The photograph itself is a 20 x 16 inches gelatin silver print, signed and dated on verso. But what’s most fascinating to me is the powder compact, clearly from Coty. The Coty Airspun powder-puff design debuted in 1939 and now has been around so long it’s iconic enough to be spotted easily.
I found this retro advertising spot made to look like a column called Travel Talk From Kaymax Travel Agency published in the Tri City Herald, July 15, 1981.
In it, Joe Jackson offers motivation for antiquing abroad:
If you’re an antique buff, you’ll have the time of your life browsing in foreign countries. Let’s face it, most of them were in the business of civilization many centuries before Columbus stepped ashore here.
Along with recommending going to a “flea market” — and, yes, he puts that in quotes — there’s also a tip:
Don’t forget that bargaining is the name-of-the-game abroad, and the older the clothes you wear at flea markets, the better the price.
I never really thought about that before. Typically, we wear old clothes when we go picking for the sheer practicality; one never knows what they’ll have to carry, where they’ll have to climb or crawl, etc. We wear old clothes so we don’t ruin good stuff. And heck, we call it “going bumming” for a reason. *wink*
But I suppose that wearing newer or more fancy clothing may communicate that a person is a “newbie” to collecting. And less experience might mean that a person will be less familiar with an item’s rarity, pricing, etc., perhaps less comfort with bargaining too, which may lead a seller to think they’ll have the upper hand in negotiating — and get a higher price.
So there you go; your “going bumming” clothes may make you look like a bum, but that may help you clean-up at a flea market.
Pick & Grin, The Collecting Couple, Ready For The New Year
Pick: Good luck with that thought. We have two antique shows booked and we need to start setting aside the goods we want to sell. One is high-end antiques and the other we do well selling advertising items, collectibles and indoor décor.
Grin: They better not be during football playoffs.
Pick: Goooood LUCK WITH THAT THOUGHT TOO!! Check it out, I have the calendar marked with every weekend filled with speciality collectibles shows for the next few months.
Grin: Indoor shows I hope?
Pick: Yes!! Smarty Pants, Even if the weather has been superior, they will all be indoors, but I might leave you out in the cold.
Most of these shows are annual events and once you attend one you can get on a mailing list for the next one. The speciality shows bring together collectors/dealers with a certain niche.
They include advertising, soda bottles, breweriana, sports collectibles, depression glass, toys, dolls, firearms shows, a Scale Auto, Hobby & Toy show, a Red Wing show and one called a rec-room show dealing with everything Retro 60s.
The advantage to these shows is their limited scope, where a collector can truly see the wide choices of items in their special category. For me, it’s an education, I want to see what interests collectors, what’s hot at the moment and what price things are currently going for. I talk to these dealers to ask about trends and the current condition of their market.
Pick: Our newspaper carries advertising for most of these shows in the classified section and our auction paper has ads also. And of course, I check the the net for shows within driving distance. And once I attend that show, I always check for flyers from other promoters left at the entrance door.
Grin: Makes good sense! Let’s look at your list and the calender to see how many shows we can attend,
Pick: That a Boy, now you have the spirit of the New Year!
Do not be alarmed by the ad! Hip Pocket records measure just 3 7/8 inches in diameter and are made of thin, flexible vinyl–the same material as those thin flexible Eva-Tone Sound Sheets once found in magazines, etc.
In 1967, Philco-Ford introduced their Hip Pocket Record system, which included a portable player.
They are similar to the Pocket Discs by Americom Coperation — only the Americom (ABC Records) Pocket Discs, while the same size, played at 33 1/3 rpm. And Pocket Discs didn’t have their own portable player.
The fab fad only lasted a few years.
I don’t collect records by series or any other system, to be honest. Like everything else I collect, I mainly rely on the serendipity of stumbling into something and falling under it’s charm… Then, whether I buy it or not, the obsessive researching begins. So I didn’t know that the old Capitol Records series of Record-Readers were once sold as Looky Talky book and record sets.
I’ve been running into a lot of new collectors of vintage and antique things at Listia; I kind of feel like I’m becoming a resident expert, both it terms of being able to help folks and because of the amount of time I spend at Listia. *wink* I don’t normally take the time to give detailed responses, let document (blog), all the requests but this time there was great merit in doing so…
This is the question from Sherry:
Hi my name is Sherry and I saw a comment that ya posted on another auction about ya writing about antiques and collectibles online. I have been in search of someone to talk to about some pictures I have that were left here years back. My nephew was living with me as well as his girl friend. When they broke-up she left plenty behind. My nephew thought I had burnt all that was left. He freaked out and said there were photo’s that cost a lot of money, because they were some of the Charmin Toilet Paper Girls.
