A look at custom bobbleheads history will show you that these collectibles can be traced back to at least a hundred and fifty years ago. A story by Nikolai Gogol called The Overcoat that was published in 1842, had the earliest referenced made to similar toys. There were characters described with necks which look like cats with plastered necks and wagging heads. Afterwards, larger ceramic animal figures with sizes from roughly six to eight inches had been manufactured in Germany. At this time, the toys were called bobbers or nodders because they were made with spring connected heads.
The New York Knicks produced their bobble head basketball player in 1920 and this resulted in a renewed fascination with these collectibles. But, this interest waned again in 1930s and between then and the1950s, they were only made in limited amounts as novelty items.
During the 60s, the Major League Baseball created a number of papier-mache dolls with bobbleheads for each team with the very same angelic face. During the World Series in 1960, there was the production and selling of player specific bobblehead dolls for Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente and Roger Maris. Even though the uniforms had been different, all of them had the same kind of face. However, because they were made as papier-mache, only few of them could survive damages and would usually crack or chip.
The records for bobble heads history showed that the methods for creating the new and improved designs changed in the 1970s with the use of ceramic materials. These became extremely popular for various other sports, in addition to cartoon characters at the time. The sets designed for the Beatles grew to become the most rare and famous ones and is still an invaluable collectible item today. But, by the middle of the 1970s, these figures lost some interest and only a few new ones were produced. They did not return the high level of popularity until almost two decades.
During the 1990s, brand-new manufacturing techniques made the figures with plastic rather than ceramic. This significantly reduces production cost and the difficulty to create high quality products. The San Francisco Giants handed out some free collectibles to 35,000 Willie Mays fans during one of the games in 99 which became a huge hit amongst collectors and fans. This event, along with the reduced manufacturing costs, encouraged a stronger and faster resurgence of these toys and the general industry.
Some new variations were made after the year 2000 which includes the bobble computer sitters; mini-bobblehead; bobblehead banks and air fresheners. The customized ones were also achievable and a number of companies started to provide this service. Most of the existing custom bobblehead bear resemblance to the real-life alternatives, such as matching tattoos, scars, headbands and hair styles.