I have always loved the Rankin/Bass stop motion holiday specials. I have seen the pictures of the original puppets in disarray and they looked bad. However it looks like they have now been restored! Check out the link below to see pictures of them in all their original glory.
Rudolph & Santa: RESTORATION FINISHED!: updated 8-15-06
The original Rankin/Bass Ani-Magic Puppets of Rudolph and Santa from the 1964 TV special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer have finished their restoration process. The puppets spent the early half of this year residing among other modern day stop-motion puppets in one of Hollywood’s leading animation studios where experts in puppet construction and preservation have been meticulously working to restore them to their original specifications. This includes detailed cleaning, careful repair of broken parts and reconstruction of a few minor missing costume pieces. Now finished the puppets arel be back in working condition, able to stand and pose as they were originally designed. For the first time in 40 years, Rudolph’s nose can once again light the night with his famous red glow.
I found this via Cartoon Brew.