How to Tell Antique Cast Iron Doorstops from Fakes

I finally found my thrifting unicorn … an antique doorstop that looks just like my Boston Terrier, Sushi! These doorstops are so popular that I’m sharing how to tell antique cast iron doorstops from fakes  This lead me down a rabbit hole to find out all I could about these folk art collectibles that come in so many whimsical designs. So whether you are a die hard collector of antique doorstops or this is the first time you’ve heard of them, I’m sharing lots of interesting information so that you can be on the lookout for your own unicorn (or dog, or flower, or bird … you get the picture)!

Everything you need to know about antique cast iron doorstops. Love this Boston Terrier doorstop #doorstop #antique #antiques #collect #collectibles #hubley #bostonterrier #vintage #vintagedecor #antiquedecor

This post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

There were many companies (Hubley, National Foundry, Albany Foundry to name a few) that produced these doorstops in the late 18th and 19th centuries. They were at the height of popularity during the 1920s – 1940s.

With popularity comes imitation so beware of reproductions. Older doorstops will have a smoother feel while fake counterparts feel rougher or pebbly. Small chips are common but antique doorstops should never be repainted. Doorstops that have two or more pieces will be joined together with a flat, slotted screw while you can tell a repro from the telltale Phillips-head screws. Before I bought my Boston Terrier, I texted my antique dealer friend to see if I was getting a deal and she told me to flip it over to make sure the screws were old.

This book is such a great resource and chock full of information (and over 1,000 photos) with prices from 2006 …

The Doorstop Book: An Encyclopedia of Doorstop Collecting

Love this antique Boston Terrier doorstop #doorstop #antique #antiques #collect #collectibles #hubley #bostonterrier #vintage #vintagedecor #antiquedecor

This Obvious Doorstop Fake Made Me Laugh (notice screws in back and bright paint) 

Since my doorstop has no markings, I did some research and found out that it was manufactured by Hubley (#331). Hubley put their marks on the inside of their doorstops.

Hubley advertised this doorstop, Police Dog, in the 1938-9 Sears & Roebuck Catalog for $1.19 each. How cute is the little leather collar and leash that came with the dog! You can see the indentation on my dogs neck where the collar would have been.

Antique Boston Terrier Doorstop Sears Catalog

To create these cast iron doorstops, metalworkers carved a wooden form or hammered the design out of metal. The form was pressed into sand, making an impression, then hot cast iron was poured into the sand mold. When cool, the form was removed from the sand and the rough edges were filed down. A base coat was applied and then artists would add all the little details. After World War II, die-cast zinc replaced cast iron.

How to spot an antique … look for old screws, not Phillips head (with an x shape). Although some good reproductions will use old screws so this isn’t the best way to identify.

Tips on how to spot a real antique cast iron doorstop from a reproduction #antiques #antique #hubley #bostonterrier #doorstop #antiquedoorstop #collectibles #collect #vintagedecor #antiquedecor

Look for a tight opening where pieces join together (not a wide one).

Tips on how to spot a real antique cast iron doorstop from a reproduction #antiques #antique #hubley #bostonterrier #doorstop #antiquedoorstop #collectibles #collect #vintagedecor #antiquedecor

Look for original paint – some chipping is ok but they should never be repainted.

Tips on how to spot a real antique cast iron doorstop from a reproduction #antiques #antique #hubley #bostonterrier #doorstop #antiquedoorstop #collectibles #collect #vintagedecor #antiquedecor #bostonterrier

If it looks new, it probably is new! You’ll spot a modern doorstop 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 it together.

I’m so happy to have found a little mini Sushi at that estate sale and will be on the lookout for more because I feel a new collection coming on!

See More of My Vintage Collections Here

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      1. I have 3 of them I got in storage auction. How do I figure out value? I looked at the indicators in your article and they seem to be vintage, but I’m not sure.

          1. I have an antique doorstop,that until yesterday,believed it to be an early Betty Boop 1. However,after looking more closely to her,noticed her hair wasn’t curly& face not exactly like Betty’s. So,I posted images of her on EVERY Facebook antique& doorstop forum I could,& it stumped even the experts. She’s 13” tall,very heavy, dressed very risqué(tiny black dress w/detail on the front), with strapless sweetheart neckline,short black hair& a roundish face. Her “skin” looks tan from age,contains no screws or other hardware, is extremely heavy cast iron, the seam tightly welded across her head(like a headband). Nobody was able to inform me anything about her,& it drove their curious minds crazy! 1 person,however, did tell me he suspected that it’s not American,due to her supposedly dating back to 1920 or before,her attire being too risque. So,he guessed it may be French,& since she isn’t a known character& is welded,w/o any hardware, that she’s likely 1 of a kind,commissioned piece. How or who can I contact, to have this identified and appraised? Thank you!

        1. I sold the aExact same one in 2015 on eBay for $450. Mine was a Hubley. All you have to do is go to eBay sold listing & put your piece in Search filter. You’ll see not whT it’s true value is, but what ppl are willing to pay! Best source of value imo. Hope that helps.

          1. Thanks Valarie – yes eBay is great for searching for what people will actually pay as opposed to what people ask! Congrats on your $450 windfall!

