This is a summary. To read the whole story subscribe to BostonGlobe.com
NEW YORK — They were all his Rosebuds: the vacuum cleaner shaped like a rocket ship, the toaster shaped like a piece of toast, the suitcase with an electric iron in the handle, the potato mashers (he owned about 500), the tin soldiers, the fallout-shelter sign and the gasoline-powered pogo stick.
When Alex Shear died in New York at 73 this month, he left behind a collection widely described as one of the largest assemblages — quite possibly the largest one — of pop-culture artifacts in private hands, with holdings so vast they once spanned 11 storage facilities in three states.
Shear said his collection was a window into the American soul, built from the literal stuff of life.