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bookish1's avatar

What's your oldest personal artifact?

Asked by bookish1 (13052 points ) August 31st, 2012

I’m not talking about an old coin or a family heirloom or whatever.
What is the oldest object that you acquired/purchased as a personal belonging, that is still in your possession? Could be an old toy, item of clothing, etc.

For me, it’s a pair of excellent office scissors. I got them in first grade! I remember being so happy to be trusted with “real” scissors rather than those horrid plastic scissors they give to little kids, that don’t cut anything. 16 years of school later, they are still clean and very sharp, and they have amazingly survived 4 moves! I use them just about every day.

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62 Answers

flutherother's avatar

My watch was bought as an engagement present 32 years ago and still keeps great time. I have a ‘Midget Gem’ pocket dictionary that I dated and signed in 1964. The oldest is my grandfather’s bible that I got 58 years ago.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Up until a year or so ago, it was a blanket that Mom made for me when I was a baby. Another was a lock of golden blond hair in a small paper bag with the receipt inside…probably from a first haircut. The blanket was given away and the bag o’ hair was tossed in preparation for a move.

It’s funny that you should mention scissors. I have a pair that Mom gave me as a pre-teen for left-handed people.

Shippy's avatar

Love this question! I was looking in an old trunk the other day, and found a pair of Levi’s 501’s. I can recall buying them, it was a big deal, also wearing them, that era everything. And they were so tiny loll! I kept them in case they fit again one day!!

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

I think two of the things I have that jump into my mind is a ZX Spectrum 48k computer and Reet Petite by Jackie Wilson as I loved the music video that came with it. I still have both but cannot wait 30 minutes for something to load and also I no longer have a record player to play vinyl lol

chyna's avatar

My baby ring that I now wear on a necklace along with my mom’s baby ring which is over 80 years old. Mine is over 50 years old. I also have the little ribbon that went around the ring and tied it to my wrist so I wouldn’t swallow it.

wundayatta's avatar

I have an old treasure chest—maybe four inches long, made of metal and painted like a pirate’s chest. It has a bunch of old coins in it, I think. I must have been seven or eight when I go that.

But then there’s the bike I got when I was 15 and rode until the frame cracked in an accident a couple of years ago, when I was 54. I rode that bike everywhere—in country and in city; in college and commuting to work—for almost 40 years.

It’s frame is in my basement now, because what can you do with something like that? You can’t throw it away (if you have so many memories in it), and yet it really is junk. Maybe it will become a sculpture of some kind some day. A memory sculpture. We’ll see. I’ll have to learn to weld.

It may not be the oldest, but it is the personal artifact with the most memories stored in it. I am a believer in using objects to store memories. And that bike is the winner for me.

Pandora's avatar

My old high school skirt from the 9th grade. I measured the skirt waist and it was 18 inches. I remember thinking I was overweight back then. Shows you how time can give you new perspective. I was the same height now as I was then.

gailcalled's avatar

Milo here. Gail, of course, but I am only renting her in case I change my mind.

Earthgirl's avatar

I am soooo sentimental and I hold onto things. I’m not sure what thing I have is the oldest I know that 2 of the oldest things I have are a stuffed white cat (covered in real rabbit fur) named Snowball that I got in first grade and about which I wrote my very first poem (with a little help form my mother) and my rosary from my First Communion. The crucifix has gotten lost and that’s a shame, yet still, I could never get rid of it.
Technically one of the oldest things is my kindergarten report card that says that I play well with others and that i hold back when they have music sessions (but I got marked as improving by the end of the year.) My father was a great saver too, you see, and he passed all these things on to me when I graduated from college and moved away from home. I am so grateful to him. It means that not only did he think I might want to have this little piece of my history, but that it meant something to him as well.

