With this issue, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the launch of Farm Collector. It's a landmark achieved by only one in 10 start-ups: According to industry experts, 90 percent of new magazines do not make it to the 10-year mark.
The fact that Farm Collector has is the direct result of the enthusiasm shown for the magazine by subscribers and advertisers. In the publishing business, the formula for success is brutally simple: Without readers and advertisers, there is no magazine. We remain deeply grateful to both groups for your ongoing support and encouragement.
Although our focus at Farm Collector is firmly on the past, the world around us is in constant change. In the 52 pages of advertising and editorial content of our first issue (August 1998), there were a total of five e-mail addresses and two websites. Cell phones were still the exception and not yet the rule. The legendary Oscar Cooke "Dreamland" auction had been held two months earlier, and our classified advertising section (occupying the magazine's center section) was printed on newsprint.
Articles in the first issue skipped from ice harvesting to hog oilers, from Witte and Stover gas engines to John Deere tractors, from cast iron seats to antique wrenches. Columnist Sam Moore was on the job from day one, explaining the origins of the McCormick-Deering line.
It was a time of nearly blind optimism: On one occasion early in the summer of 1998, I proudly reported to the publisher that our circulation numbers had doubled - from about 25 paid subscriptions, I believe, to 50. One of our first subscribers, a native of Holland, sent payment a month before the first issue was even printed. "I am sending you a check for $20 for a magazine that does not even exist," he noted wryly. "I take it that this is the American way of doing business. …"
At the end of the day, yes, it's a business. But mostly, Farm Collector has been fun for all of us associated with it. We hope it's the same for you, and that you enjoy this issue celebrating our 10th anniversary. We've pulled out the stops, as they used to say, in producing something special for folks like you who've made it all possible. Here's to the next 10 years: Cheers!
Leslie McManus, Editor