Collecting

Vintage Fans

Q: I grew up in West Texas before the era of air conditioning. We had electric fans scattered throughout our house to help us survive the summer heat. I still have three of them, all from the 1930s and ’40s. Are they considered collectible? – Sue Beth, Spring Branch, Texas

A: If your vintage fans have brass blades, you have the most collectible. Serious enthusiasts seek out older fans with such features as Art Deco designs and exposed coils, and even rarer ones with light bulbs mounted on the unit. If the paint is in reasonably good shape and the fan is in working condition, the value may surprise you. For example, fans spotted recently include a Westinghouse Vane Oscillator, $650; an Emerson three-speed Trojan, $400; a GE “Whiz,” $55; and an Emerson “Junior,” $75.

The American Fan Collector Association is one of the better groups and publishes a nifty newsletter, “The Fan Collector.” The website can be accessed at www.fancollectors.org. Membership is $45 per year and may be submitted to Dick Boswell, 2245 Harrison Ave., Lincoln, NE 68502; and membership@fancollectors.org. Do not contact Boswell concerning questions about the age or value of fans. That is not his purpose.

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Q: I have about a dozen issues of the Saturday Evening Post from the 1960s. They are in excellent condition, but no covers of historical interest. Is there a market for such publications? – Bill, Louisiana, Mo.

A: Most issues of the Saturday Evening Post from this period sell in the $10 to $20 range, depending on both content and condition. The issues covering the assassination of John Kennedy in 1963 are popular with collectors, but rarely sell for more than about $25.

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Q: While cleaning out my mom’s desk, I found about a dozen sheets of Christmas seals from the 1950s. I plan to sell them at a garage sale and wonder how I should price them. – Donna, Mitchell, S.D.

A: Occasionally sheets of Christmas seals pop up at shops and antiques malls. Even though they are collectible, prices have remained fairly stagnant. Most of the examples I have seen from the 1950s generally sell for about a dollar a sheet.

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