My Mantiques Collection
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After a divorce in March 2015 that ended a 35-year marriage I suddenly had complete freedom to buy items for home (gasp!). I started out at estate sales, then cruised through local antique stores, Craigslist and finally found the best place to get mantiques for a bachelor pad - antique shows and markets. Allegan and Centerville were two very good ones. Here are the best of the unusual items I've bought for my apartment.

Below - this Indian weighs 300 pounds, is 6 feet 6 inches tall and is carved from a single block of hardwood. It's not an authentic cigar store indian from the nineteenth century. I bought it in Bill Lesterhouses's antique store in Mattawan. Bill told me it came out of Kentucky and was made sometime in the last 50 years. It's in good shape but has some paint damage on the left shoulder and arm. I built a sturdy wooden platform to spread the weight on the floor. To see more carved Indians in SW Michigan click here

Below - this 4-foot tall knight is solid plaster, which accounts for his weight of 92 pounds! He was made in Chicago by the Universal Statuary Corporation and sold in 1966 to a man in Kalamazoo, who gave it to his wife as a wedding present (huh?). His grand-daughter sold it to me in 2016. I know of one other of these knights that still exists but I'm thinking they are rare. On the wall to the left is a Knight Templar (York Rite) sword made by the Henderson-Ames Company a hundred years ago in Kalamazoo, purchased on eBay.

Below - this is a real pub sign from the village of Ramsey in eastern England. It's close to Huntingdon. It would have hung above the door to the Odd Fellows Arms. This pub closed around 1968. Click here and here for historic photos of the pub. It's amazing that this sign, which is 4 feet high and weighs 40 pounds, ended up in West Michigan. There was a nearby USAF base and I speculate that a serviceman bought it when the pub closed and had it shipped home to Michigan.

Below - this pulpit came from an abandoned church in Comstock (photo here). The church was built in the 1870's as Comstock Reformed Church and used by them until 1990, when they moved to another location. The building was then bought and used by another couple of church groups. The last owner bought it in 2017 and tried to bring the building up to code but alas, the effort and cost was too much. in 2023 it is abandoned and will have to be demolished.

Below - this wooden propeller is a Sensenich Model 72C 44, serial number K9571. It is 72 inches long and was probably built in the 1940s or 1950s. The red ends indicate that it is a drone propeller. I bought it at an estate sale in June 2023.

Below - this is a railroad semaphore signal, 6 feet long and probably over a hundred years old. It is not known what railroad it came from. I bought it from Tim Brake at an Allegan show in 2019. I was 30 seconds ahead of somebody else who wanted to buy it. There is one real semaphore signal in Kalamazoo County still being used by a railroad. It's at Portage Rd and Vine St. Here's a photo of it.

Below - this is a real U.S. Air Force practice bomb from the 1950s. It's 5 and 1/2 feet high and weighs a hundred pounds. It's completely empty inside. I bought it off Craigslist from a man in Decatur who had owned it for 20 years. He bought it from the owner of the Ginsburg's Surplus City store in Jackson, Michigan. It was given this paint job in 1968 and hung from the ceiling at that store, which is long closed. I'm told it was the store owner's most-prized possession. Very few of these practice bombs still exist. Most were wrecked during usage. After all, they were filled with wet sand and dropped out of aircraft.

Below - I bought this Snauwaert giant tennis racket (it's 4 and 1/2 feet long) at a 2023 Allegan Antique Market. This would have been a sales display item, big enough to really attract peoples attention. It is made exactly like a real racket.

Below - This is a platinum sales award for the 1985 vinyl record album Nervous Night by The Hooters. It contains their best known track "And We Danced".  I bought it from a Kalamazoo Craigslist post.

Below - I bought this Jeep Grill at the final Allegan Antique Market in 2021. I did some research and think that this is a 1950s or 60s CJ5 grill. It's military green in color so it could well have come from an army jeep.

Below - this is a brass porthole from a boat. As you would expect, it's heavy, weighing in at 24 pounds. I bought it from a 2024 ad in Facebook Marketplace. The owner told me his father had picked it up many years ago in Northern Michigan.

Below - this clock, which is 12 inches in diameter, is advertising a brand of shoes made by Wolverine called Hush Puppies, introduced in 1958. The clock still works. It spent most if its life in a shoe store in Paw Paw. Then it was bought by the owner of Brook Farm General Market on Douglas Ave north of Kalamazoo, who sold it to me in 2020.

