Friday, July 03, 2020

Box Full o' Fun

Today is something of an experiment - we'll see if it is successful or not! Most of you probably know that ol' Major P. is a collector. But I don't just collect Disneyland stuff. I collect World's Fair items, pinback buttons (LOTS of those), employee badges, advertising items, and about 100 other categories. I like small things because they don't take up a lot of room. 

Here's a photo of an old cigar box that has many treasures (?) in it - I blurred the contents so that no surprises are spoiled! Digging through it reminds me of going to my grandparent's home and looking through their "junk drawers" or random desk drawers, or my grandma's cedar closet. I figured I'd start with a very random assortment of items from this box, and find out if anybody is even remotely interested in seeing more.

First up is this Davy Crockett penknife; it's less than 3 inches long, and the plastic handle is yellowed to resemble old ivory or bone (I suppose), with Davy's portrait "scrimshawed" on to it. The small blade is a little rusty, but it is very sharp! Davy could skin a small 'bar with it.

I have a small batch of items featuring various movie and TV cowboy heroes, such as this brass horseshoe pin from the "Buck Jones Club", from sponsor Grape-Nuts Flakes, offered as a premium in Sunday comics. Buck Jones was a popular star in silent oaters, along with Ken Maynard, Tom Mix, and Hoot Gibson. He managed to make the transition into talkies, and there is a lot of merchandise with his name! He died in a tragic Coconut Grove (Boston) fire that killed nearly 500 people - the story goes that Buck got out, but went back in to rescue others, costing him his life. John Wayne idolized him.

The cigar box has more than a few World's Fair items, but this is the only one that is from the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. This is where the original Ferris Wheel was introduced, to enormous success. It's also where the famous and beautiful "White City" was built (Walt Disney's father Elias was one of the construction workers); it was electrified, and looked incredible with all the lights at night.

This one is a little bit of a mystery to me. "I'm for FORD" - presumably the automobile company. I think the "UF" with the torch stands for "United Fund", but I'm not really sure. What do you call these things anyway? They're not pins. Tabs? "Badges", probably. While I have some tin badges that go back to the 1930's, this style seemed to come into favor in the 60's and 70's.

And lastly for  today is this bracelet (or a necklace for a goose) of faux pearls (or maybe they're real, who am I, Cartier?) and a golden medallion that says "NIXON". My grandparents were supporters of Richard Nixon (we even have a signed letter he wrote to them when he was a Senator), and had a number of pins and other campaign items in a box; I saved this one because it was so unusual. 

I am in the process of learning how to take decent macro photos of small items, hopefully I will improve as I go. Let me know if you enjoy seeing this stuff! If you do, I'll get to work and you'll have more posts of it in the future.


TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I enjoyed seeing these items from your collection. Thank you, for sharing them with us! And I would love to see more!

By the way, there seems to be a connection to Disney for each item, except maybe the Buck Jones pin.


MAJOR : I know exactly what you mean about the excitement of going through a grandparent’s junk drawer or boxes in a den. Are these items permanently kept together or were they combined just for the post?

TOKYO MAGIC : ok I’m gonna attempt to do a Disney link to the Buck Jones pin: Western actors Buck Jones and Hoot Gibson acted with each other in films. Hoot Gibson was the name of the audio animatronic owl who presented the WESTERN RIVER EXPEDITION attraction preview at Walt Disney World’s Walt Disney Story. He introduced himself as “THE STAR” of a new Western adventure being planned for the Magic Kingdom.



Almost forgot: everyone have a safe All American Patriotic Fourth of JULY!!!

JC Shannon said...

I have an old knife that has Roy Rogers on it. I love that thing. I am also a collector of small toys from the 50s and 60s. I picked up a lot of 'em in antique and thrift stores. Thanks for sharing your collection and happy Fourth to you and all the GDB patriots out there.

Budblade said...

I want to see more of the cigar boxes!
Well, sorta. I do like looking at interesting baubles too. I say mix them in once a week or so and we can see how it turns out.
Maybe do a “Worlds fair Wednesday”

Pegleg Pete said...

These are fun, Major. I'm always a sucker for a penknife and that 1893 Exposition badge is very cool. That Nixon trinket, meanwhile, is suitably strange! I'm looking forward to more treasures from the cigar box!

