Functional objects are not often viewed as collectible, mainly because we rely on them in our daily lives and don’t consider them to be precious or rare.

Yet, despite being common, evident, and helpful, we should take a second look at such “workhorse” objects as both collectible and valuable.

The weather forecast is a common and essential interest. We all consider it when we start our days or plan events. The weather sparks simple and significant decisions, like taking along an umbrella, selecting specific weather-appropriate clothing, or changing travel plans.

Weathervanes, barometers, thermometers, and other weather-related collectibles that help us make these decisions throughout the seasons are collectible.

Arguably the most popular weather-related collectible, weathervanes have a connection to our agricultural history, with figural elements at their top such as running horses, pigs, roosters, etc.

Also collectible, barometers are necessary weather instruments that measure atmospheric pressure.

While people collect various types of weather instruments, thermometers are another common weather collectible, as they come in many types and styles.

Polish physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit invented the thermometer, which uses mercury in a narrow glass tube to measure temperature. Liquid expands at a regular and measurable rate when heated, so when the mercury expands, it climbs up the tube. 

Near Las Vegas, Nevada, stands the world’s largest thermometer at 134 feet high. Thermometers souvenirs may be found at gift shops in famous cities and landmarks worldwide: Eiffel Tower thermometers, Mount Rushmore thermometers, Statue of Liberty thermometers, and others are popular collectibles.

Advertising thermometers promoting oil companies like Esso and Exxon, soft drinks like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, and other products are sought after with collectors. Some advertising thermometer signs are very valuable, considering factors like condition and age.

Other rare thermometers that hang on walls or decorate kitchens or garden sheds in private residences are collectible too.

For instance, German-made thermometers from the 1950s were fashioned in the form of wooden cabins, like cuckoo clocks with moving figures and chirping birds.

Porcelain manufacturers from Limoges, France, produced lovely thermometers affixed to hand-painted porcelain plates or wall plaques appropriate for display in kitchens during the early to mid-20th century.

Also, some mid-century modern thermometers dating from the 1950s and 1960s were used in offices, such as the sunrays/sunburst thermometer by Cooper, which resembled the wall clocks of the era.

For desktop use, thermometers were attached to all types of objects. A red die thermometer made in France called the Blavia dice thermometer was all the rage and remains of interest with collectors.

Often, the most common objects are the most collectible, too.


A Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning media personality, Dr. Lori presents antique appraisal events nationwide, appears on Netflix’s King of Collectibles and History channel’s The Curse of Oak Island and Pawn Stars Do America. Visit, watch videos on, or call (888) 431-1010.

Have questions?

We are just a click away!