Monday, June 23, 2008

Local and Regional Antiques & Collectibles

Vintage Cast Iron Toy Horse and Wagon sold for $266.51 USD in June 2008 on eBay.

I spent this past weekend in Kentucky for our family reunion, and I have to admit, I had a very special weekend with aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews and nieces. And, what would a family reunion be without the fabulous food prepared only as my Aunt Martha can prepare it. This is not to say that the other ladies didn’t fix their finest dishes. But, no one could refuse Aunt Martha’s coconut peach cake.

The conversations quickly turned to what I was doing, and it didn’t take me long to start bragging about all the members of the 31 Club. I shared many of your stories with them, and I think I might have even recruited some new members. As I was talking about the success of the club, I began to think about what the members of my family could do to equal your success.

You see, I feel certain that most of them would never have the opportunity to buy a Tiffany lamp or Grueby vase, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities for them to compete in the 31 Club’s million dollar race. The only difference will be the type of items they might buy.

As a child, I remember my great uncle living with my grandparents, and he had the neatest Civil War rifle I’ve ever seen, even today. I still wonder who ended up with it. When I think about it, where else could you find as rich a field to harvest for Civil War Memorabilia as Kentucky? You may not know it, but in Kentucky there were soldiers fighting for both sides during the Civil War; and in many instances, brothers fought brothers. I just wish I could search all the chests hidden away in closets and attics in small town Kentucky.

So, what other true treasures might be found in Kentucky? Aladdin lamps are a dime a dozen in clear glass, but did you know that colored ones with unusual designs can sell for thousands of dollars? How about razors? These simple items were a mainstay for the early settlers of most areas in Kentucky. For the right razor, $1000 wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility. And where else could a person expect to find one of the earliest pairs of Levi Jeans if not in Kentucky? I can remember every male in the family having had at least two pairs of jeans. These jeans, today, are worth several thousand dollars a pair.

I am not a big fan of primitive furniture but be assured there is gold in the right pieces. Signed furniture by the right craftsman can bring six figures. I saw a primitive blue kitchen cabinet sell for $25,000 at the Heart of Country Show. At the time, I wondered if I found this in my search, if would I have paid $1000 for it. The answer to that question would probably have been no.

I was raised in the farm areas of Kentucky, and families were usually rather large. In fact, my father’s family had nine children, and this was considered small. As you can imagine, toy purchases were very limited, and a child might be fortunate enough to receive something special every year or so. When this did happen, it usually consisted of a cast iron toy, a doll or some marbles. I just saw a box of marbles bring in over $18,000 at auction.

Perhaps some of the greatest treasures to be found in the rural areas are the handmade items that were produced for use in everyday life. Hand stitched blankets can bring a fortune today. Small children used to practice stitching lettering and numbers on pieces of cloth, and today if you find one of these signed and dated with figures or scenes, get ready to go to the bank.

I know when I get home I’ll have a lot of e-mail to answer, so if you’ve written me, please be patient while I settle in and begin answering them.

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