Friday, August 7, 2009
I can remember the little general store in Sabillasville Md. Actually, there were 3 of them, but the one I remember best was ole Charlie Shields' store. It had the penny candy store cases , the broom rack and so forth. So, when we started collecting advertising, it really was a walk down memory lane. At first I felt silly searching for old tins that should have been thrown away. Old tins were usually saved to store things in such as nails, buttons, you name it, a good old tin can was great for storing things. That is why they can still be found today. Before the Internet, one could still go into an old general store and buy the old , never used stock , stored in the basement. The first time I realized old tins etc were collectible was when my husband brought the contents of a basement of a store downtown Hagerstown. Well, boxes upon boxes of old tins never opened, little bags of kids' toys never hung on the racks. Boxes of figural celluloid tape measures...a large load of untouched inventory spanning 30 years from the 1940's to around 1970. I helped him display everything in the antique shop and when we were done, I was hooked. It looked just like a real country store. And so, the treasure hunt began. I wanted to find things that dated in the beginning of the 1900's era because although my memory of Charlie Shields store is from the 1950's to 1960's era, we lived in the country, so, his store really was a step back into time, even in those days. First, I started adding advertising items to the kitchen. Kitchens are perfect for advertising tins such as spice tins, coffee tins and old tin signs. Then, the downstairs was transformed from an office to a 2 room country store. It took many years to acquire the things in our collection. The photo shown shows just a small space. As you can see, that small space is filled with no room to spare...well, maybe a few more tins can be added here and there. Each piece is a special memory as to how I found it... and sometimes, I smile when I realize how I would begin searching for a particular type of item such as candy boxes, and how that search would become an obsession. It was not only wonderful to find those items, but to research the reason why they became so popular in their day. When we still owned the antique shop, country store collectors were the mainstay of our business. Almost everyone wanted to have that look added to their home. If not a country store decor, then the primitive country decor. Why ? Because it is a step back into the world of simpler times. When sitting at the wood stove on a cold winter day to talk about the things going on in town was the way news was gathered. Penny candy , the Fire Ball bubble gum, the old cigars the men enjoyed. The days when homemade Lye soap was in a barrel made by someone local as a way to supplement their income. We finally made room in our country store room for a card table and 4 wonderful leather chairs. The kind of table poker players would relax for hours playing poker. So, when life gets too hectic, or when I am tired and want to just get away from it all, I go to the country store...the one downstairs. I prop my feet up, lean back, close my eyes, and the world of yesteryear is with me once more.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
My husband served in Viet Nam and then became an Air Force recruiter until retirement age. He's the kind of man you enjoy talking to, and know you can trust. A long time ago, one of his recruits called him. She was still in the military, probably still is since she was staying in till retirement. She remembered he was also an antique dealer. This girl's grandmother had passed away, and the some personal estate was left to her. Well, since she was a military gal, she could not just drop everything and take care of the belongings. Although it had been years since she had talked to my husband, she remembered him, and knew he was the one to help. She brought a van load of items to us. We sat down, and when she told us who her Grandfather was, my husband was ecstatic. I am not a sports fan at all, so I had no idea of why my husband was looking like a kid in a candy store. Even when we unloaded the van, I still had no idea of what was so exciting. The load just looked like a bunch of old scrapbooks to me. I was selling items on the Internet by then, and I agreed to sell her grandfather's things for her. She went back to where ever her military location was , and I was left with a huge room of scrapbook albums and so forth. Well, her grandfather's name was Bill Norman. This fellow lived and breathed baseball. I guess there were at least 25 or more scrapbooks. Thankfully, the first thing I read was the newspaper clipping you see in the photo beside this blog. It was written by Bob Broeg. You may as well say, Broeg opened my eyes to the world of baseball pre 1962. His article told me so much about Bill Norman that I could not have understood any of the scrapbooks' importance without it. I poured through every single page in those scrapbooks. The scrapbooks were made by Norman's wife. He was a fellow that was not home very much because baseball was his life. While he was away earning their keep, she stayed home being the wonderful family wife and loved it to the max. She cut out every newspaper clipping ever wrote that had Norman in it. I felt like I knew him, and honestly, I was so wrapped up in it, I even found his grave site on the net...I auctioned off those scrapbooks and the bidding was fierce which made me so pleased, because he deserved to be acknowledged. He was a baseball scout , a fellow that went everywhere looking for ball players. I was so involved in those scrapbooks that I really had a tough time parting with them...but, they were not mine, and to tell the truth, they belonged to fans of the sports world. If I remember right, most of the scrapbooks went to Wilkesbarr , Pa. My husband arranged to have the scout book and the belt buckle brought for me as a surprise , after everything was shipped out to the winning bidders. I have the 1960 notebook he used with his own hand written notes about different players. And, I have his White Sox belt buckle. He died in 1962 of a heart attack, which is sad, because scouting for the White Sox would have been the highlight of his career . I still do not enjoy sports , but, I have to confess, you just never know where the antique business will lead you. It was one of the most exciting events of my career in antiques. I happened upon the Bill Norman items the other day, and thought, now there's a good story for a blog. Bill Norman, the SABR forgot to include you, but, I will never forget you and your fascination with baseball.
I can remember the first box of antique post cards I ever owned. At that time, I was not an antique dealer, instead, I was dating my husband who was an antique dealer. He brought them at a house not far from my house, and after the house call, brought them inside for safe keeping while we went out to dinner. Well, when I saw the shoe box crabbed full of what looked to me to be old papers, I had to ask. It was then that I learned about antique post cards. It was another eye opening event. Needless to say, we ordered dinner to be delievered since the box of cards were on my lap and I was going no where. Thankfully, he had a long day that the shop, and was content to relax watching T.V. while I took a trip back through time. Those postcards were a true time capsule. They were not a dealer's box of cards. Instead they were saved through the years as they were sent. Starting in 1910 up to around 1940. It was mazing they were not thrown away. So, the next day I went back to the library to get a book on post cards. When I start something, I am the type person to go over the top and beyond. I am not content to just know, instead I need to understand the why, how, when etc. After we married, I started helping at the antique mall where my husband was part owner with 3 other partners. I started buying postcards at auctions, and the cards I did not want to keep, were put in sleeves and sold in our booth