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Hood ornament collectors?


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How do you guys feel about people who have a collection of old hood ornaments? I am trying to be open minded about the idea but it keeps bothering me. somewhere there is a guy desperately trying to find a hood ornament for his antique car and its on a shelf in some house with people that don’t even know what car it came from. :)

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What kind of car does this guy have that he can't find the hood ornament?

I am sitting here laughing reading that response. Yes it’s true that I am searching for one. That’s what got me thinking about the idea of people collecting them and I searched to see if this topic was brought up a lot. <o:p></o:p>

I even thought about how cool it would be to have a collection my self but I don’t think I could sleep at night thinking that somewhere someone needs that ornament. <o:p></o:p>

To me a car has a sprit its more than just a machine and the hood ornament is a vital part of the cars sprit.

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I think that most hood ornament collectors are actually collecting factory or aftermarket accessory mascots. There are probably very few production ornaments that aren't available as a reproduction item. Have you placed any "Wanted" ads anywhere? Let us know what you're looking for, perhaps someone can point you in the right direction. You've really piqued my curiosity as to what you have.

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Well, interesting thought, but it would be rare (as West suggests) that a hood ornament couldn't be found, short of the Royale elephant (and even that was replicated, I believe).

Remember that when these cars went to the scrap drives and junkyards, any easily removable pretty would often be kept, thus there should be many more surviving hood ornaments than like cars.

What are you looking for?

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Very interesting answers thank you very much for your thoughts on this subject. I will post a wanted add for the ornament I am searching for in the right section so you all can see what I am after. I just cant stop thinking about collections of ornaments sitting on a shelf.

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Like David [trimacar] said, when the cars were junked, many 'pretty' items were kept, as well as the tools, jacks, often taillights etc.

Does the idea of a tool collection also bother you? That someone has that rare item that you need for the completion your tool kit?

I have to say, that we all are 'collectors' of various parts and pieces. Or complete cars.

Does it bother you that there are several collectors 'out there' that have hundreds of cars in their personal collections ? Are these large collections depriving us mere mortals with limited funds of owning one of our dream cars ?

Personally, I feel like the guys with the really large collections are doing the hobby a service, keeping the cars from being 'hot-rodded' or otherwise ruined. There are only so many people with so much money to own and preserve old cars.

While I am definitely envious of the guys with the large collections and seemingly bottom-less pockets, I'm glad they do collect and preserve the cars.

How many stories have you heard of a nice old car [or worse, a really rare car] stored in a garage by an elderly person, who then passes away, and the car is bought by a local person, known to the car owner's family.. And the car is destroyed by being hot-rodded, ?

My take on this is that I'd rather see that car in a big collection than owned by a person and family that has no respect for it's historical significance and lets it be destroyed.

Greg L

Edited by GLong (see edit history)
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Collectors of hood ornaments, or tools, or data plates, or emblems, or horn buttons or whatever are doing the hobby a seriously good service. Typically these are the kinds of artifacts would otherwise get tossed in the trash over the years since there are far more of these kinds of things than there are car owners who are restoring a given model. Also, collectors of such things are often the source for companies who want to reproduce such an object from an original when there are no others known. And many such collectors are more than happy to help out someone doing a restoration by trading or selling an item from their collection to a serious restorer if the restorer is willing to trade something the collector wants more or if the restorer is willing to pay the actual market value for the object.

Edited by West Peterson (see edit history)
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No doubt thousands of hood ornaments were removed from cars that are long gone for scrap, and are now in the hands of collectors. This means there is a good chance several copies of the one you want are out there, and for sale, for a price.

If there were no collectors they would have gone for scrap years ago. So, your choice is not a free hood ornament or an expensive hood ornament because of collectors. It is no hood ornament at all, or an expensive hood ornament thanks to collectors.

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I seriously doubt any hood ornament collectors don't know what car they belong to. I would bet they could tell you, not only what car they go on, but exactly what model, what date they were first used and last used, whether it was standard equipment or an optional accessory, whether it was supplied by the car maker or an aftermarket firm etc etc etc until you are bored to death.

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I could never afford or store all the cars I liked so instead I collected parts and lots of literature. I felt I could own a small piece of automotive history without needing a big warehouse to store cars. I am finding now I went a little overboard in collecting literature but a lot of it is finding new homes to people on this forum. It was fun and relatively inexpensive. Same could be said for anyone who collects hood ornaments, nameplates, radiator emblems, ect. We found enjoyment in them and help provide a service by keeping them out of the trash and into the hands of those who want them.

Terry

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People collecting hood ornaments are saving things that may otherwise have been scrapped. They will still be available to the hobby. I got a rather rare hubcap for my 1915 Olds that I hadn't been able to find anywhere from a hubcap collector who would be in the same category.

