BUYING WATCHES in the 1880’s

If you were in the market for a pocket watch in 1880 where would you go to buy it. You would go to a store. Right?

Of course you could do that, but if you wanted one that was cheaper and a bit better than the store models, you went to the train station.

Why were the best pocket watches found at a train station? The railroad company was not selling the watches, the telegraph operator was. Most of the time the telegraph operator was located in a train station because the telegraph lines followed the railroad tracks from town to town. Telegraph operators sold more watches than almost all the stores combined for the period of about 9 years.

This was arranged by “Richard”, who was a telegraph operator himself. He was on duty in the North Redwood, Minnesota train station one day when a load of watches arrived from the  East. It was a huge crate of pocket watches.No one e came to claim them.  So Richard sent a telegraph to the manufacturer and asked them what they wanted to do with watches. The manufacturer didn’t want to pay the freight back, so they wired Richard to see if he would sell them. So Richard did. He sold the case in less than two days and made a handsome profit. That started it all. He ordered more watches and encouraged other telegraph operators to set up  a display case in the stations offering high quality watches for a cheap price to all travelers. It worked.

It didn’t take long for the word to spread and, before long, people other than travelers came to the train stations to buy watches. He hired a professional watch maker to help him with orders. That was Alvah. And the rest was history as they say. The business took off and soon expanded to many other lines of dry goods.

Richard and Alvah left the train station and moved their company to Chicago – and it’s still there.

THE REST OF THE STORY

It’s a little known fact that for a while in the 1880’s, the biggest watch retailer in the country was at the train stations. It all started with a telegraph operator: Richard Sears and his partner Alvah Roebuck.

Thanks for our guest blogger – The Watch Guy. Check our his watches – https://www.icollect247.com/happymiller

Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day

Always knew that my birthday would fall on a famous day… and here it is March 1st. Really interesting when we think that peanut butter is something that we invented, but it dates back to the Aztecs and Incas. Really? The real important date is when the peanut butter machine was invented in 1903, with Peter Pan licensed in 1928 and Skippy in 1932. Jif followed behind in 1955 and Planters Peanut butter in the 1950s. Perfect day to start collecting and displaying old Peanut jars. Check out these jars and early pails for sale on icollect247.com.

Are You Watching?

I started going to local auctions about 5 years ago when I retired. I bought just about anything that I thought I could make a profit on. WRONG. Ended up losing money on most. Then I either read or heard someone say that you should focus on and become a expert on 1 or 2 items. Since I always had a fascination for vintage pocket watches I choose this item. Now I go to every local auction I can searching for gems. Many times I find them. I keep the ones that I really like and usually list the others now I COLLECT 247. I have many – yes very many men’s wrist watches and pocket watches. I try to list a few every day. So keep watching.

These are currently for sale in my webstore on http://www.icollect247 is https://www.icollect247.com/happymiller.

Thanks to our guest blogger – Kenneth Miller.

Celebrating Trivia Day – All Month!

Lots of holidays are put on your calendar but did not hear of National Trivia Day, celebrated on January 4th.  Enjoy some of the Trivia you never knew about!

Did you know…Beer is the most popular beverage in the world, with tea in second place. People collect beer memorabilia and there actually a Breweriana Collector Club. From beer cans to beer bottles, from signs to beer trays, it is a passion for many collectors. Find over 200 pieces of vintage beer advertising on http://www.icollect247.com and start collecting! If you like our post please share and like it! We will keep them coming!

Were you born in this hospital?

If you have used the DNA testing and found out where your roots are, you can then find postcards that connect you with your past.  Historically speaking, you can find many postcards from your birthplace or where you live now.

Perhaps this postcard of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston was your birth place.

Massachusetts General Hosp. Boston - Postcard 1938

Perhaps you went to Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa

Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa UDB- Postcard 1907

Perhaps you just love historical building architecture, like these.

I have a postcard display and change it with each holiday.

In any case, you will find almost 3000 post cards with ever subject and every holiday.

Check out these great postcards under the Paper Ephemera category and the subcategory Postcards.

