[singlepic id=60 w=250 h=542 float=left]You gotta hand it to the great state of Colorado: It produces some REAL SERIOUS collectors of railroad memorabilia.
It’s not surprising: Railroads played a huge role in the state’s history, especially during that iconic and conflicted era we call the Wild West. Sure, trains were essential to the development of other, arguably tamer parts of the country: rural New York State, for example, or Ohio, or Missouri. But Coloradans rightly find deeper inspiration in the conquest of their rugged landscape by mortal men – from the financiers and surveyors and engineers to the crews that dynamited and graded, laid down ties, pounded spikes and hauled in and set the tracks (“rust eaters,” the last were called) – than, say, your average New Yorker, who much prefers to grouse about the Long Island Rail Road than reflect on it.
Anyway … I often feel that these blogs focus too much on paper collectibles than objects of daily use, so I’m happy to report that Denver-based Railroad Memories, a buyer, seller and appraiser of railroad memorabilia, is currently holding their 74th auction, which closes on Fri., Nov. 6, 2009, at 5 p.m. MST (mind those time zones, Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore!). Railroad Memories is owned by Sue Knous, with whom I had a very pleasant conversation about railroad collectibles a few months back. While I haven’t yet purchased anything from Sue, I’ve been watching her Web site, with its wide range of railroad artifacts, and planning to get the word out when her next auction was announced.
The thing I love most about railroad collectibles is the huge crossover into other collecting areas, and this Railroad Memories auction doesn’t disappoint: While this isn’t a big, big auction – there are some 468 lots – it runs the gamut from paper ephemera (baggage tags, timetables, passes), to tableware (dining car linens, glasses, silverware, hollowware and china), to personal items (badges, pins, uniforms), to lanterns and lamp globes, to some really great locks and keys, to depot equipment like torch cans, water cans and other cool stuff.
It’s a little hard to find on the Web site, but Railroad Memories issues catalogs to auction subscribers, who pay $45 a year if they live in the U.S., $55 if they’re in Canada and $65 to the folks across the pond. When you subscribe, you receive a bidder number but pay NO BUYER’S PREMIUM if you win something. Non-subscribing winning bidders pay a 10 percent buyer’s premium, which is still pretty darn low. Either way, you should contact Railroad Memories early to get set up to bid.
With the holidays rolling around, this is a great opportunity to get something unique for that special collector in your life. Learn more and view the lots at RailroadMemories.com.
Images courtesy of Railroad Memories, www.railroadmemories.com