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.