Sunny2's avatar

I still have my I.D. card from when I was a private detective with Pinkerton Detective Agency. That was a long time ago.

filmfann's avatar

I have a Mickey Mouse Club tee shirt I wore when I was an infant. Each generation since has had their picture taken wearing it. Otherwise, it is put away.
In my computer desk drawer, I have a magnifying glass I bought when i was in Cub Scouts.

thorninmud's avatar

Soon after I married, my mom gave me what had been my first baby blanket. I rolled it up, encased it in a stray sock, and now use it as a hand support when I meditate.

gasman's avatar

A phonograph record of “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” a small, red 78 rpm disk that used to put me to sleep circa age 3 (Eisenhower era). Unfortunately not of the “unbreakable” variety, as it broke during out most recent move in 2006.

zenvelo's avatar

My oldest personal possession is my passport dated the day before I turned two, in 1957.

My family moved when I was a sophomore in college; my mother called me home and said everything I could fit in a friend’s car was all I could take, everything else was taken to Goodwill.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I have my 3rd grade school photo ( the one with a all the individual pictures of all the other classmates ) That many many years ago. Eisenhower was president.

Earthgirl's avatar

@gasman By the way you wrote that I am assuming that even though it broke, you kept it anyways. Awwwww!!!! I love it.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

My underwear.

Earthgirl's avatar

@Michael_Huntington Sad, just saaaadddd!!!!

augustlan's avatar

A piece of satin binding from my baby blanket. I slept with it for years and years (well into adulthood), but now it lives in a drawer. I plan to be buried with it.

Oldest family items are pictures of my great great grandmother when she was a girl, and a mirror/brush/button hook set that belonged to my great grandmother when she was a girl.

gailcalled's avatar

I have a Flexible Flyer that seats three from the 1940’s.

bkcunningham's avatar

If you are talking about things the I actually bought or acquired, I have an alarm clock that I bought at a yard sale about 30 years ago. It still keeps perfect time. Older than that, I have a hairbrush that was a give-away gift from a furniture company, Heilig Myers, for coming into the business. I went with a friend and we both got one. Mine was green and hers was blue. That was 33 years ago and I still have that hairbrush. LOL

creative1's avatar

I have my grandmothers china that she recieved as a wedding gift when she married my grandfather… but I am guessing its probably the old pictures of people like my great grandmother when she was younger or it maybe a piece of jewlery that I got after my grandmother passed away, I don’t know the history of some of the pieces so I just don’t know what is the absolute oldest piece.

hearkat's avatar

I have the stuffed animal – a Steiff puppy – that my father bought for me when I was born. I still have my baby ring, and other jewelry given to me in childhood—including a rose quartz pendant that my grandfather made for me. My mother still has a lot of our childhood things, as she still lives in our childhood home, like first haircut clippings, and the old family bible. I also have jewelry that belonged to my great-grandmother.

elbanditoroso's avatar

My original social security card. I got it at age 6 when my parents opened a savings account for me.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@augustlan My sister continued to sleep with her childhood blanket for years. Mom made her promise that she wouldn’t take it on her honeymoon.

Jeruba's avatar

I still have books that were given to me when I was two years old. That, my dears, was while Harry Truman was president.

WestRiverrat's avatar

The blanket I came home from the hospital in, it was my cat’s favorite napping pad before she died.

tedibear's avatar

I have my baby book with all the cards that my parents received when I was born. I also have a book that I was given at birth by the daughter of some friends of my parents. I have a few pictures that pre-date me, and I love them all. I think the oldest is about 1916, of my grandmother and her landlady. She was a boarder with a family when she taught in a one-room schoolhouse.

