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Barbershop Finds1 of 7
By Melinda Page for Country Living
From straight razors to shampoo stools, barbershop antiques double as well-groomed decor.
Neck Dusters2 of 7
These Victorian wood-and-horsehair brushes were intended expressly for whisking away itchy hair clippings. You can pick them up at antiques malls for as little as $25, but similar specimens in mint condition—like the dusters pictured above, on a custom rack—carry price tags of around $150 each.
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Shampoo Stools3 of 7
Sinks with built-in neck rests weren't introduced until the 1920s; in prior decades, patrons sat on diminutive stools and leaned forward for a wash. This 1908 seat—with its original leather top and oxidized iron base—is a bargain at $65, especially compared with ornate barber chairs, which can pull in north of $6,000.
Price Lists4 of 7
In the 1920s or '30s, J.N. McCabe—the proprietor of a one-man chop shop in Painted Post, New York—advertised his services (including then-common treatments like hair singeing) on this 7-by-11-inch poster. Mass-produced signs from that era (think placards touting a certain brand of shampoo or tonic) start at only $20. A one-of-a-kind menu like this, on the other hand, proves a rare find; hence, its $300 appraisal.
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Sterilizer Cabinets and Jars and Bottles5 of 7
As medical knowledge grew in the early 1900s, the nation became obsessed with disinfecting. This unit nets a tidy sum: $350. As for products, barbers bought lotions and potions in bulk, then dispensed them in flacons like the opaline examples on the bottom shelf. With metal spouts, they'd fetch $40 each. As is, they're worth $25 The other milk-glass containers were used to soak razors and scissors in alcohol: The circa-1930 cup (outside cabinet) trades for $60; the 1890s hand-painted jars (top shelf) command about $100 apiece.
Straight Razors6 of 7
Though they experienced a sharp decline after World War I troops adopted the safety razor, vintage "straights" remain in plentiful supply. While those fashioned from horn or sterling silver can reel in well over $300, these early-20th-century blades with celluloid handles range from $35 to $65.
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Shaving Mugs7 of 7
Before shaving creams became prevalent during the 1920s, working up a lather involved cake soaps, stashed in porcelain mugs. Barbershops kept a cup on hand for each customer. In fact, this one—a promotional piece issued by Missouri's Koken Barbers' Supply around 1900—was probably given to a barber free of charge. Its estimate today? An impressive $150. Snag plastic combs at flea markets for a buck or two; harder-to-score steel scissors go for $10 or more.
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