If most of you have read last week’s Trash & Treasures, you will recognize my photos today on similar subjects. During my last “What’s It Worth” antique class on Tuesday evening, I had someone bring in more very cute “Skookum” dolls, as they had seen and read my column! It is always a pleasure to find out that, No. 1, people do read my articles and, No. 2, they will submit more information when they have it readily available. And to me, that means a lot.
These cute Skookum dolls are quite an interesting item in their own right, but when an old wooden apple crate is brought in, in its entirety with the “Skookum” label on it, then I realize that the doll image even went further than just making these cuties to play with and collect. And, not only that image, but they even brought in vintage sheet music with a Skookum song on it. Due to a copyright factor, I thought it best not to submit a photo of the sheet music, but the Skookum name was widespread even more than I had realized. Wooden fruit crates like the one in my photo this week were usually made in the late ’30s and early ’40s — but some were made even before that. Sometimes it is difficult to actually find out the exact manufacturing dates on something such as these crates, but we do know when they were used the most in delivering fruit across the United States.
Actually, the advertising pictures on the ends of our wooden crates of yesteryear are quite a hot collectible these days. And, I have found some other fantastic wooden crate labels and boxes in great condition to add to my own collection. I actually use some of them for paper or file storage. This is an additional advantage to collecting fruit crates. I am actually gaining storage privileges as well as adding to my own whims and desires of collecting.
When I started in the antique business approximately 49 years ago, I never imagined I would still be in the business of collecting and hunting for so many different subject areas. And when I started my Trash & Treasures columns, it seems like my interest even mushroomed into something much bigger than I had ever dreamed. And, of course, my antique classes on Tuesday evenings enabled me to find even more items to write about and search for more information. Naturally, when the computer came about, I could find find much more information and identify more items brought to my classes. It seemed to be a win-win situation. I had tons of books, and many more I had left out at the college when I was starting my classes more than 20 years ago. They gave me bookshelves with lockable cases so I could just leave them there and not have to transport them every week for my classes. Now my books are all stored away at home and have not been used as much. The internet does have its good points, definitely. You can just about imagine the time it took to look through each subject in a book and come up with some kind of added info when I first started my researching. Thanks to the computer and the internet, I take less time doing homework each week for my classes.
But, back to my Skookum topic for this week: I gave you most of the history and facts last week, so now I will just mention a few factoids I may have missed. Leo Feist Inc. of New York wrote in the 1930s or ’40s the “Novelty Indian Song” which was definitely another fun addition to the collecting of these Skookum dolls. Anything with advertising on it just reminded people even more to collect these cute little dolls. Actually, anything that had the Skookum face or picture of the doll on it would soon turn that item into an instant collectible for all ages. Little do we know sometimes what one tiny doll purchased at a Trading Post or novelty store may bring about. The hunt is on for finding more and more of these cuties still in good condition to add to an already rather large collection today.
So many times a person may run across something entirely different than what he or she was initially looking for — that is what collecting is all about. You never know what you may find at the very next antique shop or flea market or auction. Naturally, yard sales or estate sales are definitely a big part of the hunting process, and we never know when or where “it” will show up.
Just a quick reminder: If you like to browse through antique stores or collectible shops, please visit the ones locally as their inventory may change quickly and you do not want to miss out on a good find or something you just can’t live without. Years ago, we had more than 10 shops here in our town. Now, we are looking at half that many. Please take the time to visit Grandma’s Antiques on East Fourth Street, DeJaVu south of Hobby Lobby, the Grain Bin Antique Town south on Old Highway 83 and the Bushel and a Peck at 510 E. Sixth Street. A to Z Books has a special room of antiques and collectibles as well as her great collection of new and old books. Stop in these shops and tell them you read about them here in my Trash & Treasures column. And, pass the word, please, as we as collectors are all interested in hands-on shops. Naturally, we hunt online as well, but the fun finds happen when walking in and taking a look around in a treasure-packed shop.
Please do not forget about my “What’s it Worth” antique classes at Wild Bill’s, 1000 S. Jeffers St., on Tuesdays. We start with dinner and conversation at 5 p.m. and the class starts at 5:45 p.m. with a quick review of what was brought the week before and reviewing price estimations. Then we hit on all the new items people brought in. The most fun I have during my classes is when I hold up something and happen to know a little bit about it, and I can give immediate values to the surprise of the owner. Or when someone says they have something just like what I am showing or talking about and they did not realize what it was and its actual value.
A very special “thank you” to those who sent me birthday wishes in the mail, through phone calls or on Facebook, and for bringing the cakes and goodies for my class this week to help me celebrate. All were very much appreciated.