Earthgirl's avatar

@hearkat Your grandfather made you the pendant? That is so cool. I love that your mother has the hair clippings too. I am a big fan of Victorian hairart or momento mori like this brooch. Some of the hair weaving is quite elaborate. Some is just simple, like a lock of hair encased in glass as this one is. I remember seeing one brooch at an antique store that was engraved with the words “Ne m’oublier pas” (Don’t forget me) I still wish that I had bought it!

gasman's avatar

@Earthgirl Yes, still have the pieces and wondering how best to glue it together so the record might actually play again.

rojo's avatar

A matrimonal hammock from the Yucatan give to my wife and I as a wedding gift in ‘77. Still in use.
An original flyer from the organizational meeting from a caving club my wife started in ‘73. It was actually owned by a good friend for many years. I traded him a manila folder that I had kept from the same time-period on which he had drawn “Groucho Marx-a-lot” with…wait for it…. a Marks-a-lot!
A tee shirt with the original logo from the caving club; the shirt is actually from ‘74.
A pair of cut-off jeans shorts from the same time period that have dethreaded over the years leaving the pockets (and other things if I go commando) hanging out. I am not allowed to wear them any more.
A tool made by my father in 1947 during his apprenticeship in H. M. Shipyard in Portsmouth. My son found it in dads office last year when we were cleaning it out.

Earthgirl's avatar

@gasman Hmm, sounds like a difficult project. Better make sure you know how to do it right before you start, otherwise you stand a chance of ruining it for good. I wish you luck.
I found this advice on how to do it. I’m not sure if it is good advice. Like they say, maybe experiment with a less valuable record first.

gailcalled's avatar

From my grandmothers, I have jewelry, linens (gorgeous things made of damask, hand-made lace and hand-embroidered panels, with napkins that are 24” square..all of which have to be ironed), paintings (done by my mat. grandmother), lamps fit for a seraglio, fine china, and hand-crocheted lace doilies and anti-macassars.

I have an autobiography from each of my grandfathers.

They all were born before the beginning of the twentieth century.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Oldest thing I have is a Batman action figure that I used to carry around everywhere with me when I was 3. Go figure lol

Cruiser's avatar

I have an Indian war axe head I just found in the NW Pacific woods this summer. That and some midwestern arrow heads and skinning tools I have found, I would venture to guess and least one or two is at least 200–400 yrs old or more.

AstroChuck's avatar

My wife I have a coin from the Roman Republic which dates back to the 2nd century BC.

MilkyWay's avatar

I love this question.
I have a heap of books from when I was a toddler, around 15 years ago.
I also have a 16 year old keyboard, which I was given when I was less than 2… still works a treat :D
And my baby towel. Yes. I have my baby towel. It’s got fairies and clowns on it, is a faded pink colour, and has a small hole in it on one side. I still use it.
(sigh)
Oh, and my teddies/soft toys. Still have lots of those. I don’t even remember who bought them for me, I must have been a baby.

hearkat's avatar

@Earthgirl – Yes, he was a chemical engineer for whom geology and minerals were a hobby. I have some tiger-eye jewelry that he made, but it has fallen apart. I barely remember him, as he moved to Florida when I was 4 or 5, and he died when I was 6. I wish I could have known him better.

Jeruba's avatar

I have a coin that was minted during the reign of Philip of Macedonia (359–336 BC), father of Alexander the Great. But I think the most ancient thing I have is an ammonite fossil from the Cretaceous period.

However, the OP said this question was about possessions we’ve owned the longest—not the oldest things in raw age:

I’m not talking about an old coin or a family heirloom or whatever. What is the oldest object that you acquired/purchased as a personal belonging, that is still in your possession?

Bellatrix's avatar

My teddy bear. I was given him when I was 5 and I will always keep him.

AstroChuck's avatar

My tail. (I keep it in a mason jar.)

zensky's avatar

A couple of toys from the 60’s – a watch from the 70’s that still works.

tinyfaery's avatar

A sticker made by a friend during my senior year in high school (1991–1992). It’s orange with a pig on it.

Tachys's avatar

I have the hospital bill for my birth. $276.50 for five days in the hospital for Mom and me.
I framed it.

Adagio's avatar

A very small piece of abstract pottery I made when I was seven years old (1967), I would love to know what exactly I was fashioning it to look like. My father built himself a potters wheel in the 1960s and of course it was inevitable that my brother and I would play with lumps of clay.

