Collecting Bobble Head Dolls
Bobble or "bobbing" head dolls are a popular collectible. Collecting these strange toys has become a part of the mainstream sports hobby.
You can call them "bobbing head" dolls, "bobble head" dolls or "nodders", but everyone knows what you're talking about regardless of the phrase.
Not many folks haven't seen those springy-headed plaster sports dolls. Arriving via Japan in the early 1960s, the dolls were popular dashboard decor that didn't really catch on as a vintage collectible until the 1980s. Tap on their head and the doll's noggin bounced around crazily. That was the extent of the excitement with bobble heads but they were cute.
Many of the older dolls are worth several hundred dollars. Value depends, of course, on condition. Often these items suffered cracks and chips or broken springs. Those that didn't are in demand. Dolls were made for all four major sports, but baseball and football dolls seem to be the most popular.
Sports Specialties of Los Angeles distributed the dolls at sports stadiums throughout the 1950s. Some were made with square bases, others with round bases. The bases generally came with green, gold or white bases. Among the rarest dolls are those featuring black mascots, issued from 1962-1964. A complete set of 19 baseball dolls is worth $12,000. Some of the more common dolls are worth $50-100. Value depends on condition but also on the scarcity. Some of the miniature dolls or those produced with certain color bases weren't produced in large quantity and carry a premium price.
In recent years, a new wave of dolls was produced that hoped to capture a fresh audience and give the old-timers something new to pursue.