Collectibles in Whitehall

A collectible is any item that takes one’s fancy. For the ordinary person it usually is something that is fairly scarce, for search is part of the fun; something the price of which fits one’s pocket-book, for it is heartbreaking to lose a possible addition to a collection because of its high price.

A collectible can be large or small, decorative or ugly, knick knack or utilitarian. It can be glass, bottles, leather, metal, wood, paper and tin.

Some collectibles are items that have the name of Whitehall on them. During the Victorian Era that spilled over into the 20th Century, souvenir items where the vogue. Whitehall merchants secured gold rimmed six-inch plates with painted flowers or fruits with gold lettering, “Whitehall, N.Y.”

Then there were the china knick knacks with Whitehall pictures. As with post cards current there, the pictures were sent to Germany where the items were produced — small pitchers and different sized vases. Among the pictures were the armory, a view of Skene Mountain, and the harbor which was labeled the canal. One former merchant reported he had a trunk full of these when he went Out of business.

Red enamel on the top of pressed wine glasses sold souvenirs of Whitehall. A carnival glass cup with Whitehall written across the top, found in a South Glens Falls antique shop, makes one wonder if there is a whole tea set. A gold trimmed flower bedecked and covered milk glass dish could have been a pin holder on milady’s dresser. A cereal bowl with a picture of a dog found in Putnam Station advertised a Whitehall merchant. Glass paper weights featured the Champlain Silk Mills.

Many people in Whitehall are collecting such items. Some have milk bottles with the dairy names; some have bottles with the names of merchants. There are spoons, post cards, rocks of the area, advertisements. Some of each are in Skenesborough Museum but many more can be added to make the collection complete.

Collectibles are fun to acquire. The use of leisure time in searching out the desired article, the excitement when an especially rare one is found, the possible increase in value, and above all the pride of showing off one’s collection with the story of each “find” makes collecting collectibles worth while.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – Whitehall Times – September 22, 1977

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