New Brunswick

Value Village hunter turns $3 hockey bobblehead into $10,000

It was just an impulse buy off a Value Village shelf, a cute bobblehead hockey player for $2.99. Turns out it was the jackpot of bobbleheads, worth $10,000.

Fredericton man picked rare bobblehead doll off store shelf

The bobblehead bought by Normand McDonald of Fredericton for $2.99 at a Value Village has been sold for $10,000. (CBC)

A very lucky find on a trip to the used goods store Value Village has landed a Fredericton man a $10,000 windfall.

Normand McDonald has sold his extremely rare bobblehead doll of a hockey player to a collector from New York state.

That's a far cry from the pennies he paid for it in the first place.

"I bought it for $2.99 and it's been sitting on a shelf for seven or eight years, and on June 20 for some reason I walked by and I thought, 'I gotta find out more about you.'"

Normand McDonald posing with the bobblehead that he named Cash. (CBC)
What he quickly found out was that it was a doll made in Japan for the Laura Secord candy company in 1964, part of a series of six, one each of the Original Six hockey teams.

What made this one special was that it had a big error: It was supposed to be a Boston Bruin player, but the B was placed on Montreal Canadiens colours.

Only 13 known

The hard-core bobblehead collectors feel there may be only 13 of them surviving.

"He's made of papier mâché, which gets very brittle," said McDonald. "The other thing, he looks like a toy, but he's not, so if you get too rambunctious with him, it will crack, and most of them do."

He was able to hook up with a big collector that same morning he started the hunt for information.

The new owner, a New York state collector, takes possession of the prize bobblehead. (Normand McDonald)
"Within 45 minutes or so I had found a collector in the state of New York," said McDonald. "Right away he offered me $3,000, a few days later $4,000, a couple of weeks later $6,500, and a couple of days later I said, 'Give me $10,000 Canadian and it's yours.'"

Still, he did feel some seller's remorse when it came time to part with the treasure.

"Remember, I bought the little guy because I liked him, so there was a bit of emotion that way," he smiled. "However, getting the envelope full of money, they were hundred dollar bills, it was pretty thick, and pretty nice."

Some going to charity

Even though he has a good eye for antiques and knows his way around collectibles, McDonald admitted he got lucky with that pick, and just grabbed it because he liked the look of the bobblehead.  He doesn't even like professional sports.

So he says some of the profits will go to charity.

Updating the score: The Boston bobblehead has been reunited with his Original Six family, in a New York state collection. (Normand McDonald)
"It's something that's fallen into my lap, I can't explain it, it was sent my way, and so some of that will go to help others."

He also could have shopped it around to other potential buyers, but he liked the man from New York, and wanted him to finally have the complete set of six dolls he's been trying to finish for years.

"$2.99 to $10,000, that's a pretty good return on my money."

With files from Shift