EXPIRED: 09/09/09 – Lester Glassner, 70, was a pop culture collector who found escape during World War II by wandering the aisles of five-and-dime stores. Later in life he’s rekindle those mempries by buying all that memorabilia. A museums’s worth!

When Glassner died of pancreatic cancer he left behind 50 years of hunting and gathering.

As a former picture editor and art librarian for CBS Records had a collection things he’s take home from work – but these weren’t the typical pens, pencils and staplers he helped himself to. Glassner had scads of dicarded pop-culture artifacts, so much so that he filled his 4-story brownstone on Manhattan’s Lower East Side to the rafters.

It began in the 60’s at a five-and-dime store in Buffalo. For a couple of bucks a young Glassner picked up a Mickey Mouse lamp that became the basis of his collections.

Today, some would call it hoarding. But Glassner saw opportunity. He collaborated with photographer Brownie Harris on “Dime-Store Days,” a book featuring choice items from his collections as well as a foreword by  gay icon Quentin Crisp.

From hat collections, to magazines, to dolls, to Disney, to vintage movie posters, to bakelite radios, his collection was enormous.  A visitor once declared it to be “impossible to imagine beforehand or exaggerate after seeing.”

Much of it is now in the Library of Congress.



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