Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cowboy Collectibles -- Watches and Fobs

It wasn't too many years back that every cowboy kept a time piece in his vest pocket.  A few still do.  I personally never liked wearing any kind of jewelry when I'm around horses -- especially a wristwatch-- there's just too many things to get hung-up on.  

The two pocket watches in the photo above are items I still carry almost everyday.  The watch at the top is a Hamilton railroad watch -- it's my Sunday-go-to-meetin' watch.  It has a swell Edmundo Cigars fob and cigar cutter attached, and the 'horse hoof' watch key fastens it to a buttonhole on my vest or shirt.  The watch, fob and key together would fetch more than $350.00 on ebay these days.

My other 'every-day' watch is modern Crumrine pocket watch with a slick Cincinnati Horseshoe Company fob that I use everyday.  Together they would bring about $150.00 on ebay.   

Over the years I've acquired a bunch of interesting advertising watch fobs like these hunting, fishing, firearms and Equestrian related pieces in the photo above (estimated values $7.50 - $250.00 each).  

Back in the days when everybody carried a pocket watch smart merchandisers gave 'em away or sold 'em cheap because they savvied it was good business to have their name and logo hangin' in plain sight.  (fobs above range from $15.00 to $250.00+ on ebay today.)

What's A Pocket Watch

For me collecting pocket watches and advertising fobs is so natural it never occurred to me that young folks may not know what they are.  

One day -- not long ago -- my eldest grandson pointed at the wall above my desk and asked, "What are these granddad?"  He was admiring my little collection of saddle-makers and Old West fobs in the photos below.  When I told him they were watch fobs I could tell by his dazed expression he didn't know about pocket watches.  (He gets his time from an iphone.)

Satisfied with my explanation he allowed that they were "pretty cool" and I could tag them in my will for him.

I'm always pleased when I hit on something that my grandsons like, so I figured I'd add a few more "cool" old timey goodies to their inheritance.  

I've been on a quest to find some cowboy collectibles that I think will still have value a few decades from now.  The world sure is changing' and lots of things I grew up with are downright unpopular today… among them are hunting, fishing, shooting, trapping, and even rodeos.  That's why I'm searching for and purchasing fobs like the Hunter-Trader-Trapper Magazine fob in the photo above.  It's from early last century, and I'll guaran-darn-tee-ya -- you won't find any vegans or animal rights folks sportin' one.

I just purchased a nifty Savage Arms Company fob (above).  It was more'n likely a giveaway at the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco.  It sure cost me a heap of dinero, but luckily I had an equally desirable 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition watch fob advertising Monogram Cigars (photo below) that I sold for $150.00 to help bankroll my purchase.

Recently I found an interesting old magazine advertisement (below) in a 1905 Recreation Magazine offering a similar Savage Arms Company fob for just 15¢.

My luck has been running pretty good lately, and I recently found scored a second rare Savage Arms Company fob (photo below) -- this one advertised their new automatic pistol in 1917.  It more than likely sold for about 50¢ back then.

Boy how things have changed!

If you can't find a great advertising watch fob there are always coins, tokens, medallions, tie tacks and even keychains advertising your favorite American hunting and fishing merchandise.  Original (not reproduction) firearms advertising fobs can range in value from $10.00 to $1,200.00 and more, but be careful there are a ton of replica Colt and Winchester fobs out there.

Late additions include a rare Dead Shot (hunter and dog) fob, and another version of the Savage Arms Co. (Indian and rifle) fob.

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