First with a brief history of bobbleheads. Chinese nodding-head figures are documented in England and Continental Europe as early as the 1760’s and 1770’s and Johann Zoffany’s famous portrait depicting Queen Charlotte in her Dressing Room at Buckingham Palace painted in 1765 shows two such figures in the background (see C. Saumarez Smith, Eighteenth Century Decoration, New York, 1993, p. 255, fig. 246). Nodding-head figures were imported into England, Europe and America from Canton in large numbers from the 1780’s. The great interest in these figures in England is derived in large part from the personal tastes of the Prince of Wales (later George IV) during the late 18th and early 19th Centuries. The Prince’s interest in Chinese decoration was first expressed in his Chinese Drawing Room at Carlton House; however his sudden inspiration to achieve an Oriental interior at Brighton Pavilion was prompted in 1802. The final achievement, an ornate palace of fantastical proportions and exotic furnishings, was due to the combined efforts of the Prince himself and his principal designers, John and Frederick Crace, over the next twenty-five years. A number of Chinese figures of this type were prominently displayed in the corridor of the Pavilion (see J. Morley, The Making of the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, Boston, 1984, pp. 169-176).
How are bobbleheads made? There are all types of bobble heads and they’re made from several types of materials. Generally, the most common bobble heads are made from resin and plastic. There are also ceramic and wooden bobble heads, but they are in the minority of the products currently produced. The resin bobble head dolls are solid and generally allow for greater details and finer contouring of the body. Plastic bobble heads are cast from a mold, but not all plastic bobbing heads are the same. Some styles rely purely on the mold as the entire product with the appropriate paint colors added. Our most popular bobble heads use a plastic inner shell that are not solid and are covered with felt cloth. The felt adds a layer of detail, a layer of feeling, and an additional layer of strength to the bobble head. With our bobble head animals, you’ll find that the eyes are made of plastic and some vary from completely solid colors to an eye complete with color and pupil.
The bobble head doll seemed to be deemed a 20th century relic by the turn of the century, but Major League Baseball again brought back the bobble head doll from pop culture oblivion. The San Francisco Giants presented the Willie Mays bobble head doll on May 9, 1999 to 20,000 visitors to their ballpark celebrating the 40th anniversary of Candlestick Park, which was the last year of the Giants playing at that stadium by the bay. That ushered in a whole new era of bobble head madness. Baseball teams throughout the United States began to offer the bobble head doll as a promotional item for their fans and bobble head dolls were one of the most popular and eagerly sold items in the early days of eBay along with Pez.
Bobblehead is a collectable doll which has characteristically oversized head that is connected to the body with spring or wire and when the head is lightly tapped it would bobble from which doll got its name. Some of the alternative names are bobble heads, Thanjavur thalayatti bommai, bobble head dolls, Tanjore head-shaking doll, bobbing heads, moving heads, nodders, nodding heads, akabeko, wobblers and nodding heads.
The easiest way to see what specific bobbleheads are going for is to look on eBay. In addition to viewing current listings, you can also see the completed listings and their final prices. While there will always be deviations from the norm, with the proper search string and timeframe, it can be very easy to see the expected price range for a specific bobblehead. Naturally, when something has value, people are curious which versions command the highest values. With bobbleheads, there are few categories which tend to draw the highest values.
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