Chuck said...

That Buck Jones pin made me think of this routine, which was how I first became acquainted with Charles F. Gebhart. While I've seen movie serials on TV - both broadcast and on VHS/DVD - I'm sorry I never had the experiences my parents did with going to the pictures every Saturday afternoon to catch the next exciting installment of White Eagle.

I'd be happy to see more of this kind of stuff. As you describe, it reminds me of opening drawers at my grandparents' houses and finding all sorts of random treasures.

stu29573 said...

I too collect a variety of things (Disney parks, board games, Hot Wheels, boomer toys, musical instruments, whatever I find interesting) These are great! Heck, the pearls could be real. There is a way to rub them on your teeth to be sure, but I've never figured it out. My parents were big Nixon supporters too and I remember them talking about sending him a letter of support when he was impeached. Have a great 4th!

DrGoat said...

This honestly a big thrill for me. I love old treasures and seeing some of yours is pretty neat!
Haven't a clue about the 'I'm for Ford', but I do remember those kind of fold-over little metal pins. From Buck Rogers to "I gave blood" from the Red Cross.
I've got a coin from the Colombian Exposition somewhere, but that's a neat little badge. Super nice pocket knife. Beats my Popeye and Olive Oil.
I'd like to think that everyone has a little box of treasures. Either physically or inside them somewhere. I've got this nice old Moroccan treasure chest I got at the Gem show full of stuff I've been putting in there for many decades.
Many thanks and could definitely use some more of your treasure pics. Major.
And as Mike said, have a great, safe 4th. We are being real cautious with fireworks in Tucson. We've got the Bighorn wild fire that has burned over 12,000 acres and still going strong just north of town and it's dry as heck, no rain in sight.

Melissa said...

Neato Coolsville! I loved me a box of assorted stuff. My parents used to go to auctions and bid on the mystery boxes. You never knew what fun oddities you would find. And these are all little treasures, tiny pieces of history. The Davy Crockett knife is adorable (and know I have the Davy Crockett theme stuck in my head, but for sheer weirdness I think the Nixon goose necklace takes the prize.

Omnispace said...

Major, these remind me of all the tiny mementos I have scattered about in boxes. These are certainly much more interesting. I love the details on the Chicago World's Fair medallion. I'd love to see more.

I don't think you could have photographed these items any more perfectly. The only trick I had to take closeups was to use multiplication filters added to the telephoto lens on my ol' Minolta. It introduced some distortion, shortened the focal length, and added some lens flare to the highlights, but it enhanced the effect of making things look magnified. There's probably a digital filter for that now.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I had never really thought about there being a “Disney connection”, but it’s true! The most direct having to do with the popular “Great Moments With Mr. Nixon” attraction.

Mike Cozart, all of these items really do “live” in that cigar box. I have many (MANY) different boxes - tobacco tins, Pep Boys tins, and sometimes just boring cardboard boxes, containing other pins and oddball stuff. And I love your “Six Degrees Of Buck Jones”!

Mike Cozart, based on where I live (bangs and whistles every night for the last two weeks), there will be no shortage of neighborhood fireworks tomorrow evening. Don’t hold firecrackers in your hands, people.

Jonathan, when I was in school, parts of Pasadena had some really great “junk shops”. They’re all gone now, since the neighborhoods have been upgraded for “Urban Outfitters” , “Cheesecake Factory”, and “Il Fornaio”, but I sure miss those dusty places. Pasadena also has two great monthly swap meets where I had lots of fun.

Budblade, unfortunately I don’t have other nice cigar boxes! That one in the photo is a relic from my childhood, I think we got it at a farm sale in Pennsylvania. This first box does have a lot of World’s Fair items, but once I get through those, it will be all over the place, which I think the GDB readers will enjoy more.

Pegleg Pete, there was also a cloth bag filled with gold (aluminum) coins for failed Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, and even some old “I Like Ike” pins. That Nixon bracelet (bangle?) is definitely an odd one.

Chuck, listening to that clip reminds me of when my dad would listen to several different Cosby albums, especially “Right!”. I used to see a program on PBS called something like “Afternoon at the Bijou”, and they would show old movie serials. I still remember watching an amazing Gene Autry serial, “The Phantom Empire”, with some pretty amazing science fiction elements. I’m glad you enjoyed seeing these trinkets!

stu29573, I’ve always thought that if I didn’t collect such a crazy variety of junk, I could actually have one world-class collection of Disneyland memorabilia. But I like too much old ephemera! I’ve heard that if you rub real pearls on your teeth, they feel rough, but at the moment the Nixon item is not handy. I’m certain they’re phony, though.

DrGoat, I don’t even know what “The United Fund” is (or was?). If only there was some sort of vast database that I had access to. I have a particular fondness for those fold-over badges and have quite a few of them. I’d love to know what the coin is that you have from the Columbian Exposition. Maybe it’s one of those commemorative half-dollars? I think a lot of people have a stash of meaningful items, except maybe my sister, who says she is sentimental about people, not sentimental about stuff. She’ll throw ANYTHING away. How could I be related to her? I’m sorry about the wildfire, we’ve had our own issues with those here in SoCal (as I know I’ve told you).

Melissa, during the few years that my family lived in Pennsylvania, my mom would bid on mystery boxes too! We still have a lot of that stuff, and there were some real surprises. Things that dated back to the 1800s. I guess Pennsylvania is just so full of old artifacts, especially at those farm sales. One thing that drives me crazy is that my mom wound up with pieces of a xylophone (!) - obviously old and good quality, but incomplete. She refuses to get rid of it after decades, even though it is completely useless.

Omnispace, I’m lucky that I just happened to upgrade to a new iPhone, and it has a good camera. My old Canon is just not up to snuff anymore. I bought some LED lights from eBay that weren’t too expensive, and they are nice and bright; and I kind of devised a whole setup that is very low-tech, but it seems to work. Slightly larger items (such as my advertising figures) will present another challenge, but I won’t get to those for a while.

zach said...

Great stuff, Major. I, too, have that drawer and box of stuff. I always enjoy a junk/antique store and find myself saying 'we had one of those'!

As I age I find I have become more retrospective and am drawn to the familiarity of an old object, remembering who used it or where I got it. My Mom had a Bakelite coffee measuring scoop that my sister got (we both wanted it) and we were both crushed when it disappeared during her move after her husband died.

More of these posts would be welcome, for sure. I wish I still had my bottle caps!


Kathy! said...

I really like this new feature! I also collect a lot of eclectic things. Disney photos and certain memorabilia (Haunted Mansion and Donald Duck), but after a semi-recent post here I decided to collect Knott's Pitchur Gallery pictures. I also collect things that I think are weird and unusual: strange old photos that strike my fancy, postcards, animal figurines, and lots more. Mostly small things as seen here or I wouldn't have any room. I'd enjoy seeing small groupings of ~3 of the same type of item in a future post.

stu29573 said...

Maybe "The United Fund" was something like "The Human Fund?" "Money for people!"

The Magic Ears Dudebro said...

Unpopular Opinion: As much as Watergate is a black mark upon his presidency, Nixon did accomplish several good things in office: end the Vietnam War, open China for trade, start the space shuttle program, and establish the EPA and OSHA. He probably wasn't the best guy, but he managed to pass several good policies and programs.

stu29573 said...

True enough. History is seldom as cut and dry as some would like.

JG said...

Major, these are terrific. I vote for more.

As you surmise, I have a few boxes like this, one is mine, one from my Dad, another from my uncle where the WWII photo negatives were found.

Dad collected pocket knives, similar to yours there. He would buy them for me too so I have a number of them. I don’t collect anything systematically, but have a lot of family keepsakes that are precious by association. Like Zach, I like to browse and remember things but rarely buy anything.

The fold-over tab buttons are still used for museum entry ID. I have several recently from the Met NYC, Neue Gallery, Smithsonian and Honolulu. I go to a lot of museums and they let you keep them.

I can’t help with the Nixon item, but according to Mom, I shook his hand once. I do remember hearing Goldwater give a speech, but that’s pretty hazy. I think Nixon was a good president, on the whole, in spite of it all.

