Collector's Corner: Boy Scout Memorabilia
By Michele Alice
This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Boy Scouts of America.
When W. D. Boyce established the BSA in 1910, he probably never imagined the magnitude of the organization's eventual influence. One hundred ten million youth have participated in the program, many of them going on to become successful businessmen, artists, scientist, astronauts, and political figures.
What does all this have to do with collecting? It means that there is a century's worth of uniforms, badges, manuals, and sundry other items sought after by collectors, many of whom who had been Scouts themselves.
The Boy Scout Handbook is one of the more popular Scout collectibles. Since the publication of the original edition in 1910, there have been a number of revisions culminating in the 12th edition in 2009. And since there can be several permutations from printing to printing even within a single edition, a collector can spend years on this area.
Merit badges for everything from archaeology to woodworking, troop insignia/patches, and pins are also popular with collectors. Patches can sell for up to $100, with rare specimens commanding several hundred dollars each. A senior-degree honor society pin recently fetched just under $2000 at an online auction.
Just starting a collection? Most Boy Scout items are priced in the more reasonable $1 to $50 range, so it is possible to acquire some nice specimens for very little money.
If you would like to find out more about this popular collectible, check out the resources listed below, and
"A Guide to Dating and Identifying Boy Scouts of America Badges, Uniforms & Insignia," by Mitch Reis - Link to website
The Badge and Uniform Site - link to website - Lots of info on Scout badges, pocket flaps, etc. I found it easiest to navigate from the "Alphabetical Listing of Contents" (site map).
BoyScoutStuff - link to website - Concentrates on the period from 1910 to 1919. Lots of images of early ads, badges, equipment, etc.
International Scouting Collectors Association - link to website - Informative site offers tips on dating handbooks, a glossary of terms, tips on storing/displaying your collection, a section on "Spoofs, Fakes, and Private Issues," links, more!
National Scouting Museum - link to website - Official museum founded in 1959 houses almost 600,000 items.
Troop 97 - link to website - Great site has detailed history, descriptions, and images of all handbooks from 1910 to present.
About the author:
Michele Alice is EcommerceBytes Update Contributing Editor. Michele is a freelance writer in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. She collects books, science fiction memorabilia and more! Email her at makalice @ adelphia.net eBay ID: Malice9
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