From The White House to Bugs in Crayons: 200 Articles for WorthPoint

An article about “Collecting the Royals: Kings, Queens, and Pretenders to the Throne” somehow managed to get viewed nearly 5,100 times, and we’re still trying to figure out why that is.

By my count, I have written 200 articles on collectibles for WorthPoint since 2007, from White House cards to crayons. Are the articles collectible now?

WorthPoint got its start in early 2007. With more than 20 years of collecting and dealing at the time in presidential, political, and vexillological memorabilia, I was brought on board not long after to help with creating WorthPoint’s first taxonomy.

Back then, the whole idea of WorthPoint was an entirely new concept, and online content on collectibles was in short supply.  With my specific expertise, I was also asked to create short articles for the new Worthopedia. My first article that year was about a recent acquisition, White House place cards*.  At that time, the article was written in the style of “just the facts, ma’am,” having only 12 views recorded so far, which includes my own visits. I’ve since done better.

There was a time you can actually buy pieces of the White House as I explain in “The White House for Sale” in 2008.

Over the course of 200** articles, the early ones revolved around my particular interests such as the president, the White House, and flags. Later, there were articles about Worthologists and all manner of general Americana such as honoring Viktor Schreckengost, an industrial designer responsible for so many collectibles today like the pedal car, the ceramic Jazz Bowl, Limoges patterns, 1950s lawn chairs, a Murray-Ohio bicycle, and much more. He died in 2008 at age 101. Artist Ulla Darni showed us how stunning reverse painting lighting can also create color and warmth, for example, and we learned that Modernism is older than you thought.

On Mother’s Day 2008, the writing staff was asked to create a story about our mothers. I remembered a time when I was involved in community theatre for a while, and I wrote about my mom’s ability to easily pick out her kid in a large cast even in heavy makeup, stockings, and costume for a local production of 1776 in “A Mother’s Day Tribute: A Mother Knows Her Children.” I’m sure others might relate as well. By the way, Dad couldn’t find me.

WorthPoint went on several road trips such as to Brimfield, MA, the outdoor antique show held three times a year. Walking with Will Seippel at Brimfield was a great learning experience. The things he sees that others don’t is amazing. In 2009, I walked with Will as he chatted with John Eagle about face jugs, ceramic jugs with exaggerated faces used to drive away evil spirits, and late 19th and early 20th-century condom tins where the early artwork is considered highly collectible. Can’t say I ever noticed them before. I do now, though. Will found an old Sonora phonograph cabinet that was made by a company owned by his Grandad once upon a time. That’s a great story.

Collecting the police was a very popular article with almost 800 views in “Collecting the Police Badge: Badges? Of course We Need Those Stinkin’ Badges,” one of the editor’s better titles.

We also went to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, CO, where WorthPoint was a sponsor of the American Presidential Experience. Worthologists such as Christopher Kent, John Olsen, and myself evaluated early political collectibles that were used at the 1908 Democratic Convention held in – guess where – Denver. William Jennings Bryan was nominated then but lost the general election. Handling memorabilia of the period such as umbrellas, political buttons, tin trays and even discovering other vintage memorabilia such as rare suffragette items made it a learning experience and a very enjoyable time.

Another enjoyable road trip was WorthPoint’s participation in the Manassas “Treasures from the Attic,” a fundraiser (since discontinued) for the Manassas History Museum a few times. Many Worthologists helped to identify many items like the Washington Centennial ribbon I did for a local resident. It was a great way to help keep the Manassas History programs alive.

The Whitman Coin & Currency Convention in Baltimore in 2008 was where Dan Borsey and I created videos and chatted with Worthologist Glen Burger on error coins, among others. We discovered a 1996S Lincoln penny that comes with its own certificate of authenticity from the US Secret Service.

Being part of the Worthologist program was an enjoyable time; I miss the camaraderie, the learning experience, and the ability to assist others while spreading the great programs of WorthPoint.

Many of my articles also dealt with special events like the Kentucky Derby, the award ceremonies such as the Oscars and Emmy’s, attending Woodstock, holidays like New Year’s Eve, Easter, Hallowe’en, and Christmas and just regular life events like birth, graduation, ceremonies and passing on. I also wrote about religion, sports, playing cards, unusual games, and events that didn’t even happen.

Collecting: Padlocks-The Key to Your Next Collection?” did much better than we had thought even if the title should’ve been locked away.

When WorthPoint added the number of views per article a couple of years ago, it was interesting to see which ones gathered large views, while others I thought would be most interesting weren’t. The highest views for an article was “Collecting the Royals: Kings, Queens, and Pretenders to the Throne” that has, so far, garnered 5,080 views. We don’t know why. The next highest is a surprise, “Collecting: Padlocks-The Key to your Next Collection?” that has been viewed almost 1,200 times. Yet, I thought an article about “Collecting Outlaws: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” would’ve done better than 100 views. That might be a good sign of the times.

Some of my favorite articles feature collectibles such as JFK memorabilia (several of those with the most comments).

Some of my favorite articles feature collectibles such as JFK memorabilia (several of those with the most comments), space collectibles, historic items that are faked for resale, credit cards, advancing technology from the 1960s through 1990s, a whole series on every US Flag, collectibles that are illegal to own and even collecting collections. You can also drink your collection – responsibly, of course. Yet even I was surprised at my most recent article about collecting crayons. The early red crayon was actually made with the cochineal beetle. Who knew – and ewwww!

My great thanks to Will Seippel, editor Amy McAtee, and to all WorthPoint subscribers for letting me have such fun finding collectibles to write about. Now you know that there are collectibles everywhere – if you just take the time to look around. I’m sure there are at least 200 more collectible categories yet to find. Let’s hope so.

Notes: *the online publication date shows it as October 4, 200,8 online, but I have a photocopy of the article showing it as my first article published on November 2, 2007.

 **a list of articles for my name on WorthPoint shows a total 175 articles going back to November 11, 2007, but many of the early ones and some later ones are no longer accessible except through my photocopies.

Tom Carrier is a General Worthologist with a specialty in Americana, political memorabilia and he has been the resident WorthPoint vexillologist (flags, seals and heraldry) since 2007. Tom is also a frequent contributor of articles to WorthPoint.

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