Below - these are fire grenades, which were the first fire extinguishers. They contain carbon tetrachloride. You threw them on a small fire, the glass broke and the non-flammable liquid in them put out the fire. Well, that's the theory. I bought them all at a 2021 estate sale in Portage.


Below - on the left, in 2016 I bought a rusty 1940s Farmall tractor grill in Paw Paw, sand blasted it and painted it. For 25 years I owned a 1947 Farmall with a grill just like it. On the right is a Buffalo Foam Fire Extinguisher in beautiful condition. I bought it from Tim Brake at the Centerville show in 2016.


Below - these 2 giant Champion spark plugs are plastic advertising items. I bought them at an estate sale in 2019. They were very dirty but cleaned up well.

Below - these 3 birds hanging from the ceiling were hand carved in Indonesia. I bought them at a Centerville show in 2016.


Below - also on the ceiling, this brass light fixture hung in an old Downtown Detroit building for many decades before a man in Allegan rescued it, rewired it and used it in his house for many years. Eventually it was surplus to his needs and I picked it up for $125 in 2017.

Below left - this Moai is a 40-inch tall fiberglass representation of the mysterious statues on Easter Island. I bought it in April 2019 from a yard sale in the Westnedge Hill neighborhood. Below middle - this 1960s era Mightyplate thermometer is a piece of oil industry memorabelia, bought from Tim Brake at Allegan in 2019. Below right - this Storck Shoes advertising piece is 40 inches high and made of solid wood. It looks old. I bought it at the last Allegan show (the wet one) in 2019.


Below - this is a 42" unused Banks-Maxwell airboat propellor, bought at an Allegan show in 2017. I just wanted a propellor in my collection!

Below - these two enamel signs came out of an old Detroit Edison site on the east side of the state. I bought them at the first Allegan show in 2022.


Below - The Independent Order of Foresters is a fraternal benefit insurance society originally established in 1874. This metal sign is from 1966 and has "Great Northern" handwritten on the back of it. I bought it at Burgess Antiques in Galesburg.

Below - this cast iron side came out of a foundry that closed. I bought it at the first Allegan show in 2022 and painted the letters myself.

Below - on the left, this is a porcelain Illinois Bell sign, probably 1930s, bought from Tim Brake at Centerville. On the right is a Canadian road sign from 1960, bought at the Allegan show. Route 6 runs north from Port Dover on Lake Ontario through Hamilton and Guelph to Owen Sound on Lake Huron.


Below - I really don't understand what this enamel No Parking sign is all about but it's definitely different to most No Parking signs. I bought it at the final Allegan Antique Show in 2021.

Below left - I'd never seen a witness post sign so I had to buy this one at an Allegan Antique Show in 2021 This type of sign is used when a government survey marker cannot have a marker sign right at its location. An example would be a survey marker in the middle of a road. Below right - come on, who doesn't need a skeleton in their collection - LOL!


Below - I bought this tin Western Fence Co sign in a local antique store during early 2024.

Below - this is a real English Northamptonshire Police helmet. I bought it at an antique store in Plainwell during 2021.

Below - this porcelain Bus Stop sign came from London, England. If you stuck your arm out when one of those London red buses was approaching it would stop to pick you up. I bought it at an Allegan Antique Show in 2018.

Below - this 13 inch high perfume bottle was a store display item. Alas, it's not full of expensive perfume. I bought this at the Coldwater Antique Mall.

Below - the 1916 cast iron sign below was on a now-demolished Pere Marquette Railroad bridge at Saginaw, Michigan. I bought it at the 2021 Kalamazoo Model Train Show.

Below - this wooden sign was given to me by Tim, Dana and Kerrie at Ameriprise in early 2018. Thank you so much!

Below - the railroad sign on the left is cast iron and weighs 20 pounds. I bought it at a Centerville Antique Show in 2018. The cast iron replica of Big Ben on the right was a 2019 purchase at an Allegan Antique Market.


Below - I bought this dealer sign at Kalamazoo Kitty in summer 2018. The Yugo dealer in town was Dick Loehr, first on Shaver Road and then on West Main. Amazingly, a 1987 Dick Loehr Yugo commercial is available on YouTube and it shows this sign!!! Here's a link to it.

Below - I bought this phone at a garage sale in Portage during summer 2018. The owner told me it came from his family farm in remote Canada - a place called Magnetawan, which is east of Parry Sound in Ontario. It's in beautiful shape.

Below - This is a depiction of the Palace of Westminster in London, England. It is a plaster of Paris mold that was hand-decorated and then paraffin wax-dipped for an ivory-like finish. These items were produced from circa 1900 into the 1960s. 

