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RICHELIEUMOTORCAR

How many of us are into very early hubcap collecting?

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  I thought it would be interesting to see how many of us are fans of very early hubcaps or "grease caps" as they were once called. A good friend of mine, who was a kid in the late 1920s and early 1930s, used to get a nickel each day for his lunch from his mother as he left for school each morning. He would skip lunch and stop off at a local wrecking yard not far from his home. The owner of the yard had 55 gallon drums filled with just early hubcaps, many were from brass era cars which were just 20 year old clunkers at the time. My friend would stop off almost everyday after school and buy one hubcap at each visit with that nickel his mom gave him for lunch! This went on for several years until his dad caught him coming out of the yard with a hubcap. Since his dad was a car guy too, he gave my friend another nickel a day without his mom knowing so he could eat lunch and buy a hubcap. He always said how much he liked the old time oil smell that the hubcaps had. Many are still packed with grease today. My longtime old timer friend's hubcap collection gave him such joy. About 2 years before he passed of old age, he said, "I have a surprise for you" meaning me.. He had boxed up his entire 75+ year collection of hubcaps and said they belong to me now. Needless to say, I was very moved by this. He had hubcaps of cars almost unheard of today. Daniels, Richelieu, Case, Locomobile Harding, Ajax, Moon, Kissel, Bell, Doble, Isotta-Fraschini, Hispano-Suiza, Cole 8, Duesenburg, ect. There is even a Talbot hubcap and a hubcap from a car called "Heine-Velox" which seems to be a rare one. I have many of the hubcaps displayed on the walls in my garage today with his photo in the middle. The rest of them I still have in boxes as I ran out of wall space. Sometimes, I go out to the garage after dinner, take a hubcap down and smell that old grease, thinking how much fun my old friend had running around as a young boy in a junkyard of 80+ years ago. Here are a few photos. I would like to hear from others who share this interest. Sorry, the hubcaps are not for sale. Some things in life you just can't put a price on as it's not about money. It's about a good life once lived and a dream that became real for a boy, many moons ago.

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I USED to have a collection like this. It had been my parents' until their death. I had no place to display them, and sold most all of them. I told myself I would focus instead on collecting the enameled radiator badges. Today I have a couple of hundred such badges, but wish I would have kept the hubcaps too. 

 

You have a wonderful collection, and wonderful memories. Cherish them. 

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I used to collect those type, but I slacked off since I am running out of space. I have a collection of collections. Thanks for sharing. You have some decent rare caps there and a wonderful back story.

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Glad to see them and hear your story.  What a great thing to be able to pass along something like this to someone who appreciates it. Would love to see more pictures.  I also have collections of collections, with spark plugs being the starting point and still of greatest interest to me. Like a lot of big collections, you'll put the best on exhibit and the others get stuffed into boxes and drawers.  With your caps though you can keep recirculating them as you clean and polish.   One thing about stuff like this is I've learned a lot of old car people seem to have a few - whether it's spark pugs of hub caps, there are people out there who don't really consider themselves dedicated collectors, but they still have a few on a shelf someplace.  I know of so many people who don't consider themselves spark plug collectors, but they have a cigar box with a couple of dozen and among them, there will be one that I've never seen before.  Happy collection, and definately post some additional photos. 

Terry

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What a great story, love to read about the hobby in the founding years, often wonder what a auto wrecking yard looked like in the 1930's. That fellow must have lived in a great area based on the brands of cars that got scrapped. Back in the 1970's a Springfield Rolls Royce owner would stop by the shop and  talk about RR camshafts and valve timing forever, topic never seamed to change on his by monthly visits. One day he showed up and had two boxes of magazines he was getting rid of and asked if I wanted them. California Dry Lakes monthly's from the 1940's and Hot Rod starting in 1949. Never knew he had an interest in that stuff up until then. I've always paid a bit more attention to people after that, you never know what they collected in the past. I think about Ralph every time I look through an issue doing research. Bob

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Nice story.

If your friend fooled his momma, he sure as hell fooled his pops by having twice as much money to spend on his collection! Heh, heh...

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What a wonderful collection. I hope you have a dear friend or relative you can pass them on to.  Someone who will appreciate them.

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2 hours ago, Curti said:

What a wonderful collection. I hope you have a dear friend or relative you can pass them on to.  Someone who will appreciate them.

  Oh yes, thank you. I am glad to share the photos with fellow car friends. I will post more hubcap photos as I dig through the boxes. The hubcaps are in very good hands. I am only just over 40 and my two boys are under 10 and both are already very much into the old cars. They really enjoy going to car shows. I got lucky. Many kids have no interest in old cars but mine do. They already picked out which of my old cars are "Their Cars". I am doing my job to keep the old car hobby going for another few generations.  :)  My friend was an AACA member for most of his adult life and a Rambler fan. Here is a photo of his last daily driver. A beautiful 1961 red Rambler that he left me in his will. After he turned 75, he let me do most of the driving for him. I still have it today. He was a very kind man in everyway and I'll always remember him as I look at his hubcap collection and his little red Rambler.

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Edited by RICHELIEUMOTORCAR (see edit history)

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Nice collection! I have collected threaded caps and radiator emblems for more than 25 years but like many others not enough of them are properly displayed. I have one wall full up in my workroom and with my grandson's help started a small grouping in a spare bedroom. I sell duplicates on ebay but still find one to keep every now and then. I have told my family not to throw away this "junk" if I kick the bucket as it is worth quite a few bucks...

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Here are a few of mine displayed in a cabinet along with some other automobilia.

