by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
We have been lucky enough this year to enjoy early Spring weather. It’s ironic that Minnesota was enjoying temperatures in the low 60s, while there was a blizzard 800 miles south of us. What’s more, There were cities on the Eastern seaboard receiving TWO FEET of snow!! The Spring season means that you will need to fill some time between bowling seasons. Fishing is okay, until you catch one of those smelly things, and then you have to clean it and be careful not to swallow a bone while enjoying it for dinner. I have also been known to try a game of golf, but if you think bowling is frustrating, just try to hit a small ball 400 yards into a 4 inch hole on grass that is never quite level. And do it in four shots. Now that you’ve gotten through to Wednesday without losing your mind, you might just want to peruse a few garage sales … ‘tis the season. While most people use Springtime to clean out their garage and attic, I use it to fill mine up.
It takes perseverance and patience to pursue the hobby, but it can be rewarding. You can find bowling balls for a dollar. Most are 15 or 20 years old, none will ever fit your hand, and you probably wouldn’t use them even if they did, but they add a touch of individuality to your garden or landscape. A friend once bought a ball, bag, and shoes for $5.00 and found a C-note tucked in the zipper pocket of the bag! I also scored a couple of pins once, originally the property of Lynbrook Lanes. They look great in the garden, and confuse rabbits and squirrels.
I once found a semi-mechanical bowling game at a garage sale for a buck or two. I took it home and tried it, I think I scored 108. I had never seen the game before, (or since), but I was happy to give it to Doug Shellum for his museum in progress.
The most common item to find is dozens of pins, not the white ones with the red stripes, but the league awards that people wore proudly on the collar of their bowling shirt for the next several seasons. High series, High game, High average, Perfect attendance, 250 club, Century club watches, or anything else someone thought worthy of recognition. Sadly, by the time these things get to the box of pins and key chains at the garage sale, the history is gone. There is no way to tell if it was worn by Andy Veripapa, or someone else’s papa. But you know there is a history behind each and every patch and pin.
Patina and Provenance. That’s what collectors are looking for. Patina is the greenish brown gunk that forms over time on most metal and wood collectibles. Provenance is the history of the item. Just the fact that I know my pins came from Lynbrook Lanes adds a little to the provenance. And the one autographed by Ron Gardenhire is probably worth at least 50 cents more than the other. Your bowling memorabilia will probably never be worth as much as a DNA certified LeBron James unwashed sweatband, or even a Joe Mauer rookie card, but collecting and displaying your bowling patches, pins, and refrigerator magnets will make others wish they had saved theirs, and not sold them at last year’s garage sale.