I remember the anticipation of watching for the mailman every day, and I recall the thrill of actually receiving it.  What I don’t remember is what I did with it when the novelty wore off.

            It would be nice to have it now, not only as a memento of my childhood but for its current value.  Yes, the Captain Midnight Secret Decoder Ring is now worth a bundle.  I saw one the other day at a flea market.  As I recall, I had to send in labels from some Ovaltine jars to get the ring.  Anyone who still has the ring made a very good investment while they were drinking that hot chocolate-type drink.

            Yesterday’s trash really has become today’s treasure.  It seems that a lot of what you and I threw away years ago has been elevated to a class of things called “collectible.”  Almost anything you can think of that’s very old is being sought, sorted, classified, and evaluated by a coterie of collectors.

            There are price guides, newsletters, clubs, and conventions for comic books, milk bottles, advertising signs, Cracker Jack prizes, fountain pens, jukeboxes, records, doorknobs, dolls, guns, postcards, toys, furniture, radios, jewelry, clocks, tools, lunch boxes, banks, figurines, plates, beer cans, bowls, mugs, and magazines.  It’s obvious that the collecting craze has gone beyond coins, stamps, and baseball cards.

            The collectors of the world have created a demand for things that most of us threw away, gave away, or lost years ago.  If you haven’t been to a flea market or antique show lately, you should go sometime.  You’re bound to see at least a few items that you’ll wish you hadn’t lost track of.

            Remember the inexpensive pink and green dishes that your mother or grandmother bought at the dime store?  Well, they’re not inexpensive anymore.  They’re called “depression glass” and it’s depressing to see how much they cost now.

            How about that erector set or wind-up Ferris Wheel you got for Christmas in the 1950s?  If you still have them there are some toy collectors who would like to talk to you.  Remember when milk came in glass bottles?  There must have been millions of milk bottles at one time, but they’re in limited supply now and – you guessed it – they’re “collectible.” 

            It’s fun to visit the flea markets and antique stores to remember what we used to have and wish we still had.  It reminds us of our youth and brings back memories of things mother or grandmother had.  It also makes us wonder what we have around the house now which might appeal to future collectors.

            Will a Bic pen be rare and valuable someday?  How about a Mrs. Butterworth bottle?  Surely that unique shape will find it way into a future bottle collector’s book.  Those little toys that McDonald’s sells or gives away will undoubtedly be premier items in the toy collections of the later 21st century.

            Now is the time to plan.  There is a future fortune lying around our houses right now.  We should think twice and three times before throwing anything away.  Today’s trinket is tomorrow’s treasure.

            And who knows?  The attic or basement may already hold a bonanza which is just awaiting discovery.  I’m going to start looking right now.  That Captain Midnight ring must be around here someplace. 


Magic of the Captain Midnight Secret Decoder Ring

When I was six-years-old one of my favorite radio programs was "Captain Midnight."  One time the Captain offered to send his listeners a secret decoder ring.  Naturally, my request went quickly into the mail.