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the magical world of airsickness bags

Welcome. This is what my wife calls "a bunch of stupid jokes and pictures of paper bags." She's right about the jokes. She's wrong about the bags: some of them are plastic.

What the critics say: "Utterly unnotable" (Wikipedia editor). "Ridiculous collections #4" (Buzzfeed). Other comments: "As complete wastes of time go, it's a very high quality complete waste of time... An entirely dispensable source of inane comments about a truly trivial subject... A monument to the planet's worst corporate design... An unwelcome reminder of some of the more unpleasant moments in our lives."

Donations (unused, please) of bags not represented in the bag gallery are welcomed -- please mail to this address, and I'll credit you on this site! I am happy to trade any extras that I have. Check out the links to other bag sites, find out how you can use your spare bags, and explore the fascinating world of bag manufacturers

Highlights: The design features page reveals the secrets of professional baggery, and the logos page analyses the enigma of airline corporate identities. Search for your favourite bag, browse the bag gallery by country and airline, and check out the biggest, best and worst bags!


Hindenburg bag

The Japanese TV show is said to have featured a barfbag from the Hindenburg

Could a bag have survived this?

If a charred envelope can fetch $14,000, how about a mint-condition barfbag?

A barfbag from the doomed airship Hindenburg has turned up on a Japanese antiques show.

Or has it?

The Daily Yomiuri Online alerts readers to a Tuesday evening programme on TV Tokyo called Family Treasure Appraisers (or Nandemo kanteidan in Japanese). This "allows collectors to seek elusive objects and the public to learn the the value of family heirlooms as the at-home viewer contemplates life's forgotten artifacts and oddities. The show's research department provides interesting background information on some of the more newsworthy objects such as their recent report on a set of china, drink canister and barf bag brought back from a 1936 trip on the Hindenburg--all in perfect condition."

The Hindenburg, a German airship, burst into flames at Lakehurst, New Jersey, on 6 May 1937, killing 35 people on board. Some 61 passengers and crew survived the disaster.

The Family Treasure Appraisers (or "We'll Appraise Anything") programme, the Japanese equivalent of the BBC's Antiques Roadshow, has a panel of experts who value objects brought to the studio by celebrities and members of the public. It is moderated by Ishizaka Koji (a well-known Japanese actor) and Shimada Shinsuke. The programme with the purported Hindenburg bag was broadcast on 15 May 2007.

This programme included a valuation of 27 items from the Hindenburg, owned by a Mrs Otani, whose great-grandfather previously owned them. The "agreed value" (whatever that means) was 100,000 yen (about EUR 610), and the "evaluated value" was 800,000 yen (about EUR 4880; this is revealed if you click on the "open the price" button on the site).

However, baggist Homer Goetz casts doubt on the possibility that a barfbag was among the 27 items on the show.

"There not have been barf bags on board of these huge air ships like the Hindenburg", he says. "The airships did not fly but sail, and to signalize passengers that sailing on an airship was extremely safe and a comfortable alternative for flying, there could not be sicknessbags on board. That was the result of my correspondence 4 years ago with people from Zeppelin museum in Friedrichshafen, which included a steward from Hamburg, who was sailing as a young man on the Hindenburg."

If a barfbag was aboard, it could be worth a lot of money. Mail recovered from the crash fetches high prices - up to US$ 14,000 - among philatelists.

If you'd like to check the current availability of bags on board current-day airships, you can book a flight on the Zeppelin that does aerial tours over its home base of Friedrichshafen, in southern Germany. A mere EUR 200 will allow you to snaffle all the bags on board - if there are any.

Monday, June 04, 2007 


What do Latvia, Liberia and Lesotho have in common? Yes, they all start with an L. What else? They're all missing from my barfbag collection.

What's the biggest country not represented? Chad. In terms of population? Burkina Faso. Other prominent absentees (coloured red in the map): Georgia and Rwanda. 

Major underrepresented portions of the globe are a swathe of Africa and chunks of Central Asia and Central America.

Donations from these areas especially welcome!

Centres of megabagdiversity are the USA (though many US bags are distressingly plain), China, the UK, Canada, Germany, Brazil and Indonesia. 

Click here for details.

For new baggists only


New to the world of bag collecting? Want to get a head start on your collection? Then send me an email, and I'll send you a randomly selected free starter pack from my surplus bag stock. There won't be anything rare, and you may end up with some duplicates, but at least you'll be able to show your friends a few more of these lovely cultural artefacts. Make sure you include your mailing address in your email. Offer good as long as stocks last.

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