 

https://www.icollect247.com/store/lca/sub/cat/Paper+Ephemera/subcat/PostCards

Collecting 2 Gal Oil Cans

When one looks at antique automobilia and its many forms of advertising, one of the most diverse and colorful forms are vintage oil cans. Oil cans have become a dominant staple in any collection devoted to the oil and auto industry. The great graphics, rarity, and color scheme of many of these containers have contributed to their desirability. long life
When I began collecting, some five years ago, I decided to buy two gallon cans, rather than one quart. While the one quart is one of the most popular sizes, I liked the graphics of the larger and the rectangular format looked good on a shelf. rather than one 
quart. While the one quart is one of the most popular sizes, I liked the graphics of the larger and the rectangular format looked good on a shelf.  Many times they proved more affordable than a quart companion with identical graphics.

Two gallon cans were first produced in the early 1930’s around the same time asbullhsead the first sealed one and five quart tins. Two gallons were mainly created for the “do it yourself” type of motorist. While quart and five quart cans were easy to be opened and drained right at the source of purchase, two gallons were meant to last a little longer and taken home for oil to be added when needed. The two gallons were sold not only by oil companies and gas stations, but by home-auto type stores, department stores, automobile, tractor, and equipment dealers, even hardware and grocery stores.

Read more of Lucas Kaczynski’s love of oil cans in Volume 11 of Antique Back Roads.  Visit http://www.AntiqueBackRoads.com and click on Back Issues.

REPRODUCTION OR REAL?

If you are new to collecting there are a lot of pieces out there that you will consider buying.  In the last 30 years, we have seen a large number of reproductions enter the market.  Some reproductions are made in the same shape, size and style of the original.  Some are easy to tell from the original, others are exact replicas and made to deceive the buyer.  Some are the exact same size but others are larger and you may think it is a variation.

As the price and demand go up on any collectible, reproductions will appear.  Back in the 1960’s reproductions were being made of Depression glass, cast iron toys, cast iron banks and cast iron door stops. Reproduction signs started being seen in the 1970’s and continues today.

indian1

As for reproduction signs, do your homework on any item that you are investing your money in.  First and foremost, ask the seller if it is an original piece or a reproduction.   Ask if the seller guarantees the item to be an original.  Look at the piece for manufacturer marks and don’t assume just because it has a marker’s mark. We know that reproductions are being made by several companies including Desperate Sign Company and AAA Sign Company.

If you look at the number of holes there will be difference between the original and the reproduction.  Also look really closely around the grommets.oilzium copy

Sign companies who made the old signs used metal that resisted rust.  Grommets were used to protect the corners. If you see rust or lots of chipping around the grommets, beware.  This is not normal with an old sign.  Be conscious of size.  Is the size different from what you have seen…is it smaller or different?  Are the more holes than normal? Reproductions will often be a different size than the original.

Don’t forget to look at the back.  Porcelain does not rust and you can see from this picture it is made to rust to look old. The back of American made porcelain signs WILL NOT look like this. Note lots of rust around the holes. back

Lots of reproduction signs are from India. There are of low quality, feel grainy and the seller will “rough up” the holes and edges, including breaking off the porcelain and rusting them.  These are being shipped in quantities.  Where the problem comes in when they are purchased at a cheap price by US buyers,  than offered at auctions or on line for a high price as the original.  Here are some reproduction signs we have seen available for sale.packard

Willys Overland Whippet

reproduction sign1

reproduction sign2

 

Your best bet is to buy from a reputable seller / dealer who knows what they are selling and can even give you some history of the piece. If you are buying on line, contact the seller and talk to the seller to very they guarantee the sign is old.  At the current time, the only online marketplace to only sell only original pieces (not reproduction)  is http://www.icollect247.com. The sellers on the site only sell original pieces.  There are no reproductions, no limited editions and nothing later than 1980.

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By the way, if you are just using is as a decorator piece or a barn hanger and you don’t care if it is a reproduction, go for it! Reproductions are an inexpensive way to enjoy collecting and decorating.  Just know what you are buying!

 If you end up buying a reproduction piece you thought was real, don’t give up on collecting!  Use it as a learning curve as part of collecting.  No matter how long you collect you will be fooled., believe me there is someone always out there reproducing something to fool the buyer.  Believe me when I tell you that it happens to even the best of us!