A “smart” woman created Father’s Day in 1910. Sonora Smart Dodd wanted to honor her father, William Smart, in the same way mothers were honored on Mother’s Day. The idea caught on and in 1972 Congress made the third Sunday of June the official holiday. It’s difficult to find a gift for Dad, but to hunt for an affordable gift, check local flea markets and antiques shops to find items that are “different” and collectible. Here are 5 ideas from the Kovels to get you started.


1.  For the history or politics-loving father—find an unusual political item relating to the President in office the year dad was born ($5 to $500 with rare ones costing more). This metal 1961 John F. Kennedy Presidential Inaugural “No Parking” sign sold for $150 in an online shop and will help Dad reserve his parking spot.


2.  For the father who likes a fashionable look—cuff links. Stylish cuff links of the past 100 years are popular, and many shirts come with holes on the cuff for cuff links instead of buttons. Spend a little or spend a lot – collectors find many vintage examples for $10 to over $1,000. A pair of modernist-style silver cufflinks with dark green enamel inlay by Magnus Stephensen for Georg Jensen recently sold for $75 at a Chicago auction.


3.  For the Dad who enjoys a bottle of good wine or a cocktail—handsome accessories from trolleys and cradles to coasters and corkscrews are popular. As the design world celebrates the centennial of the Bauhaus school, this stainless steel cocktail shaker would be timely. It was designed by Marianne Brandt of the Bauhaus School, made by Alessi of Italy, and sold for $197 at a Connecticut auction.


4.  For the father who never misses a game—old sports memorabilia, like a seat from the old baseball stadium ($1,000), or something related to his favorite sport. This pair of 1920s painted cast iron bookends would look great holding up some of dad’s favorite books. Sold for $230 at a Maine auction.


5.  For the mechanic father or the Dad who likes to work on cars—anything petroliana. Tin or porcelain gas station and automobile advertising signs, road signs, license plates or even an old traffic light (about $ 150) could be decorative additions to his workspace. Gas pump globes are popular, and some that are rare or significant can sell for thousands. Remind Dad that he is “King for a Day” with this milk glass Gold Crown gas pump globe auctioned in Iowa for $655.

Happy Father’s Day! Grandfathers, too!