Coins, stamps, trains, toys, dolls, books, antique or
Matchbox cars, comic books, glass menageries, art, music,
or salt and pepper shakers… all have a common denominator
of being sought after, collected and sometimes, even being
part of a traveling Americana museum collection. What do
you seek out, cherish and collect?
When I was young, there were dolls with the name of Betsy
and Cathy. Did you ever have a “Betsy Wetsy” or a doll
named, “Chatty Cathy?” I always enjoyed the magazine
called, “McCall’s.” Inside this women’s magazine, my Mom
after reading it cover to cover, would allow me to cut
out and paste onto cardboard, a paper doll named Betsy
The popular paper doll named “Betsy” soon had her mother,
father, cousin, friends and pets added to cut out. The
fashions on these dolls was always of interest to me,
Can you believe I had an album of over 60 magazine
issues’ worth of Betsy McCall, carefully cut out and
pasted onto cardboard and put between sheets of plastic
I tried to sell it, hoping to make some money on the
album. Alas, no one wanted to purchase this. I gave it
to an antique shop, where the man had been so helpful,
showing me current values of items using the internet,
Craigs’ List and e-Bay.
This shopkeeper, Henry, is the husband of one of the
‘cafeteria ladies’ where my kids attended school. Due
to heart and health problems, Henry lost his career of
being a race car mechanic.
Henry was always honest and sympathetic to my concerns
of giving up things. He sometimes purchased items, close
to “auction” or “market values.”
He was such a sweetie, not getting upset, as I carted
boxes into his shop. I ended up giving him quite a few
items, including NASA ash trays and a book of matchbook
covers. He had found a ‘lucrative’ buyer, splitting
costs with me, as he would send them off via UPS, then
receiving payments through the mail.
I kept only one album of matchbook covers of Ohio places
that I had actually been to. Apparently, it is quite rare
to find matches sold in their little folded-cardboard
state or the staple taken carefully out of the cardboard
packet and kept in albums. I did not keep any matchboxes.
These used to be, in my basement, in a large fish bowl on
the bar. We had a “Max and Erma” or “TGI Friday’s”
Henry had paid for a lot for the few dolls I had, a
couple of my Mom’s gifts of dolls to my daughters.
He also had given me good advice on what to save in
my tight “new” space in my one bedroom apartment.
I think about stopping in to re-buy the different
items that may still remain on his shelves, since I
have more money these days, after 8 long years of
pulling myself out of debt.
Long and boring story, you may have heard this before.
My ex-husband had stopped paying bills and debt incurred.
(Three years of his unemployment just didn’t keep the
bills paid, while I worked as a teacher and server at
But, what would I do with my reclaimed items? Do I
really need more clutter to collect dust with? I am
happy with my choices, overall.
I still have the Little Women, Madame Alexander dolls,
two Ginny dolls, a Tammy doll, an Alan and Skipper doll,
plus her adorable little sister doll, Tutti.
I have no regrets!
Collectibles in my birds’ collection were few and far
between. I ended up saving less than ten of them. The
ones who were given to me over all the years, robins,
cardinals, blue jays and roosters were sold for $1-$3
at my huge “Moving Out of the House Sale.”
I am surprised and proud that I have a Lenox robin and
a Hummel/Goebel robin, too. Instead of big cabinets
with much too many odds and ends tucked inside, I have a
little black, wooden-edged box, about 2′ by 2′ in size,
with four glass walls, a mirror on the bottom set on top
of a dresser.
This holds the littlest and sweetest items from my ‘olden’
days of antiquing with my parents and brothers.
When I saw an old article tucked into a book about Betsy
McCall, it made me nostalgic for that album. I wanted to
at least give it “tribute” in a post. It is interesting
to find out that the first Betsy McCall paper doll was
illustrated on a page of the magazine in May, 1951. The
first doll was designed by Ideal Toy Co. in 1952. She
was a 14″ doll with a vinyl head and what is called, a
“saran” wig. The doll was marked, “McCall Corp.” on her
head and on the back, labeled “Ideal Doll P 90.”
In an auction, the Ideal Betsy McCall doll with her
little tag still attached to her wrist, sold for $210.
Later, in 1958 (I would have been 3 years old by then),
an 8″ Betsy McCall doll was made by a company called,
American Character. Several other Betsy McCall dolls
have been made since the 50’s and even into the 90’s.
My friend, Bill, collects rare finds of guitars and
other musical instruments. He is no longer a band
member, but still plays a variety of musical styles,
which includes flamenco Spanish songs, old style
country music, and rock and roll.
My brother, Rich, collected miniatures of porcelain
dogs and a horse. He still has them in the same Ethan
Allen shelving cabinet, from childhood. This also has
a fold down desk, in his bedroom with his wife. He
never became a veterinarian. (He’s a professor of
education, addressing special needs, with Master’s
My other brother, who aspired to be a pharmacist,
collected mortar and pestles. His are probably long
gone. (He has accomplished a lot with his career of
murals, sculptures and other art pieces.)
What dreams did you have when you were young that
caused you to save or collect particular items?
Did you put together and paint model airplanes and
suspend them on threads from the ceiling of your
Nostalgia comes in many forms,
all such wonderful memories…