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TheStreet Open House

10 Completely Worthwhile Collectibles

10. 1892 Candlestick Telephone
Sale price on eBay: $12,550

Classified as vintage electronics, this phone was produced by the American Bell Telephone Co. less than 20 years after Alexander Graham Bell patented his first telephone. It was the dominant phone style in the United States through the 1930s and still makes a cameo in It's A Wonderful Life on NBC each holiday season, but it has quirks that make it little more than a steampunk oddity today.

Forget the wires and rotary dial, smartphone guy. There are still folks walking this earth -- and writing this article -- who've dealt with each of those encumbrances during their lifetimes while using telephones. The real drawback, which kicked it out of U.S. households by the 1940s and '50s, was its separate mouthpiece and earpiece -- the latter of which was just attached to a cord and held to the caller's ear as they held the rest of the telephone in their other hand. If cellphones seem to still be having a tough time with hand-free calls today, consider that they were practically impossible roughly 120 years ago.

As antique electronics go, this phone fetched a price near the high end. Still, there are products that come in with a much higher monetary and sentimental value. A 1940 Seeburg Maestro jukebox, for example, sold for $13,100 on eBay in 2009 and would still be considered a rare find today. Few items top the 1894 Schaeffer Electrical Meter that sold in 2011 for $32,600, though.

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