Lost Forever

A fellow long time collector and friend of mine recently lost his entire crayon collection to a house fire.  And while it is thankful that nobody was hurt, they lost nearly everything.  Of course, personal family items and mementos are the hardest things to lose as those cannot be replaced.  But when you are an advanced and passionate collector, losing that collection is also very hard.  He won't start again and I cannot blame him.  He had many hundreds of Crayola boxes going back to their origins in 1903 and it would be hard if not impossible to replace.

In the collector community, which is small to begin with, he had perhaps the second largest Crayola collection in the world.  That's quite sad to hear that all of those boxes and crayons are lost forever.

I wanted to feature a few of the boxes that Spencer had that even I don't have; ones that we may not see again.

The first of these he had just recently acquired.  Probably from the late 1950s or early 1960s, nobody had ever seen this particular box before as most of the 72 color boxes were the standard designs with the house on it at that time.  There is no back story or history behind this but it would be nice to know more about it.  A shame that now none exist that we know of.

This next one is another variation of the 72 box that had never been seen before and Spencer had two of these.  I was going to trade or buy the extra from him but had never gotten around to finishing the deal and so again, the collecting world now has no examples of this design unless another surfaces somewhere in the future.

The next box is a brand that Crayola used as an artist brand around 1934 to 1937.  Spencer had the only example I'd ever seen surface.  While it isn't exactly a sexy box, it is very rare among Crayola items.

Other boxes that Spencer had that nobody else had were odd ones that had come out of Europe or were on the market so briefly that none seemed to have made it into the collecting community.  Here are a couple of examples:

Spencer, your collection was incredible, be proud of what you had while you had it.  I'm glad we have the photos to remember some of these only-one-known examples of Crayola items.

As for the rest of you collectors, may your crayon items stay safe and protected.


  1. I feel his pain. I lost most of my collection 5 years ago to vandals. I recently started collecting again but I will never have what I used to have. I do have a box of the pastel crayons. The vandals broke the crayons but the box survived just fine. I was able to replace the crayons with exact duplicates.

  2. sting72 - You were lucky to keep the box because, yes, it is a bit easier in many cases to replace the crayons over time. I've been able to upgrade many of my older boxes over the years by getting more boxes from the same year and slowly replacing the worst crayons with a better one; ideally an unused one from the same era. Vandals...what a waste.

  3. Yes. That really stinks and I feel for you Spencer. Although my collection is intact, I can only imagine what it feel like to lose it in a fire or such. And the loss of some of those one of a kind boxes is devastating. It really made me feel sad when I heard about it especially knowing that a number of those boxes had been supplied by me. I sometimes worry if something like that could ever happen to as I live in a house that is very flammable and I've told my wife that if a fire occurs, SAVE the crayons! But I try not to think about it too much. Excellent article as always ED!

  4. Sorry to hear about Spencer's crayons. Lost my house in a fire once...before I started collecting. I only have a couple hundred boxes. Great pictures of some boxes I will be hunting for.

  5. Alan - I'm glad we were able to save pictures of these though

    qurys - Fires are a tramatic experience. We almost lost all our stuff during an apartment fire from the apartment above us but the fire department was quick. Only has some soot damage on a couple of things where they punched holes in our ceiling to ensure the fire was out. Keep up the crayon hunt!

  6. That's heartbreaking, but I'm glad no one was hurt.

  7. That's heartbreaking, but I'm glad no one was hurt.