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Howdy Doody Collectibles

Updated on February 4, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Among the most popular items to collect from the 1950s are Howdy Doody collectibles. These items all have a western theme and feature a marionette by the name of; you guessed it, Howdy Doody. This one puppet has become an icon of the era, representing a time when America was prospering and life was comfortable and predictable for most people. Interestingly, even the celebrated artist, Andy Warhol, took Poloroid images of the original puppet for his collection in the 1970s as a way to remember this iconic marionette.

The Howdy Doody Show

The puppet was the character on The Howdy Doody show which aired weeknights from 5:30 to 6:00 for most of its broadcast life. Buffalo Bob was the actor that interacted with Howdy Doody and brought the puppet to life. Local children were invited onto the show to be part of the "peanut gallery". Approximately 40 children sat in on stage bleachers and participated in the songs and other activities. One of the most memorable lines from the show is Buffalo Bob asking, "Say kids, what time is it?" to which the children would yell, "It's Howdy Doody time!" It was one of the first television shows to utilize audience participation in the theme.

The show ran from 1947 through 1960 and its popularity spawned many items including lunchboxes and cookie jars. Western themes were considered perfect for parties as well as decorating children's rooms and all of these items have become treasures to the collector.

Original Howdy Doody puppet displayed at Detroit Institute of Arts.
Original Howdy Doody puppet displayed at Detroit Institute of Arts. | Source

The Value of Howdy Doody Collectibles

Many of the collectible items are still quite affordable because they were made in large quantities. Some items, which are highly sought after, can fetch thousands of dollars at auction. A Howdy Doody wrist watch by Ingraham, for example, was sold for over $1,600.00 at a recent auction.

The value of these collectibles is based on a number of things including:

  • Condition
  • Provenance (who it belonged to, does it have a unique history, etc.)
  • Desirability (how many people want it?)
  • Rarity
  • Location

An appraiser considers all of these factors as well as several others when he evaluates a collectible. While the novice collector can't come up with an exact value, he can compare his item with other similar items that are for sale or have been sold. Here are some recent items and their sale prices, based on information located on the Internet.

Recent Collectibles Sales Prices

  • Howdy Doody Juice Glass, circa 1954 -$13.74
  • Howdy Doody's Wonder Bread Vintage Ad - 29.99
  • Clarabell Tin Toy – 332.00
  • Howdy Doody Watch by Valdawn – 98.00
  • Vinyl Children's Record, sealed – 2.99
  • Paper Dolls – 34.00
  • Howdy Doody Cookie Jar -299.00
  • 1947 Effanbee Howdy Doody Doll – 350.00

While these are only a sampling of what is available and what is being paid, the information gives you an idea of what you can expect to pay for your favorite Howdy Doody items.

Howdy Doody Cookie Jars

The 1950s were practically the golden age of cookie jars and Howdy Doody cookie jars were no exception. These jars in excellent condition can command some of the highest auction prices of any of the Howdy Doody collectibles.

Look for jars that have bright paint, little wear, and the cover intact. Covers are often the first thing to be damaged on a cookie jar because they are so often removed by small hands that are not always careful. Run your finger gently around the rim of the jar to check for chips and look carefully for cracks or repaired areas.

The Purinton cookie jar featured the head of Howdy Doody and was released in 1953 at a price of $3.99. It is a classic and one of the higher valued cookie jars on the collectibles market today. Prices range from $250.00 to around $450.00 depending on condition. It is the most popular and the one most often found in antique shops.

Where to Buy Collectibles

Browsing local antique shops and flea markets takes time but it is a relaxing way to spend a day off for most collectors. You can also find Howdy Doody products online at a variety of Internet stores and auction sites.

Ruby Lane

Ruby Lane is an antique mall online. You can find almost anything there by doing a search of the hundreds of shops on site. You will pay premium prices when you buy from an antique shop, even online, but you can be more confident that your purchase is what you believe it to be.

A recent search for the term Howdy Doody at Ruby Lane turned up 29 items.


Tias is also an antique mall. A recent search turned up nearly 100 unique items including advertisements, cookie jars, toys, and books. The site has been around since 1995 and has a fantastic return policy to ensure you get what you pay for.


Of course, eBay is the least expensive site but it is the one where you will run the most risk. Many sellers know little about their antique and vintage items and therefore you could be buying a newer version of a collectible item believing it to be original.

For the savvy collector there are great deals to be had on eBay; just make sure you know what you are buying and always read the seller's reviews and feedback.

Displaying Howdy Doody Items

Howdy Doody collectibles are best displayed en masse behind a glass door or on a shelf. The colorful products will draw attention to themselves no matter where they are located but being behind glass helps to protect them from accidental damage.

Always keep your antiques and collectibles from direct sunlight and dust them with a feather duster as needed to keep them clean and shiny. These collectible items will bring a touch of mid-century Americana to your home and make you smile whenever you see them.


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    • louromano profile image

      louromano 6 years ago

      Great article . Awesome lens !

    • profile image

      auralee77 6 years ago

      my mother has a howdy doody childs size t-shirt in good condition and wants to know if it is worth anything. it has howdy doody and another person on it , i think it is the guy who does the voice but im not sure. is there anything you can tell me about this?

    • profile image

      joel gonzales 6 years ago

      my mother has a howdy doodie cookie jar with a small crack on ear but she has the piece of ear still. with the lid no other cracks.trying to see the value of something like this? or facebook.

    • profile image

      GypsyWoman 6 years ago

      I have a Howdy Doody glass in perfect condition. It has been mine since my earliest memories; I was born in 1947. It may be a juice glass but could be a small Welch's jelly jar. The print (in orange) shows Howdy shooting a boy out of a cannon, and the white writing around the top says, "Dilly Dally is Circus Big Shot!" In small print near the bottom of the glass, there is the copyright (?) KAGRAN. A picture of a clown is on the bottom. Was his name Bozo? Thanks! I'd just like to know what it is for certain.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I used to love watching Howdy Doody. I had a Howdy Doody juice glas until one of my girls accidentally broke it when they were little. I miss that glass.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      When I was a small boy, I was a Cub Scout, and our den mother's home had the first TV in town. The first show I ever saw was a fuzzy, snowy, Howdy Doody show. I was enthralled with the idea of a moving picture magically appearing out of thin air.

      Great Hub!

    • Gypsy48 profile image

      Gypsy48 7 years ago

      Wonderful hub! I'm showing my age,I remember Howdy Doody very well. It's Howdy Doody time!


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