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In the Good Old Days Antiques Corner This Week in History
Antiques Corner

Bowled Over

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Question: I have 10 heavy wood bowling pins that appear to be quite old. The paint is wearing off a bit, but they aren't cracked or missing any wood chunks. Can you estimate their age and current worth?

Answer: Dutch settlers brought the game commonly called bowling to the New World in the 1600s as "ninepins." Eventually, a 10th pin was added. The American Bowling Congress, formed in 1895, standardized the game of tenpins. Pins are 15 inches high, weigh approximately 3 1/2 pounds each, are made of rock maple, and are shaped on a lathe. By 1974, all-wood pins were replaced by plastic-coated ones. Finding a full set of all-wood pins is unusual. Most were disposed of or destroyed when they became obsolete. They are not currently in high demand by sports collectors. When found on internet sites, the asking price is $50 to $60 for two or three pins.

-- By Tom Hoepf, associate editor of Auction Central News

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