Cable television programs “Pawn Stars” and “American Pickers” tell an awful lot about today’s collectors.
More than 50 years ago, this writer started to collect. At the time, it was natural that our collection had a connection with our daily lives.
My wife’s career as a history teacher and my work for a noted company founded in 1898 led us to collect old magazine ads. We would look for historic product ads with attractive graphics. We would then frame our favorites and enjoy.
The ads would then prompt us to the packaging and the allied items, i.e., signs, premium and display pieces.
We then decided to exhibit at weekend shows to expand our collection.
It was at these shows that we found out we were not unique at all. The collectors that visited us would tell us stories of their interests and their unusual wants.
One day, a stately gentleman came into our booth and asked, “Do you have anything connected to whales? Perhaps calendars, ads, empty bottles of whale oil?”
Also, he wanted anything to do with Macy’s department store.
Upon further discussion, we found out that one side of his family were whalers, and his last name was Macy.
This was not just coincidental – he was Mr. Macy!
We became pickers for Mr. Macy. This is just one of the many interesting experiences we encountered.
The 1970s and ’80s were an exciting time for collectors, as availability was aplenty. But no more … today’s collector holds on to everything or wants to sell everything. Age seems to dictate the choice.
“American Pickers” illustrates the emotions of the owners of “junk” (or, as some say, “junque”).
Collecting is so much fun if you have a connection to a grouping and often it will bear dividends – if you purchase quality and rarity.
The historic research is another dividend that will drive a collector to continue the “chase.”
Jerry Glenn is co-owner of Reminisce in Bluffton, where sports collectibles are bought and sold.