By Marc Washicheck
Way back in the 1960’s when I was only about 10 years old, my favorite TV show was “Bewitched”. Believe it or not, that show started my collection addiction. Aunt Clara would talk about her doorknob collection, she would shine her metal and brass doorknobs, and I was fascinated by the beauty and variety of the knobs. I would daydream that every door in my house would have a different doorknob so I could show off my unusual collection. Everyone thought I was insane until the 1980’s, when collectors started noticing the beauty and variety of doorknobs. Today, they are being mounted on old wood, displayed on the walls, and used as coat racks. After all, everyone hangs clothes on a doorknob, so it’s only fitting to use them as a coat rack.
Being in the Antique business, I’m always fascinated by what people collect, and love to hear their stories. Collectors clubs are springing up though out the United States for the new plastic gift cards, and phone cards that every store offers. Cards from AT&T, Home Depot, Target, Wal-Mart just to name a few, are catching the collector’s eye. Why are these plastic cards collectable, when there is a never ending supply? My thought is most people will throw the cards away so in 10, 20, or 30 years they will be hard to find. They will be like the first credit cards of the 50’s or 60’s, which have been collected for years.
Collectors have also discovered Tupperware. The first Tupperware of the 50’s and 60’s are now being collected. Millions of pieces have been made and sold in every color and style imaginable through out the world, and the collectors bug has hit Tupperware too. I told this to a friend of mine who has bought every color Tupperware ever made. Marilyn let out a loud screech and said to her husband “See I told you I will be able to hang my Tupperware on my wall someday”. I guess collecting Tupperware is like collecting the plastic bakelite of the 40’s and 50’s, or the hard plastic dishes of the 50’s.
Bowling balls are becoming popular for collecting, but for a different reason. They are being used to make beautiful and colorful displays. Bowling balls come in a rainbow of different colors and patterns, and I even have a Tigger Bowling ball. These large gem colored balls are coming out of retirement and being displayed in the garden as inexpensive gazing balls. I have three under my coffee table which look like three huge beautiful swirled marbles. I know people have been collecting and loving the very old wood Bowling balls of the 1890’s for years, so I guess these are next in the progression of collecting.
I just read an article about a designer who collects bridesmaid dresses of the 60’s and 70’s, because of the bright colors and sometimes unusual styles. I guess these dresses compare to collecting the vintage dresses from the 1930’s and 1940’s. Collectors are hanging on racks or displaying on walls as if they are works of art.
There are even collectors clubs for 8-track tapes of the 70’s. Most people just finished throwing these tapes out a few years ago, and now they are back. They are hard to find, I don’t see many at thrift stores or garage sales, and they are too new for Antique stores, so I can see the value going up on these. I guess collecting 8-track tapes is equal to collecting the 78 records of the 40’s. Will cassettes be the next big collector’s item?
There are also an increasing number of collectors wanting old computers. Prices are rising on the first home computers, which I guess are like collecting vintage typewriters. The difference as I see it is typewriters became obsolete, computers won’t. Computers will change size, style, and speed, but will be here for a long, long time. In the last few years, many people have thrown there first Apple computers in the garbage and Apples are one of the computers which are most sought after.
There are collectors for everything imaginable, due to the unlimited styles, colors and sizes, made. The old saying “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”, is really true. Copyrighted 2009
Written by Marc Washicheck owner of Cherry Hill Antiques, Cherry Hill Road Show
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