By the style clothing that are being worn in the photo’s I can only assume they are from the 50’s – 60’s maybe older. I do not recall commercials from back then, so I have no idea if these are even worth anything. Is there away ya might be able to help me figure these photo’s out? Thank You in advance.
I was pretty sure what Sherry had were prints, but since she had called them photos I was glad she had sent me some scans (some of which I’ve included here).
What Sherry has are vintage promotional prints from Northern Paper Mills aka Northern Tissue. The series of prints was called American Beauties, illustrated by Frances Hook. (You can see her signature printed on the little girl’s shoulder that doesn’t have the kitten on the scan above.) Hook is most known now for her religious works, but her career began in commercial illustration for various advertisements as well as illustrations to supplement magazine stories. Her American Beauties begin to appear in the Northern Tissue advertisements in 1958 as the original Northern Girls. On March 23, 1959, the first rolls of tissue featuring the girls were shipped from the mill and tissue sales skyrocketed —
And prompting the corporate response to sell the prints.
The first American Beauty prints were available as a set of four: one baby girl and three little girls.
Not long after, the company released Northern Towel’s All American Boys, a set of three prints of little boys.
Not much later, Northern asked Hook “if she would take our little “American Beauty” girls and cast them into some fresh new poses” — for both the toilet tissue packaging as well as an additional print set (also four prints).
That would bring the total of American Beauty girl prints to eight. As far as I know, the All-American Boys series remained at three prints. Which brings the overall total of the Northern prints by Hook to eleven. All prints were available in multiple sizes: 11″ by 14″, 8″ by 10″, and 5″ by 7″.
You know I don’t like to discuss monetary values, but this is another opportunity to discuss some collecting basics…
Generally speaking, the larger the quantity of art prints (and anything else) made, the less the value they have. According to Georgia-Pacific, who now owns the Northern brand, “Offers for prints of the girls and Northern Towel’s All American Boys break records with 30 million sets of prints being sold by 1966.” Which means there were and still are a large number of these prints out in circulation.
However, as these pieces are advertising collectibles, they do have some cross-collecting appeal. Again, these prints are a bit less desirable as they were mass produced — as well as more likely to be saved — which means more of them are available.
Like most collectibles, these prints come and go in popularity; which means the prices go up & down. Because they are desired primarily for the nostalgia (“I had those prints in my bedroom!”) or a sense of nostalgia (“I love those vintage baby prints!”), their ability to match decor or gender of child for a specific room, the size of the prints (available wall space), and/or for the appeal of individual images themselves (one may look just like their son or grandson, etc.), prices can vary quite a bit for each print.
And, of course, condition of the print itself matters; not only in terms of tears, creases, spots, etc., but in terms of the color of the prints, such as fading of the colors or tanning of the paper itself which weakens the contrast of colors (and usually the strength of the paper itself). Those prints with spots and damages on the faces especially will likely have no interest (no value). However, someone, on Lista or elsewhere where you have no seller fees, might want these imperfect prints for altered art or collage projects.
Depending upon the condition of the paper, etc., right now they could be worth anywhere from $1 to $9 a piece in today’s market. How do I get that value range? Based on the information discussed above and years of dealing in collectibles — and by getting a “snapshot” of the market by using eBay. I looked at current sales of these prints as well as recent past (closed) auction sales values, searching for Northern American Beauty prints by Frances Hook, and variations on those words. I also checked searches for Charmin print — as a great number of folks mistakenly think these prints were put out by Charmin toilet tissue.
You can check eBay for current and very recently closed auction sales prices too — anytime, for anything. You can also use Price Miner. Checking periodically does take time, but that’s the best way to see if there’s an increase in demand or a decrease in offerings of these prints — both of which will mean higher prices. If and when that happens, you might want to list them for sale. The prices may rise again; a few years ago, I sold individual prints for $10 to $29 each. You just need nostalgia and or the appeal of sweet charming children to sweep back into home decorating again.
Additional image credits: Vintage Northern Girls Tissue ad via Jon Williamson; American Beauty Portraits Folder via undoneclothing; All American Boys prints photo via jwenck; Northern Paper Mills ephemera abut the prints via With A Grateful Prayer
Those oil-filled pens and other objects with moveable images are called “floating action,” “tilt” or “action” items — or just plain old “floaty” collectibles. These simple but fascinating things have been popular souvenir and promotional give-away items since the process was invented in the late 1940s. Pens are the most common floaty items, but pencils, letter openers and nearly anything with a cylindrical handle have been made over the years. This example, a key chain (plastic barrel is 3 3/4 inches long; standard 1 inch key ring), is a souvenir from the 1964s Olympics, held in Tokyo, Japan.