Below - This bug collection is from Southeast Asia and features a giant forest scorpion plus rhinocerus, staghorn and scarab beetles. I bought it in an antique store in Schoolcraft. 

Below left - I won this signed guitar in a raffle at the 2018 Blues Fest in Downtown Kalamazoo. The leader of  every out-of-town band signed it.  Below right - this Elkhart brand fire extinguisher is in beautiful shape. I bought it from Tim Brake at a Centerville show.


Below - this steers head is made of plaster by the Universal Statuary Corporation in Chicago. It has a date of 1959 on it. It's impressive that something made of plaster has survived for 64 years in such good shape. I bought it at an estate sale in June 2023.

Below - this Little Debbie sign reminds me of the days when a Little Debbie distributor lived across the street from me and gave me free boxes of cakes. God I miss that guy. I bought the sign at the May 2023 Allegan Antique Market.

Below - this cross was bought at a Centerville Show in 2017. It was hanging in the rear room of a machine shop in Parma, Michigan. The seller had no idea whether it has any religious significance.

Below - this fire alarm came out of the Northern Michigan Asylum at Traverse City. A couple of boys were exploring the buildings after the asylum was closed in 1989.  One of them found it and took it home as a souvenir of their expedition. He kept it for 25 years until 2018. There is no date on this alarm so I don't know how old it is.

Below - I couldn't resist buying this model plane made of Genesee Cream Ale beer cans at a local estate sale in late 2018. It was so dirty they gave it to me but it cleaned up perfectly.

Below - this 12' high teapot was bought at the Allegan County Antique Market in 2021.

Below - this solid brass Richards sign is a mystery. Nobody on the Vanished Kalamazoo Facebook group could tell where it was originally located.  There was a short-lived nightclub on Stockbridge Ave called Richards and I'm thinking it came from there. I bought it at the Coloma Antique Mall in early 2022.

Below - this aluminum petroleum pipeline sign came from the Coloma Antique Mall in early 2022.

Below - this is a builders plate off a narrow-gauge locomotive sold to the military and used to move materials around in an ordnance depot. The locomotive was serial number 103 so it was likely the 103rd one sold of this particular model. I bought the plate at a private sale on Parkview Ave in 2023.


Below - this 4-foot long Leinenkugel's wooden paddle looks 100% functional for use on the water. I bought it at a private sale on Parkview Ave in 2023. 

Below - the Kalamazoo Ave sign was bought at a Vintage show at the Kalamazoo County Fairground.

Below - I bought this cast iron sign for the American Foundry and Furnace Co. at the first Allegan show in 2021. I couldn't find another one on Google Images.

Below left - this Funeral No Parking sign came from the first Allegan show in 2021. It's made of wire and hardboard. Below right - I bought this NiBrAl 18X23 brass propeller at an Antiques on the Bluff show in 2021.


Below - I have this 9-foot model rocket displayed vertically in my apartment (thank goodness for that cathedral ceiling!). It's a real rocket - you could launch it - but I don't think it's ever been used. I got it at the last Allegan show in 2023.

Below - this is a car club plaque, probably from the 1950s. It's an original, not a reproduction. I couldn't find anything online about this club, so it must have been a small one. I got it at the last Allegan show in 2023.

Below - I bought this cast aluminum sign for The Pipe Machinery Co. of Wickliffe, Ohio at an Antiques on the Bluff show at St. Joseph in 2021. I couldn't find another one on Google Images.

Below - I bought this cast aluminum sign for the R-S Furnace Co. of Philadelphia at an Antiques on the Bluff show in 2021. I couldn't find another one on Google Images.

Below - I couldn't resist adding a Goodyear Blimp to the cathedral ceiling!

Below - this is a porcelain sign from Texas that somehow ended up in Galesburg, Michigan, where I bought it.

Below - I believe this 1960s tin Pan Am jetliner is made by Marx and is a Boeing 707. I bought it at a Bank St holiday flea market in 2020.

Below - on the left, this is a pre-1920's Theodore A. Kochs barber pole. It has a windup mechanism and is very heavy. On the right is a wooden 14" long pulley in excellent shape. It has NEY burned into the wood in small letters (?). Both came from an Allegan Antique Show in 2017.


Below - this Peanut Munch styrofoam life ring is for display only. It's never going to save anyone! I bought it from Tim Brake at an Allegan Antique Show.

Below - this enamel sign from San Diego was bought at Burgess Antiques in Galesburg.

Below - this wooden drum lid stenciled for tartaric acid was used by Pfizer. The drum was shipped from Pfizer in New York to Upjohn in Kalamazoo, probably in the 1920s or 30s. I retrieved it from the basement of a retired Upjohn employee.

