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Telephones with a rotary dial where made from the early 1900s until the mid-1960s when push button telephones were introduced. These rotary dial telephones came in all shapes, sizes and colors throughout the years. There were desktop models, models that hung on the wall, slim models, candlestick models and Victorian looking models. One of the more memorable to me was a “bat phone” that we had in our house; a desktop model, cherry red in color and shiny. Telephone dialers too were made from many different materials and in various sizes but mostly they were the same shape.
A telephone dialer sometimes took on the same basic shape as the item most used in its place; the pencil. Other times, the shape would resemble the top of a spoon. Then there were the real novelties, I saw one in the shape of a bunny. All types were made but they normally had one thing in common; a knob at the end that was inserted into the numbers of the dial. Many of them were given away as tchotchkes by manufacturers of goods and were made of plastic or wood. Others were expensive and made of sterling silver and sometimes rhinestones and produced by the likes of Tiffany, Webster and other well to do companies.
Telephone dialers were not originally intended to become collectible items. They actually had a function when produced and coupled with their rarity now makes them collectible. I have seen telephone dialers that were giveaways by Coke go for as much $60. Vintage silver phone dialers made by Tiffany and originally sold by them for less than $8 can now sell for hundreds of dollars.
One of the first things that I ever sold on eBay was a vintage radio that had been sitting around the house for a long time. I had picked it up at an auction in Buffalo and although I was not a newbie to buying and selling antique and vintage items, it was the first time that I had sold anything to anyone outside of the old neighborhood. For a few years after that, I went into a frenzy; scouring flea markets, estate sales, yard and garage sales in search of more vintage radios and then rotary phones that I could sell on eBay.