Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Collectable Boat Cushions? You Bet!

I am always interested in the odds and ends of the fishing industry, those areas most people don't bother to think about and most certainly don't consider collecting. A good example is boat cushions. They are required by law in every state, they have been in use for a century, and were offered in an amazing variety of colors and styles. But who in their right mind collects vintage seat cushions? You might be surprised. This beauty recently sold on eBay for $240.00.

But that's just the beginning. There are a lot of other collectable boat cushions floating around out there. Here are two 1929 Sears & Roebuck models with leaping fish that sold for about $10 each--a bargain!

Dating from 1929, they were made by Elgin

The tags on these said 100% Kapok

Here's one that just showed up on eBay and that I would not be shocked to find is also an Elgin/Sears & Roebuck product:

Leaping fish seem to be a popular motif

Sometimes these vintage boat cushions cross into other collectable categories. Here are two racially-tinged and nautical themed vintage boat cushions:

Admiral Blackie's nautical knots

Admiral Blackie's Storm Warning Signals

Here is the same theme without the racist undertones:

Aqua Neptune model Storm Warning

This set of three nautical boat cushions sold for $50 each.

Small Craft/Storm Warning/Rules of the Road

This Rules of the Road model is a more recent vintage

Here is one showing a variety of seafaring knots.

A Montgomery Wards model

There are a lot of less flashy vintage life preservers for sale. Here are four that sold from $10-$20 each:

Sailing Motif

Nifty Yacht Silhouette Model

A Pair of Vinyl Sailing-Themed Cushions

That's just the tip of the ice berg. I started following vintage boat cushions about a year ago when this baby showed up on eBay:

This sweetheart sold for well over $100

Maybe the only difference between a $20 vintage boat cushion and a $200 one is a picture of a pinup on the front of a cushion!

All in all, vintage boat cushions would make for an interesting and colorful display, and I suspect they often go for high prices to decorate summer homes and cottages. I'll keep my eye out for any new ones and update them on the blog when I get enough information.

-- Dr. Todd

As I was writing this, the following two cushions were just added up on eBay:

Another Rules of the Road Variant

Elgin Sailfish Model sold by Sears


Unknown said...

Two important corrections.

These cushions are from the 1950s and 1960s. The tags that show the date of 1929 are compliance tags. These were required to be placed on the cushions by laws that were imposed in 1929. The date on the tag has nothing to do with the date the product was manufactured.

As for the racial undertones on some of the pillows - there aren't any.

"Blackie" was a popular name for many characters - from pirates,to swhasbuckling sailors, to outlaw gang leaders. The name blackie in this case was Admiral Blackie, a black Sea Lion.

If there were racial undertones - the would have been much more obvious and degrading. And the character would surely not be in a place of leadership - such as an Admiral.

Ramiz Raza said...

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Nautical antiques

Unknown said...

I have a rules of the road cushions in very good condition

Unknown said...

I find it interesting that you note racial undertones for Admiral Blackie vintage cushion.
Admiral John "Blackie" Weinel was in fact a true Admiral.https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sandiegouniontribune/obituary.aspx?n=john-weinel&pid=1980665