Farm Memorabilia Worth the Wait

Kansas man makes collection of farm memorabilia, stick pins and paperweights

| February 1999

  • Pieces in Loyd Davis' collection include an early John Deere paperweight.
    Pieces in Loyd Davis' collection include an early John Deere paperweight. "Part of its rack is broken off," he said. "Pieces like this are pretty vulnerable. It's hard to find one that's not busted up." 
  • Part of Loyd's collection of stick pins.
    Part of Loyd's collection of stick pins. Loyd is wart of restoration. When he adds a piece to his collection, "I just dust it off, clean it up. Lots of times, you go to make something better, you end up making it worse. Lots of times, after I get a new piece home, I just let it set for one or two years," he said. "You've got to be careful not to rub off the finish. Don't use steel wool or anything abrasive. And be careful with what you put on an antique. These new chemicals can have unpredictable results on old things. Whatever you do, do it cautiously."
  • Pieces like these celebrate the early days of industry and agriculture in the U.S.
    Pieces like these celebrate the early days of industry and agriculture in the U.S. Some forms – the frog, for instance – were adopted for use by many firms.

  • Pieces in Loyd Davis' collection include an early John Deere paperweight.
  • Part of Loyd's collection of stick pins.
  • Pieces like these celebrate the early days of industry and agriculture in the U.S.

If your hobby must deliver instant gratification, then stay away from farm memorabilia. Stick pins, watch fobs, paperweights and the like don't come along every day, and in some parts of the country, they don't come along at all. But if you treasure history, creativity and the patina of age, you won't mind the wait.

Kansas City-area collector Loyd Davis knows all about waiting.

"It's taken me 35 years to accumulate my collection," he said. "It's tough to find this stuff. You may walk through 15 antique stores and not find a thing."

His collection of farm memorabilia began, simply enough, with watch fobs.



"But along the way, I started seeing other stuff," he said. "Like advertising stick pins. They're scarce, but still easier to find than fobs. There's some that are real common. The Moline Flying Dutchman, the Moline Plow Co. manufactured jillions of those. And the J.I. Case eagle, that's fairly common. Those were huge companies; they cranked out a lot of them. Then there were the paperweights ..."

He likes the history behind the pieces, the geographic ties to his roots in farm country, and the size of the collectibles.