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Any one of the ornaments in my collection that do not have sentimental value or needed on my vehicles is available to someone who needs it. I would much rather see a car completed than look at my shelf to see the part the car needs.

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I have a collection of Chevrolet hood ornaments 1927-1956 this includes standard ,master, accessory and production and variations of them. I am missing ONE, a 1937 production. (not the bird) I found one on eBay a year ago, but passed because of poor condition. (bad choice it was restoreable)

Now I have a search on eBay that comes to me every day with newly listed hood ornaments. I see everything that is listed. Many times people don't know what they have. Additionally I have wanted ads on the VCCA and this site for said ornament. One fine day I will score! As an after thought, I will post a pix here, maybe today is the day?

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Like a lot of people, I also have a collection, although it's small, and includes interesting items that have managed to find me, rather than me searching specifically for them. As a result, my collection includes some factory stuff as well as aftermarket accessory items. It's a small but interesting accumulation. Favorite among them is one of the 1st ones I ever acquired - a Hispano Suiza mascot, picked up in Scotland. For those of you who have heard the story before, you can go do something else - but if you are interested -

While stationed in Scotland years ago courtesy of the USN, I took a lunch-break and went into the nearby small village to mail something. Parked on the side of the road near the post office was a rather well used Massey Ferguson tractor, and mounted on it's hood was this mascot, somewhat beat up, with several coats of grease, paint and who-knows-what covering it. As I stood there admiring it, the owner came out and noticed my interest. He asked me if I knew what it was, and of course quickly told him what it was from. He said the family owned it and it was scrapped during the WWII drives. All they saved was the mascot, and it's been on a dozen tractors since then. He asked me if I wanted it, and as I was trying to tell him I'd never be able to talk him out of it, he reached for his tools and began to remove it. As he placed it in my hands, he told me it was getting tired, and was either going to get broken or stolen, so he wanted it to go to someone who would appreciate it. He refused any kind of payment for it and was glad that it had found a good home and safe place with someone who would appreciate it. I certainly do appreciate it, and it's probably the last piece of automobilia I'd ever part with, just because of the great story about where it came from.

I've never felt I had deprived a car owner (or even another collector). It's a mascot that is popular, available and has even been reproduced.

Just like in it's day, when that Hisso was scrapped, the mascot was saved. That's the one item that was often kept as a momento. Chances are pretty good that the next caretaker will be a collector and it will remain in a display case rather than end up on a car.

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I don't mind anyone collecting anything except when it is to never be seen again! I think things should be seen and enjoyed by others. That is what helps improve our hobby and generate interest. I applaud some of the big collectors that open up their shops or showrooms and even go for drives in their cars. When people see an old car on the road or in a collection that is what gets them interested. I hate to see a collection of cars that are never shown, they are never driven and they remain unknown until the owner dies and the family has an auction! I'm reminded of a neighbor of mine who has a Model A pickup that if there is anyone interested he will take them out in the pasture and teach them how to drive it. I wish more people were like that and I think we would have a lot more interest in old cars if there were. Collect everything, collect it all, but please show it and use it!!!

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As requested, here is a photo of the Hispano Suiza Mascot that came off the hood of a tractor in Scotland. it's a bit worn and beat-up but I'm going to leave it alone. Also added one of my other favorites, Old Bill.

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I FOUND THEM !!

Today I went to the Nethercutt collection just north of LA. There are several thousand of em there, all behind glass and none for sale.

The cars there were all high end (WAY beyond what I usually like to study) but the music boxes were the bomb. I wont go into that now as any description I made would not do them any justice.

My camera ran out of juice before I got all of the emblems and ornaments, but I will post a few pics when I get home in a week or so.

Oh yea, NO ADMISSION CHARGE !!!!! If you go make a reservation to the guided tour across the street. That where most of the good stuff is.

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I'm ok with hood ornament collectors because I'm sure most enjoy theirs on the shelf the same as you would on your car. I can relate, there is an aircraft engine badge I want desperately but airplane guys like to put them on a plaque or just use it as a paperweight. I catch myself thinking, "what are they really doing with that, I would appreciate it so much more," yet in my case we both are just admiring the badge, not putting in on an engine. Some guy with the engine would probably be angry with us both for taking it off the market.

Terry, I've heard your tractor story a couple of times but it never bores me. That is really such a cool story.

