Barbed wire to McPherson, Kan. — John Ward not just a means of corralling livestock. To him, some barbed wire also a collector’s item or even artwork.
Ward grew up on a farm and worked with barbed wire fencing. In most people’s mind, barbed wire is two-strand barbed wire with screws, at least 2,000 different kinds have been invented since 1867 and at least 450 types have been patented in the last 140 years.
Ward has handled many kinds of barbed wire. He said that, at one time, he had maybe 200 varieties. Now he has got about 100. He is not really collecting anymore. He is selling it. While some pieces can be sold for as much as several hundred dollars, Ward says the pieces in his collection are worth less than that.
Ward didn’t stop collecting barbed wire. He makes wall art using wood, barbed wire, horseshoes and photos which he took himself. He used to sell the art in several locations, but now only supplies them to a gift shop, where he’s sold four or five dozen pieces.
Ward says some the best places he’s found barbed wire are from barbed wire shows, other collectors, or just from driving by a fence in the country and asking a farmer for a piece. He’s also received many pieces - some collectible, some not - from people who know he collects barbed wire.
Barbed wire is Ward’s favorite, although usually they are rusty when he gets them, but he got more than rusty.