This Guide will help you buy ORIGINAL Cast Iron Doorstops and Avoid Modern Reproductions!
Purchasing a Genuine Antique Cast Iron Boston Terrier Doorstop has become more challenging in the past 30 years.
Reproductions have entered the market, but you can limit the chance you'll purchase a modern doorstop by knowing what to look for in originals.
The oldest cast iron Boston Terrier or Bulldog door stops were cast by craftsmen who took pride in soft edges, grinding them down if needed so they were smooth to the touch around the feet, ears and where the seems meet. Most old doorstops were painted on the body by airbrush, so there is almost always an overlap of paint where brown meets cream or black meets white, depending on the dog's color. If the doorstop has clear-cut distinct paint lines with no overlap, most likely it has been repainted by someone, usually with a brush. Eyes were hand-painted, usually gray with black pupil and some of the Hubley produced dogs had a hand-painted red dot for a tongue. I highly recommend the book "Doorstops" by Jeanne Bertola which has full-color photos and values. There are others books available on Ebay's sister site, half.com, for very low prices.
The screw or screws that hold the dog together should be a larger flat-head screw, recessed into the side of the left side body (rib area with one screw or if there are two screws, neck and flank). A guarantee of newness is a phillips-head screw similar to decking screws, rough metal edges that have no grinding marks anywhere on the body and the look of new hand painted colors. The oldest Boston Terrier dogs were produced in the late 1800's as fairly thin dogs with strong rib cage definition and some definition lines inside the ears. The earliest Boston Terriers were molded, but did not have the bottoms of the feet ground flat. They always had some roundness to the bottoms of the feet. Next generation dogs, created in the early 1900's, had grinder marks under the body at the seems and around the ears, and had grinder marks on the flat bottoms of the feet. Early dogs were supposed to stand flat, have smoothly ground edges and look realistic as possible with detail in the body including leg muscles, ribs and facial features.
The majority of Boston Terrier Bulldog doorstops looked or faced right if you're standing behind them, but a select few, probably less than 10%, were produced facing left. Those also have the screw or screws in the left side of the body. Left facing Boston Terrier Doorstops are the rarest of their breed and command prices often 50 to 100% higher than their right-facing counterparts. It is all about the law of supply and demand. Very little supply, lots of demand for these wonderful additions to any home. They create character from a day when doors were held open by heavy metal decoratives.
Simple tips for spotting the real thing in Antique Cast Iron Boston Terrier Doorstops are smooth cast iron, not bumpy or rough, air-brushed overlap where the colors meet, typically, but not always, gray eyes and red tongue, and flat head screw either in the centerof the side of the dog or two flathead screws with one in the side of the neck and one in the flank. Screw heads were typically filled and painted over, but you can usually see an outline.
Old Cast Iron typically does not have red rust that rubs off when touched. Red dusty rust is an indicator of new metal. Most unpainted old cast iron is smooth, very dark and rust-free unless it has been stored in very moist conditions like a basement. If there is exposed cast iron, it should be almost black and very smooth to the touch. Newer metal will be rough and have red rust. I use an odd method for comparing old to new. If you have a good sense of smell, old cast iron will have an earthy, mushroom-like smell that new metal won't have, especially when wet. That is true of all cast iron doorstops.
Originals are heavy, weighing in at 5-8 pounds each and there are three sizes. The smaller bank-size that was also used as a cigar lighter that is about 5-inches long, the mid-size that is about 8-inches long and the largest Boston Terriers that measure almost 10 inches long and tall. You'll spot a modern reproduction by its rough metal and rough edges, seams that are not a tight fit, hand-painted look with bright colors and typically a phillips-head screw holding the dog together. If it looks new, it probably is new. Best rule for buying doorstops is "know the person you're buying it from" and always ask about the dog's history. A tip for purchasing antique cast iron doorstops on eBay is to type in doorstop and door stop, then sort by highest price first as originals usually start higher and go higher than repros.
Please press "YES" below. Those who vote for this Guide raise the visibility to other potential Doorstop Buyers. If you enjoy this Guide, and feel it is HELPFUL please press the "YES" button below!