Memorial Day, like other patriotic holidays, means patriotic collectibles

Columnist Sandy Erdman says Memorial Day should be more about honoring fallen veterans.

Flags, geraniums and more red, white and blue patriotic items found at The Rusty Bucket, Winona..jpg
Flags, geraniums and more red, white and blue patriotic items for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July found at The Rusty Bucket, Winona.
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Do you all know what Memorial Day is vs. the Fourth of July?

In the world of collectibles, they are very similar.

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Columnist Sandy Erdman says kids are naturals when it comes to collecting, and they can find a passion for items from collectible toys to rocks or shells.

But Memorial Day is a federal holiday to mourn the loss of U.S. military members who have died while serving in the United States armed forces and is observed on the last Monday of May. On the Fourth of July, we celebrate our independence with a national federal holiday as well.

The collectibles can range from medals to post cards, military badges to military buttons to paintings by Thomas Kinkade. Quilts, pillows and rugs with flags and even bronze memorials of a lost loved one, along with so much more.

Yes, that's very similar to Fourth of July collectibles.


I call all of this patriotic collectibles, but for Memorial Day it is in memory of someone. And we don't decorate so much on this holiday vs. the Fourth of July.

Memorial Day we focus directly on the men and women who died for the world, the men and women whose names we may never know and today is the day we focus on those who have given their lives for our freedom that we might not otherwise have.

Of course this day is also to some the first day of summer decorating with the red, white and blue with geraniums and flags and is carried on through the month of June to the Fourth of July celebration.

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Karen Galuska's collection of patriotic mats selling at The Yellow Monkey, Rochester.

But Memorial Day should be a day of remembering the veterans by displaying the U.S. flag at half-staff until noon, by attending a religious service of your choice and by visiting a veteran memorial and cemetery placing flags or flowers on the grave of our fallen hero or heroes.

Collectibles in the area

Today collectors love vintage patriotic items and search for them at flea markets, auctions and antique shops. Prices will vary, with many quality pieces ranging in price from $20 on up to $2,000 for a more unique or a signed and dated pieces.

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Patriotic Sam by Cindy Habermann, folk artist, Rochester.

A guide to help us out is, “The Official Price Guide to American Patriotic Memorabilia” by Michael Pola. This is an illustrated guide that provides detailed descriptions, histories, and values for American flags, milk bottles, posters, postcards, Civil War memorabilia, World War I and World War II items, political campaign materials, advertisements, and many other collectibles. There is also a handy glossary, dealer listings, and care, storage, and buying and selling tips. I have found it to be a useful guide over the years.

Sarah Kieffer, Sarah's Uniques & Jim's “Man”tiques, St. Charles always has some form of a collectible and says, “I have so much. Lots of old flags, old patriotic books and magazines ranging in price from $5 on up and items that will take you into the Fourth of July.”

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Vintage patriotic rug and other unique collectibles found at Sarah's Uniques & Jim's "Man"tiques, St. Charles.

Cindy Rigotti, The Yellow Monkey, Rochester, says, “From flag runners to place-mats that are made by Karen Galuska, one of our volunteers, and added pillows too. Prices range from $15 on up.”


Cindy Habermann, Rochester, whimsy folk artist, says, “I call it whimsical, folk art or whimsical seasonal papier-mâché folk art, that I make and sell from time to time, and I do have a nice collection of vintage that includes the Fourth of July or patriotic pieces.”

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A patriotic Memorial Day postcard found with Darren Durham, owner, Merchant General Store, Black River Falls, Wis. These cards now sell online in the range of $7 to $15 depending on rarity and condition.

Shayna Dais, Rusty Bucket, Winona, is gearing up for the store's upcoming monthly sale and has many patriotic items of red, white and blue. “Geraniums to patriotic baskets and furniture, too.”

At the Old River Valley Antique Mall, Stewartville, Chris Rand Kujath says, “We do have a lot of patriotic items including flags, military pictures and medals, quilts, games and more. Love to see people decorating with patriotic items and some leave up all year long.”

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Cindy Hdabermann, folk artist, shows her Patriotic Collection that shows all she has made in her Rochester studio.

Sandy Erdman is a Winona-based freelance writer and certified appraiser concentrating on vintage, antique and collectible items. Send comments and story suggestions to Sandy at .

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