By Grant Hamilton
We recently had an opportunity to take a short trip to Vermont where we made our regular stop at the Stone House Antique Co-op in Chester. It’s a short drive on a winding road (what side roads in southern Vermont aren’t winding) from the Grafton Inn where we have stayed many times. The co-op is well organized and has a good mix of interesting things. Having “too many” antiques now, we aren’t avid buyers. Still, Linda or I typically find something that’s not necessarily antique but ends up returning with us to Western New York.
One thing I noticed was a newspaper rack for a Rutland newspaper. It was the wire variety that were typically found in local stores – and still are occasionally. I didn’t feel the need to own it, but it had me thinking about newspaper “collectibles.” With the community newspapers we publish I’ve managed to pick up some older examples of sales racks and signs, usually from Buffalo area daily newspapers. Our community newspaper, having been in the same building for over 100 years, has yielded a number of items that were promotional “give-ways.” Among them were calendars, razors, note pad holders, golf tees and pencils.
Getting back to the antiques trail, I’d calculate that for every “newspaper collectible” I see there must be a dozen auto-related items. License plates, oil cans, large signs touting oil brands, hubcaps, and any number of other auto-antiques. I’m not sure why newspaper collectibles are in short supply. It may be that the daily newspaper years ago sold for a few cents and readers had formed the “newspaper habit,” so papers didn’t need a lot of “brand” promotion.
As the number of daily newspapers has, sadly, diminished, the newspaper collectibles may gain some nostalgic following. In the meantime, we’ll pass by those many auto-related items. For my taste in antiques, I’d rather stick with my habit of looking at the reverse of pewter plate, hoping for a domestic mark.