I have made the mistake of wondering down the Vintage Strength Training rabbit hole. It started innocently enough with a request to join the Vintage York Barbell Owners Page. Then I started researching the threads and finding a plethora of information. That plethora of vintage brands and collectibles got me searching Facebook Marketplace which alerted me to Ironman Barbell plates in my area. My zeal to support the online forum, led to my getting scooped on the plates, but now I am looking to join Vintage Weightlifting Swap.
I do not really have a vision for my strength training curiosities. Ideally, it would include strongman implements like globe barbells, inch dumbbells, globe dumbbells, anvils and scale weights. It would include vintage plates from Zuver's, Jackson, York among others. The unfortunate caveat is size and cost.
Size is the greatest limiter. My current space could probably take in another 1000 pounds, but I do not want my collection to impede my workout space.
Cost is a bit of a limiter. I would like to keep oddities and curiosities under $1000 annually and $10,000 in total. I would be willing to stretch this budget if the right opportunity came along. I am really not sure about buying/selling from Ebay. I do not know of auction houses that offer these kind of items. I would like to just build up my knowledge base and purchase interesting items for $1 per pound if possible. If I come across a premium item that I can authenticate, I would certainly be willing to stretch.
The opening image is from Ironman Barbell. Peary Rader founded the company in Nebraska and published Ironman magazine. He sold plates up to 50 pounds in the 1950's. An interesting bit of physical culture, but not sure what they are worth. The guy scooped the (4) plates offered to sell me (2) at cost. A good lesson learned that the early bird catches the worm.
The world of vintage strength equipment still feels like the wild wild west. There are interesting offerings on Ebay and Craigslist. There are dedicated Facebook groups and other forums. Depending on what region of the country you are in, you will find California stuff like Billard, Nebraska stuff like Ironman, East coast York equipment. $1/pound is the bare entry point for standard plates. $2/pound for York dumbbell pairs is standard. The biggest pain in the ass with fitness equipment is shipping. Or course if something is interesting enough it is worth the drive.