Below - this is a porcelain realtor sign. It must be old because when could you buy a 2048 sq foot house for $13,900? I'm thinking late 1940s. I bought it from Tim Brake at a Centerville Show.

Below - this is an early automobile horn that originally came from the Netherlands. Jan VanSheik gave it to me. I'm thinking it must be over a hundred years old.

Below - this Coca-Cola sign was used in the Kalamazoo State Theater ticket office from 1969 to 1991. June 1991 was the last time it was used, as shown. I bought it from Denny Olsen in his Vicksburg store during January 2018.

Below - this key is 30" long and weighs 6 pounds. It is made of chrome plated metal. It would have been hanging outside of a key shop for advertising. I bought it at an Allegan Show.


Below - this 15" cast metal key is a Rotary Club piece. It's unusual - I can't find another example of one. I bought it at a Centerville Show.

Below - this black wrench weighs 11 pounds and is 3 feet long. There are no markings on it to indicate who created it but I've had a couple of people say it may have been used on a railroad. You'd have to be strong to be using this all day long!

Below - this working padlock is 11 inches long and weighs 8 pounds. There are no markings on it to indicate who made it. Maybe it's Amish? It sure is one big padlock.

Below - These two airport signs were sold to me by Randy in Milwood. He did not know which airport they came from. It could have been from the long shut-down Austin Lake Airport.

Below - this Certificate is a real document from 1912. The Sheffield Car Company was located in Three Rivers and was bought by Fairbanks-Morse in the early 1900's.

Below - this porcelain Railway Express Agency sign has seen some hard times but it's authentic. I got it from Tim Brake at an Allegan Antique Show in 2018.

Below - this is a rotating Strohl's sign (remember when we used to drink Stroh's beer?). It works and was purchased from Tim Brake at an Allegan show. He swore it was one of the ultimate Strohl's collectibles!

Below - these items are decorating the top of my refrigerator.  The Hershey's bottle is 18" high and the soup can is 10" high. Both are banks, as is the small Mr. Peanut.

Below - who remembers Stewart Sandwiches that you bought and heated up in a small convection oven before you left the store? I hear they didn't taste that good. The invention of the microwave doomed Stewart Sandwiches......

Below - here's my collection of tins above the kitchen cupboards.

Below - this 28-inch high ceramic tiger was well-done but there is no identification of who created him and when. He weighs 32 pounds! I got him from Kalamazoo Kitty in 2017.


Below - this is the coat of arms of the British Royal Family. I bought it from Tim Brake at an Allegan Antique Market. Supposedly it hung on the wall of a pub in England. I'm thinking said pub would have had to be named "The Kings Arms", "The Queens Inn" or had some other royal name.

Below - this oil painting of the medieval Clock Tower in St. Albans, England was done by John Maynard, a well-known local artist in that area. My parents brought it over from the U.K. in the 1980s

Below - this oil painting of my family home in Harpenden, England was also done by John Maynard, as commissioned by my father and brought it over from the U.K. in the 1980s.

Below left - this 49 inch high figure, carved from a single piece of wood, is said to have come from Jamaica. I bought it at an Allegan Antique Market in 2017. Below right - this shell came from a local estate sale. It has no markings but I'm thinking it's WWII vintage or older. I can't find an image of one online.


Below - this Island Joe's sign was bought from Denny Olsen's store in Vicksburg. It looks like Island Joe's was a great place.

Below - this is a painting of Allied Paper Mill C on Alcott St, Kalamazoo by Cornellius Van Fulpen, a well-known local artist. In 1980 I worked in the building to the right of the water tank. It's not very valuable at this time, maybe $300, but hopefully will be in the future. More details about this painting are at this link.


Below - I don't know how old this 14 1/2R size wooden shoe form is but stamped on it is ALCO U.S. MILI. That means it was used for military shoes. I bought it at a vintage show at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center.

Below - don't you hate it when a fly lands on you? This brass one is a fun antique. It was made in England. I got it at a Bank St flea market in 2018.

Below left - when I bought this lamp the buyer swore it could be very valuable but it has no markings on to indicate who made it. It may not really be worth much but it's a pretty piece anyway. Below right - a plywood Mr. Peanut sign for an antique mall in Saugatuck.


Below - it's a euphonium. I used to play one in a school band during the early 1970s. I bought it at the antique mall in Coloma.

Below - it's not an antique but it's a fun end table!

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Last Edited by JMW 03/30/24