Edited by MarrsCars (see edit history)
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The hood ornament collectors don't bother me as much as the guys that take valve covers... usually for the big early V-8's. The hood ornament probably came off a car that was headed for the scrap heap anyway. The guys that take the valve covers leave the rest of the motor sitting at the wrecker and when the rest of us show up, it's full of water, rust and is typically good for nothing but scrap. If you ever walk through a yard with 50's hemis, poly's , Olds, or Lincolns you'll see what I mean. As much as I would like to say "they bought it, they own it so they can do what they want with it, it's very destructive for the rest of the motor.

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The Hispano mascot was attached with a bolt and acorn nut holding it in place. No motormeter for it, although I suppose someone could have included that. Believe they would have needed to enlarge the hole for it though.

Mascots are like my spark plug collection - everybody seems to have a shoe box with a few in there. While many of us don't profess to be mascot collectors, there are a few on display and when we see something neat, at a good price, it's gotta come home. It's amazing how many turn up in flea markets, antique shops, etc. I've got several that were sold as simple figurines or paper-weights because the owner just don't know any better. Here is one that I picked up in an antique shop in Michigan a few years ago. Been trying for a long time to fine out more about it - does anyone know? It's pretty nice, can't make out the name on it but it's a good bronze. Maybe it is really just a paperweight???? All input appreciated.

Terry

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Here are some pics That I took at The Nethercutt collection. Mostly mascots, but some horns, spark plugs, head lights, clocks and grab straps of all things to collect.

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  • 2 years later...
On ‎1‎/‎15‎/‎2014 at 6:02 AM, benjamin j said:

How do you guys feel about people who have a collection of old hood ornaments? I am trying to be open minded about the idea but it keeps bothering me. somewhere there is a guy desperately trying to find a hood ornament for his antique car and its on a shelf in some house with people that don’t even know what car it came from. :)

 

Benjamin j - Apparently, I am now the guy you speak of...kind of. I have just inherited a huge (in my eyes) hood ornament collection from my Uncle that just passed. The collection contains hundreds of old Cadillac, Chevy, Ford, Dodge, Chrysler, Plymouth, Nash, Pontiac, Kaiser, Hudson, Packard, and more. They are from the 20's - 70's. You name it, I might have it. I love cars, have a few, and I am currently restoring a 1970 Bronco. He collected a lot of things, from aviation items, vintage toys, medical supplies, propellers, oil cans, ash trays, metal buildings, and more.  He was an amazingly smart man. I guarantee that not only did he know EVERY car that these emblems came from, but I bet he could tell you about just about anything else you wanted to know. I am in the process of getting them to my house, photographing & documenting them. I will not be able to keep them all, and I am of the belief that if there is someone that needs one of these to complete their car, I want to help them avoid using a repro. In his honor, I plan on learning as much as I can about these & displaying them as he did.

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On ‎1‎/‎15‎/‎2014 at 7:35 AM, benjamin j said:

I am sitting here laughing reading that response. Yes it’s true that I am searching for one. That’s what got me thinking about the idea of people collecting them and I searched to see if this topic was brought up a lot. <o:p></o:p>

I even thought about how cool it would be to have a collection my self but I don’t think I could sleep at night thinking that somewhere someone needs that ornament. <o:p></o:p>

To me a car has a sprit its more than just a machine and the hood ornament is a vital part of the cars sprit.

Think of all the envelopes that are missing stamps because a stamp collector hoarded them for a collection.

When the spirit of a car dies and the car goes to the shredder, a piece of it can live on for it to be remembered by it's old owner or a collector of hood ornaments.

 

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Interesting , thought you might like to see this one picked up at an auto jumble in the 70s for $15 sold it last year at Goodwin auction for $1000, it's called devil in the wind ,but does anyone what it fitted on should be around 1930 

cheers

pilgrim

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This is indeed a well known early mascot, French I believe, designed by Ferdinand Preiss, who died in 1943.  It is known as 'Devil in the Wind' and is circa 1929.  It was an aftermarket supplied mascot, not unique to any particular vehicle.  At this time, they were decorative objects that could be purchased and put on any car you wanted.  The Devil in it's various forms was a popular image, evoking the daring fearlessness of early motorists.

 

There are three known versions of this mascot - yours which I believe is nickel plated bronze, a later one that is chrome, and a fantastic and rare earlier version that has an ivory face and hands. Originals always had a registered design number marked on the base.  I'm not aware of reproductions on this piece.  I see yours was sold by Bonhams at the Goodwood Festival of Speed automobilia auction.  It's a very desirable piece, even mounted on an uninteresting base.  It would have made a great start to any collection.

Terry 

Edited by Terry Bond (see edit history)
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Thanks Terry very informative , I presume they purchased and fitted to order on any car not specialised to any make or model.

.I actually mounted it on a polished hardwood base and it sat on my mantle for over 30years , but visiting Bonhams one day decided to ask for valuation , persuaded me sell.

cheers

paul

 

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