Let's See Those Collections


There are many individual horseshoe collections across the country and several charters that have started collections also. Some charters have shoes once pitched by players in their regions besides a line of old antique pitching shoes. For all, displaying is so important.

   If a charter’s shoe collection is stored in the comer of some member’s garage, and never put out on display-the purpose for the collection is never served and the membership never gets to enjoy seeing it. The same goes for individual collections. An individual enjoys the hunting for old shoes and to find models new to their collection, but if never displayed and shared with the public or our membership-a greater purpose is lost and opportunities missed.

   There are several reasons why our collectors should display at State Tournaments and other events. First is sharing. Just plain sharing through displaying, and let others witness the artifacts of our sport and how unusual the early-day shoes were. When a collection is on display, it is interesting to see how often opportunities arise where a fellow member has a pair or two of old shoes that all of a sudden become available to the collector. That may sound a little self-serving, but it is a fact.

   Another reason for displaying is to make more people aware that old antique pitching shoes exist and there are collectors for them. Far too many of the beautiful artifacts of our sport have found their way to smelter or landfills and dumps. Those bits of our history will never be regained, but by more displaying we can affect a slowdown of the discarding of old pitching shoes and other game-related artifacts.

   There is one specific horseshoe collection that should be mentioned. It, too, is tucked away in a member’s home and it should be out in public display. The collection is our own NHPA collection. At present, it rests in the home of Earl Winston. Annually, part of the collection makes its way to Des Moines fora few days, due to Earl’s effort to transport it up there. Our collection deserves the privilege to be on an on-going permanent public display in Joelton, Tennessee. All that is needed is the funding for the building for the NHPA

   Hall of Fame exhibit. Our funding is still less than halfway home and we need a big push to complete the financial drive.

   Here is where our individual shoe displays can serve another purpose. With each display, a donation container can be placed for our members to be generous or at least spare their pocket change. My display at the 1998 Minnesota State Tournament raised $108. If all collectors set up to display their collection a few times each year, we can raise considerable funds for the NHPF and build our Hall of Fame exhibit. The $108 was turned in under the name "Horseshoe Trader" and if each collector did the same, we could see how much total funds have been raised through our combined efforts. Collecting shoes is certainly interesting and entertaining, and can also serve another meaningful purpose.

   All that’s needed beyond this, is for all our members to be prepared to donate to the NHPF. If there are no horseshoe collections on display in your charter, please just mail your donation direct to: NHPF .


  • Horseshoe display stands are easy to make and are inexpensive. My stands cost about $13.00 for materials. Now that I have put four together, they are also easy to assemble. Start with two heavy-duty 4’x2’ pegboards and four 8’ 2x2s for legs. Attach the pegboard on the legs with wood screws and then bolt the legs together at the top to form an A-frame display. Probably two pieces of l”x2” should be cut and attached to the back of the pegboard for reinforcement, approximately 45 pounds of horseshoes will be on each panel. Cut the legs off about 2’ below the bottom edge of the pegboard and then reattach with bolts so the top of the stand is about 75" high. A 1 “x2” can be cut and attached as a cross-piece to keep the A-frame secure. The detachable legs allow for easier storage and transporting. Each panel side holds 18 horseshoes which can be wired on for security and neatness as the shoes stay attached ready for the next showing. That’s all there is to it.

A small portion of Bob Dunn’s antique horseshoe collection on display at the 1998 Minnesota State Tournament.