retailers were allowed to reorder the spaceship, Hallmark received more than $1 million in orders, said one representative. Most shipments were sold out the day they arrived. People are still calling, even offering extra money.

The display ornament at Tysons Hallmark Corner was stolen in August. One woman threw a tantrum when she discovered customers were limited to one ornament each.

Even Hallmark employees have had to scramble. One wanted three ornaments for family members, so she called relatives in three different states and asked them to buy it for her. Dunnells–to be fair about it–put her own name on the waiting list in September and finally got her little Enterprise last week.

“I really have no feeling for it at all,” she said. “It’s just that I’m sure it’s going to be worth a lot of money someday.”

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. 

1993 Hallmark Article from Strange New Worlds

Source: strangenewworlds.com

Strange New Worlds was a science fiction collectors magazine published from 1992 through 1994, providing original articles, interviews, and news for science fiction collectors. This is a reprint of an article from Strange New Worlds Issue 10 – Oct/Nov 1993.

The Star Fleet of Hallmark
by Kevin Stevens

In 1991 Hallmark Cards produced the first in a series of Star Trek Keepsake Ornaments in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the television series. The Starship Enterprise ornament was unveiled in July 1991. The finely detailed ornament blinking red and green lights on the saucer section was a beautiful recreation of the classic starship.

By August, Hallmark found that demand for this particular ornament was overwhelming; it appealed both 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 Ornament 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. By June 1992 collectible dealers were advertising the $20 ornament for anywhere from $50 to as high as $125. Prices would climb higher still.

In 1992, Hallmark, wishing to repeat its success with the Starship Enterprise, produced a second Keepsake Ornament: the Shuttlecraft Galileo. This lighted ornament included a voice chip featuring the voice of Mr. Spock. By pushing a button, collectors could hear Spock wishing all a happy holiday. Anticipating a repeat of the response to their Enterprise ornament, Hallmark produced the Galileo in greater numbers. Retailing for $24, this ornament was so available to retailers that demand never exceeded supply.

Fans and collectors bought the Galileo in quantity. Hallmark heavily advertised the ornaments in science fiction and Star Trek publications. This exposure, combined with the increased production numbers, meant that fans interested in obtaining the ornament were able to do so easily at retail prices. A year later, collectors can find the Shuttlecraft Galileo ornament for between $35 and $40.

However, because many more fans obtained the second ornament in the series, the demand grew to complete the set by finding the Enterprise ornament. Fans were now hungry for it. Prices for the Starship Enterprise ornament climbed to $175, eventually topping out at about $250. One dealer at a Los Angeles area Star Trek convention had priced the ornament at $400. Prices for this piece have since stabilized at about $200.

Although the Galileo ornament never achieved the collectibility status of the first ornament, a counter display promoting the ornament has become collectible. The display featured a plastic globe recreating a moon with the Galileo ornament orbiting above it. A button at the base of the display allowed shoppers to hear the greeting from Mr. Spock. This display, which included a cardboard back with advertising information about the ornament, has gone on to the secondary marketplace, with prices from $75 to $150.

For 1993, Hallmark has released the third in the series of Star Trek ornaments: the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701D from Star Trek: The Next Generation. As with the first Enterprise ornament, this keepsake piece features blinking lights. No voice chip is included.

Hallmark announced that it would scale back production for the 1993 ornament, making the newest ornament a more promising collectible than the Galileo. Early reports from Hallmark Gold Crown Stores (retailers for the ornaments) bear this out. Stores that began receiving the ornaments in August have been sent only half their anticipated orders, making demand high from collectors. Even those who pre-ordered have had to wait for back orders to be received.

It remains to be seen how production numbers for the new ornament will stack up as the holiday season approaches. During the holiday season, collectors should anticipate increased prices for the earlier ornaments. If the pattern established in 1992 holds true, prices may spike again, but should stabilize in the new year.

Regardless of the fluctuating prices and collector frenzy, these ornaments remain among the most beautiful, and highly collectible, Star Trek items produced in recent years.

