Call them nodders, call them bobbleheads, even call them wobblers. Whatever you call them, though, the vintage hand-painted papier-mâché and ceramic dolls depicting baseball players from the 1960s are among the most whimsical collectibles in baseball.

Nodders and bobbleheads describe any doll whose head is connected to its neck by a spring. This not-quite-solid connection allows the doll’s head to nod and wobble. These dolls have been around since the 19th century, but it wasn’t until 1960 that Major League Baseball decided to produce nodders and bobbleheads for some of its teams and players. Roberto Clemente, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Willie Mays were some of the first non-mascot nodders. As with baseball cards, Clemente nodders are highly collectible.

The first dolls, which were made by Lego in Japan, were hand-painted on papier-mâché. These first dolls were generic, depicting the same large-eyed boy in a different team uniform, his baseball-capped head bobbing about whenever the doll was moved. Some dolls featured team mascots—mascot dolls of the Indians, Braves, and Pirates are tough to find.

In general, the most collectible dolls are the ones from 1960-1962, with square or round orange or white bases. Dolls from 1962-1966 had green bases, while ones from 1967-1970 were painted gold.

The world of baseball nodders and bobbleheads in the 1960s was an almost exclusively Caucasian place, but in 1962, African American dolls were produced. Even then the manufacturer could not get the skin tones right—two versions of Willy Mays exist; the one with darker skin is valued more highly than the lighter-skinned version. African American dolls from the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, and Houston Colt .45s are especially collectible.

One of the problems with vintage nodders and bobbleheads is that they were quite fragile, which is a problem for an object that’s meant to be played with by children or mounted on the dashboard of a car. The dolls cracked and chipped easily. While repainting or repairing a doll is a relatively simple process, such changes tend to lower its value, so it’s better to find a piece “as is” than one that has been freshened up.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Old Cardboard

Old Cardboard

Check out this well-organized collection of 500 sets of baseball cards, each over 50 years old. Browsable by type a… [read review or visit site]

The Baseball Card Blog

The Baseball Card Blog

Ben Henry's lively vintage baseball card blog, started in January 2006, offers hundreds of great posts on (and pict… [read review or visit site]

Cardboard Junkie

Cardboard Junkie

Dave Campbell's in-depth blog on old baseball (and some football) cards lives up to it's motto: 'do cards, not drug… [read review or visit site]

Baseball Cards 1887-1914

Baseball Cards 1887-1914

Roll up your socks for this Library of Congress collection showcasing hundreds of players on colorful early basebal… [read review or visit site]

Baseball Hall of Fame

Baseball Hall of Fame

A home run for baseball collectors, this site features special online exhibits, ranging from a baseball-uniforms da… [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

