Thursday, January 20, 2011

eBay Treasures- for Treasure Chest Thursday

The following are things I saw on eBay.  Some have to do with family history, some with local history, and other are just curiosities.  A few of these items I even bid on, but in general I just watch the numbers go up past my limit.  I posted a story last week that was prompted by a postcard seen on eBay.   The idea to search for local history on eBay came from Portsmouth historian J. Dennis Robinson at the blog.   You can catch his last post about eBay at this link
I always check the latest prices on the silver souvenir spoons made by Daniel Low Jeweler’s of Salem. They invented the whole phenomenon of souvenir spoons back in 1892 when they came out with a spoon with a witch figure on it for the tourists. It was the 200th anniversary of the 1692 witch trials in Salem. I remember the Low’s shop, even though I’m not old enough to be an antique. My grandmother, who was born in Salem, collected spoons. (What happened to her spoon collection?) I don’t think she had any spoons worth this much! Most spoons of this type go for $100 - $200 on eBay, but for much less in local antique shops. I would like to have one of these spoons as a reminder of my family heritage, but I’m not paying that much!

Londonderry Lithia Water advertising usually goes for $20 to $50 a page ripped from magazines. This infuriates me because of the destruction to the magazines and ephemera. This destruction happens not just for Londonderry Lithia Water, but for all sorts of old advertising. Very sad.

Ever since the Old Man of the Mountain rock formation fell from Cannon Mountain in 2003 I have been fascinated with old souvenirs with his image.  I saw a great collection of this stuff at the New Hampshire Historical Society Museum in Concord about five years ago and there is a great display at the ranger station/information center in Lincoln, New Hampshire off Route 93, at the head of the Kancamaugus Trail Scenic Byway.  This stuff on eBay is a riot, and very overpriced.  I’ve got the Old Man on my license plate, on a quarter, and a magnet on the fridge.  That will have to do until I win the lottery.
Next, on eBay I sometimes search for family names, because I have several that are quite rare and unique. If they show up, sometimes it is due to a family connection. Sometimes, things show up that are just funny or interesting. For example, here are some British beer coasters labeled with the name Hitchings, which was my maternal grandmother’s maiden name. This would be fun to have or to find for a dollar at a yard sale. A four pack of these cardboard coasters were going for more than $20 the last time I checked on eBay. Fun to have, but not so funny to pay that much for a paper beer coaster!

Genealogy books, town histories, and local records appear occasionally on eBay. Sometimes they are reprints, sometimes originals, and usually as scanned books on CD. Beware! Read the fine print. If you are lucky you might find a family bible.  Here is another bit of local Londonderry history that surprised me.  I never thought boats took tourists for rides on Kendall Pond!

As you can see, I do a lot of looking, but rarely purchase anything on eBay. 
Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. I have wandered around ebay looking for pieces of my history too. Once someone actually e-mailed me with a military medal that had been awarded to a distant family member. They must have found me through my genealogy website. That piece was too pricey for my wallet and the man was not in my direct line. I wonder how high I would bid on something for a direct member???? Enjoyed this blog Heather.

  2. I have broken down a couple times and purchased some old postcards of homes or locations of special significance. But most of it is just too dear. I have been known to keep the pictures advertising the items, however!

  3. I have a fairly large collection of souvenir spoons that began with some my mother inherited from her step mom. I love the old silver spoons with battleships, states and just flowers. I even have one that came from (I think) Formosa when my aunt Joyce and her husband were living there in the 1950's. Since then, my collection has tripled and friends send me spoons from their trips to Korea, China, Malta, London, etc. I've been known to keep pictures of Ebay items too. ;)

  4. Hmmm ... I decided to try my maiden name, since it is unique, and came up with a set of coasters that look like the Hitchings ones ...

  5. Sounds like a coaster scam to me! Printing them in the basement, 'eh?

  6. Sure enough, there's Seavey coasters too! LOL