The Kovels' Top 20 list is based on the results of hundreds of thousands of searches that took place on its website during April 2014. Cash registers (No. 14 on this month’s list) show up on Kovels’ Top 20 list a few times a year, but they may soon be relics. Cash registers are hot collectibles, now selling for a few hundred up to a few thousand dollars. But money is changing and experts suggest we are transitioning to a cashless society. Forty-nine percent of Americans carry less than $20 in paper money and 9 percent go without cash entirely, according to a recent survey. Will credit cards and virtual digital currency like bitcoin replace old-school cash transactions? If so, cash registers may soon be disappearing from stores.
In the 19th century, shopkeepers kept an eye on their money with a cash register. An elaborate cast-metal case with a locked till, a calculator, and a roll of paper to record transactions meant security and records for the shop owner. The first commercially successful cash register was invented in 1878 by a saloon owner in Dayton, Ohio. Early cash registers rang sales all the way up to $99.99. Inflation made new machines necessary and higher dollar amounts help to date collectible registers.
Run a small business? A cash register is still needed. Old cash registers are still prized by restaurant or shop owners who want a vintage look. This brass National Cash Register, Model 452, was made about 1915 and has an oak base. It sold for $780 at a Las Vegas auction.
The Kovels’ Top 20 list for April 2014 shows antique enthusiasts busy researching:
- Occupied Japan
- Depression Glass
- Cash Register
- Red Wing
- Perfume Bottles
- Carnival Glass
Collectors who search Kovels.com can learn more about identifying features, marks and prices. Kovels.com and Kovels' Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide list thousands of collectibles in hundreds of categories that are described, edited, priced and pictured.