I Wish I Hadn’t Sold That: Items I’m Still Kicking Myself Over

Over the years, as an incurable metalware collector, I’ve discovered many interesting pieces. Since display space is at a premium within my home, it’s important to keep my collection a manageable size. That means that periodic downsizings are in order.

It’s always hard trying to decide which pieces to relinquish. Each one has its own special history, either a known provenance or memories of a special place or time when it was purchased. Let me share four items that I have parted with in the past but could now kick myself for doing so.

I Wish I Hadn’t Sold That …

ab072-pa311857Hochin Pocket Alcohol Cook Stove

Tin, circa. 1878, with instructions and trivet. What an interesting relic; so unusual in that it was a complete set in the original box. Instructions from this little 4 3/8”-wide x 2”-tall pocket stove proclaimed “with broiler and gridiron on which can be broiled a steak or chop, oysters, ham, fish, etc. or make Toast as there is neither Smell nor Smoke from the Flame.” All I can say is that portion sizes must have been MUCH smaller in 1878!


Horseshoe Plaque, Good Luck with Doves

Cast Iron, circa. 1880, 8” x 6” with original gold paint. I parted with this piece at a time I was downsizing my horseshoe plaque collection. I guess I didn’t appreciate how truly unusual it was and, of course, I’ve never seen another since. However, it was sold to an advanced collector (who is also a friend), so I know it has found a good home in a respected collection.

apict3337Victorian Era Toy Trivet

Brass, circa. 1890s, 4” x 2.5″ with the words “Good Luck.” This delicately cast trivet would have been the companion to a toy brass iron. A child’s little iron and trivet of that era was fully functional, and on occasion might be borrowed by an adult to iron delicate pieces of lace or cuffs. Unfortunately, I parted with this piece before I knew I would one day be collecting toy irons and trivets!

bpict2877American Beauty 79-AB Iron

Adjustable, automatic electric iron with chrome-plated cast iron soleplate and ruby Lucite handle, circa. 1947. This iron appeared to be mint in box, with the original tags. A beautiful design, it was once featured in an exhibit held at the Baltimore Museum of Art, entitled “Masterpieces of American Design.” The 79-AB American Beauty Iron was also offered with an amber Lucite handle.

So … what do these four items all have in common? All of them are either unusual in some way or truly scarce. What should be considered before deciding whether to part with a collectible?

Ask yourself the following questions:

• Is it truly scarce? If so, hold on to it for another year and then re-evaluate.
• Is it in the original packaging? Keep it! It will only increase in significance and value.
• Does it add spice to a collection? Think twice before selling this “Go With.”
• Find it fascinating? Consider the possibility that one day you might collect these!

And, should you ever make a sale you later regret, be sure to contact the buyer. Let them know you would be interested in purchasing it back, should they ever decide to sell.

Lynn Rosack is a Worthologist who specializes in trivets and kitchenalia.

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  1. Joel says:

    I just picked up a beautiful American Beauty 79AB with the ruby lucite handle. It was out of a wealthy estate in Oklahoma City. I’m not sure it has ever been used. I do not have the box. I am not a collector, just liked the looks. If you really want to replace it, let me know. Thanks, Joel.

    • thomas says:

      im currently doing an assignmenet on the american beauty 79Ab and i was wondering if you new what the components such as the handle, soleplate, heating element and chord were made out of and why?

  2. Lynn Rosack says:

    The following is reprinted from my 2004 book “The A-Z Guide To Collecting Trivets”. I think this will answer your questions. Regards, Lynn Rosack

    “American Beauty adjustable-automatic Electric Iron, Thermoscope Type, CAT. No. 79-AB (circa 1947)

    Heating element 1000 watts input and is of chrome-nickel resistance ribbon with mica insulation.

    Cord is American Beauty 10,000 super-flexible heater cord, 7 feet long, with attachment-plug cap.

    Sole-plate is of cast iron, with rounded edges and finished in a frictional-resistant chrome plate.

    Hood or cover is of steel, chrome-plated.

    Handle is of (ruby red) plastics.

    Weight of iron is 4 1/2 pounds.

    Iron is listed under Re-examination Service of Underwriter’s Laboratories, Inc.

    In March of 2003 I obtained an American Beauty Electric Irons dealer catalog labeled 9/47, which I interpret to be September 1947. Inside is a lovely description of their “newest” product, the No. 79-AB ruby red handled iron that I previously described above! Apparently, “Thermoscope Type” generated a big marketing campaign, since this was one of the first irons featuring a dial with fabric settings. The following information, regarding this new feature, is quoted from the dealer catalog:

    Thermoscope Type means that it has a thermoscope. The thermoscope is a temperature-indicating device that shows on its dial in fabric graduation- Rayon, Silk, Wool, Cotton, Linen- temperature of the ironing surface. It makes visible to the user at all times the operating the temperature of working surface of the iron. It supersedes the “wet fingertip touch” or other uncertain tests for determining ironing temperature.

    The handle is made of durable molded plastic, shaped to fit the hand comfortably and without strain to the wrist or cramping or slipping of fingers. It is removable and replaceable without removing hood or other parts of the iron. It is made in three sections, united and held together as a unit by a through-handle bolt extending from rear through center section into threaded metal insert in the front section. Should one section be broken, it is necessary to replace that section only.

    Because of the perfect balance of its light weight; its cool, comfortable, molded plastic handle; its visual temperature indicating device … the thermoscope; its gliding qualities resulting from its specially finished, precision-ground, rounded-edge, sole plate; and its super-flexible heater cord, the No. 79-AB is a device that will meet requirements of the most exacting conditions.”

    Rosack, Margaret Lynn. The A-Z Guide To Collecting Trivets. Paducah, KY: Collector Books, 2004: 47-48.

  3. Elwood Menter says:

    Great information :)

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