My mom graduated from the University of Arizona in 1971. She rented her
first house that same year and furnished it with things that are fairly
representative of that decade. In addition to an orange push-button
desk phone, she has given me an astrological tapestry, a Jimmy Carter
for President poster, an 8-track tape player and tapes, a smiley-face
clock, an assortment of kitchen stuff and 125 issues of Rolling Stone
magazine. I’m not quite sure what to do with these collectibles and
hope you will give me some ideas. – Stacey, Tucson
A: If you think things from the 1960s and ’70s have little or no
value, you should spend an afternoon strolling through our area antique
malls. After the “kids” of the 1970s became adults, many became
nostalgic and began collecting items they remembered from their youth.
This increased interest triggered price increases. For example, Life
magazines from the era routinely sold for about 26 cents a copy until
recently. They now pop up in shops and at garage sales selling for at
least a $1 or $2 each. Editions with covers that feature such icons as
Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and the Beatles sell for much more.
Typical prices in Tucson include a Holly Hobbie doll, $15; a peace
symbol tie from 1971, $25; a “smiley face” mug, $15; a canister set
featuring a mushroom design, $30; an owl clock, $20; a polyester
leisure suit in electric blue, $45; and a large “Nixon’s the One”
poster from the 1972 campaign, $45. As with most collections, values
are determined by condition and desirability.
One of the better price guides for this era is The Collectible 70s:
A Price Guide to the Polyester Decade by Michael Jay Goldberg (Krause,
$25.95). This excellent reference includes hundreds of listings in more
than 20 categories such as Counterculture, Kitchenwares, Fashion, TV
Collectibles, and Bicentennial. You can purchase this guide at amazon.com or from the publisher, Krause, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990, and www.krause.com.
Q: I have a small collection of clothing from the 1940s and ’50s. Where can I sell them locally? – Carole, Tucson
A: I highly recommend How Sweet It Was, a nifty glad rags shop at 419 N. Fourth Ave. The Web site and telephone number are www.howsweetitwas.com and 623-9854.
Q: I have inherited a set of sterling silver flatware in the Joan of
Arc pattern. When was it made and what are some typical prices for
individual settings? – Alexis, Tucson
A: The Joan of Arc pattern was crafted by International in 1940.
According to Warman’s Sterling Silver Flatware: Value and
Identification Guide by Mark F. Moran, a salad fork is worth about $38;
a soup spoon, $34; a steak knife, $45; a serving spoon, $80; and sugar
Editor’s note: Due to the imminent closure of the
Tucson Citizen, this column will no longer accept antique or
collectible questions from readers.