Weird and Unusual Collections Nails

About a collector of nails, history and description of the collection.



Collector: Frank C. Horwath, Joliet, III.

At the age of 14, Frank Horwath began collecting nails while sorting them for his father, a carpenter. Today he has over 15,000 varieties--hand-forged, cast, and machine-made--from over 40 countries. All of the nails are documented and mounted on panels of wood in his basement. It is the most complete collection of its kind in existence.

Antique shops, junkyards, swap meets, and flea markets all supply Horwath with antique nails. He is particularly proud of a collection of 48 nails which came from state capitol buildings--each one with a letter from the state's governor. Another rare nail is from the Dome of the Rock, the oldest existing Islamic shrine. Another nail is from the home of William Ellery, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Some of the most valuable nails are the 50 "tie-backs"--nails with inlaid mother-of-pearl or glass in the heads.

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