Good Life

Tailgating with vintage flair

A lithographic tin plaid picnic cooler, circa 1955, is an example of using collectibles in tailgating.
A lithographic tin plaid picnic cooler, circa 1955, is an example of using collectibles in tailgating. Photo provided

Collectors look for team spirit and old kitchen collectibles when shopping for tailgating items. Autumn is the season for every type of tailgate ... football, soccer, whatever the sport. Team colors are always in style and vintage stuff from tailgates gone by are sure to make your tailgate a winner. Condition is important, as is the age of the vintage tailgating items.

Table settings

Printed tablecloths from the 1940s will make that old folding table look great all season long. Some of the best folding tables are the wooden poker tables from the 1950s or the not-very-vintage plastic tables from office supply stores. Vintage cloths from the Pop art time period will cost about $50-$100 each. Add extra aluminum folding chairs to the backseat so you can host guests from the opposing team at your tailgate. These won’t cost too much, about $10 each, in good condition because they are easy to come by and always very useful.

Chow down

Collectible from the kitchen and garage are all the rage. For a realistic vintage tailgate, use metal cups from the 1960s for soft drinks and smoothies. Fill plaid thermoses with soup to sip before the kickoff. Old soda coolers like those featuring Coca Cola or Pepsi logs will be just the thing to keep your cold sandwiches and drinks cold while you cheer on your team. Some of these coolers cost upward of $500 to $750 in excellent shape. Serve cold cut sandwiches on white bread or deviled eggs from plastic trays in bright colors. Don’t forget the printed tin lunch pails for storing necessities like napkins, condiments and toothpicks.

Yay, team!

Old, well worn pennants supporting your team are perfect for decorating your tailgate. Don’t forget to bring along old team sporting equipment, hats, jerseys and anything in your team’s colors. Wool blankets, wooly mittens and scarves are must haves during those crisp autumn days at the game. And when the team colors are not available, go plaid instead. Sit back and enjoy the game in vintage tailgate style.

Happy tailgating!

Lori Verderame is an antiques appraiser, nationally syndicated columnist and author and award-winning TV personality with a doctorate in the field. She presents antique appraisal events, keynote speeches and lectures to worldwide audiences. Visit Follow her on DoctorLori or call 888-431-1010.