With David Letterman announcing his retirement, perhaps it’s time for a republication of Bob Kneisel’s “TOP TEN LIST OF NOTABUILDINGS” FROM 1997.


What’s a Notabuilding, you ask? It’s one of those objects that you initially see and think is a building, but turns out not to be. You’ve all seen ‘em, been disappointed by ‘em, and wanted to call them something printable. Now you can. In true David Letterman style, here are the Top Ten Notabuildings, gathered from the letdowns of fellow collectors.

10. Cheese Graters (Look like skyscrapers from afar)

9. Fire Hose Nozzles. Are they towers? Steeples? Or All Wet?

8. Cone-topped Beer Cans. These castaways of our youth are now collectible, (which is OK), except they look like buildings, which they aren’t, (which isn’t).

7. Book Banks. They’re rectangular. They’re tall. They’re upright. But save your money, and wait for a real bank.

6. Those tall, brass cigarette lighters that look like skyscrapers. You’ve seen ‘em. The Johnson Wax Tower they’re not.

5. Transistor Radios. Who’d have thought to hold onto these things? In bad light, from a distance, they can seem to be an office building with rows of windows. Resist the transistor!

4. Those obnoxious little replicas of typewriters, weather vanes, sewing machines, etc. Pot metal they are. Buildings they’re not.

3. Flashlights, when stood up on end. They are definitely notabuildings.

2. Bookends, which have the pattern and detail of a building, but turn out to be replicas of library shelves, bookcases, or anything butabuilding.


1. San Francisco Cable Cars. They’re oblong! They have regularly repeating rectilinear features! They’re copper-plated pot metal! They’re souvenirs! I have some! They’re NOTABUILDINGS!