Hold On! Don't Throw that away!

Hold on! Think before you light the fire with that piece of paper! What? I’m not trying to be funny – this is serious. Most people realise that there is a value in antique furniture, paintings, ornaments and so forth. But they fail to see a value in useless everyday things that have become worn, old fashioned or just plain redundant.
Remember that one house’s rubbish could be another home’s treasure, and strangely enough, once something starts to be collected it acquires an entirely new value.

Remember that one house’s rubbish could be another home’s treasure, and strangely enough, once something starts to be collected it acquires an entirely new value.

Take for example, the simple old fashioned cut throat razor. Ten years ago few people knew or cared less about them. Since then, books have been written on the subject, collectors clubs have formed around the globe. Information on manufacturers has been recorded. There is even a regular periodical called “Blade Magazine”. But this is all well known stuff. What about lesser known local items? Who knows anything about old butter boxes? Simple wooden boxes often turned upside down upholstered and converted into seats. But look at it again. Note that written on the side is “Irish Creamery Butter – 56lbs net. Produce of the Republic of Ireland”. Then there is a registration symbol – maybe the letter C. What does this mean? A country code perhaps? Watch out for “Saorstat Eireann”? This would date them to pre 1948. Unfortunately these boxes have little or no value, but let someone write the ‘book’ or start the ‘Collectors Club’ and we could be away in a hack! In no time at all the “Butter Box Magazine” will be out!

But this is jumping the gun – all I really want to do for the moment is to stop people from burning them! The bigger picture of “Collectables” can be mind boggling. There are so many items, so little information. Who knows what the whipstick is – (referred to in Mayo as a swingtree!)? Tell me about the ‘Losset’, the ‘Loy’, Noggins, Piggins and Steevens?? What of the common Turf Sleán? Each one of these had to be tailor-made to suit the cutter and the bog. Is there a blacksmith left who could make one?

Let us move into the kitchen and the work area. We have the old wooden breadboards, wash-boards, rolling pins, potato mashers, the churns, butterprints and spades. Remember all the clamp-on-the –table gadgets, like the mincer, apple corers, orange slicers? And what about all the cooking implements, particularly for the open fire. Cranes, crooks, hooks, griddles, kettles, harnan stands(!), pots and pans. There is simply no end to what can become ‘collectable’ or saleable as memorabilia.

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