Some 50 years ago, when we started collecting and became dealers, it was the chase for materials that became important. We would chase all over the Northeast for items of interest, sometimes up to 300 miles on a weekend.
On these trips, the anticipation of the unknown would often create weak knees – honestly.
During this era – and even today – we would get calls for this or that and we followed up on all calls, hopeful for a great find. Excitement entered our lives.
One such call for a collection of interest revealed that the seller thought more of his wares than the actual value indicated.
Upon leaving the premises, we spotted an oak frame with a very unattractive picture, but the glass was wavy and the backing was wooden.
We purchased it for $50 because of the apparent age. This was in 1977 and $50 was a premium price for a frame.
Upon dismantling the backing to take out the unattractive floral, lo and behold, there appeared the famous sepia-toned etching of the Chicago Fire, published by Currier and Ives. We quickly shrink-wrapped it, put it in auction, and it fetched in the mid-four figures! Now that’s exciting!
This excitement is still there in the search for the unknown. Just a month ago, a call came from a seller who described a storage unit filled with circa 1940s and 1950s materials of our interest.
I couldn’t sleep the night before viewing. The seller was late and I couldn’t contain myself. The seller finally arrived, opened the door and there, before my eyes, were boxes and boxes. My knees weakened.
Alas, each box was filled with nearly new materials. I was crestfallen and politely passed on the offer. Oh well. I still enjoyed the anticipation.
Last week, I received a similar call with similar circumstances, except the description was so finite that the “weak knee syndrome” once more set in. I tossed and turned the night before.
Result: I spent all day sifting through tub after tub, inventorying all items, and told the seller I had to research and evaluate the collection. Again the excitement set in.
I came up with two options for the seller. We settled that day, and the excitement for both the seller and me was justified.
Collecting a category or two is very rewarding, as it affords the collector the pleasure of ownership, history and thrill of that chase.
During our 50 years of collecting, we have chased all over the United States and have met many wonderful people who often became lasting friends.
Now, that is exciting.
Jerry Glenn is co-owner of Reminisce in Bluffton, where sports collectibles are bought and sold.