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    

Vin Scully Autographed Baseball And BobbleheadOriginal Vintage 1960's Baseball Yankees Mickey Mantle Mini Nodder Bobble HeadVin Scully Dodgers Bobblehead Sga Talking Limited Edition /3000 With CertificateVin Scully 2016 La Dodgers Opening Day Commemorative Bobblehead SgaLa Dodger Vin Scully Bobblehead, Farewell Letter & Commemorative Coin W/tix StubVin Scully ~ 2016 Los Angeles Dodgers Opening Day Commemorative Bobblehead SgaVin Scully Dodgers Bobblehead Sga Talking Limited Edition /3000 With CertificateVin Scully ~ 2016 La Dodgers Bobblehead Opening Day CeremonyRare Mike Trout Salt Lake Bees Bobblehead New In Box! Los Angeles AnglesKent "iceman" Meyer Milwaukee Brewer Beer Vendor Bobblehead1960s Dallas Cowboys Type 1 Bobblehead Rare Nodder Awesome!Vin Scully ~ 2016 La Dodgers Opening Day Commemorative Bobblehead SgaEric Hosmer Star Wars X Wing Pilot Kansas City Royals Bobblehead Sga 9/18/1610th Anniversary Fedex Cup Bobble Head Complete Set Of 8 Spieth Woods SinghVin Scully ~ 2016 La Dodgers Opening Day Commemorative Bobblehead SgaEric Hosmer Kansas City Royals Star Wars X-wing Pilot Bobblehead Sga 9/18/16Jon Gruden Corona 4 Ft Tall Bobble Head! Mint!John Mcdonald #6 Toronto Blue Jays BobbleheadLa Los Angeles Dodgers Vin Scully BobbleheadMike Trout Bobblehead Season Seat Holder Exclusive Gift Los Angeles Angels MlbVin Scully Bobblehead Dodgers Sga Talking Limited Edition /3000 With CertificateVin Scully Dodgers Bobblehead Sga Talking Limited Edition /3000 With CertificateJose Fernandez Bobblehead Figurine Marlins Giveaway Lot Of (2) Mickey Mantle Sga Bobbing Bobble Head Nodders Ny Yankees HofVintage 1960's Atlanta Braves Mascot "noc-a-homa" Bobble Head Nodder Gold BaseVin Scully 2016 La Dodgers Opening Day Commemorative Bobblehead SgaVin Scully Retirement Bobblehead & Commemorative Coin Sga 9/24/2016 Presale Vin Scully ~ 2016 Dodgers Opening Day Commemorative Bobblehead SgaVin Scully 2016 Los Angeles Dodgers Bobblehead Opening Day Ceremony SgaVin Scully Retirement Bobblehead Dodgers Sga Stadium Giveaway 9/20/16 New In BoxJoe Crede Signed Bobblehead Chicago White Sox Sga Rare! 2005 World Series ChampsVin Scully ~ 2016 Los Angeles Dodgers Bobblehead Opening Day Ceremony SgaVin Scully ~ 2016 La Dodgers Opening Day Commemorative Bobble Bobblehead SgaVintage 1960s Chicago Cubs Gold Base Baseball Bobble Head Nodder Bobblehead Vin Scully Retirement Bobblehead & Commemorative Coin Sga 9/24/2016 Presale Vin Scully ~ 2016 La Dodgers Opening Day Commemorative Bobblehead SgaChicago White Sox Chris Sale Golden Bobblehead Very Rare !!!!Vin Scully ~ 2016 Bobblehead Opening Day Ceremony SgaMib-2014-"jose Fernandez" BobbleheadVin Scully 2016 Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball Bobblehead SgaVin Scully Retirement Bobblehead Dodgers Sga Stadium Giveaway 9/20/16 New In BoxVin Scully Bobblehead 2016 67 Years La Dodger Hof AnnouncerR2 D2 Star Wars Cincinnati Reds Bobblehead Bobble Head Sga 5-15-2015 New Clayton Kershaw Hand Signed Autographed Sga Bobble Head 2015 Xx/ 22 Mlb HoloLa Angels Of Anaheim Mike Trout Rare Exclusive Season Ticket Holder BobbleheadMib-2014-"jose Fernandez" BobbleheadRare Jose Fernandez Marlins Bobblehead GiveawayVin Scully 2016 La Dodgers Bobblehead Opening Day Ceremony Sga L@@k!Ichiro Suzuki Miami Marlins Bobblehead Exclusive W/ Hit Counter Sga New In BoxNew! In Box 2016 Los Angeles Dodgers Vin Scully Bobblehead Sga 9/20 Free ShipVin Scully Bobblehead 2016 67 Years La Dodger Hof Announcer Vin Scully 2016 Los Angeles Dodgers Bobblehead 9/20/2016Vintage 1960's San Francisco Giants Bobblehead Baseball Mlb Paper Mache JapanEric Hosmer Star Wars Day Bobble HeadVin Scully ~ 2012 Los Angeles Dodgers Stadium Bobblehead SgaVin Scully Bobble Head-los Angeles Dodgers 2016 Sga With Game Day TicketVin Scully Bobblehead 9/20/16 Sga Nib 2016 Los Angeles Dodgers StadiumMatt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard Jacob Degrom Bobblehead, Garden Gnome, McfarlaneVin Scully ~ 2016 Los Angeles Dodgers Bobblehead Opening Day Ceremony SgaSandy Koufax Dodgers Bobblehead Sga Limited Edition /1995 With Certificate