1961 - 1963 Vintage Mini ~ Mickey Mantle ~ Dashboard Nodder Bobblehead Doll ~!1961 - 1963 Vintage Mini ~ Cleveland Indians ~ Dashboard Nodder Bobblehead DollLos Angeles Dodgers 1960's Vintage Green Base Bobblehead Nodder Milwaukee Braves 1962 Nodder Bobble Head Vintage Original Box! Japan White Base1961 - 1963 Vintage Mini ~ Pittsburgh Pirates ~ Dashboard Nodder Bobblehead DollVintage Roger Maris Yankees Baseball Bobble Head Bobblehead 1961 1962 NodderLos Angeles Dodgers 1962 Nodder Bobblehead Vintage Original Box! Japan1968 Philadelphia Phillies Bobblehead Nodder Gold Base Vintage Japan Baseball1961 - 1963 Vintage Mini ~ Pittsburgh Pirates ~ Dashboard Nodder Bobblehead DollJohnny Bench Bobblehead Set Cincinnati Reds Hall Of Fame Hof Philadelphia Phillies '61-'62 White Base Mini Bobblehead NodderSid Bream Slides Bobblehead Sga Braves New In Box Mint Bobble Stadium Giveaway1961 - 1963 Vintage Mini ~ Chicago Cubs ~ Dashboard Nodder Bobblehead Doll ~!Manny Machado Baltimore Orioles Mini Bobblehead Doll Aberdeen IronbirdsBaltimore Orioles Bobble Head,japan,1960'sPhiladelphia Eagles 1962 - 1964 Bobblehead Nodder2011 Tampa Bay Rays Manny Ramirez Cancelled Promo Sga Bobblehead ~ Rare!Mike Trout Bobble Head 2012 Rookie Of The Year New In BoxYadier Molina St.louis Blues / St Louis Cardinals Exclusive Bobblehead PresaleAndre Iguodala Hobby Vr Golf Bobblehead Golden State Warriors Nba Sga Limited Hard To Find Giancarlo Stanton Miami Marlins Bobblehead Nodder Doll BaseballGene Keady Bobblehead Purdue Boilermakers NibStephen Curry San Jose Sharks Edition Bobblehead Golden State Warriors NbNib Kevin Durant, Nate Thurmond, Draymond Flex, Iguodala Vr Bobblehead2017 Giannis Antetokounmpo Bobblehead Milwaukee Bucks Sga 1/13/17Kevin Durant Kd Bobblehead Golden State Warriors Nba Sga Champions2003 Eddie Mathews Atlanta Braves Bobble Bobblehead Sga Ltd Ed New In Box MintKris Bryant Bobblehead Sga 2016Vintage 1961 Buffalo Bills Toes Up Bobble Head / Japanese Nodder Atlanta Braves Sid Bream "the Slide" Bobblehead Collectible 1992 Nlcs Game 7 Jonathan Toews Patrick Kane Bobblehead Sga Presale 1/26/17Two Nib Draymond Green Flex And Kevin Durant Limited Edition BobbleheadEric Hosmer Star Wars Kansas City Royals X Wing Pilot Bobblehead NibChicago White Sox-juan Pierre- Bobblehead W/box-sgaSandy Koufax Bobblehead Limited Edition /1955 Coa Dodgers Sga In Original BoxSj Sharkie Bobblehead - San Jose Sharks2014 Hank Aaron Atlanta Braves Bobble Bobblehead Sga 40th Anniversary 715 W Box Panarin Bobblehead - New, Still In BoxKyrie Irving Uncle Drew Bobblehead Cleveland Cavaliers Pepsi Bobble HeadToronto Blue Jays Kevin Pillar Superman Pose 2016 Stadium Giveaway Bobblehead2017 Giannis Antetokounmpo Greek Freak Bobblehead Milwaukee Bucks Sga 1/13/17Keith Hernandez New York Mets Brooklyn Cyclones Baseball Bobblehead DollGolden State Warriors Andre Iguodala Bobblehead Sga 1/10/17 Sga NibPaul Goldschmidt Bobblehead **all Gold**2003 Hank Aaron Atlanta Braves Bobble Bobblehead Sga Homerun King Ltd Ed W BoxIvan Pudge Rodriguez Gold Glove BobbleheadEzekiel Elliott Ohio State 2014 National Championship Bobblehead (limited Edit)Uncle Drew Bobblehead Kyrie Irving Cleveland CavaliersNew York Islanders - Sparky The Dragon 1/21/17 Giveaway Bobblehead Vin Scully Dodgers Bobblehead Sga Talking Limited Edition /3000 Numbered & CoaArtemi Panarin Bobblehead Game Giveaway Sga Breadman Edition Rookie Of The Year Tony Stewart 2016 Commemorative Bobblehead - Final Race At Texas Motor SpeedwayNib 2017 Giannis Antetokounmpo Bobblehead Milwaukee Bucks 1/13/17Paul Konerko Chicago White Sox 2014 Limited Edition Bobblehead #/5000 Kris Bryant BobbleheadFernando Valenzuela 2006 La Los Angeles Dodgers Stadium Giveaway Bobblehead Sga2009 Rick Vaughn #99 BobbleheadMarshawn Lynch Cart BobbleheadSan Francisco Giants 2013 Buster Posey Star Wars Clone Trooper BobbleheadGiancarlos Stanton Bobblehead