The strange competition for recipe cards

Since I started my other blog, Gram’s Recipe Box, back in March, I haven’t had to worry too much about source material, because I was working my way through the old recipe box. Now that I’m reaching the end of the cards, I’m seeking new source material. My friend loaned me some cards from her family and my sister is working on some others that she has. In the meantime I figured I’d look on eBay, the great garage sale of the internet.

It’s amazing what people will put on eBay, and it’s even more amazing that there are lots of people out there bidding on that stuff. I did a quick search on vintage recipe cards and there were numerous auctions for old boxes of recipe cards. Many were handwritten notecards, much like Gram’s. Many were big collections of clippings, handwritten cards, and those funny Betty Crocker cards from the 70s.

What is more amazing is that there is a strange competition for these cards, with a few buyers paying up to $75 for a collection of old recipe cards. I find that very weird! I bid on six auctions and on three of them, I was outbid in the last few seconds of the sale! Now, that’s not unusual, but the fact that it’s on something that I think of as somewhat low on the “hot item” list is what throws me.

But, this tells me something much more important. All of these auctions said “great estate sale find!” noted in them. Meaning they were left as junk by the relatives of some deceased lady who collected recipes her entire life. It seems there are enough people who either don’t have their own family recipe books, or they just love old recipes, that these old recipes, almost lost to the ages, are now a “hot item” for collectors.

The moral of the story is to pass on the recipes from your family. Even if you don’t cook, please pass them on to someone who will appreciate them. As I’ve learned through my recipe project, recipe cards hold a lot more than ingredients and instructions on them.

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2 thoughts on “The strange competition for recipe cards

  1. Who would have thought that you just “donated” all those wonder recipes from Gram through your web site – you could have made a fortune on e-bay and retired for the rest of your life.

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