My Pinup Beginings

While in Uncle Sams Canoe Club I had come home on leave for 30 days. As a sailor I had been exposed to lots and lots of pinup photos and some pinup art. One saturday I was sitting around bored and decided i would call a buddy up and see if he wanted to go wandering around town to some of the antique dealers and burn some time. The first place we stopped was a huge dealer covering 5 houses that were all attached. They had filled every room full of stuff and you had to just kind of wander around and dig for treasure. Well just so happened in one of the closets way in the back was a frame with a matchbook in it. Lo and behold it was a pinup matchbook! I had never seen one before and was absolutly thinking this was the coolest thing since sliced bread.

The dealer wasted no time in informing me just how rare the piece was. He said even tho it was pretty tattered it was a real find. It was circa 1940 and from a local gas station which made it that much more desirable. Well we finally got around to price and he said he had to have at least $25 for it because it was already framed etc. Well I thought it over and offered him $15 and we settled on $20. Off I went with my newly aquired treasure to show all my friends. Well they were not quite as impressed with it as I was but thought it was kinda cool. I was a bit bummed at their seemingly lack of knowledge about just how cool this thing was. The next weekend I continued my quest for more of these treasured items. I went to all the local collectables shops around town which is the same as an antique store only cleaner and more expensive. I finally found one where the owner said he would look in the back because he thought he had some. Out he came with 6 pristeen matchbooks all different and nicely wrapped in plastic to protect them. Holy **** I had hit the motherload! I'm thinking ok this will be expensive and it was. The shopkeeper said he had to have at least $30 a piece due to the condition. Well after an hour of haggling we agreed on $100.00 for all and away I went. Ok now I'm officially a pinup collector and matchbook collector as well. I also bought a couple really nice poster size salesmans samples in frames. Next I figured I would try the garage and yard sales for some more of my new treasures. After a long day of no luck we happened upon one last sale that was in a very old one car garage that had to be 60 years old. Way in the back was a little old lady sitting with a blanket on her lap taking money as folks walked around. Everything was pretty well picked over but also way in the back under a blanket was a huge box that had written on its side matc. Thats all I could see so I ask her what it was. She stated oh I wouldnt want those they were just a bunch of old matchbooks her and her husbamd had collected since they were married 40 years before. They had traveled all over the US and every stop had grabbed a couple books of matches as a cheap souvenier. I politley asked if she would mind if I looked at them and she said heck no go ahead. I opened this 4 foot high by 2 foot square box and to my joy it was chock full of matchbooks from gas stations resturants hotels you name it! Right off I saw about ten books of pinup matches laying right on top. Trying to contain my excitment I ask her if she would be willing to sell them to me and for how much. Well much to my dismay she needed to think about it as they held some sentimental value as her husband had passed on. I said ok and went about looking at the rest of the stuff she had in the sale. Finally as I was getting ready to leave she ask me if I seriously wanted the matchbooks and why. I politly explained that I was starting a collection of matchbooks from around the country and thought they were cool. She shook her head and said ok but she would not take a dime less than $3 for the box. I about broke my arm getting my money out and didnt even try to dicker with her on the price! Now just to give you an idea how big this box was it took two of us to carry it to my truck. I never did count how many books were in the box but I can tell you I made alot of money off of it and got over 300 really clean nice pinup matchbooks along with many specialty books like sewing kits that looked like matches etc. So now I was really an official collector! From there I have collected every aspect of pinup from matchbooks to original paintings and anything in between. Amazing how many different things they have put pinup art on.

Key word being art. I pretty much stuck to the art side of pinup and not the photo side until a few years ago when I started shooting pinup photos myself. Now I collect them all. I've also had the great pleasure as a photographer of knowing some of the most incredible pinup gals alive today! And oh by the way! I found out from another collector that my antique dealer and the guy that had the collectable shop had sold me a bill of goods because they were not so rare and they were not worth alot unless they were perfect and very rare. It was ok I chocked it up to learning and just was careful from then on when dealing with those two. Its a fun pastime full of excitment and new ideas! Since ebay has come along it pretty much killed the market as everybody has pulled stuff out of their attic and flooded the market. Time to focus on the new stuff!


magicwolf magicwolf
51-55, M
2 Responses Mar 16, 2009

Very cool. I love pin-ups also. I think that's when women were women. I would pose for you...that would be sooooo cool. Keep up the collecting :)

I love the art also <br />
my favorite are the WWII plane art