Friday, November 18, 2005

Collections: Ephemera ~ Barbershop Sign






Some years ago I was watching a PBS program on Sunday morning in a hotel in Virginia Beach. The program was called "Collecting Across America". The guest that day was in the process of writing a book about barbershop memorabilia. I perked up to pay attention, since I had a barbershop sign that had belonged to my mom. After we returned home, I wrote to him, describing my sign. He asked me to photograph it and if it fit his criteria, he wanted to include it in the book. I had just had the sign framed, so I had to unframe it, photograph it and then put the frame back together.


The photograph I sent him is on the top left, and the page it is on in the book is on the right. The other photos are of the book's cover and a few representative pages from the book.

Since my sign was included, I was compelled to purchase a copy. Little did I know how interesting it would be, and I found myself reading that book (or at least looking at the pictures) from cover to cover. From this book and others, I have concluded that everyday items in general use were much handsomer in those days; they appeal to me much more than most modern items.


I decorated a whole bathroom around that sign, using the colors found in it, as well as a collection of hand-painted Tole tinware, given to me by my mother's sister. I may never tire of it! I don't know how long my mom had this sign. After she died, I found it in her basement. It is a wonder that it wasn't mildewed beyond repair, but I am surely glad it survived.


In case you are curious, Boncilla was a hair tonic. That was what I wanted to know most about the sign, after finding out it's worth.
Edit: OldOldLadyof the Hills asked: "What's a singe?" Singeing is still done sometimes; it is singeing off the ends of the hair by burning, instead of cutting. It is supposed to take care of split ends.

36 comments:

Thumper said...

How cool!

Did you get credit anywhere in the bok?

here via Michele's this time :)

Pearl said...

Hi Kenju, Michele sent me

How fun to have had your mom's sign in a book. The old aesthetic was simpler and did give more elegance didn't it?

kenju said...

I don't think he credited me with that sign. I will have to check the book again, but I don't think so.

Carmi said...

That is an amazing experience! Now you're literally part of history.

Congrats on being Mom of member of the Bar. Nicely done!

Peter said...

Now that's a sign of the times Judy. Congrats to "Baby"

Jewaira said...

It's surprising what many may perceive as junk turns out to be of much value later on: it may have monetary worth or just be intrinsically valuable.

I think it is wonderful for you to have found that sign and used it as a decorating theme in your home; AND shared it with the rest of the world too :)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Well this is utterly fascinating! The thing I want to know is: What is 'singe'????
It sounds like a Burning of some kind, and possibly painful....Ugh!

By the way Judy, Congrats on being the question of the day over at Michele's!

bornfool said...

I just want one of those 25 cent massages.

srp said...

I guess you could say Michael Jackson got "singed" in that Pepsi commercial. This would seem to be slightly dangerous and very smelly. LOL.

Love the old signs. Somehow, I doubt that things made today will be as valuable in 75 years. Signs and billboards are paper and very few are tin anymore. They change labels and ads so often that nothing is as permanent. Such care was taken in the artistry then and things weren't "mass produced".

I think the Antique Road Show would have a blast at your home.

Tara said...

Oh, how cool! I love yard sale-ing to find old stuff like that. I'll have to keep my eye open for barbershop signs, now.

Michele sent me!

Marybeth said...

I just love all that vintage stuff. I have this place in my heart for anything nostalgic.

Michele sent me!

terrilynn said...

I was just griping elsewhere about built-in obsolescence and such. I agree with you that the aesthetic of everyday items was more pleasing "back then." That's a very cool story.

Valerie said...

Hi there from Michele's. Congrats on your daughter passing the bar.

Weary Hag said...

It's always such a shame when such books don't include a mention of the contributors. It really should.

You KNOW how much I love this nostalgic stuff. Someone else mentioned Antiques Road Show and I am thinking you would be quite pleasantly surprised if you could only get to one and present some of your wares. Wow!

craziequeen said...

Hi Judy, here from Michele - must be Friday!

Cool - was wondering hat 'singeing' was meself :-)

cq

The Cryer said...

I agree, they just don't make things like they used to. I had to go to eBay to get my old air popcorn popper (that I foolishly gave to GoodWill when I got married) because the newer one we had was el cheapo. Unfortunately that concept permeates everything, not just signs and small appliances!!

Congrats on your daughters bar, and your sign in the book... both neat achievements!

Lucy said...

Cool sign. I love old - unique things like this. Great idea building your bathroom around it. My kinda decorating - the unusual, unexpected. Timeless i think. Even better when it's a family treasure.

Lucy said...

Forgot to add.. Plan for coffee outing in January works best for me too - actually Mid January. I'll be out of town til then. More later on this.

brendalove@gmail.com said...

I never knew people collected barber signs.

And congratulation on your child passing the bar exam also!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Hoo boy, there is nothing like burning hair to spice up the smell of bacon and eggs. Egad!

poopie said...

Well, you answered my question on the singeing.I love old stuff like that...so glad to hear about your baby's triumph!

Minerva said...

I like old signs and stuff too...I like the retro packaging too...

Congrats to your baby... Obviously gets the brains from her Grandmother...*grin*

Minerva

ribbiticus said...

cool! would've been cooler if you had been given credit. oh, well...

congrats, too, to your daughter. and on her first try to pass the bar! i can see one mega-celebration on the horizon. :)

Karen said...

Cool stuff! And I see that your daughter passed the bar exam - yippee!! What great news for her and you!

Michele sent me...

Plumkrazzee said...

LOVE it. I decorated my whole kitchen around a cookie jar, and i'm going on 6 years of still being in love with it. How fun! Michele sent me this time. =)

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

That's so cool about the barbershop. People don't think about the baerbshop too much, but that is a piece of Ameicana, you know?

I've never been singed, but I've heard it's pretty cool. Or not cool, I guess.

Michele sent me.

Sandy said...

Here from Michele's. Fantastic collection. I keep meaning to start one that really 'moves' me but I've yet to find the right thing.

rashbre said...

Intersting collection. I will have to find out why the pole sign is red, white and blue, too.

And today, Michele sent me!

rashbre

Aginoth said...

That's quite some collection you have...

Michelle sent me

flu said...

That IS cool.

He should have quite the market, just selling to old tyme barber shops.

Hi, Michele sent me.

Jamie Dawn said...

I can't get over the 95 cent massage. I would kill for that price today. I could afford to get a massage EVERY SINGLE day. What heaven that would be. I think I will skip the singe though.
Many congrats to your daughter on her passing the bar exam!!!! Well done! I know you are beaming with pride, and you should be.

YellowRose said...

That's really cool!! What a neat honor to be included!

I can't imagine paying only 25 cents for a haircut!! I pay a small fortune!

Here via Michele's!

Jennifer said...

I have concluded that everyday items in general use were much handsomer in those days; they appeal to me much more than most modern items.

So true. They weren't as massively mass produced then; originality counted. Your collections of these everyday items - from barbershop signs to fans - is a treasure.

Faira said...

that is the neat kind of thing i love to have in my home as well. my father was a great collector of things. all kinds of things. he would have LOVED the originals like that. Michelle sent me.

Lisa said...

Wow that's so cool!

BTW...Michelle sent me!

Have a great weekend!

RB

margalit said...

Very cool. Don't you wish you could pay 25 cents to have your hair shampooed? Those were the days.

Michele sent me.