A while back, hubby and I traveled along the River Road in western Wisconsin. We came upon a gravel road with a small painted and very weathered sign that stated “Antiques for Sale.” We were not sure if it was one that had been put up years ago and never removed, but we took our chances and meandered up the road, watching for another sign. As luck would have it, there was another, then another, and then a small white house with an outbuilding. We got out of the car and started to go to the door, when an elderly lady came out, smiling and waving and saying “you found us!” She was also very weathered, if you get my drift, but so charming. She asked us to wait while she got the keys to the building, returning a short while later.
Inside the building we found some unusual primitive items: a few rickety foot stools (folks love to buy these for use as plant stands or accent pieces), several wooden-handled tools, and a metal grate. She asked if we wanted to go up the stairs where the “smaller items” were and we agreed. I am not very good with heights and the stairs were not too solid, but somehow, when there is a potential “find”, I gather the moxie to do things. So, up I went. There were not a lot of treasures; some pottery, a few pieces of Depression glassware. But as we turned to go back down, I spotted several bags with paper inside and asked to look closer. She spread them out on a table and I saw that they were labels. Not for food or crates, these were old luggage labels, probably given out by hotels, mostly throughout Europe. She thought they were from the 1920s and 30s because travel was not so desirable in the 1940s due to the war. Many are very Art Deco too, which fits into that time frame.
She did not want very much for the labels so I scooped them up. I think there were six bags filled. These would fall into the “new old stock” category, meaning they are older but never used. I have continued to sell them on the Internet, usually in groupings of 6 or 7, and have been very pleased with the profit margin. I imagine that other labels like these once adorned the suitcases of “world travelers” who wanted a small souvenir of their trips and a little proof to show friends that they had been to such exotic places.
These are just small reminders of a time when it was elegant to travel, when suitcases were not soft-sided and easily damaged in transit. Just a bit of class from the past!