Off Topic: What's The Oldest Thing You Own?

We live in an astonishingly disposable society, and one that's rapidly going digital to boot, making actual objects even more transitory. This week's E3 reveals will one day be historical relics… for the few examples that survive beyond, say, a decade or two. Still, some objects do survive through history. What's the oldest thing you own?

Photo: Moyan Brenn

I remember being blown away as a teenager by the fact that my father owned a medieval French manuscript. I mean, he was a French lecturer, so it wasn't that surprising, but it was more the sense of history that you get from a document like that. At some point, hundreds of years ago, somebody sat down and wrote it down, and it's survived until today. Objects can have a curious history like that, and it got me thinking.

I don't have much old "stuff", and with my retro gaming habits rather well known, my first inclination was to say that perhaps the oldest thing I own (aside from myself) would be Atari 2600 carts, but then I remembered books. I've got a few interesting tomes that date back to the early part of the twentieth century, but nothing older; generally books I acquired when I was a university student, or a few comical works.

What about you. What's the oldest thing you own, and why do you still own it?


    I think the oldest thing I own is an intellivision. I lost the power cable though, so I can't play it.

    I have a British infantry officer's sword from the mid 1800s.

      How and why? You've got me intrigued...

        I always wanted to own a sword and was lucky enough that my parents bought me one for my 18th birthday. Rather than buy a replica they bought an antique as it will (hopefully) appreciate in value.

      I havea French cavalry sword from I think the 1600s.

      Haven't had it looked at for a long time.

    I have a pair of scissors with green handles that fit into a green case that sharpens the scissors.

    They belonged to my mother and somehow ended up with me.

    They are possibly older than I am, I am 31.
    They still work.

      I think I have prints of books from the 70s, stuff like The Hobbit and Dune. They are falling to bits though because I moved around too much :-/

        Oh! One of those 50c pieces that are round and if you melt it down they are worth more than 50c!

        Can't remember how old that is.

          Circle 50c pieces were issued in 1966. They were replaced with the dodecagon we have today, after peple mistook them for 20 cent pieces instead.

          Approx. value of a 1966 50c is $10 AUD AFAIK

          Last edited 11/06/13 11:21 am

            you would be very lucky to get $10 for it. they are not as valuable as people think

    I have a 1920 -1930 ish Turkish Railway watch.

    Apart from that, I doubt I really have anything older than I am.

    Probably a copy of Mary Wollstonecrafts Vindication of the rights of woman pt1 from early 1800s. Why do I have it? Uni library threw it out. Also got a lot of Victorian era plates etc that my partner collects. My earliest videogame item would be a pong variant from early 70s.

    A 1939 Kodak Box Brownie and a 1959 Soviet Fed-2b camera.

    I have an old sea chest which my family brought with them when they settled in Australia in 1852.

    We use it to store our board games :P

    Oldest? A Papal Bull that my Dad dug up when metal detecting in the 60's, confirmed as Pope Innocent III by a museum in London (who were mighty pissed when he asked for it back when he emigrated).

    Oldest games-wise? My original Colecovision possibly, with Looping and that atrocious Smurfs game, or the Spectrum 64, but I'm pretty sure that's been thrown away, or it'd be on my collectible consoles shelf with everything else. Also, a (very recently taken out of the shrink wrap so I could finally read the manual) copy of Master of Orion.

    i have a rocking horse from the 1940s i think. it is positively terrifying.

      The image in my head has matted, mangy, real human hair on it with possibly an eye missing and some discoloured rotten leather falling off in places. It is also stored in a creepy attic partially lit by a sunbeam from the window with dustmotes across it.

      How close am I?

        holy shit, have you got access to my webcam or something? except the attic is actually the spare bedroom, guests love it.

