Round Up Water Cooler

Hi. I am listing a beautiful piece of Round Up / Chuck Wagon – a water cooler. I have not seen these listed anywhere else and was wondering if y’all have any idea how rare these are and what the value is. Heres a link to the auction. There’s lots o Please let me know anything you can add to my information – now that I’m listin git, I’m not sure if I am asking too little for it. Thanks so much! Pam

Answer: Your auction had ended by the time I read your inquiry. Please note the introduction to this service states that there may be a delay of several days before responses are posted. It’s best to ask questions before listing the piece rather than during the auction.

Round Up water coolers are not easily found, but I’ve seen a few of them over the years. They could probably be classified as "rare", and most certainly the demand for them is greater than the supply. The winning bid for your Round Up cooler with stand and cover was $630. I would have expected the set to sell a bit higher, but the value of any item is what a willing buyer will pay for it. According to your description both the cover and the stand were broken and glued. Many collectors will buy only mint pieces; damage of any kind will turn them away. You accurately state that even a damaged piece is better than none, but many collectors would consider them to have little or no value. The factory flaw on the base of the cooler is a smaller problem, but a problem nonetheless. Most collectors consider a factory flaw to be damage, although not as significant as a chip or crack. But such a flaw would prevent a piece from being considered mint condition in the minds of most collectors.

You are probably comparing your Round Up water cooler to the one purchased by your correspondent for $2300 five years ago. We don’t know the circumstances of that purchase. Was it an auction or private sale? Did the buyer pay a premium price in order to complete a set of Red Wing water coolers? At that price I would expect the cooler was complete with a cover and stand, and that all pieces were in mint condition.

The economic conditions of the time must also be considered. Five years ago Red Wing was generally selling at higher prices than now. Values for antiques and collectibles tend to dip when the prices for necessities (food, housing, transportation, health care) rise. These days people generally have fewer dollars available for discretionary purchases like antiques. People who were active buyers five years ago are now sitting on the sidelines.

Price guide in books can be helpful but don’t get carried away by the figures quoted in most of them. Values listed in books are one person’s opinion and are fixed to that point in time.

The information you included in your auction listing is useful and helpful. I would not have put so much emphasis on Chuck Wagon, as the only difference between it and Round Up is the design on the plates. I don’t know anybody who collects Chuck Wagon; people collect Round Up, then buy Chuck Wagon plates to complete their collection.