It's Become a Well-Known Tale:
A tree ladened with the Radko family's antique ornaments fell when a newly purchased Christmas tree stand broke. Christopher ruined Christmas for his family! So he decided to right that wrong and on a trip to Poland went about trying to find replacements for the ornaments. The first collection consisted of 65 ornaments in 1986.
The Making of an Ornament:
Ornaments are produced in several European countries -- Poland, Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic. Each ornament is still made the old fashioned way and takes seven days to create. Over 10,000 different items have been created over the past twenty years.
The Different Radko Lines:
Over the years the Radko name has grown to include numerous products that fall into three lines: mouth-glown glass ornaments, Home for the Holidays (tabletop/decorative accessories) and Shiny-Brite, retro looking ornaments and decorations. Much to the chagrin of long-time collectors several years ago Radko produced an exclusive line for Target. The Target line was limited and to the expert collector the difference was obvious, but many felt it hurt the brand name in the long run.
It's Easy to Get Overwhelmed:
Christmas collectors can be easily overwhelmed when looking at the hundreds of different designs produced every year (1,100 in 2006). Sometimes it is best to focus in on a particular type of ornament or design and go from there. There are lots of choices including whimsical, traditional, or story book styles, as well as ornaments supporting charities and groups. It would be hard to name an item, character or culture which has not been represented by a Radko ornament.
Charity and Benefit Ornaments:
Every year Christopher Radko has numerous ornaments designated to raise funds for various charities including AIDS, Breast Cancer, Pediatric Cancer, Animal Rights Organizations, Diabetes, Heart Disease and The Christopher Radko Foundation for Children in Poland.
Other exclusive ornaments are produced specifically for charities to offer for sale as a fund-raising option. These include St. Jude's, the Dave Thomas Foundation and The M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Licensed and Exclusives:
In addition to the extensive Radko open ornament line, many stores have the chance to offer exclusives only available at their store, as well as signing exclusives. These are ornaments available only at a Radko appearance.
Over the years Radko has produced numerous licensed ornaments for companies as diverse as Disney, Warner Bros and Harley Davidson.
Ornaments are my gift of choice for friends and family. Why? It's just so easy to find something that suits each particular person.
The early years of Radko ornaments have risen in value and are difficult to find at a bargain. People usually know what they have! Secondary markets through newsletters, dealers or Internet auctions are the way to find the older ornaments. Many stores will also have a few retired ornaments in stock, you'll have to let your fingers do the walking when trying to find something specific.
Christopher Radko Ornaments
-- Author David Olsen has categorized the entire Radko line from the first year 1986 through 2000 (watch for Volume 2 next year). The book will be very helpful when shopping the secondary market, plus it serves to whet the appetite for ornaments from the early years.
Glass ornaments have experienced a rebirth of popularity in the past ten - fifteen years. Part of the reason is Christopher Radko and his ornaments and personality. He has appeared on television shows such as The Today Show, HGTV and Oprah and he's also decorated the White House Christmas tree.
Although there are numerous companies producing glass ornaments, there is only one that's a household name. Christopher Radko. Collectors and non-collectors may not have any "Radkos" but they know what the company makes.
Susan Schneider, An Ornament Collector