Blast From the Past

Q: I was a college student during the 1970s and still have a large box full of keepsakes from that period. I have early issues of “High Times,” a Happy Face cookie jar, a doughnut-shaped phone and an assortment of pop posters. I am thinking of having a garage sale, but keep hesitating. – Steve, Westminster, Colo.

A: Several years ago, Michael Jay Goldberg, a Portland, Oregon-based collector, published a fun guide, “The Collectible ’70s: A Price Guide to the Polyester Decade.” This might be helpful when determining what to toss and what to keep. Last year, while rummaging through one of my storage closets, I found a pile of 1970s comics: “Freak,” “Tales from the Fridge,” “Short Order” and “Psychotic Adventures.” Needless to say, I lost more than an hour revisiting these publications from my past, but what a blast. My advice is to think before you toss.


Q: My son has a collection of Hot Wheels, and I would like to find a price guide so he can determine how much his collection is worth. Can you help me? – Alice, Mobile, Ala.

A: Although there are several excellent guides, my personal favorite is “Warman’s Hot Wheels” by Michael Zarnock and published by Krause. This nifty little guide features design histories, current values and more than 500 illustrations in full color. It is $17.99 and available at or from the publisher, Krause, 700 E. State Street, Iola, WI 54990; 888-457-2873.


Q: I have a fan-shaped vase in green. I have been told by my mom that it was a wedding gift in 1937 and is a piece of Fenton. Is it worth keeping? – Laura, Palm Springs, Calif.

A: Your Mongolian Green fan vase is referenced in “Fenton Glass” by Mark F. Moran and published by Krause Books. According to Moran, your vase is worth about $35.


Q: I have nine early Barbie dolls, all in the original packaging. Whom can I contact to find out current values? – Ruth, Sun City, Ariz.
A: Scott D. Gram is a Barbie doll expert as well as a certified appraiser of art, sterling silver and antiques. He can be contacted at


Leave a Reply