I have a serious obsession with nostalgia. And, judging by the emails, messages and comments I receive, you guys do, too.
I could browse eBay all day, drooling over perfume bottles from the 1960s, vintage clothing from the 1970s and toys from the 1980s.
Anything associated with Western New York's retail history is another favorite.
Whether it's a promotional trinket once handed out by a supermarket, an old Christmas catalog or a box still bearing a department store's price tag, revisiting mundane objects brings history to life.
You can imagine what kind of person handled it, what they were wearing and what they were doing when they picked it up, where they are now. After all, there's a reason the Buffalo History Museum has artifacts from AM&A's on display.
If reminiscing isn't your thing, nostalgic searches on eBay may at least encourage you to clean out your attic for some surprising objects that are in demand. For example, people are selling disposable plastic shopping bags from Hills Department Store for as much as $7.50 each (plus shipping).
Here are some other goodies waiting for you on eBay.
Sattler's. That iconic, swinging "998 Broadway" jingle is still going strong in hearts and minds, and so is Buffalonians' love for the defunct East Side department store. You can pay homage with a Sattler's lapel pin (bidding started at $5) bearing the words "Your one-stop wonder store."
There's a brown, leather salesman's briefcase embossed with the Sattler's name and the initials E.C. Adams ($42.99), which I can't believe hasn't been scooped up by some hipster somewhere. There's also an Evertite "ironing board cover fastener" (to hold the cover in place while you're ironing) with the original 29-cent Sattler's price tag on it, going for $17.66.
Hills. You guys know I'm a fanatic about this place – ground zero of my childhood. Remember how you could order a big drink and keep the red, plastic, travel cup? Some of you may still use yours because they were pretty sturdy and had a nice handle. But, if not, there's one on eBay with an opening bid of $10.
Remember how celebrities would sometimes come to sign autographs in the store? I can still remember standing in line for William Christopher, the actor who played the chaplain on "M*A*S*H." Anyway, there's a signed photo of Cincinnati Bengal Anthony Muñoz on eBay for about $85, and it originated from one of those promotions. There are also three decks of baseball cards from 1989, co-branded Hills and Topps, that include Darryl Strawberry, Jose Canseco and Wade Boggs.
L.L. Berger. You can no longer shop their six floors downtown, but that doesn't mean you can't buy their stuff. There are several vintage coats on eBay (almost all furs – not sure how you feel about that – especially the mink stole with two heads and glass eyes) and they range in price from $39.99 to $225.99. There's also a strawberry-themed cup and saucer imported from Italy, complete with a sticker that says "L.L. Berger Inc." priced at $5.47. And there are invoices for the store from such companies that sold things like coal, lumber and sand priced from $3 to $6.50.
Bells Supermarket. I'm partial to Freshmart, which was in North Tonawanda for a short time and will live on in my heart forever. But Budwey's Bells is right up there. You can get a "Bells Buck" coin (if you don't already have one lying in the bottom of a junk drawer somewhere) for $10.39, a red Bells matchbook from 1978 for $10.39 or a set of 1979 Buffalo Bills photos from the supermarket for $44.