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The Ultimate Guide to Starting Your Bobblehead Collection

Do you know the most expensive bobblehead ever sold at auction? The vintage oversized "nodder" was one of only two known promotional bobbleheads for the 1961-1962 Yankees team. And it sold at Heritage Auctions for nearly $60,000. True, most bobbleheads aren't worth anywhere near that amount. And most people who collect bobbleheads do so because they love them, not because they're hoping to get rich. Are you thinking of starting your own bobblehead collection? Whatever your motivation, you might feel uncertain about how to get started. You might also wonder what types of bobbleheads to collect. If this sounds like you, you've come to the right place. In this post, we'll outline everything you need to know to start your own bobblehead collection.

History of Bobbleheads

For starters, what's the story of bobbleheads anyway? If you're unfamiliar with their history, here's a quick rundown. Far from a new novelty, the first mention of a bobblehead doll was in an 1842 Russian story called The Overcoat. From there, the idea traveled to other parts of the world and caught on with US sports teams in the early 20th century. It wasn't until the 1960s, though, when major league baseball bobbleheads became all the rage. Everyone was clambering to get their own miniature bobblehead version of their favorite baseball players. Although the craze died down after the 1970s, bobbleheads came back into fashion in 1999. Why? Because that's the year the San Francisco Giants offered a limited edition Willie Mays bobblehead. Other teams soon followed suit. In the early 2000s, most baseball teams and other sports teams jumped on the bobblehead bandwagon. Now, with modern technology to create custom bobbleheads in incredible detail, these unique "nodders" are definitely here to stay.

What Should You Collect?

So, you want to start a bobblehead collection. The first step (if you haven't already) is deciding what types of bobbleheads you want to collect. Major league baseball bobbleheads are a popular choice, but they're not the only option. Among the most popular bobbleheads are Star Wars characters, past presidents, and other politicians. There are also some rare bobbleheads floating around for sale--some of which are worth a lot of money. If you can get your hands on one of the 1964 Beatles or the Greeb Bag Supreme Court Justices, you've just ricocheted into bobblehead collector fame. Of course, some collectors aren't interested in rare or vintage pieces. Some people just genuinely love bobbleheads and want to collect them for sentimental reasons. That's okay, too. You could start a bobblehead collection to commemorate important events in your life or the lives of your kids. Or you might start a collection of superheroes, celebrities, or your favorite fictional characters. The sky really is the limit when it comes to collecting bobbleheads. Whatever your interests, there's sure to be a bobblehead to match!

Bobblehead Collecting 101

If you're interested in collecting vintage or rare bobbleheads, here are a few tips to help you get started. The majority of bobbleheads are issued to celebrate a player, mascot, or team milestone. Some commemorate a special event, such as a player's induction into the Hall of Fame. Others include a special "relic" like a piece of a jersey or a bit of infield dirt. It's not always possible to predict which bobbleheads will become more valuable over time. But it's safe to say that the more popular a player or team, the more interest and value it will draw. If you're seeking vintage bobbleheads, its condition should be one of your top concerns. Of course, a bobblehead that's 50+ years old isn't going to be in perfect shape. Still, pay close attention to any potential flaws before you spend your money. Like other hobbies, bobbleheads come with their own lingo. Here are a few common terms you should know before you start shopping:

  • Retail: Usually the easiest bobbleheads to find, since they're sold in online or brick-and-mortar stores.
  • SGA or SGB: Limited edition bobbleheads only available as a stadium giveaway.
  • ST or STH: Very limited quantity, only available to season ticket holders.
  • NIB: Your bobblehead will arrive new in an unopened box.

Some bobbleheads sell for a lot of money, but most don't. Half the fun of bobblehead collections is simply browsing to see what catches your eye. Your favorite piece may end up being something you would never have dreamed of! John Wilkes Boothe, anyone?

How to Display Your Bobbleheads

Once you've got your collection started, you need to find a secure place to display them. Rule number one is to keep them out of reach of kids and pets. Bobbleheads are surprisingly delicate--especially the head and neck. Even a fall from a few feet can damage or destroy it. For most of your bobbleheads, a tall flat shelf should do the trick. A desk or dresser works great too. The bobblehead itself comes with a built-in stand and are heavy enough to stay in place. Another option is to display your bobbleheads in their boxes. Usually, the boxes are decorated and make a nice addition to any home or office decor. If you're collecting rare or very valuable bobbleheads, you may want to take things one step further. A custom case with UV protection or a multi-item rack might be in order to protect your collection.

Start Your Bobblehead Collection Today

So, are you ready to start your own fun bobblehead collection? In addition to any vintage or rare bobbleheads, you may want to consider some custom bobbles as well. From weddings to military to kids and pets, some of your favorite bobbleheads may be the ones created just for you. Check out our newest collection of custom bobbleheads. We also invite you to contact us with any questions or concerns. Happy collecting!

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