Saturday, August 10, 2013

Frank's Pinback—and now there are four.

It has been awhile so I better get on here and post something. I seem slower and time seems to be moving faster!

My 1st pinback of Frank.
Some of you might remember a small Whitehead & Hoag pinback button with Frank Steunenberg on the front and dated July 17, 1894, April 14, 1896 and July 21, 1896 on the back. I acquired it years ago for a song and it has always been one of my most prized, and seemingly most rare, possessions. In all my online travels, I only knew of two others in existence, one with a fellow Idaho collector and another as part of a set of governor pins produced by Whitehead & Hoag in the 1890's. Now I know there are at least four and probably still others buried in attics and bureau drawers.

Besides the link above, you may have seen both mine and Frank's pinbacks down in the right had column of the blog. I am always on the hunt for more of Frank's pins.
John's Pinback

On the right, the only pinback button I have ever been given. Not looking for any more.

Surprisingly, one of Frank's pinbacks popped up on eBay a couple weeks ago, starting price, $9.99. Although there are not very many folks knocking down the auction house doors to get a Steueneberg pinback, I always know there is a handful of us Idaho collectors lurking in the shadows. I have made no secret of my desire to score another one of Frank's pins. The $9.99 starting bid or something under $100 was hoped for—but then again this was only the forth pinback of Frank known to exist in the world so who knew what it might go for.

Frank's 2nd pinback. Not quite as good
as #1 but cost a lot more.
Being determined to take no prisoners, I set a pretty high snipe on this one, hoping against hope to sneak in as a winner far below my maximum bid amount. I can't reveal everything to my friendly Idaho collectors so will keep that figure to myself.  Lets just say forget $9.99 and at $100 I was dreaming!  Frank's value seems to have increased considerably over the years.

So now there are four of these pinbacks that I know to exist and I have two of them. Yes, I am still on the hunt, as I need at least three so each of my kids can have one. Then when I am gone, they can decide to keep the pin or put it up for auction. By then, it might be bringing in a small fortune or all of us crazy Idaho collectors will be gone—and Frank will once again be had for a song.

Complete set only a $1. This a copy taken from online of a brochure of Whitehead & Hoag pinbacks.

You can also get a peek of Frank #1 in the December 2006 issue of The Advocate in the bottom right hand corner of page 8.

Related blog post:
Saturday, October 9, 2010
No Neckties Allowed #2 - Steunenberg pinback, Big Trouble...again, and a readers comments