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– How old are whistles?
Don’t know, perhaps as old as man. Musical instruments started with man and whistles no doubt did also !!

How many types, shapes, styles of whistles are there?
One friend has over ten thousand whistles and that is just scratching the surface.

I never knew there were so many — where do I find so many whistles?
Garage sales, boot sales, antique fairs and antique shops. All over the internet, The Whistle Gallery site, and other dealers. Especially other collectors !!!

How many uses are there?
Scouts, police, firemen, military, asylums, hospitals, prisons, cycling, nautical, hikers, decorative, hunting, sirens, postmen, safety, boating, kayaking, referees. coaches, moms for their kids, walkers, railway, doormen, —- COLLECTORS …

How expensive are they?
From a dollar to several thousand. Many great ones under 200 dollars, and most of those under 100 dollars. Its pretty economical for a hobby.

Why collect them?
Pure fun for one thing, but also the history, and of course the payoff for all hunters… the excitement of finding a new whistle never before seen! ( see SPOTLIGHTS special editions ) Much like coin collecting, they increase in value, can be traded, sold and bought easily. They are small, don’t need watering, don’t die, and you can fit them on a board easily ( see ‘collections’ )!

When it dawned on one seller at an antique show we talked to  (  we asked for whistles of course )  and showed what we had found so far, he said to us after pausing….”why you’re just walking around picking up nuggets aren’t you?!”

What are the best whistles to collect?
Anything that strikes your fancy, mix and match, narrow your search or expand your horizon , just remember there are far too many whistles to collect and get them all. Just relax and have fun.

How can I learn about them?
There are two important books written that are out of print. You may access them through a library or order them from us.

  • Collecting Police Whistles by Martyn Gilchrist, Simon Topman
  • More Whistles by Martyn Gilchrist

Of course communicate with other collectors as much as possible. Online sites such as The Whistle Gallery 🙂
When we learned that the books are out of print we ordered all we could get, so we have plenty to sell for now. There is also a handy cheap one with lots of variety for beginners.

How do I accurately talk whistles over the internet?
A digital camera that you can use to load on to your computer is indispensable. Next best is being able to use your phone to take pictures and send. Perhaps when you are out hunting even. I saw it used that way at an antique show when friends split up to cover more area.

What do I need to study my whistle better?
Strong magnifying eyeglasses work the best. Next is a portable magnifier. Get a strong but small and narrow pen light of some type for looking inside them. From there you will figure it out. Or ask us too.

How do I keep track of them?
Keep notes!! Besides that,  if you early on decide you want to tag them — you will be very happy later if you do so.

Should I refinish, restore, refurbish them?
Entirely personal decision. Mixed reviews on this. Some LOVE the accumulated patina, but it may really mask the beauty of the whistle. Probably a case by case decision. Repair is usually a no brainer ( like retrieving something lost ), but could endanger what is left of a rare whistle. We have found that mostly the patina on brass is preferable, but not always. Nickle silver has a yellowish to brown patina that can be attractive, but the finest look of it is restored to its original beauty.

– Where do I put them ?
Anywhere you want of course, but the reason we are highlighting ‘collections’ is so you can see what and how you can readily access your chosen field of study collection !! Framed is our favorite though, upright and easy to get to.

– Should they be working ?

– Why should I buy a whistle ?
Our desire is to encourage the actual collecting of whistles. However most of our sales are for safety reasons believe it or not !!!

– Why buy so many ?
There will always be something happening in your collection that way. They are cheap and almost like baseball cards in trading and building ‘sets’. It also takes a while to get enough to call it a collection. Then there is of course upgrading and trading up.

– Are there any clubs to join ?
No. The field is wide open — go for it !!!

– Is there a forum ?
No. No time like the present though, Perhaps it is time for one ?

– Does each country have its own whistles ??
Yes. There are patents from many countries too. Manufacturers to learn about. MORE history. Like clothes there are valuable design characteristics to learn to identify.


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