Collecting bobbleheads may seem like a childish hobby to a lot of people, but those that collect them know that there is a lot of money to be made. It’s not unusual for some of the rarer bobbleheads to have a value well into the 4 figure range. Collecting them can be easy, but collecting the ones that have value takes a little know-how.
How it All Began
The concept that grew into what is now called bobbleheads actually got its start in the mid-1800s with a Russian story called The Overcoat. The story’s mention of a wobbling figure is thought to be the earliest record, and the concept transitioned into other countries until finally the idea was used by American sports in the 1900s.
Even though it was considered to be nothing more than a novelty at the time, limited edition giveaways like the Willie Mays bobblehead as well as giveaways by a variety of sports teams have continued to keep collecting them, alive.
Bobblehead Collecting 101
It can be hard to judge which bobbleheads will gain value and which will not. One handy rule of thumb is to look at the bobblehead in terms of when and where it’s released. Is the person famous, is it part of a special event, is it signed, and how old is it? All of these questions can help determine whether a bobblehead has value or not.
With bobbleheads, condition isn’t always as important as it is with other collectable, but it’s smart to find those in the best condition possible. It’s also good to know what some of the terms mean when it comes to collecting bobbleheads.
Retail- These are some of the easiest to find and purchase because their usually sold in stores or online sites.
SGA/SGB- These are the acronyms most commonly used for bobbleheads that are part of a stadium giveaway. The value of these is usually determined by things like the size of the stadium and how many were given away, and since their typically sponsored, there’s usually a brand logo somewhere on them.
STH/ST– These bobbleheads tend to be a little rarer since their usually given to season ticket holders, usually as a way of thanking fans. These can be harder to find since their usually given to loyal fans who don’t often part with them.
NIB- These are often the most desired bobbleheads since the acronym stands for New In Box. This means that it’s still in the condition it was issued with all the original packaging and paperwork.
What’s the Value?
A bobbleheads value is typically determined by who it depicts and how many were made. There are two key terms to know when it comes to determining a value, but some bobbleheads are valuable even though they don’t really fit in either category like the 1964 Beatles or the Supreme Court Justice bobbleheads.
Vintage Baseball- These are the ones that helped start it all and can be some of the rarest and hardest to find.
Limited Edition- This is just what it sounds like and means that there aren’t a lot of copies out there.
Keeping a bobblehead collection in good condition is important, and displays are a handy way of doing that and showing off the collection at the same time. There are two main types of displays that are easily found: the single bobblehead and the multi-bobblehead displays.
Bobbleheads can be found just about anywhere. Auctions, auction sites like eBay, and private toy stores can all be great places to find rarer bobbleheads. Collecting them can be both fun and exciting as well as financially rewarding..