The September 1932 issue of Hobbies, "The Magazine for Collectors," offers some fascinating insights on that topic.1
Some of the areas covered by the magazine were antiques, autographs, books, butterflies, numismatics, dime novels, firearms, gems and minerals, "Indian Relics," prints, stamps and steer horns.
Here are some of the specific small-type advertisements from that issue:2
- FOR SALE — ALMANACS, 1792 to 1900, many rarities. Send 3¢ stamp for list. — Faye DeCamp, Camden, Ohio.
- FOR SALE — I HAVE for sale a small fine collection of Indian relics suitable for an advanced collector; small spears and other pieces for retail. I have no cheap trash at all, two spinning wheels, two Kentucky rifles. — H.L. Johnson, Clarksville, Tenn.
- WANTED TO BUY — PONY EXPRESS envelopes, Wells-Fargo, Steamship, Mining scenes, Stage Coaches, Overland covers, Via Nicaragua, California Miners' Letters, British Columbia, early Hawaii to U.S.A., Confederate Covers, Letters written by Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Poe, Whittier. Immediate cash. Address — James Hardy, P.O. Box 206, Glencoe, Illinois.3
- WANTED — Circus Parade Pictures, Snap Shots, Photos, Herald, etc. Anything showing Circus Parade Scenes. Write — L. Melvin, Box 980, St. Thomas, Ont., Can.
- OLYMPIC GAMES Athletic Signatures of all nations over 100. Some by World's Champions. Best offers. — John Gallucci, 3065 Island, San Diego, Calif.
- FOR SALE — Genuine elk teeth for watch charms, lodge emblems and jewelry mounting purposes. Write for price. — P.R. Winkler, 276 E. Washington Avenue, Washington, N.J.
- FOR SALE — One of the finest U.S.A. Butterfly Collections. Value exceeding $1,500.00. For the sacrifice price of $200.00. An exceptional opportunity for collectors. M. Deschl, 135 West 42nd Street, New York City.4
- 1000 BALKAN STAMPS — Roumania, Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, Turkey, Old Serbia. (Old Pictorial, Jubilee, War, Air Mails, new Issues, etc., excellent assorted.) Dollar, $15.00-$25.00 catalog value for only $1.00 Bank Note and 30 cents in unused stamps. Post free. Charles A. Buffan Stamp Co. Caransebes (Banat), Roumania.
- WANTED — Items pertaining to Abraham Lincoln. — A.H. Griffith, Fisk, Wis.
- WILL SELL my old arithmetic compiled in 1814 by a Kentucky schoolmaster. 144 pages, all hand done with quill pen. Beautifully executed. Deals extensively in Vulger [sic] Fractions. A first, last and only edition. Best offer. — Elois Roberts, Phoenix, Ariz.
- TOBY JUGS MADE BEFORE 1800. Give full description and price. — I. Turner Moore, 34 South Fifth St., Reading, Pa. [Pictured at right is a Toby Jug image from Wikipedia.]
- FOR SALE — Six Aztecan Head pieces, temple details and mortar. perfect condition, weighing 25 pounds. Petrified mastodon bones. Best offer. — LX Hobbies, 2810 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill.
- PREHISTORIC RELICS FROM SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS. Grooved axes, double bitted axes, celts, stemmed hoes, chisels, notched flint hoes, arrow and bird points, scrapers, drills, spears. Satisfaction guaranteed. — E.S. Bylington, DeQueen, Arkansas.
- BEAUTIFUL collection of German War money, 525 all different new bills, some very rare, mounted in album. Will exchange for used Zeppelin stamps or foreign airmail on or off cover. — W.H. Peters, 48-29 58th Lane, Woodside, New York City.
1. An advertisement from the December 1944 issue of Hobbies was featured in this recent post.
2. Hobbies must have made a ton of money on these classified advertisements. The "FOR SALE" rate was five cents per word. The rate went down if you wanted your advertisement to appear in multiple issues. So, for example, it was only two cents per word for 12 issues. So, a 20-word advertisement appearing in 12 issues would cost .02 x 20 x 12 = $4.80. That's the equivalent of nearly $80 today.
3. James Hardy did not mess around.
4. In modern dollars, Deschl was offering his $25,000 butterfly collection for $3,300.