    A digitial casio fold up clock that my dad game me when i was 3. I hae had it for over 20 years now. Not sure if it still works due to a lack of battery, but it sits omy book shelf in my office

    I have a couple of razors from the turn of the 20th century. Actually, i have about 30 razors spanning 80 years, and they all still get used. In fact, they mop the floor with the latest razors in both terms of quality of shave and economy (20 bucks for 100 blades, 4 amazing shaves per blade, you work it out!).

    My favourite has to be my Rolls razor, though. Genius bit of kit (it has a sharpener/strop built in), still works perfectly well after 70 years, and it belonged to my grandfather.

    Not sure whether it would be my Mongolian fish knife or a folded steel blade which has a couple of notches in the blade...
    Not exactly sure o the providence of eiother, picked them up in an auction, but judging by condition the fish knife (a sort of folding knife) is the older.

    600 sqm of Earth's surface.

    Otherwise I have a cookbook from the early 1900s somewhere. It's almost fallen apart though.

    My wife is 33, I own her.

      You know you really should trade those in once they get to 30. I might be able to get to a deal on a smaller japanese model?? They do lack the lifting power of an Australian wife but they make up for it with efficiency gains.

        However, they deal with your finances as standard. There is no option to disable it.

    I have a hand written training manual from WWI, it is really interesting to read. A little greek urn I have is just over 2000 years old, I keep worrying we will break it! Oldest console is a woodgrain 2600. Which is why I won't be buying an XBOX ONE, I'm pretty sure in 30 years time they won't still have servers up which means you won't be able to play any games on it because of their 24hr internet activation required. I find it odd that in the future there will be consoles with games that no one can play anymore once they shutdown a server.

    An antique pocket watch and chain from the early Victorian era.

    In terms of games, I think my copy of Monkey Island 2 and associated Amiga 500. Or should that be the other way around?

    A coin collection dating pre-decimalisation I got from my Nana. Just to one-up @jimu :P

    I think the oldest thing I own is a bear that was given to me when I was born. Outside of that, I still have various bits and pieces from my childhood. (I am in my early thirties)

    Probably my Wahl Eversharp (fountain pen, circa 1950s). Best flex-nibbed pen I own. Gets used every day, along with some of my younger pens.

    Pre-Seagull La-Patrie Acoustic Guitar (early 80's).

    This has been an interesting one to think about. At first I thought my pinball machine was pretty old, but no. That's only ~1992, even my NES is older than that. Then I remembered one of my childhood toys I got when I was christened is still kicking around, that one's pretty old now. I think the tag had something like Copyright 1986 on it (also interestingly turned out to be an old Odie plushie, something I didn't discover til I went through a bit of a Garfield phase as a teenager).

    But nah, even that's not that old. I figured out at some point that our old TV (can't even believe we as a family used to all sit around and watch this tiny 41cm thing together) must be from about 1985, based on some brochures I found lying around the place. That's more like it.

    Until about 2002 our piano was the same one that my mum learnt on as a kid, so that would make it at least as old as the 50s/60s (it's been living at my grandmother's place since I got an electric then). Also until a couple of months back the bed I was sleeping on (the frame itself, not the mattress mind you) was also the one that she used as a kid. My oldest cousin used to have the same one, which was my aunt's. His got binned years ago though. Kinda sad that mine's going the same way now, it's still sitting out on the back verandah awaiting its fate.

    My edition of "Sketches by Boz" is pretty old. From memory it as printed around 1840.
    I have a lot of old books actually. Unfortunately they aren't in great condition.

    My great great grandfather was a sea captain during the opium wars. I have his journal, binoculars and some old medical equipment (that's fallen apart). They're at least before 1850. His sword is in the Queensland maritime museum. I also have two gold inlayed vases of his that I don't have a clue how old they are (at least 200 years). I was always told he brought them back with him from the opium wars and must be chinese (they have a phoenix on them), but I've discussed it with some chinese vase experts who say it isn't chinese and is more likely european.

    I think my house was built in about 1858. Does that count?

    17th century Bible. Pictures and all. Pretty damn awesome. Smells amazing.

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