Some excitement generated on Ebay in the past month (August). Two Smileys with hair were listed for sale - one in particular with strands of hair which are not often seen. It sold for over $2200 and the back up bidder would have had to go MUCH deeper to win it, the sky was the limit on this one. Friends bought him and I knew it was destined to make it to their collection as they had expressed an interest in a similar one I have.
Hairys have always had a soft spot for me going back over 25 years and will share some stories as to why. Nice to have some interest in a subject for the newsletter as I was on the fence about this month as am home recuperating from surgery at Mayo Clinic.
Years ago I called a new friend in Los Angeles long before the interenet and we were talking jar when she mentioned having had a Smiley with a toupee. First I had ever heard of such a thing. She had traded it to Bob of Jeans' House of Cookie Jars (a dealer and collector). She gave me his number but by the time I reached him he had traded it to Charlie Snyder of Charlie's Collectables. Well, Charlie was a serious collector and not looking to sell him but sent me a picture of his wife Rose holding Hairy and the picture was on my refrigerator for several years. By this time Charlie and I were great collecting friends having helped each other find pieces - I did a lot of picking for him as I was focused on Shawnee only whereas he collected ALL JARS, he especially loved Twin Winton including go withs which were plentiful in Arizona. His wife collected the liquor bottles of the tramps - cannot even recall the series - anyhow she needed the first in the series and he really hoped to find it. After our phone call I went out to some local shops and lo and behold found the exact piece and bought it - called him teasingly saying what can a husband not accomplish in many years and a friend find in less than an hour?? They were so excited! The following year a little before Christmas Charlie called and said Hairy was getting tired of the cold Kansas winters and wanted to retire to sunny Arizona. He sold him to me for $300, a bargain even then!!!! So may good memories of our friendship. RIP Charlie.
Another special Hairy came to me via cookie jar collector friends who I had gotten to be friends with at the Zanesville Pottery Festival. They were on the road antiquing and in Pennsylvania where they saw a Smiley with hair in a small shop - a couple of weeks later in a phone call they mentioned it to me and gave me the shop number to follow up. When I called, the guy I talked to was terrific but said the shop never ships.... I explained no way could I get to Hershey PA to pick it up and my friends lived several states away and had just been passing through!!! After much cajoling he agreed to take the jar to a pack and ship place in town to send it on to me - I was so nervous about it arriving damaged I almost said just ship the lid. Well, when he arrived, I unpacked the base first and was stunned to see the most striking base with hand painted flowers! The gesture of friendship adds so much more meaning to this jar - thanks so much for your friendship and the great memories at Pottery Festival.
I wish I had kept better records on the history of many pieces but never dreamt 38 years later the collection would have grown so much. One of the strands was listed as a Buy It Now on Ebay - it happened to be from the hometown of a friend from Texas and she was going to be visiting so she picked it up and hand carried it back - why that made sense I don't even know.
My first redhead is special - I lost my youngest brother to cancer at the young age of 40, he was a redhead and often called Red. The first one promised to me out of Wisconsin, the seller lost my number and I was the second called on his ad in the Pottery Express - he apologized for losing my number and actually offered to cancel the sale to the first caller - mind you the price was $300. I declined as would have been heartbroken to have that done to me but I have always hoped it went to a collector and not a dealer to resale. I paid nearly ten times that for the one I eventually got. I believe in karma and would not want that done to me - I know many who have bought pieces only to be told it broke before shipping. This is heartbreaking.
Friends I have met go far beyond the pottery and add such great memories. I want my collection to be all good memories. Paying it forward is a way to do this - I have mentored many early collectors and only had one disaster. Most collectors are special and so many have helped me build my collection over the years. I collect some other jars and pottery so would network with non Shawnee collectors - cookie jar collectors that I could help add pieces to their collections. It helps to have other sets of eyes across the country. Many years ago a gal in Pa called me to tell me she had seen a gold chanticleer in a shop but a guy was about to purchase it - she waited to make sure he did. A week later the chanticleer arrived in the mail - turns out it was a friend of mine who bought it knowing I would love it - mind you, what are the chances two people in PA would think Lin Romberg over 3,000 miles away needed this pitcher? That is what brings all the great memories to a collection.
I love doing the newsletter and readers contributing as it helps all of us learn about the difference in the pottery and have the hope to find certain pieces. There is so much out there yet to be discovered as we saw in last months newsletter with the fruit spoon holder - pieces we never even knew existed!!!!
All of us collect (or should) the pieces we love. There are far more extensive collections than mine but I have always primarily loved the figural and decaled pieces. I never buy for resale but when I focused on acquiring the Hairys I did part with some of my collection to make room - I paid way over the top on many. Early on in my collecting a long time collector told me "a piece at a time" and "you pay what it takes to bring it to your collection" great advice, I try to convince myself the exorbitant prices I paid were offset by the bargains. If I had a home with a full finished basement I would never have parted with a single piece, as it is in a four bedroom home I am wall to wall pottery!!! Many of you are likely in the same boat.
Looking forward to seeing what Fall brings! Have a few contributions for the November newsletter already in the works.
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