Symbeline's avatar

A Papermate mechanical pencil I got when I was in grade six. I use it for drawing, it’s been with me for years. It still works fine, although the eraser on the end is long gone lol. I moved a lot in the past and lost all my shit, but I still got this pencil. It rocks!

_Whitetigress's avatar

“I threw my body into the ocean, and rose up, my spirit came, out onto the surface I walked west, my body lay at the depths of the sea. I no longer carried my physical body nor cared for material things” -Sounds like something George Harrison might have said, but I made it instead.

Unfortunately I don’t really have anything as I’ve moved a couple times and have had to let most of my stuff go :( I do collect records now though and hopefully that stays with me until I’m 75 or so. :)

cookieman's avatar

I also have my original social security card. circa 1976

My yellow bandana from Cub Scouts. circa 1978

Of other people’s, I have my father’s dog tags from the Navy in Vietnam. circa 1967

The SS card is in my wallet and the dog tags are on my key ring. They are both with me every day.

bookish1's avatar

Wow, I had no idea this question would elicit so many responses! Thank you to everyone for sharing your stories. This is really interesting to read.

Earthgirl's avatar

@bookish1 Yes, that is how Fluther is! That’s one of the things I love about it. Sometimes the simplest question leads to the most interesting answers.

MilkyWay's avatar

Does my great-grandmother’s wooden jewellery box count too? It’s over 90 years old… and still smells strongly of some perfume oil she must have used.

this_velvet_glove's avatar

The first pack of cigarettes I ever bought (it’s not that old, actually. But I can’t think of anything else right now)

downtide's avatar

About 20 years ago I bought a pair of antique brass candlesticks which turned out to have been made in around 1840.

Earthgirl's avatar

@bookish1 When you stipulate “not a family heirloom” do you just mean not something valuable, merely sentimental? I have things from my father that mean a lot to me. One thing is an old hinged wooden case with a battered up leather handle on it. My mother thought I would appreciate it so she gave it to me. I love it! I keep all my jewelry making tools and sewing tools in it. That includes a few pairs of scissors. I am a sort of scissor afficionado,lol.

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

Interesting question. The oldest thing I acquired/purchased on my own would probably be either the little plastic Batman figurine (1960’s?) that I played with when I was little, or the wind-up Santa on a tricycle that was mine from when I was very little and that I still put out every Christmas.

The oldest things I have here that were from others are probably the small wooden chair that belonged to a distant ancestor, and that came to California from Massachusetts, and was shipped around Cape Horn 150 years ago; the chair is older than that, I’m thinking 1830’s or 1840’s. The other item is a painting of a great-grand of some sort (not sure which one it is) that hangs on the wall; it is at least 130 years old, and originated in Norway.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@AngryWhiteMale woooohooo another batman action figure! :P

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

@uberbatman, hahaha. grin Well, this isn’t one of the Hasbro or Kenner figures, or even the Mego dolls/action figures (though I had some of those, if I remember right). It’s a little 4” plastic figurine (not bendable, not poseable, not capable of using batarangs or throwing punches, or anything suggesting motion), that, according to the stamp on the back, was made in Hong Kong. I’m curious to know how old it really is now, not sure how to find out. I’m guessing though, based on the design, material, where it was manufactured, etc., in addition to my ownership, it’s probably from 1966–1970.

Aster's avatar

My dad’s Morse code thingy. You know what I mean if you’re old enough. And lots of baby pictures==one of mom in her Christening dress.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@AngryWhiteMale nice. Mine is a big action figure like a 12in hard rubbery plastic figure that doesnt bend any joints or anything either. He’s got a cool cloth cape though and half the paint is worn off it from all the “adventures” we had when I was a kid lol

Bellatrix's avatar

My batman figure is bigger than your batman figure…

El_Cadejo's avatar

hahahah I knew someone would say something like that

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