National Bobblehead Day: A brief history of the collectible figure

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(NEWS10) — Nod your head, Tuesday, January 7, 2020 is National Bobblehead Day! Do you know where the fun desk ornaments and collectibles came from?

According to the Bobblehead Hall of Fame, Bobbleheads date all the way back to Chinese nodding-head figures. These sculptures, larger than today’s traditional bobbleheads, were imported to England and Continental Europe in large numbers as early as the 1760s.

The Prince of Wales (later George IV) is credited with driving the popularity of the early bobblehead in England by importing the figures as part of his fascination with Chinese decoration. The Chinese nodding-head figures were brought to England as decoration for his ornate palace rooms.

The earliest literary reference to bobbleheads is in Russian writer Nikolai Gogol’s 1842 short story, “The Overcoat,” in which he describes the main character as having a neck “like the neck of plaster cats which wag their heads.”

Bobbleheads entered the sports world in the 1960, with paper-mâché and ceramic figures of Roberto Clemente, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Willie Mays. According to the Bobblehead Hall of Fame the uniforms of each player was unique, but the face on each figure was the same.

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