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Hard-To-Find Seed Corn Toppers
License plate toppers with seed corn company names are getting hard to find and going up in price. Popular in the 1930’s and 40’s, the toppers promoted companies big and small, according to Olan Bentley. His collection of 147 seed corn toppers is believed to be the biggest out there.
“Their small size and the small number made are the main reasons they are hard to find,” says Bentley. “A couple of the larger national corn brands are still fairly common, such as DeKalb and Pfister.”
Bentley got his start in 1986 when a friend sold him a McAllister Seed Co. topper for $10. Today toppers from smaller regional companies can sell in the $200 to $300 range. He does recall seeing a topper sell for $500 and a second one go for $1,000 at an auction.
He didn’t even place a bid and suspects the buyers were friends of the seller and bidding for sentimental reasons. He has paid as much as $325 for a topper, which remains his personal record.
He continues to pick them up when he can, sometimes at auction, more often on eBay. Authenticity can be a problem. “The original corn toppers were made of metal,” he says. “Beware of reproduction toppers made with a heavy porcelain coating instead of painted metal. As with many collectibles, when they start to bring high prices, someone starts producing fakes.”
If FARM SHOW readers have toppers they are interested in parting with, Bentley asks they give him a call. As a member of the Corn Items Collectors Association since the mid 1980’s, if he doesn’t want it, he may know someone who does.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Olan Bentley, 1168 Jamison Rd. NW, Washington Court House, Ohio 43160 (ph 740 335-0964; obentley40@yahoo.com).

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #2