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jlm11f's avatar

What is the oldest thing you own?

Asked by jlm11f (12393points) August 9th, 2010

A blankie you were given as a baby? A teddy bear you won at the local amusement park? The first pencil you ever wrote with? Hey, anything is possible!

Well, what is it? And how long have you had it? Do you take it everywhere with you? Or is it stored in some random chest in the attic?

By the way, if you bought a house that was built before your birthdate or something similar to that, that doesn’t count!!!! I’m looking for an item you were gifted/you bought etc and still have with you. But ALSO items that might have been passed down the generations.

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41 Answers

anartist's avatar

1820s gateleg table from my mother’s family. My mother passed it on as I set up my first apartment after college.

Jude's avatar

A 100 year old phonograph.

I have had it for 3 weeks. I bought it at an estate sale.

Brian1946's avatar

My house turned 70 this year.

However, I have some crystallized rocks that might be about a billion years old.

As far as something with a more precisely-known date is concerned, I have a coin that was minted or cast in 1797.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

1853 – A piece of the first bridge built in my town.

jerv's avatar

Guven that I moved a couple of years ago and packed light, the oldest thing I currently have is an old Matchbox van that I begged my mother to buy me when I was 3. I’t on my headboard right now; I see it every day.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

The oldest thing I own (as far as I know) is a book.

It is called “The 19th Century: A History” by Robert Mackenzie and was published in London by T Nelson and Sons on Patternoster Row.

It was published in 1880, which I find kind of funny since the 19th century wasn’t over yet. On the first blank page is writing saying the book belonged to an Annie E. Durgin who lived on Almont St. in Medford, MA. She dated it March 13, 1882.

The oldest thing in my house (that I know of) is a bound London newspaper from 1812.

We have a lot of crap laying around, it’s possible we have lots of treasures hidden.

The oldest thing I’ve had since birth is a teddy bear my grammy gave me. There is a painting of me as a baby (that my grammy painted) with the bear in the picture. It’s beat up but still in good condition.

john65pennington's avatar

How about an item from bottling digging. my wife use to have this hobby years ago. since we live near the battlegrounds of the civil war, we use to dig in that area. in one torndown old house, i was digging underneath the wood floors and discovered a Jack Daniels three way bottle. this is a bottle that was cast in three sections. the two sides first and the glass top was installed later with molten glass. anyway, this was the very first glass bottle that Jack Daniels Whiskey was in, after the wooden kegs were exhausted. i have been offered a small fortune for this bottle. not many are still in existence. no, its not for sale.

Mom2BDec2010's avatar

I still have a stuffed penguin my first love won me at the fair. Me and him aren’t on good terms but I can’t seem to throw it away. & It was about 5 years ago.

DominicX's avatar

I don’t personally own any ancient items; I know my mom has a wooden trunk from Russia that’s centuries old and it’s been in her family for a long long time. I however would to nominate my Disney babies blanket. It was one of the first things that I was ever given and as a young kid, I took it with me everywhere. My favorite stuffed cat I got when my brother was born (the cat was actually intended for him, but I loved it so much my mom let me have her). The cat, the blanket, and my baby doll Christopher are the three oldest items that were given to me that I can think of.

Haleth's avatar

The oldest thing I have is a teddy bear my mom bought me when I was a little baby. She said I was the same size as the bear when she bought it. Its fur is a little faded and it’s wearing light blue PJs with glow in the dark stars and moons on it. The bear was sitting on my bed, but now that I saw the question, I’m holding it right now. :) It means a lot to me because my mom passed away when I was 15 and it’s one of the only things I have that she gave me.

deni's avatar

my brother won me a white monkey at an amusement park in pittsburgh when i was a few years old. i have always loved monkeys and i named this one Silky because it was so silky at the time. now it is matted not so soft and the white fur it once had has turned light grey from being around so long but i still love it. i took it with me when i moved across the country and just yesterday as i was unpacking all my things yet again i took Silky out and put him on a shelf and it made me almost cry!

Coloma's avatar

I have an antique secretary and buffet, old family photos from waaay back, misc. books etc.

I am one that is not attached to keeping a lot of mementos around.

The old furniture and other stuff is in a room of it’s own, the rest of my house is eclectic, ethnic modern.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I have a pair of Sperry topsiders boat shoes made in the mid-70s. I got them in 1985. I still wear them.

zenele's avatar

A book, watch and piano are the oldest items in my house, respectively.

zannajune's avatar

My great-grandpa’s high school diploma from the 1910s. Diplomas were a lot bigger back then.

skfinkel's avatar

I have an old Chinese tryptic that is really beautiful. Funny, I bought it because I loved the frame, and we had put it away for years. When I moved, out it came, and I looked at it with new eyes. It’s three finely made drawings, gloriously lovely and delicate. I also have some oriental rugs that I think are quite old. My grandmother had one of them, and it was probably old when she had it. Still great, though.

Jeruba's avatar

Not surprisingly, in my case it is books. I have several books from the 19th century. They’re probably the oldest things I own. I think the oldest of them was published in 1860, a book of fairy tales as they used to be before they were cutesied up. It belonged to my grandmother when she was a child.

No, wait: there’s a handy volume entitled The Lady’s Guide to Perfect Gentility, 1856. I bought this treasure trove of gems in 1969. What a temptation to digress with some samples.

But they’re not the things I’ve had the longest. Those would be several books from my early childhood.

