Our monthly gaze into the weird but wonderful world of collector/dealer Obsolete Oz. Buying and selling since the 1970s, Oz has developed a great knack for unearthing some amazing finds from flea markets, antique fairs, car boot sales, rubbish skips and even the local tip.
Hi folks! Collecting is a funny old world you know. Often, it’s not those big, bold, in your face finds that excite a collector, even the smallest of things can bring that warm glow of satisfaction when you find that little gem.
A most satisfying little find this month was a very small enamel pin badge I discovered amongst a large collection of badges at an antique centre. They were all fairly bland and uninteresting except one that immediately caught my eye. It had a pair of open wings each side of a black circle lettered ‘Hepolite for Speed’ and a cylindrical object in the middle. Now I had never heard of Hepolite Motor Oil before so what else motoring related could it be? The raised lettering on the back told me that the badge was made by Hepworth & Grand Ltd of Bradford, again a firm I had not come across before despite being a badge collector! I happily handed over a fiver for this mysterious badge and felt excited about the prospect of doing the research to find out more. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in the collecting business you simply carry-on learning all the time. It transpired that Hepolite made pistons and rings for car and motorcycle engines and the brand is still extant today. The company was formed in 1907 as Hepworth & Grandage and moved to Bradford in 1916. I think this badge dates from the 1930s. What a great buy for a fiver.
Another object I had not seen before turned up on a stall at the huge Newark Runway fair organised by IACF. It was a tinplate miniature egg sowing a great image of the iconic Forth Bridge. These eggs were thought to have contained cachous or a sweet and are often attributed to being sold on the streets by hawkers who also sold penny toys.
It’s no secret to regular readers that I have a passion for plastic toys so you can imagine how pleased I was to scoop up a lovely little six-wheeled Mercedes cement mixer in a lovely clean original box at a recent King’s Lynn fleamarket for £35. I love this well organised event, great atmosphere and such a myriad of collectables on offer.
I was extremely fortunate once again to find a lovely old showcard advertising Watson’s Matchless Cleanser at the crack of dawn at another fleamarket near Malvern, but had to use all my detective skills and printing knowledge to verify its authenticity. Its always awkward when something’s been reframed. I didn’t want to waste a hundred quid so it was out with the magnifying glass and once I was happy it was right, I bought it. Glad I did as it’s a real beauty and just needs a better frame. Again, it might be something I hang on to?
My favourite find had to be a beautiful little Wells tinplate Trolley Bus in immaculate condition with an immaculate box to match. £45 has to be a great price for this little tinplate classic which dates from the late 1950s. I can remember travelling on trolleybuses in the mid1960s shortly before they were withdrawn and the overhead wires were removed. This might well be a toy that gets added to my own collection… so nice!
On the selling front a Corgi Toy pink Chevrolet Impala in good unboxed condition was quickly scooped up for twenty quid. I love those big American cars of the 1950s and 60s…so cool!
Dan Dare was also a very cool dude of the 1950s and 60s, appearing in the Eagle comic as the Pilot of the Future. A little button badge given away by Eagle in the early 1960s found a new home with a collector happy to hand over a tenner for it. This example was in excellent condition, as they sometimes suffer from foxing and rust spots.
A really nice, and quite rare, Thornton’s toffee tin didn’t hang around for long and was soon snapped up by a collector happy to pay my asking price of £60. It was in amazing condition and dated from the very early days of Thornton’s first chocolate cabins in the city of Sheffield.
A really nice Charbens tractor in orange and with green painted hubs, complete with driver sold for twenty-five pounds. It was in great condition so had to be good value for the price. Tractors are always popular and sell well if reasonably priced.
Last, but not least, I sold a really interesting book of matches that had crossed the Atlantic many moons ago. It was from the Hotel Piccadilly on 227 West 45th St, famed for its Circus Bar and Cocktail Lounge which, it says, was ‘favoured by stars of stage, screen and radio’. I love the graphics on it and the wording ‘close cover before striking’. It makes you wonder who has stayed there or performed there in those golden decades. All the matches were still inside and a book match collector was more than happy to give me a tenner for it.
Well, that’s about all for this time folks, the heat is on weather wise so enjoy summer and keep up the searching for those hidden treasures. Happy hunting and, as always, be lucky.