Terry

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I have mixed feelings about hubcap and badge collections. I have no problem with collections of common/ scarce items. If a person has a car in the common or scarce category where the hubcaps or rad badge is badly damaged or missing then with a little bit of time and effort replacements can be obtained. There are almost always more loose parts surviving then cars that might need them.

  It's the very rare cars and their associated parts where I have a problem.  The hubcaps and badges from these cars are sometimes missing and are more or less impossible to replace.  In the rare instance a very rare badge or hubcap does turn up then the serious  hubcap and badge collectors are usually given first dibs. They are often well known to the established vendors , and may have a history of no quibble purchases from the vendor going back decades.  The rare cap ends up in a collection of hundreds of rare caps and generally no amount of money will spring it free to the owner of a car that actually needs it for his car. 

  My 1912 Staver Chicago ; one of 5 known survivors , needs one front hubcap and has a rad badge that was distorted by a restorer. As well at least one other of the 5 survivors is missing its rad badge and has a so so replica fitted.  No doubt a few Staver hubcaps and badges are in collections but it seems unlikely they will end up on the cars they were intended for anytime soon. I suspect this situation occurs with other very rare makes / models as well.

 Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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Greg, I can well appreciate what you are saying regarding mixed feelings. If I have a hubcap, badge or whatever in my collection and know it will complete a car that is being worked on , I would rather see it on a car.

If the car is being restored/worked on .If  I know the car is going to be flipped for resale  upon completion I do not make it know I have the part, but wait until the car seems to be with someone who will keep it for sometime and then offer it.  BUT not all owners of really odd cars will step up to the plate to pay a reasonable price for a piece for their car. This happened to me about 6-7 years ago. There was a early brass car built in that was owned by a collector who really loved and appreciated the car. I reluctantly offered him the hubcap, but figured that since he had the only one perhaps he would use it as a paperweight on his desk. Well he must have  thought my price to high, and never got back to me one way or the other . So I put it on ebay and it sold for over twice what I offered it to him for. Four months later I get a call from his wife asking if it was for sale as their car was in the shop and one of the hubcaps was bad; I told her I offered it to you, never heard anything after a long period of time so put it on e bay and sold it. She told me they saw it on there but didn't think it sold, I didn't comment further as I thought if they saw it listed and followed it at all they would have seen the number of bids it got. But it is what it is. You live and learn.

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Mixed feelings on this one, but I know if I had a rare car and needed a badge, hub-cap, spark plug or whatever and knew a collector that had one I'd feel more strongly it belongs with the car, instead of on a display board.  Collectors can be a great resource for those  rare parts so don't discount either their generosity or willingness to assist to duplicate  the missing piece.  A missing radiator or hub-cap could be remade these days as long as there is a good pattern to begin with.  Also, collectors can be a tremendous extension of your search.  Spread the word and although the search would be difficult the odds will increase.  As a spark plug collector I've helped a few car owners to obtain the correct plugs for their early cars, including helping to complete a set of pre 1910 Packard Script plugs.  I know we've discussed the Staver emblems before and they sure are rare, and that means competition with the collectors is also tough.  I hope you will be able to find one or have one duplicated, and if I ever run across one you'll be the first to know.

Terry

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  Just a little comment on the mixed feeling guys.... Look at it this way, if guys like my friend did not stock up on rare items like these 80 years ago, they would be long gone and we would not have the enjoyment of viewing these photos today. My friend did offer to loan the super rare Daniels hubcap to the Boyertown museum in PA, they have a Daniels or two in the collection, if they needed it for a pattern.  I may be willing to do the same thing. Again, it's very good that collectors saved up rare items such as hubcaps, grill badges, ect.

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Not to mention the brave souls who made room in their lives for the ton or more of then 15 or 20 year old junk that is today a treasured brass era automobile. That any complete cars from the early days survived the depression and the WW2 scrap drives is quite amazing. Even more so the better quality cars of say 1908 - 1915 which contained quite a bit of aluminum and brass in their construction. 

 

Greg in Canada

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Regarding criticism of automobilia collecting vs. restoration use, my experience has been that there is a surprisingly large amount of hubcaps and radiator badges out there, usually many times more than the number of remaining cars in existence. These items were collected by many from the beginning and these collections are still coming out of old garages and being sold. The internet completely changed the market for them and through their large numbers made them accessible to a new generation of collectors. The truly ultra rare items like Greg's Staver are the exception and will always trade at very high cost no matter what the end use is. I have offered items to people on this forum but have very seldom completed a sale, not sure why. I do have a personal policy for my collections - I only keep a single example of any one item and put all duplicates for sale on Ebay. Many times the buyer has told me an item was destined for a collector car and I'm always glad to hear that.

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It leads to a conversation  regarding collecting itself, and for me I know the U.S.Navy and frequent moves was a big factor in how I was able to satisfy my love affair with automobiles.  Before that and for years on Navy pay even a model A ford was just out of my price range, and what would I do it a car anyway next time Uncle Sam gave me a plane ticket to who knows where?   So, I began collecting automobilia to decorate with.  It's been a fun way to enjoy the history and I've never felt like I was taking away from anyone by collecting.  Some areas of my collecting are quite small, like the emblems and hubcaps as I've never concentrated on them.  What I have found has been in the market at Hershey or in antique shops, flea markets, or from other collectors.  In those circumstances it's equal opportunity in gathering the goodies.  The thrill of the hunt is often a big part of the enjoyment.  I hope you'll have a chance to stop and visit at Hershey and talk about collecting.  I'll be across from the crab cake vendor again in front of Giant Center and will most likely will be at my spot a lot more than usual mending my broken leg.

See in you Oct.

Terry

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