I was what we used to call a garbage picker when I was a kid. I would go out on junk days or trash days and cruise the neighborhood looking for treasure. One of the stipulations my mother made about my hobby is that it all needed to be cleaned up before I brought it inside and that the majority of the stuff needed to remain in the basement. The basement quickly filled up with old bikes, toys and whatever I could haul home.
One item that I found often and developed a decent collection of was bowling balls. I don’t think a week went by when I didn’t find a ball and bring it home. The basic black ones we would play with outside, but if the ball was attractive and shiny, I would clean it off and put it in this giant metal tub I had found on one of my excursions.
I didn’t really bowl as much as I wanted to, so when my family had a yard sale, the tub-o-balls would wind up on the lawn and I would usually sell a few. In the mid-nineties when they tub was overfilled a guy came by and bought them all for around $75 I think he also wanted the tub, but my Mother really liked that tub and refused to sell it.
I never got to talk to the guy, so I was left wondering what he did with all those balls. Was he a bowling alley owner? A reseller?
In the 1990s I didn’t go out as much and when I did, I didn’t find many bowling balls anymore. I guess sales peaked in the early 1980s, so a decade later when people were throwing stuff out, they had no balls left to toss.