Friday, August 5, 2011

Time Traveling in Style (aka Nice Rack!)

I've been interested in picking up one of those old wire display racks for TV Guides that you used to see near the cash registers in stores back in the day. I sort of stumbled on the idea by mistake while searching for vintage TV Guides on eBay. Every once in a while an old display rack will pop up while doing one of these searches, and of course I always think it would look very smart to have some of my "better" issues sitting in one of these racks. Now, just exactly where one of these racks would actually go in my house is a different question all together. It's a question I didn't think I'd need to address any time in the near future though--as the occasional rack that would show up on eBay always seemed to go for a pretty hefty sum (i.e. out of my price range).

For example, here are the last two TV Guide display racks that I saw come up for auction on eBay and their final selling prices:

This one ended back in the middle of July (2011). It had opened at $7.99 and it ended up going for $88.99 (yes, I just typed Eighty-Eight Dollars And Ninety-Nine Cents!). Shipping on this item was $9.99, meaning that the final cost to the buyer was $98.98. That's almost one hundred bucks for a little display rack!

This second rack was sold just recently at the end of July. Bidding on this one opened at $9.99 and closed at $88.88 (eleven cents cheaper than the first one). With the $7.60 shipping cost the total to the buyer was $96.48.

As you can see, these little oddball items aren't the most common things to find, and thus they tend to go for a pretty high price when more than one interested party sees them up for auction. As a seller I always hope to have multiple people interested in my items. But as a buyer I always hope to be the only one looking for whatever it is I'm looking for, of course.

Last week I was visiting with my Mom. When I arrived at her house I saw a small pile of random stuff sitting on her porch. She said it was stuff she was putting out for a relative's yard sale. Wouldn't you know, there was a TV Guide display rack sitting on top of a box--looking like it was set out specifically for me! I told Mom the story about how I was semi-searching for one of these little items and she let me have it. So now I'm the proud owner of this:

My very own TV Guide display rack!
A few mid-1970s TV Guides sitting in the rack
Closeup of the rack with a '75 Fall Preview and a Bicentennial issue on display
As can be seen, this rack was for both Reader's Digest and TV Guide. It is of the same physical style as the second eBay one above, but it has the same label style ("America's Television Magazine" with a B&W TV Guide logo) of the first one. I'm not really sure how old any of these racks actually are, but it would seem like ones with red labels with the black and white TV Guide logos would be of an earlier vintage (1960s?) than the one with a brown, "wood grain" label and the "Check Out With TV Guide" slogan (1970s?).

This blog obviously doesn't have any insightful tidbits from ancient issues of TV Guides, or interesting television show listings from the 1970s, or anything like that. Instead it's just a chance for me to show off my new "toy". While it's rather mundane-looking, I'm pretty excited to actually have one of these racks, and am looking forward to putting some special issues in it. Perhaps it would be a good place to put issues that I find "bloggable" material in--sort of like a "TV Guide IN/OUT box" as it were. It's also a pretty neat little story about how I came to own this piece of retail history by happenstance and coincidence. Now all I need is a nice La-Z-Boy recliner to sit in while grabbing an old TV Guide from my rack to do a little time traveling...

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