Old Wood Samples

I came across a box full of wood samples at an estate auction, each piece is 2 1/4 x 5" x 5/8 and they have a label something like this: WILLOW ( Salix nigra)
SOURCE: Lower Mississippi Valley PROPERTIES: Light in weight, soft, easily worked, shrinks and swells but little, light brown in color. Weight, air dry: 26 lbs per cu. ft. USES: Boxes and crates, furniture, fixtures, artificial limbs, backets
Sample Furnished by NATIONAL LUMBER MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION Washington, D.C.
All told I have 51 different samples. they are all numbered with a stamp into the endgrain.
I'm figuring they might be from the 20s as one of the uses mentioned is car bodies.
Anybody know about these or have a guess to their age? I'm thinking of buliding a small "bookcase to hold and display the samples. They are all very dusty and shop worn, any concerns if I take my plane and clean them up a bit? I don't plan on putting a finish on them and they'll receive light handling.
Thanks
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brandom11 wrote: snip: They are

might have as antiques or collectors items if you take a plane to them. Those collectors are funny about that kind of stuff. But if you just want to hold on to them and want them to look nicer, go right ahead.
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brandom11 wrote:

I can't see these being that collectable (but you never know).. I'd do whatever you wanted with them. I'd be tempted to turn them into slimline pens.
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NLMA doesn't seem to be around anymore, at least not under that name--there's one online reference to a paper dated 1929, so your guess is probably pretty close. I think that the main historical interest would be to someone researching that organization but I'd be surprised if they didn't already have all the sample kits they needed. If there's anybody conducting such research I have no idea how to find them.
What you've got is the start of a wood collection. Currently the "standard" sample size seems to be 6x3x1/2, so planing 1/8 off the thickness shouldn't make a lot of difference in terms of utility as wood samples.
There's another NLMA set being advertised in the classifieds on the International Wood Collectors Society site http://www.woodcollectors.org/listings.html--that one also includes a brochure, but no price. Might be worth contacting him to see what it went for. He says he's had it since the late '40s.
The going price for individual samples is 75 cents up to 6 bucks or so depending on species.
Before you build a case for it you might want to google "wood collecting" and decide whether it is something you want to get into. If so you might want to design your case accordingly.
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Thanks all, the link to the international wood collectors society was interesting. Not a hobby i'm likely to pursue ( too busy making sawdust and shavings) but I can see how it could suck some people in. Since it appears other. more complete, sets exist, per the list reference. I'm thinking I'll have a nice way to test my hand planes and take a pass or two off of each to clean up the surface. I'm not worried about value as I don't plan on selling this set and it was just part of a larger box of hardwood scrapps i paid $2.00 for. I appreciate the info J. Clarke wrote:

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