Some folks collect stamps, coins, vinyl records or comic books, carefully preserving them in hopes they’ll one day bring a good return at auction. Geraldine Davis collects salt and pepper shakers, and while her collection may rival that of a museum, she doesn’t care so much about their monetary value as the memories they bring to mind when she picks them up.
Davis, who has nearly 3,000 sets of shakers in her Offerman home, started collecting them decades ago. Her children and grandchildren add to her collection for birthdays and at Christmas.
“Anywhere I go and see them (I buy),” she says. “My children and grandchildren all know what to bring me.”
Davis’ shakers are displayed on two shelves that line the ceiling all the way around a large room built near her home. A converted gun cabinet, China cabinets and several smaller glass display cabinets showcase the rest of her collection.
Some of Davis’ shakers are a bit garish — think giant eyeballs or ants — while others are quaint like her camper and trailer shaker set. Her naked lady shaker might make you blush.
She has a set of I Love Lucy shoes and Elvis’ pink Cadillac, snowmen and Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
One cabinet holds shakers marked from nearly every state in the U.S.
“These are all states,” Davis says. “I don’t have one from every state yet, but I’ve got a good many.”
Another cabinet features her more valuable antique crystal shaker sets.
Davis strolls around the room, pointing out some of her favorite shaker sets. A wiener dog with salt on one end and pepper on the other is one of the first shakers she picked up, Davis recalls.
“I’ve got some real unusual ones,” she says with a laugh.
Davis never uses her salt and pepper shakers. She washes them and carefully sets them in a cabinet or on one of the shelves her husband, JB, built for her. It won’t be long before Davis needs another cabinet or her collection spills over to another room in the house.
Davis also collects chicken figurines, but that collection isn’t near as large as her shaker inventory.
Did you know?
Geraldine Davis’ salt and pepper shaker collection is impressive, but anyone really interested in collectible shaker sets should visit the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum in Gatlinburg, TN.
The museum opened in 2001 and now features more than 20,000 shaker sets which are displayed by time period, from the 1500’s to present.