Kevin Stevens is editor of Trek Collector, a bimonthly newsletter for Star Trek fans and collectors. He has been a Star Trek collector since 1972. His collection was featured recently on Los Angeles’ Fox TV news station KTTV. 

Back issues of Strange New Worlds available here.

25th Anniversary Revisit: 1991 U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701

It has been 25 years since Star Trek’s Enterprise debuted as a Hallmark Keepsake Ornament.  Over that quarter of a century it has been followed by nearly eighty more ornaments depicting ships, characters and scenes from all five television shows and three movies series. We have Lynn Norton to thank for sculpting all of the ship ornaments but 1992’s Galileo.

Lynn Norton did a 2015 interview with Kevin Dilmore of startrek.com: “At Hallmark, Don Palmiter, Dill Rhodus and I brought fine scale model-making to the ornament business. 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. I beat that poor design nearly to death, but it got us started and it was very popular with fans of Star Trek and of Keepsake Ornaments. When we reissued the ornament in 1996 for the show’s 30th anniversary, we used the same design.”
– See more at: http://www.startrek.com/article/hallmark-sculptor-lynn-norton-on-the-storied-history-of-trek-keepsake-ornaments#sthash.EKFFnHTi.dpuf

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01) 1991 Starship Enterprise

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Original Retail: 

Artist:

Novelty: String light

Box Text: This unique ornament, with its bright blinking lights, commemorates the 25th anniversary of STAR TREK and celebrates the holiday season.

Serial #:  QLX719-9

Lynn Norton…”From the beginning, Star Trek imagined that we had overcome the problem of a ship having enough energy not only to propel yourself but to give yourself a comfortable living environment. As a design, it captured our excitement from the notion of flying saucer and the way we had come to imagine what a deep-space vehicle might look like. When you start thinking of the physics of propelling an object through space, it doesn’t have to look aerodynamic. It can be purely functional. The fact that it was a flying saucer is one of the things that captured my imagination right away. All space movies are really submarine movies. The Enterprise reflects all the elements of a submarine crew’s experience — living in close quarters in a hostile environment with nothing but a thin metal skin between them and oblivion — and put it in space seamlessly.

“At Hallmark, Don Palmiter, Dill Rhodus and I brought fine scale model-making to the ornament business. 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. I beat that poor design nearly to death, but it got us started and it was very popular with fans of Star Trek and of Keepsake Ornaments. When we reissued the ornament in 1996 for the show’s 30th anniversary, we used the same design.”
– See more at: http://www.startrek.com/article/hallmark-sculptor-lynn-norton-on-the-storied-history-of-trek-keepsake-ornaments?ecid=PCID-2617611&pa=affcj#sthash.wtngTAh1.dpuf

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Inscriptions

on top of ornament: U.S.S. ENTERPRISE / NCC-1701 on front of packaging: MAGIC / BLINKING / LIGHTS! / Hallmark / KEEPSAKE / ORNAMENT / STAR TREK / 1991 / 25th ANNIVERSARY/ Saucer / Lights Blink / Starship Enterprise on back of packaging: Hallmark / KEEPSAKE / ORNAMENT / Handcrafted – Stardated 1991 / This unique ornament, with its bright blinking lights, commemorates the 25th anniversary of STAR TREK and celebrates the holiday season. / Lights blink automatically and continually. / Ornament plugs easily into any of the light bulb sockets on a miniature tree light string. Use only with standard U.L.-listed light strings of 3.5-or 6-volt bulbs. / Attached connector cord allows for easy placement on your tree. / Not for use with blinking lights. / Complete display instructions enclosed. / $20.00 on bottom of packaging: (C) 1991 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved. / STAR TREK is a Registered Trademark of Paramount Pictures. / Mfd. for Hallmark Cards, Inc., Authorized User. K.C., MO 64141 / Ornament Made and Assembled in China / Connector Cord Made in Taiwan / Connector Cord U.S. Pat. No. 4,544,218 / Circuitry U.S. Pat. No. 4,682,079 / QLX719-9