Many people know of the Esso oil drum floaty pen by Eskensen, which is called the first floating action pen. But that’s not entirely true… Many attempts had been made before this, and by many other companies and inventors too. But it was Peder Eskesen who successfully found a method of sealing the oil-filled tubes that didn’t have chronic leaking problems. So the Esso pen might be best called the first commercially successful floating action item.
There are three variations on floating action:
The first and oldest type consists of an oil-filled chamber with at least one light object that simply floats; like a snow globe, a shake or movement makes the objects float about.
Next came the “conceal and reveal” type, in which graphics magically appear or disappear on the side of the pen as it is tipped from side to side. These are most commonly recalled as the “tip and strip” pens, in which tipping the pen causes the clothing on the female to disappear, revealing a partially clad or nude figure behind.
The third type is called photoramic float. In these floaty items, the liquid-filled chamber has at least one small pane of film with a graphic design floating inside the liquid; tipping or moving the item causes the panes to float up and down the chamber’s length, creating an animation. The more panes of film, the more fascinating the animation. Eskesen obtained the patent for manufacturing pens this way in 1955.
Souvenir floaty collectibles — vintage and new — are more likely to be found than advertising or promotional ones. Many promotional floaty pens and other items were created for in-house use, to thank employees, vendors, etc., and therefore were made in smaller quantity and so typically bring higher prices. Even true advertising items and promotional premiums for the public are less common because these usually were utilitarian items made to be used and given away so that the recipient would use the items and in doping so would be reminded of the company or brand on the piece. Such utilitarian use, however, means that many of these items were just tossed away — even more often than souvenir and travel items which, even without sentimentality, were purchased and therefore given a higher value.
Photos of the 1964 Olympics key chain is from my eBay listing.
More scans from that antique, turn of the century, Japan travel guide; these are advertisements found in the back of the book.
S. Nishimura, “one price silk store,” founded in 1604.
K. Kawata, another silk vendor ad, this one targeting “Ladies desiring Embroideries or Drawn Work.”
K. Tamamura, “the leading photographer of Japan.”
K. Kimbei, a photographic studio promoting magic lantern slides, among other items.
An ad for the Nagasaki Hotel.
The top half of this ad is for the Batchelor’s Hair-Dressing Rooms, “Ladies’ Department under the sold supervision of Mons. Mogaillard, a clever Parisian Artist.” (Note that cigars are also available — for gentlemen only, I’m sure!) The bottom half is for C. & J. Favre-Frandt, an import-export shop.
Pope & Co. worries that you’ll perish from hunger on trips to the interior! The small print mentions tinned goods, but the large print mentions wines, liquors and cigars. The next page is a continuation of their ad which meantions specific champagnes, whiskey — and Schlitz Beer!
There are many charming and antiquated things of note in this antique travel book titled The Club Hotel, Limited: Guide Book of Yokohama, Tokyo and Principal Places in Japan and I thought I’d share a few of them before this book and map sells.
Printed at the “Box Of Curios,” No. 58, Main Street, Yokohama, Japan, there’s no copyright or publication date; but it’s circa 1880s to 1910s. This antique book with blue cloth boards and gilt lettering contains all you’d expect in a guidebook, including hotels, excursions, tea rooms, shopping, bars, geisha, libraries, museums, churches, temples, etc. — including black and white photos, ads for businesses, AND, neatly tucked in the built-in pocket in the back cover, a fragile but pristine color map! (Map opens to roughly 12 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches, so it would not fit completely on the scanner.)
I’ve never longed to travel to the Orient, but if I could travel back in time, perhaps I would change my mind for the book says, “One can go all over Tokyo at any hour unarmed and unannoyed, which one certainly could not surely do in London, Paris, Vienna, or other Western Capitals.”
Apparently, The Club Hotel, Limited was an actual place as there are photos of the building, the entrance, the dining room, and the bar.
According to the text, The Club Hotel, Limited was located “near the landing place (English Hatoba).” More details are found on this page:
Despite The Club Hotel, Limited being a real hotel, this book has ads for many other places rather than really promoting the The Club Hotel, Ltd. (The ads must have paid for the printing, me thinks.) In fact, the first ad in this book, right inside the front cover, is for The Hotel Metropole, “the only hotel in Tokio under European Management.”
Here are some interesting (if racist due to the times) things of note from the text’s Preliminary Remarks:
The Japanese will be found pleasant mannered people. Treated politely, they are invariably polite, and as a rule very kindly disposed towards foreigners. Many of them are incorrigible procrastinators. It is always “to morrow” with them. Hotel servants, however, are often very quick, as well as good and attentive, and seeing so much of foreigners they understand foreign requirements.
The people who stamp about the streets playing a double whistle are blind Shampooers, i.e. “Massage” operators by trade.
