Friday, April 12, 2024

York "Salesman" Sample

This listing just closed on Ebay for $154.01.  I bid it up to $50 and then bailed.  It was at $100 last night.  I am certainly an avid collector of all things weightlifting and debated this purchase quite a bit.  Yes, it is probably overpriced, but the absolute price is not horrendous.  It still would have been much better to purchase in store for a few bucks.

From Noam Schwartzenegger on Facebook Group Vintage Weights & Physical Culture:

Home Office Gym so I can think about vintage weights all day 💪🏼

While “York Salesman Samples” is adopted terminology by the collector community, Did You Know that there is no proof these were actually “samples”. In fact, York Barbell did not even have any road salesman. We know that the Aluminum Globe paperweight came first followed by the Gold Pre-USA Roundhead style. The RH paperweight can also be found in silver and black, and with a USA stamp.

Here are the best anecdotes regarding their history (& would love to hear more!):

“I saw the gold type one time when I had visited Vince Anello. He told me he got his when he was inducted into the York Hall of Fame and that they were souvenirs that were placed on the dinner tables in front of everyone attending that dinner.” – Paul Quinn

Another collector, the late Bob Hornick recalled the following: “I used to pick a few up at the York store when I visited, giving them to friends. I forget what they charged for them, it was very little for a nice memento of York Barbell.”

Finally, from the one & only Jan Dellinger, an employee at YBB in its the hay day:

“I have noticed that some collectors have taken to calling those miniature cast-iron paperweight dumbbells as "salesman samples," which from what I can ascertain is a bit of a misnomer. For starters, York Barbell never had road salesmen per se back then. It's possible York might have made these promotional paperweights available to bigger dealers of their iron products. Or gave them away at football clinics and the major dealer shows they exhibited at. But if they did, that was before my time with the company.

When I arrived at York Barbell in 1976, these things were starting to disappear from YBB. My impression was that the foundry time it took to manufacture them did not justify what small amounts of them we sold or gave away. And when the gold painted version was in style, that was one more process and cost factor.

Bear in mind that there were a couple of different iterations and styles of these promotional paperweights. I was personally familiar with the gold painted 1/2-pound roundhead, which is what most others of a certain age are aware of. However, before that version there was a miniature globe head style. And as I recall, when the management was still trying to decide whether to stop making them completely, or not, there was a run of 1/2-pound round head style produced which was just painted black. “

York Paperweights have been in high demand recently. They now come up often & are probably overpriced – but I am thrilled to own these pairs. If you have (or had) them, where did you get yours?

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