@Dr Goat, hope those fires are under control soon, we’ve had our share here.

Best to all for 4th.


"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, please do post more of your collections! I think it's safe to say that all (or most) of us readers are collectors. We want to see more!

In your cigar box, lower left corner, it looks like there's a button-pin with [a photograph of?] two people/ now curious as to what that is...

I had a cigar box (from my grandfather) that I used for safe-keeping my feather collection, as a little tyke (maybe 4 years old). Forgot all about it, 'til I saw your cigar box.

Stu and Major, there's another way to tell if pearls are real:
Drop them in vinegar. If they're real, they'll dissolve. (I never understood why someone would suggest that or try that!)

Magic Ears Dudebro, I was in Jr. High when it was announced that Nixon was 'ending the war.' We were thrilled and relieved, as we knew our generation would've be off to war, in a few short years, otherwise.

Before all the Covid-19 business closings, I used to occasionally stop by our local antique malls (junk shops), as I love looking at all the old, past odds-and-ends. Now, I'm hoping they have re-opened (and not gone out of business), as I'm planning to start collecting goose necklaces.

Happy 4th of July, everyone!


Melissa said...

The cigar box itself reminds me of Arietty’s bedroom in The Borrowers, that was made of two cigar boxes, and she’d lie in bed looking at the “painting” on her ceiling.

Nanook said...


A bit late to the party, but more of these, please. And thanks for reminding me of all those great antique stores in Pasadena. They were all so much fun to rummage through. Their replacements - not so much, regrettably.

Major Pepperidge said...

zach, I’m the same way, I love going through antiques stores, and in a way, the junkier they are, the better! I’m not into the fine furniture, I like the pop culture detritus. I’m sorry that your mom’s bakelite scoop went missing. Have you ever thought about trying to get one like it? Or would it be pointless because you want the one that your mom used?

Kathy!, the Pitchur Gallery photos are so fun, and luckily they are usually very affordable, even if they are from the 1940s. I’m not sure I’ll be as organized as you might like (!), just because I am not an organized person in general, but you’ll certainly see lots of World’s Fair items (from different fairs) together.

stu29573, I always donate money to The Human Fund!

The Magic Ears Dudebro, I’m not so sure that opening trade with China was ultimately a good thing for the U.S., but that’s a subject that I admit I am not extremely “up” on and might be wrong. It seems like we lost a lot of manufacturing jobs, and now China is a real force to be reckoned with. But I don’t think anybody is all good or all bad.

stu29573, that is for sure.

JG, pocket knives are such a “guy thing”! I somehow have seven or eight of them - maybe more - without even trying. I admit that I have re-gifted a few. I have a little ziplock bag with museum badges that I have saved; most of the local museums seem to have switched to stickers, which are not nearly as fun. I wish I had a bigger variety of badges, it would be cool to have some from the Smithsonian or The Met. Cool that you got to shake hands with a President!

Lou and Sue, to be honest I’m not sure what the “two faces” thing is - I’ll have to check the box tomorrow, it’s at my mom’s house, but I’ll be visiting her for the Fourth o’ July. For a while I would buy cigar boxes so that I could try my hand at making portable painting easels (for plein-air painting), and some of them were very fancy and nice. Velvet lined! But I got rid of them during one of my moves, and I think only one survives. Ha ha, dissolving a real pearl seems like a bad way to go! I actually remember the end of the Vietnam War, since my dad was in Saigon. We sure were glad to have him home. I still occasionally go to antiques stores, but they are often picked over, or very expensive. I want to give them my business, but it’s hard to get a deal.

Melissa, somehow I never read “The Borrowers” as a child, and I was a “reader”. They just escaped my orbit.

Nanook, yeah, I really had fun at some of those old Colorado Blvd. shops, so dark and dusty. I bought an animation drawing of Donald Duck, clearly drawn by somebody who had real skill. Howard Lowery informed me that it was a fake. Oh well. There was a guy a mile or so away who specialized in antique handmade marbles from Germany. My mom collects those! I thought, “I’ll go in there with all of my knowledge and get some bargains”, but he knew more than me, of course. I still remember that his name was Chuck.

Chuck said...

I hope you don't hold that against me.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, only a little!