Clockwork Nodders

30 inch German Santa Nodder
A 19th century German clockwork Santa nodder, about 30″ in height, that features a bisque face with blue glass eyes, a goat-fur beard, long mohair coat and a goose-feather tree with miniature ornaments. This piece sold at Morphy Auction in 2007 for $17,250.
Nodder reindeer and Santa BA
A fabulous Santa with a Reindeer nodder sold at Bertoia Auctions.

Originally sold mainly for use in store window displays, clockwork nodders have become one of the most prized of all antique Christmas collectibles. Clockwork Santas first appeared in the late 1800s and continued to be produced as store window displays into the 20th century. Most are key wound with a clockwork spring mechanism inside but some were later electrified with motors and real lights on the Christmas trees the figures would carry. Nodders appear in many animal forms as well, but it is the Santa nodders, or the combinations of Santa with a nodding animal, that can command the highest prices.