There are many types of reindeer, some of the earliest being made in Germany in the 1890’s. They were usually made of paper mache or composition, some of which are then covered with fur, felt, or cloth material. They came in many different sizes too. Some were candy containers (where the head can be removed) and some were nodders (wind-up or counter weight). In addition, there were reindeer with harnesses that were made for pulling sleighs, and some even had Santa riders. Around 1920 metal reindeer were made, and most were about 4″- 5″ tall and usually marked Germany or Japan (1930’s).
There are other types of reindeer that were made later, including celluloid and plastic. In fact, reindeer are still being made today. In the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, Western Germany made fur covered reindeer with very decorative harnesses and had Santa riders or were pulling sleighs with Santa in them. Early Reindeer are becoming very difficult to find and are demanding big prices. Beware that some reindeer are being reproduced in the old style and sold as old.