Smith still spends plenty of time listening to music. He has an interesting collection of favorite records set aside to play when he's at work: '60s Illinois garage group the Cryan' Shames, Irish folk rockers Moving Hearts, the Austin Lounge Lizards and the Rolling Stones Between the Buttons.

In addition to the records and conflict memorabilia, Reunion Revolution is stocked with jukeboxes, old candy and soda machines, and objets d'art. And then there's the Porsche of conversation pieces — a stunning orange-and-chrome parlor stove from 1895. It used to burn coal, but Smith fitted it with a light kit, making it a spectacular $5,000 floor lamp.

Smith doesn't mince words about what his collecting has cost him. "I have spent a lot," he says ruefully. He won't venture a guess at the total he's spent in the past 44 years. But it's not about the money for Smith.

Robert Smith's treasures include a Yesterday and Today butcher cover and a $5,000 lamp.
Jennifer Silverberg
Robert Smith's treasures include a Yesterday and Today butcher cover and a $5,000 lamp.
Jennifer Silverberg

A teenage couple recently came into Reunion Revolution. The young man told Smith his most-played song on iTunes was Danny and the Juniors "At the Hop." Smith happened to have the song on 78 RPM vinyl. He played it, and the couple was amazed. Smith recalls the man's reaction: "He said, 'It gave me goose bumps,' and that it didn't sound anything like the MP3. There is no comparison, a 78 has really fabulous sound." For Smith, those interactions are an invaluable motivation. "Whatever I sell is immaterial. It's that I love what I'm doing."

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