My "Show and Tell" item for today could fit into the category of American folk art, or perhaps kitschy crafts of the past, but the origin of the "Memory Jug" goes back to Victorian times or possibly to Africa, where items representing a deceased person would be made into a memory jug to memorialize the loved one.
We can see clearly in my example below that the plastic beads and charms would date this particular jug to about the 1960's:
A closer look shows a telephone and plastic poker chip, so that's how we know the age:
Memory jugs or jars were a homemade craft, never manufactured in a factory. They are basically a vessel covered in clay or mortar of some sort, with trinkets, shells, and pottery shards pressed into it.
Photo Credit: Gracie's Cottage
You can probably understand why not everyone appreciates the memory jug, and why many have probably been thrown out over the years. They do have a tendency to lose pieces, especially shells and marbles, but those can easily be replaced. People wouldn't be throwing them away if they knew how valuable they are now: a good size memory jug can sell for over a hundred dollars.
Sometimes the entire creation was painted metallic gold or silver, like this pair of memory jugs (below). These will be auctioned off online May 12, and are predicted to bring $150 to $300 for the pair:
Photo Credit: Live Auctioneers
Here's a jug and some trinkets, with a helpful suggestion: make your own! Someday I just might do that:
Photo Credit: Genessee Valley Bottle Collector's Association
A memory jug could definitely be an item that could pop up at a garage sale, church rummage sale, or flea market with a $2 price tag on it. Not only that, some bystander will laugh at you when you buy it without negotiating a better price. But you'll be laughing all the way to the bank after you sell it on eBay for $125!