ATHENS, Ga. (AP) – Some people create man caves in their basement, but Roy Moseman’s got a century-old general store, full of brightly colored packages a customer might have found in a general store circa 1900, give or take a few years.
Moseman, a retired electrical contractor, started off with just a wood stove when he started his collection about 20 years ago. But within 10 years, he had built a collection of hundreds of store items.
“I just started buying it up,” said the decorated Vietnam veteran, who was wounded while serving on a river boat.
Now, it’s all displayed on shelves, counters and cabinets, which also date from many years ago.
The shelves and boxes hold a dizzying array of tobacco packs of long-gone brands like Hi-Plane, Prince Albert, Q-Boid, Dixie Queen and Cherokee. There’s a curious snuff ball made by Levi Garrett just down the shelf from tins of Possum Cigars. “Am Good and Sweet,” the slogan says.
On the medicine shelves, Moseman’s got Dr. Thracher’s Mixture for Diarrhoea Due to Dietary Indiscretions near the section containing Hopalong Cassidy Hair Trainer, along with dozens of other products from Castor Oil to toothache drops.
There’s even a veterinary medicine section, featuring products such as Dr. LeGear’s Poultry Inhalant. Nearby are tin and paper containers that once held such scary-sounding stuff as Mexican Brand Insect Fluid and El Vampiro.
Moseman didn’t neglect food and drink as he built his store collection. One unopened box contains Kate Smith’s Bake-a-Cake Kit, just 31 cents.
“I’ve even got a case of kite string down there,” he said.
A tin sign celebrates a product once made here in Athens. “Ice Cold Bludwine, for your health’s sake,” just 5 cents a bottle.
Most of the items in the collection aren’t worth a fortune on the collector’s market, thanks in part to Internet shopping. But a few, like his Wrigley chewing gum man, are pretty rare, he said.
But Moseman built the collection mainly because these products are a kind of history in and of themselves.
“That’s the thing I like; the graphic art,” said Moseman, pointing to an old wooden cabinet with a colorful lithograph on the front proclaiming “It’s Easy to Dye with Diamond Dyes.”
Companies weren’t spending money on TV, radio or Internet advertising 100 years ago, Moseman said.
“Their advertising is basically on their tins and boxes.”
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