360 view: Columbia man's Americana collection worth nearly $100,000
COLUMBIA - When Eddie Hedrick first moved to Columbia in 1985, his basement was unfinished. He needed a place to store old Americana paraphernalia he got from his grandfather's old bar. Turns out, that was the first step in creating a coveted collection.
"When I bought this house, redoing the basement would cost a lot of money, so I started putting things down here," Hedrick said. "As time went on, I collected more and more, and as you can see you can hardly move down here now. It's so saturated."
Hedrick doesn't have an exact estimate for his collection, since the value of various items fluctuates based on the market and people's tastes. He said it could be worth anywhere between $70,000 to $100,000.
Hedrick is a part of a group known as the Boone County Pickers. They search for old trinkets, arcade games and other items that showcase American culture from an era gone by.
"The games are from not only bars and places where they had pinballs, a lot of it is from amusement parks and where people went in the old days," Hedrick said. "In the 50s, carnivals and things like that were very popular. Many of the things I have down here are from carnivals, circuses, that sort of thing."
His friends from the Boone County Pickers collect Americana as a full time job, and they're experts at fixing games. Hedrick has learned a thing or two from his buddies.
"I was up in Madison, Missouri, and one of the antique stores had a 1980s USA vs. Russia bubble hockey game for sale for $200," Hedrick said. "I asked what was wrong with it, and they said all the gears were stripped so it didn't work at all."
Hedrick bought the game and contacted the company for parts, but it was sold out at the time. He improvised and put tin foil around all the gears then put it back together.
"They're still working with that tin foil 20 years later," he said.
Some of the staples of Eddie's collection include an ack gun game from the 1950s called "Sky Raider," countertop games from the 1920s and pinball machines with various themes.
Hedrick said a lot of his collection are from memories at his grandfather's bar.
"I ended up finding things from my youth, then traded up from there," he said.
Some of his favorite items in his collection include the jukeboxes, a puck bowler similar to one his grandfather had and a skee ball machine MU's Lacrosse team gifted him when he retired from University Hospital.
"I can't say that any one thing in particular is my favorite," Hedrick said. "I thought about it several times: If I move, what would I want to take with me? Those things come to mind."