Hot Collecting Trend: Barbershop Finds
From straight razors to shampoo stools, barbershop antiques double as well-groomed decor.
Victorian wood-and-horsehair brushes were intended expressly for whisking away itchy hair clippings. You can pick them up at antiques malls for as little as $25, but similar specimens in mint condition— can carry price tags of around $150 each.
Sinks with built-in neck rests weren’t introduced until the 1920s; in prior decades, patrons sat on diminutive stools and leaned forward for a wash.
As medical knowledge grew in the early 1900s, the nation became obsessed with disinfecting. This 1911 countertop sterilizer, from Pennsylvania-based Erie City Manufacturing, has a rubber-sealed door designed to trap fumes from the formaldehyde that cleaned tools.
As for products, barbers bought lotions and potions in bulk, then dispensed them in flacons. With metal spouts, they can be worth up to $40 each. As is, they are worth $25. Other milk-glass containers were used to soak razors and scissors in alcohol.
Though they experienced a sharp decline after World War I troops adopted the safety razor, vintage “straights” remain in plentiful supply. While those fashioned from horn or sterling silver can reel in well over $300.
As we continue to see a resurgence of Barbershops, these antique items will become more sought after and of course more valuable. We can honor the trade’s past in preserving it for the future. The renaissance of the American barbershop is on the rise, so it is no surprise that Barbershop Finds are the hot new collecting trend.