Before we get into this week's topic (Carter-Hoffman mascots), I have to broach another subject- restoration and repair. It has long been the theory in our hobby that restoration ruins the value of a piece. What's wrong with us? This may be the farthest thing from the truth. In every other hobby, not only is restoration tolerated, it is advised. Like many of you, I am "hooked" on Television's Antique Road Show. I can't tell you how many times expert appraisers advise people to get a painting or a piece of furniture restored. This will not only enhance the value, but the piece will look better. It's common sense to want collectibles to display as nicely as they can. Oh- but not in our hobby. I have had collectors lose sleep over the thought of owning a repaired bobbing head or a cleaned Hartland statue. Are we elitists or just snobs? Don't get me wrong, you should collect the way you want, but please do not under-estimate the value of restoration. There are some very good artists that can restore memorabilia without compromising its integrity. All that being said, it is important for sellers to be diligent and honest when selling a restored piece. In future postings, we will try to give you tips to detecting restoration. In the meantime, ask yourself this- if you had a classic 1961 Corvette with a smashed front fender, would you get it restored? The answer would probably be yes. Now if you had a 1961 Mickey Mantle bobbing head doll with a chip on the side of the head- why wouldn't you get it fixed? Let's here your thoughts on this subject.


Carter-Hoffman Mascot Figurines



 Most of you probably don't have a clue as to what these are. You may have passed them by at Memorabilia Shows or flea markets without giving them a second glance. Well- if you love figural sports memorabilia like we do- here's your chance to learn about one of the most under-rated collectibles in the hobby.

Carter-Hoffman Artcraft was a company that operated out of Los Angeles, California in the late 40's/early 50's. They specialized in making hand carved wooden college mascots. Schools would design and order these mascot figurines to be sold in their book stores and sporting events. The statues came in several different sizes and were even made into bottle pour spouts. The most common size of the statues were 5" x 5" x 2". The suggested retail price at the time was $3.95. Larger statues measuring 8" x 10" x 4" had a suggested price of $15. This was not cheap for that time period considering that packs of baseball cards sold for as little as 5 cents.


The statues themselves are somewhat crude and have a "folk art" look and appeal. The more you look at them and the more you see- the more you can appreciate the workmanship that went into each and every one. Initially I didn't care for them, but they really grew on me. I would have to admit that they are now one of my personal favorite pieces of figural sports memorabilia. Just take a look at some of the pictures and I think you'll see what I mean.


Now collecting them can be a real challenge. Their brochure lists 121 different schools with 18 different conferences being represented. I can tell you that we have had many schools not listed on this brochure- so it is unclear as to exactly how many schools were produced. You would think that with all these schools being made they would be abundant. I have rarely seen them at shows and a quick scan of the Internet will bring very limited results. Because of our love for them, we have tried to introduce them in our auctions (we have several in our March 23, 2007 auction). The list of collectors of them is growing, but still pales in comparison to some of the other genres of figural memorabilia. I will tell you, that the collectors of these amazing pieces are feverish about them and prices have escalated greatly over the last decade. Just another thing to keep your eye out for!

Next week's topic - Oddball Bobbing Head dolls