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Items from ’70s are popular collectibles

Treasures & Trends


Question: I graduated from the University of Arizona in 1972 and decorated my first apartment with items that were typical of the period. When I eventually moved to a larger house, I packed four boxes of stuff that included a lava lamp, an owl cookie jar, numerous wall plaques, smiley face coffee mugs, a collection of National Lampoon and Mad magazines and about a dozen items from the bicentennial. These boxes have been stored in my garage for over two decades and the time has come to either sell or discard this collection. What is your advice? – Stephanie, Tucson

Answer: A funkadelic trip to the not-so-distant past of the 1970s might be profitable for you since retro rules. At a recent collectible show in Phoenix, I noticed over a dozen dealers marketing items that were exclusively from this period. Spotted on the display tables were such collectibles as a Love Boat jigsaw puzzle ($20), a “Muppet Show” lunch box ($30), a “Saturday Night Fever” movie poster ($75), an assortment of Village People LPs (in the $5-$35 range), a Zodiac serving tray ($20) and dozens of wall plaques depicting owls, frogs, mushrooms and Kliban’s Cat. Even though many of these items are plentiful, they are are being collected by more and more people.

Before you decide what to do, I recommend you get as copy of “The Collectible ’70s: A Price Guide to the Polyester Decade” by Michael Jay Goldberg (Krause, $25.95). This incredible book lists hundreds of items in more than 20 categories with fairly accurate market prices. I found several used copies of the guide at amazon.com.

In addition to his work for the Tucson Citizen, Larry Cox writes book reviews and a weekly collectibles column that are syndicated by King Features and distributed throughout the United States and Canada. E-mail: contactlarrycox@aol.com.

The following did not appear in our print edition.

Q: I have a bobbing head figure of the mascot of Arizona State University which I’ve had since 1967. Is it worth anything? – Angel, Tucson

A: According to “Bobbing Head Dolls 1960-2000″ by Tim Hunter, your devil’s head doll is worth a hell of a lot, perhaps as much as $500.

Q: I purchased a small teapot marked “Purinton Pottery Company” but can’t seem to find it in any of my reference books. Can you tell me anything about this company? – Susan, Green Valley

A: I found the company listed in the 37th edition of Kovels’ Antiques and Collectibles Price List. Ralph and Terry Kovel reveal that the company was incorporated in Wellsville, Ohio, in 1936. The plant eventually moved to Shippenville, Pa., in 1941, closing in 1959. The Purinton Pottery Co. was primarily known for its dinnerware, cookie jars and ceramic wares. A two-cup tea pot in the Apple pattern is valued at $100 in Kovels’ guide.

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