Call them bobbleheads, call them nodders, even call them wobblers. Whatever you call them, though, the vintage 1960’s hand-painted papier-mâché and ceramic dolls depicting team players or mascots with heads connected to its neck by a spring are among the most whimsical collectibles in sports. Although bobbleheads have been around in some form since the 1800’s, it wasn’t until about 1960 when Lego, a Swiss firm, started making American dolls and had them manufactured in Japan, hand painting each one on paper mache. These dolls were made for MLB baseball teams from 1960-1972 in different styles and for colleges and universities they appear to have been made primarily in the early 1960’s. They could be bought through mail order or sometimes in stores… prices seem to have ranged from $1.00-$2.98.
The early dolls made for colleges, circa 1960-1962, were generic, depicting the same large-eyed Caucasian boy in a different team uniform. Fragile as they were, especially in the hands of young sports fans, it’s difficult to find these bobbleheads in good condition today and they can command a premium (from $100-$400), depending on the school and condition.
This specific bobblehead, standing 7 inches high, with OSC (Oregon State College) painted on the chest, dates to 1961 or 1962. It would seem to be the former, because by 1962 Oregon State had changed from College to University, but from my research it seems the green bases normally date this to 1962, which makes it unique if that really was the case and the school had already changed names when these were produced!