by Dr. Lori Verderame
In 1910, Chicago publisher W. D. Boyce founded the Boy Scouts of America based on the international group established in 1908. The American Boy Scouts were founded in an effort to teach boys the principles of patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred values. The long and honorable history of the Boy Scouts of America is what makes Boy Scouts memorabilia and collectibles so very desirable. Make sure the pieces you are interested in collecting are officially marked by either the Boy Scouts of America or one of its secondary associated off shoot groups such as the Air, Cub, or Sea Scouts.
What to Look For
Always look for good condition when you seek out Boy Scouts of America memorabilia. Select authentic emblems and unusual objects that are not easily collectible.
Some of the most common Boy Scout collectibles and memorabilia are National Jamboree items, merit badges, medals and back issues of Boys Life magazine. While these items are traded for between $5 and $25 each, there are some merit badges that command higher prices. Since merit badges relate to the types of activities that were popular at a certain time in history, some badges are worth more than others. For instance, the pigeon raising badge of the early 1900s would command more money than a more common and contemporary cooking badge. Jamboree patches, specific troop patches, and other commonly traded items flood the market.
When it comes to patches, sewn or used patches are not as valuable as those in pristine condition. Most patches that you will find from the early 1910s thru the 1940s are used patches. In those decades, an earned patch went almost immediately onto a scout’s uniform. By the 1950s, collecting and saving patches became trendy, so some of these patches remain in excellent condition.
Uniforms and Camping Tools
Other Boy Scouts items that bring high prices are authentic and complete official uniforms with hats, belt buckles, and handkerchiefs and supplies for camping and survival tests such as compasses, hand-made back packs, creels, canteens, lanterns, whistles, and tools. Pocket knives, especially those made by Imperial or Remington, hand made back packs, lithographed tin lunch pails remain valuable, too.
Boy Scouts advertising and political collectibles
The Boy Scouts were also featured in advertising items and collectibles like commercial calendar prints and posters such as the Kellogg’s cereal poster featuring a Boy Scout eating corn flakes with the slogan, “Scouts Today, Leaders Tomorrow.” There are very valuable collections of chromo-lithograph cardboard paper dolls or standees in the form of Boy Scouts worth big bucks. Collectors look for Boy Scout memorabilia united with political campaigns like the “Get out and Vote” buttons and campaign buttons featuring images of Boy Scouts alongside of images of famous politicians like Theodore Roosevelt.
Some of these items are widely traded and others are rare and command high prices. The variety of Boy Scouts memorabilia impacts the market as items from the 1910s to the 1940s with established provenance in good condition command prices from $250 to $5,000 depending on various factors. Knowing where to market your Boy Scout item is where my expertise can help you. Just like the Girl Scouts and their Girl Scout memorabilia, there are many potential buyers who were once Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Eagle Scouts, etc. and want to buy a memory.
Get an online appraisal of your Boy Scout collectible from Dr. Lori