Hood Ornament Collecting Tips
Okay, so you have decided to invest in a few hood ornaments as collectibles. Now, where do you begin? What do you need to know? Do you collect only high priced originals, or do you settle for replicas?
Here are a few tips and thoughts to keep in mind.
Before you tie up many of your hard earned dollars in any collectible you should invest in one or two collector books on that collectible. Then take the time to read them and drool over the most desirable pieces. With regard to hood ornaments, it is estimated that there are over 5000 designs that graced the great motorcars of the past. Research is the only way to know the difference between $25 ornaments and $2500 ornaments.
Replicas or Originals?
Sooner or later you will have to decide if you want a replica or the real thing. Antique hood ornaments can be expensive, but there is great pride in owning one - especially if it is rare. Replicas, on the other hand, may fill your collecting need without depleting your bank account. There is nothing wrong with purchasing or selling replicas, as long as all parties understand that the ornament is not an original.
Choose your own Little Niche
With an estimated 5000 various hood ornaments and mascots to choose from, it could take several life times and 'mucho deniro' to assemble a collection of all of them, if indeed that was even possible. It would be much better to settle on an area that you will enjoy and be able to afford. Such as Ford, Chrysler, Kaiser, or Buick hood ornaments. Perhaps you could choose to collect hood ornaments of the 1930s. If your tastes and pocket book allow it, collect exotic luxury car hood ornaments like Rolls, Duesenbergs, Auburns and Cords. You get the picture - specialize.
Look for Auto History on the Internet
Very often, if you search on the internet for the History of a particular automobile or model you will be able to locate information and pictures of the hood ornaments that graced them. Occasionally there will be some background on the hood ornament design, or even the artist that was commissioned to create it.
Look on the Internet for places to Shop
Simply doing a google search on 'hood ornaments' will give you an abundance of places to shop for a hood ornament. As with anything you shop for, know what it is you are seeking and be aware that some dealers are more reputable than others. If you are searching for a particular ornament then type in the year, make and model of the vehicle along with the words 'hood ornaments' - i.e. "1936 Desoto Airstream hood ornament"
Find Hood Ornaments on eBay
If you decide to purchase a hood ornament online, you will probably find the best deals and largest assortment at eBay. Ebay has made some recent steps toward protecting buyers and to help them feel more confident in what they decide to buy, however, it is still a good idea to check out the seller's feedback ratings and customer satisfaction. If a particular seller seems to have an endless supply of rare hood ornaments at bargain prices, extreme care should be taken.
Don't discount Junk Yards
You can occasionally find an incredible vintage hood ornament at Auto Salvage yards. Very often the more remote and older the facility is the more likely it is to still have an ornament or two that would interest you. Keep in mind that the proprietor may have a good idea of what the current value is on any hood ornament, or can quickly look it up. So you need to know what you are looking for and what you are willing to pay.
Don't discount Flea Markets and Yard Sales
Very often rusty automobiles sit for many years in garages and behind barns. From time to time parts from these old cars show up at flea markets and yard sales - especially those in rural areas. Remember, if you see a rusty old car with a decent hood ornament, ask the owner if he is will to sell just the ornament. Even if it is not one that you collect you can often pick one up for 10 or 20 dollars that you can resell on eBay for several hundred.
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