Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Do YOU remember the first purchase you made for your collection(s)?

For me, it was my first Bakelite purchase that set me on the road to collecting in that area: I purchased a pair of pins, one of which I still own and love very much. I vividly recall what I paid for my very first two pieces of Bakelite. I paid five bucks each for a pair of pins.

One of them was black and had a very edgy machine age style. I even remember to whom I sold it when I finally parted with it and how much the buyer paid me. It was our first meeting. He and I have been doing Bakelite business with each other ever since.

The piece that I was never able to part with for some reason was a simple Deco design, black and red, brass trim. I was wearing it one day back about 20 years ago when I looked down and discovered part of it was missing! RATS! I was devastated!

Side note: this is not the only personal fave Bakelite pin I've ever had damaged. The other one was damaged so badly I had to ship the parts of it off to Brad Elfrink at
Elvenkrafte Studios to be put back together. You may know Brad as bael31 on eBay. Thankfully, he was able to save it. I'll have to dig up the photos of it to show you some time. It's a WONDERFUL pin, another I so vividly remember finding and one that has a delightful story behind it!

So, today, I'm going to share with you this piece that is so simple and yet makes me smile whenever I see it. Yesterday I opened up the jewelry case I used to carry with me when I traveled. Lo and behold! There was not only The First Bakelite Pin but several other pieces that I'd been wondering in the back of my mind, "what the heck did I do with those?"

The Bakelite pin, as mentioned, fell apart one day. When I discovered that the top had fallen off, I decided to retrace my steps to see if it was still where it had fallen. Imagine my shock and delight when I discovered it next to my car in the parking lot. It appears now that someone stepped on it at some point as the brass trim has some dents in it that were not there before but I really do not care. It's still a fave even though it had to be epoxied back together where the rivet had failed:

After it's long sleep in the jewelry case, it obviously needs to have the brass polished. I found the matching bracelet for it in the rightfully esteemed Route 66 West shop a year or several back but it had the "price available upon request" designation in place of a price which means it was way out of my price range. One day recently I was spending some quality time with Cathy Gordon's collection in the Bakelite category and - again, lo and behold! There's another matching bracelet yet again. Dadgummit! Maybe some day I'll be fortunate enough to run onto one for my very own. Check it out towards the bottom of the page. I keep hoping that the old "third time is a charm" rule could apply the next time I happen onto one. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Here are another couple of long-time favorite pieces. Sometimes there is no accounting for what we find appealing but these are faves of mine. As you can see, I'm not a big collector of rhinestones.

The first one is yet another $5.00 deal. This one - again - I so vividly remember purchasing. The lady from whom I purchased it told me when asked it's price, "Well, honey, I'm going to have to get an awful lot for that one - it's real, real old. I got it from this old lady.......(and on and on). I've gotta have five dollars for it."

I, of course, could not get the money out fast enough. It was nasty and black and requires a lot of work to make it wearable when it's not been worn in a while. If not, it turns my neck green and gross, as you can imagine. The leafy-type connectors have a design patent on them that I need to go in and look up beyond it's date of issue some time. Might discover who made this necklace. The design patent dated to the 1930s.

Along with another favorite pin (The Tortolani Hyde Street Cable car pin in gold tone), in a small box right on the bottom was the bracelet that goes with my "go-to" necklace. I love this set so very much! The black rings are glass. This was purchased at a garage sale, dead of winter, literally about 10 degrees with a harsh north wind inside a north-facing garage. The wind and wind-chill-factor were so brutal that all of us there were laughing and asking each other "why are we so crazy to be here?". For me, when I opened a tiny snack-size zip-lock and the bracelet (along with it's matching necklace) literally sprang out into my hand, I knew why I was there:

Readers: What was the first piece you bought or the piece that inspired you to become a collector? Drop me a comment, share your experiences, include a link or two if you would like - I'd love to see what some of my readers enjoy. If you remember the circumstances, a funny story about who you purchased it from, the crazy location or insanely low price you paid - tell us all about it!