[Edi] I almost forgot. I have a silver coin that dates from the reign of Philip of Macedonia, the father of Alexander the Great. He died in 336 B.C.

YARNLADY's avatar

That would probably be my Dad’s Christening gown. I also have a picture of him wearing it, in 1918.

I might have a greeting card in the collection I got from my Grandmother that is older, but I haven’t look at the box in so long, I’m not sure.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

The oldest thing I own is my grandfather’s bed. My daughter sleeps on it now. I have no idea how old it is. It’s at least 100 years old.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

The oldest thing I own is probably a ballerina music toy my grandmother gave me.

downtide's avatar

A pair of antique brass candlesticks, about 150 years old, that were given to me as a christmas present.

Nullo's avatar

The oldest thing that I personally own is the receiver on my M-91/30, which was machined in 1936. I also have a towel rack that has the pleasantly funky lines characteristic of art deco, but that doesn’t have a date stamped on it like the receiver does.
The oldest thing that I have ever owned was a bit off of a 17th-century wall. I lost track of it some time ago.

Jeruba's avatar

Oh, yes, and I have a little chip of stone that fell off a lintel at Stonehenge. That’s a lot older than the coin from the fourth century B.C.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I have some Roman bronzes from the 1st century BCE and some Hebrew coins from the time of the Rebellion. The farm I own has been in my family since the land grant in 1783.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I have a few postcards young men sent to my grandmother. They are postmarked 1907–08.

MissAusten's avatar

I have a demitasse set that my great great grandmother brought to the US from England. I also have a Majolica bread plate and an engagement ring that belonged to my great grandmother.

The oldest thing I have that I didn’t get from someone else would have to be my baby blanket. It’s that lovely shade of light greenish yellow devoted to babies back before ultrasound could tell if it was a boy or a girl. The blanket is covered with turtles and has a yarn fringe around the edge. It’s the blanket my parents brought me home from the hospital in. I slept with it for years, and used to suck my thumb while twirling the blanket’s fringe as I fell asleep. That blanket will be 36 years old soon!

aprilsimnel's avatar

Oh, wait, I forgot! I have a volume of Ogden Nash poems published in 1947, a collection of Shakespeare published 1952 in England, and a couple of James Beard cookbooks from the early 1960s. I also have a homemade vintage cotton dress from the 1950s (I need a crinoline before I can wear it properly) and another wool dress from ~1960. The boat shoes are a relative Johnny-come-lately.

Aster's avatar

How old would an English sterling silver coffee / tea service with tray be? We have a Large collection of green Majolica plates—all kinds of designs, Wedgwood, on those little easel stands. But nothing is dated-only stamped. I have my mother’s 1912 photo in her Christening gown.
The oldest thing may be my husbands grandmother’s porcelain lamp.
I do not consider these things “mine.” Someday they all go to his sons.

downtide's avatar

@Jeruba actually that reminds me, I have a fossil ammonite. That’s probably a few million years old…

El_Cadejo's avatar

Oldest thing i have would have to be a 20 dollar gold coin from 1904. It was given to me by my grandfather on my 15th birthday.

its crazy there used to be a coin worth that much. Especially in those times where that was worth oodles more.

Facade's avatar

My car. It’s a ‘96. I’ve had it since I was 15.

Jeruba's avatar

@downtide, I think you win. My husband has a trilobite fossil that I gave him for his 50th birthday (ha ha), but I don’t have anything that old.

On the other hand, if we’re all made of star stuff, we’re just recycled matter from the Big Bang. That’s pretty old.

Brian1946's avatar


An ammonite fossil could be about 100 million yo.
A trilobite fossil could be almost 300 million yo.

Jeruba's avatar

But it’s not something I own, unless you want to invoke the community-property clause. (If anyone can be said to “own” such a thing anyway—or own anything, for that matter. That’s a different question entirely, though, isn’t it?)

YARNLADY's avatar

Oh, you reminded me that I have a wind chime and a knife made from obsidian, which came from volcanoes over 10,000 years ago. I also have a diamond ring which was fashioned in the 1930’s, but the diamond is probably over a billion years old.

boffin's avatar

We’ve got some old Redwood trees on the property.
Not about to cut ‘em down just to establish age..
Other than the trees.
Got a few “Geodes” the have been around a while.

…And some really old Scotch Whisky

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

@boffin Simple trick to figuring out a trees age without cutting the tree down…

Cut off a branch & measure its circumference. Then count the rings in it. Now you have established a growing rate, matched with age. Now measure the circumference of the tree trunk at its thickest. Using a simple formula, you can get a pretty good estimate of the trees age.

If you do this, please let us know the age of the tree. :)

YARNLADY's avatar

Oh, I have a story about the rings showing a tree’s age. I took my three (younger then) grandsons to Yellowstone National Park.

The ranger was giving a demonstration of the rings, and asked the crowd to count the rings and guess the age of the tree. The answer was 45.
My grandson called out “Grandma, you’re older than the trees!”

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

@YARNLADY Gotta love those grandkids. :)

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

Oh! I have a coin from 1900 that I got in my change back from a Burger King. Duh, totally forgot about it!

boffin's avatar

@rpmpseudonym That would require me to climb up at least 60 to 70 feet.
These guys are over 130 feet tall (min.)
As far as circumference I’ll need to get/find a tape that will go around ‘em.
Did have a branch fall in a storm a year ago. Landed on my truck. Caved in the hood. It was around (give or take) 12 inches in diameter and over 25 feet long.

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