In this installment of “What It’s Worth,” we will focus on Department 56 Singing Nuns, an Orginal Snow Village accessory. Standing at just 3.75 inches tall, the market value of this little figurine might surprise you.

Brief History of Department 56

Department 56 is a company that specializes in creating high-quality, hand-crafted holiday decorations. Over the years, Department 56 has become known for their intricate and detailed buildings, figurines, and accessories that help bring the magic of the holiday season to life. They have a wide range of products that includes everything from charming village buildings and festive holiday figurines to sparkling lights and decorative accessories. Today, Department 56 is a well-respected and highly sought-after brand in the world of holiday decor, with a loyal following of collectors and enthusiasts around the globe.

Department 56 started as the wholesale gift imports department (dept # 56) of Bachman’s, a popular floral and gift center in Minneapolis. The Department 56 website best tells the story of how the idea of a lighted Christmas village was born.

“One Christmas evening, a group of friends set off to enjoy a dinner of celebration at a small country inn nestled in a quiet river town. As they rounded a bend in the road, they saw the small, old-fashioned village decorated for the holidays. The lights, like fairies, glowed and sparkled amid the freshly fallen snow. All evening, the conversation was full of Christmas memories and the visions the tiny town had evoked. Amidst the jovial banter and magical memories, the idea for a lighted Christmas village was born. That spark of an idea became a reality when, in 1976, Department 56 introduced a series of six hand-painted, ceramic buildings. The rest is history.”

Brief History of The Original Snow Village

Department 56 has introduced many village series, but the first and most iconic is The Original Snow Village. The Original Snow village is a popular line of lighted ceramic buildings and figurines inspired by cozy Small-Town, USA. The collection includes a variety of charming buildings highlighting the shops of Main Street and the surrounding neighborhoods. Each building is carefully crafted with intricate details and is designed to look like it is covered in a layer of fresh snow. The Original Snow Village also includes a range of holiday-themed accessories, such as carolers, skaters, and Santa Claus.

The Original Snow Village was introduced in 1976 with 6 lighted ceramic buildings: Mountain Lodge, Gabled Cottage, The Inn, Country Church, Steepled Church, and Small Chalet. 3 years later, in 1979, the first Original Snow Village accessory was introduced. The series is designed to be highly collectible, with new buildings and accessories being released each year. In addition to new releases, others buildings and accessories are retired. Many collectors enjoy setting up a miniature snow village display and adding to it over time.

What It’s Worth: Department 56 Singing Nuns

These four ladies aren’t the bragging type, so you may not realize how special they are. The Singing Nuns were one of the first ten Department 56 Original Snow Village accessories. They were introduced in 1985 and retired in 1987. The limited supply along with the popularity fueled by it being one of the first Original Snow Village accessories drives the market value up. The Singing Nuns are a companion accessory to the Monks-A-Caroling released earlier in 1983.

Finding these ladies in Excellent Condition is a rare and treasured find. The Singing Nuns in Excellent condition can sell for a range of $65-$85. Very Good condition $45-$65. For help determining the condition of the Singing Nuns or any vintage Christmas collectible, check out my Vintage Collectable Condition Guide.

*Note: the price ranges given are estimated market values, not appraised values. Market value is what you can expect to get on marketplaces like Etsy, Facebook Marketplace, or a vintage store/market. Appraised values can only be provided by a licensed appraiser.

If this was helpful, head over to our Vintage Christmas page for more vintage Christmas collectibles and what they are worth.

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