    1. Do you have pictures of yours and measurements? I’m very interested to see pictures of sides front back bottom please

      1. Yes I have a very old one and it seems to be very old with the flat head screw holding it together looks like original paint

        1. So you believe it to be vintage, even with the screws holding it together?
          I just bought one, haven’t seen it yet but it does have the screws in it . Hoping it’s vintage but 🤷🏻‍♀️. Thanks

    1. You reap what you sow a lot of times the older cast will have multiple layers of different color of paints a whole lot tighter in the seam well not have raised bumps or inverted bumps these are imperfections. Also parts old cast they were very OCD is the best way I know how to put it they have every line perfect the newer ones try to look not perfect so people think they’re old and there is a massive size difference reproductions are significantly smaller.

  1. I have looked but, so far have never found one new or old. I would love to have one and thanks for all the info yours is so cute. Have a great week.

  2. Loved all the information on the doorstops. Thank you! Very informative. I have an old beetle one that I know for sure is old. Came from my husband’s family farm in Ohio.

  3. Great information Kel!
    Too many unscrupulous dealers trying to pass reproductions for the real deal…(Staffordshire dogs are the biggest problem out there regarding fakes).
    Glad you got a real Hubley! You can’t fake that paint!
    Now Sushi has a new friend.


  4. I bought a mini Boston terrier that is cast iron or lighter material with flat screw. Probably reproduction though as it is smooth but perfect paint job. Any comments would be appreciated!

  5. I also have a Boston terrier cast iron door stop. The one I have has the dog with his head turned to the left. My research shows that the left facing dogs make up less than 10% of the dogs produces and are worth 50 to 100% higher than the right facing dogs. Only downfall is I think mine has been repainted a number of years ago.

  6. Thank you for your info on the cast iron door stops. I am interested in finding one. I know the phillips head screws are a no no. Is a slot head screw original? Did they ever use a round head pin/rivet type head. Thanks again, Ray

  7. I have a cast iron dog doorstop that has been in my family for many years. It seems to have many of the characteristics you described but there are no screws anywhere that I can find . It has two pieces and I can see the seam but no screws. What does that mean ?

  8. I believe we may have one. Things seem to be falling in place that make it the one?

    Love to sell at a good price.

  9. Hello! I have a cast iron Boston terrier door stop. My grandparents bought it while on their honeymoon at Macy’s in NYC in the early 1930s. It is one piece no screws and there are no letters or #s on it or inside it. It has the original buckle collar. How can I find out more about it and the value of it? Thanks!

  10. Dear Kelly,
    I have Boston Terrier cast iron just like the one on this website down to the little red tongue and the leather collar. It does not have a Hubley number on the bottom. Could it still be a Hubley? It was bought for my mother in the 1930’s.
    How about those 1976 antique billiard balls in your picture? I have three sets of those. Would you have a market for selling them?

    1. Hi Rosemarie! I love that little Boston Terrier! Not all Hubleys are marked but if yours is from 1930’s it’s definitely a genuine article! You can find old billiard balls for sale on Ebay & Etsy to give you an idea of what they are worth. I don’t sell – I’m strictly a collector.

  11. I have a Boston terrier iron doorstop. Hs been in my family since about 1942 (I am 81). Has the leather collar but no screws or brads. Looks like it was sealed together some hw. No large openings. Only two pieces I believe – one un der belly and one on back. Even has a real screw tail just like real Boston. I’ve had a Boston all my life and that’s why the doorstop means so much to me. My uncle raised them before I was born. However, due to my age I am thinking of selling it but don’t what value to place on it. It does look a lot like the one you have.

  12. Don’t purchase one at an antique shop. You’ll pay way to much. Try either a flea market or auction. I have a few originals and have never paid over about $30.

  13. I know mine is real. I use to try carrying it around at my grandparents when I was 3 I’ll soon be 70. I have now passed it down to my son.

  14. Thank you for the information, I am interested in Hubly cast iron bank’s and door stops. I have learned that I should NOT see Phillips head screws.

  15. Hello, My husband was rehabbing a house and brought home what I think is a Hubley English Bulldog door stop. It checks all the boxes you indicated except for paint. Did Hubley paint them with different pattterns? Also, mine has a red painted collor and red rimmed eyes. How much does paint effect the price? I’ve seen prices vary widely from 300.00 to over 600.00. Thanks for any additional info you can give.

  16. I have a black and white painted dog. Can’t figure out if it’s real or not. There are little chips it looks like in the cast iron.

  17. Wow this is really interested and I really appreciate you printing it I’m just I’m trying to print it on paper so I have it because I can’t read on my phone too well. I have two of them one was my mom‘s and one was my grams and where we’re pretty sure that’s the ones they are there’s lotta look-alikes out here right thank you

  18. Kelly, this is very heavy African American figure used as door stop but is a bank. 10” high. Has large screw in back to take apart. I will try to send photo.

    1. Hey Joyce! I really have no idea what the value of that would be. Try going to your local antique shop or check out the website I linked to in my post.

  19. Appreciate the information! Unfortunately I did repaint my grandmothers Boston terrier but I have no intention of selling & it makes me happy painted. I did look tho & mine has no screws & the seam is very tight. Maybe welded?

  20. Hi Kelly.

    I have the same Boston, but a little bit smaller, weighing in at about 4 1/2 lbs. He still has a bit of red paint on his tongue and the original collar, but no leash. Thanks for the info.

    Portland, Oregon

  21. Please be aware that any old cast iron bank may have a replacement screw. Banks had to have a way to be opened – thus the screw. Children often opened and closed the banks retrieving their savings. Over time the screws either became lost or cross threaded. The replaced screw may have been whatever was available

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