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Junkshop Gem: Ward Lock's Complete Letter-Writer for Gentlemen

Letter_writing Ever wondered where The Chap gets its inspiration from? I'm guessing from genuine period publications - like our latest Junkshop Gem, Ward Lock's Complete Letter-Writer for Gentlemen.

Words cannot do this book justice, but I'll do my best. It's seemingly part of a series that also includes 'The Young Wife's Advice Book', 'Games For Parties' and 'Etiquette For Gentlemen - Don't!', all of which are now high on my wants list. But let's look at this one first. Published (I'm guessing) in the early 50s, the book is packed with letter-writing advice for every conceivable eventuality, from business to pleasure and (amazingly) wedding proposals (should you feel a little nervous about the prospect).

Or if you fancy a day off work tomorrow, the following letter might be useful:

I am sorry to inform you that, in consequence of a bad attack of gout, I am quite unable to get to business to-day. I hope, however, to be able to attend in the course of a day or two. Trusted that my enforced absence will cause you no inconvenience,
I am Sir,
our obedient servant,
(Your Name)

The book cost just £1 - secondhand copies are unlikely to be going for much more. See Abebooks for availability.

Find out more at the Abebooks website

Vintage ladies hats and headgear on eBay

101132033_oLast weekend I fell in love with the idea of a vintage hat complete with netting, after seeing one atop a very pretty young lady's head. A classic Hollywood look, a hat complete with netting isn't easy to come by but it is very stylish indeed.

Luckily, an eBay seller called Mad Hatter is selling a number of vintage hats from various periods in vintage fashion.

This fantastic emerald green piece is from the 60s and is currently selling at a bid of just £9 and looks to be in great condition.

Find out more from the eBay product page. From here you can view the seller's other items too.

Junkshop Gem: Anatomy of Contemporary Furniture by John G. Shea

AnatomyFancy making your own mid-century classics? John G. Shea can show you how with the Anatomy of Contemporary Furniture.

First published in the mid 60s, then updated through to the mid 70s, the book is part reference guide to contemporary design of the day (names like Artek, Herman Miller, Knoll and Eames), a pictorial guide to some of the leading designs (it is very picture heavy) and a DIY guide to building your own furniture in the style of some of some classic pieces. So if you fancy getting down and creating your own shelving, coffee table, circular dining table or space age lounger, your guide is at hand.

Obviously, none of this is for beginners like me, but if you have some good woodworking skills or know someone (or some small company) that does, you could use the book's drawings and guides to create bespoke mid-century-style furniture at a fraction of the cost of an original. The price of this gem? Well, we picked it up from a junk shop for £1 and I can guess you'll not pay much more for a copy on eBay or Abebooks.

Browse for a copy of the book on the Abebooks website

Junkshop Gem: Blue Peter Book Of Teddy's Clothes


Crafting is big business these days - a quick browse of Etsy is enough to tell you that. Which probably gives the Blue Peter Book Of Teddy's Clothes a monetary value alongside its novelty one.

For anyone outside the UK, Blue Peter is Britain's longest-running kids TV show and a show that's always been big on making things out of items you might have hanging round the house. This book, dating from 1969 (as Valerie Singleton's hairdo probably indicates), is a set of step-by-step designs for making clothes for your bear - something that Val was known for it seems. And it really is a gem, with designs for a pirate, a cowboy, a Mexican and a pilot, all with instructions anyone can follow. Although whether you have the patience for all that sewing and knitting is open to question.

Our junkshop find was just £1 - I imagine a search on Abebooks or eBay will bring up a copy for not much more.

Search for Blue Peter Book Of Teddy's Clothes on eBay

Selcol's 1964 Beatles New Beat guitar


Want to play just like The Beatles? Well, there's little chance of that with Selcol's Beatles New Beat guitar.

This is an original piece of Fab Four memorabilia, dating back to 1964 and now extremely rare. Because lets be honest, no-one ever looks after their toys. Officially licensed and measuring 32 inches in length, the guitar has just four strings, a logo and some mock autographs to the face.

So can it be used to play anything at all? Well, it does come with a lyric sheet and chords for five songs, so it probably can. It also has its original coffin-shaped cardboard box, albeit with some slight wear and tear. Not the kind of thing that appears all that often - so the price of £750 is probably about right.

Find out more at the 991 website

Retro Postcards: Sheraton Washington Hotel

Sheraton I can't resist picking up vintage postcards when I'm browsing junk shops, which is reason enough to start a new series of posts under the Retro Postcards banner. And we'll kick off with this gem from the Sheraton Washington Hotel.

Now, I've never been to Washington. Indeed, I've never been to the US - but if the Sheraton Washington Hotel still looks like this, I'm calling the travel agent tomorrow. A great example of 70s excess, from the chrome pillars and chrome-clad stairwats through to the space age seating. I also like how the image has been slightly stretched to fit the format.

Have you been to the hotel? Does it still look like this? Let us know. And if you have scans of quirky postcards, send them in - we'd love to feature them.


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