Japanese baths are generally heated with charcoal, and it is well to be careful of asphyxia from the fumes. The bath-houses with men and women bathing in full sight of each other, are a curiosity to Europeans.
Geisha or Singing girls, which could be ordered through the tea-house, and are listed on the same page as Japanese Wrestling, Public Libraries, Museums, Places Of Worship, etc. (The scan below also includes the small map of the Temples of Shiba.)
But, of course, the collector in me is most intrigued by all the discussion of “curio shops,” which are heavily advertised in the back of the book. (Note how the chapter begins promoting the European Curio Shops of Yokohama.)
Most notably, Kuhn & Komor, No. 37, Water Street, Yokohama, which asks you to kindly note the company’s trademark “Stork and Sun” used as a sign board on all their branches.
A few other interesting old ads I’ve scanned will be posted soon!
Believe it or not, they were free promotional give away drinking glasses. I’d heard that, but until I found this vintage matchbook, I was still suspicious of the legend.
This vintage matchbook featuring Gil Elvgren’s “Sports Model” pinup on the cover was from Trackside Super Gasoline (2004 Calumet Dr., Sheboygan, Wisconsin). At the bottom “free glassware” is mentioned, and when you open the empty matchbook completely, you see Trackside continues the promotion: “This cover is but one of a series of the famous Elvgren Girls. Bring in a set of all five covers — the five different girls, and receive a set of 5 beautiful Glasses absolutely free.”
Not dated per se; but inside the matchbook it reads “This Offer Expired Jan. 1, 1943.”
This gas station also said they saved you two cents per gallon — savings, free girlie matchbooks, and free pinup drinking glasses?! Today, do we get any of that? No. …With today’s gas prices, we ought to get a free date with a pin up model! lol
I love ephemera, so I was thrilled to find this pair of vintage travel ephemera from Three Lakes Wisconsin.
The first piece is a brochure for Three Lakes, Wisconsin, issued by Three Lakes Resort Association, which has black and white (and color photos), showing the usual outdoor vacation stuff… But wait — what’s this? Three Lakes Wisconsin has a woman with a kitten, a baby raccoon — and is that a porcupine?! Get the kids in the car, honey, we’re going to Three Lakes!
The vintage brochure opens to full 17 by 12 inches, with a very large map of the area. There are two notations in red ink on the map — the explanation of which lies in piece of ephemera number two.
The second piece of ephemera is typewritten memorandum note which was tucked inside the brochure. This memo, on the official letterhead of Walter W. Eiler, Realtor, Three Lakes, Wisconsin, is signed in ink by Edwin E. Mueller. Mueller was writing to a Mr. Mohr — some sort of follow-up to a promise to send Mr. Mohr information on the Three Lakes area. In this short note, the red ink marks on the map are explained: “I have marked the location of the two biggest camp sites… The Four Mile camp… The Laurel Lake site.”
(What? No mention of where to find the lady with all the cute baby animals?!)
Also in the note, this charming ending:
Not being a camper myself I am no authority on the subject but I see plenty of people camping at both places in tents, trailers and sleeping bags on the ground so it must be OK. Come up and try it. Stop to see us and if you have any loose change to spend for a lot or what have you we are just the fellows that can make a deal. Thanks again for the good service on Mrs. Muerllers’ glasses.
Ahh, a good salesman leaves no stone unturned!
Looks like Mr. Mohr just tucked the brochure away, memo neatly inside it, and never went camping — perhaps out of fear of being sold some real estate. *wink*
Neither the brochure nor the memo is not dated (other than the 4/3 in the upper right hand corner?) but it appears to be circa late 1940s to 1950s. I’ve listed it at eBay, in case you’ve got to hold this in your own hands *wink*
The American Venus was directed by Frank Tuttle, and starred Esther Ralston, Ford Sterling, Edna May Oliver, Lawrence Gray, Fay Lanphier, Louise Brooks (in her first credited role as Miss Bayport), Kenneth MacKenna, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. The film was released by Paramount Pictures in 1926 and is considered a presumed lost silent film.
Below is the official auction listing description — with a helpful link provided by me:
The American Venus (Paramount, 1926). Title Lobby Card and Lobby Card (11″ X 14″).
Much has been written about the silent film legend Louise Brooks and her influence on 1920s New York and Hollywood, right down to her trademark “bob” that became widely emulated by ladies of the day. This rare title card and lobby card are from her second film, in which she appeared as a contestant in an Atlantic City beauty contest. Due to its immense popularity, the movie toured the U.S. for two years, along the way making Brooks one of the most noted female cinema stars. Though the borders of both cards have been trimmed and replaced, the restoration was expertly done and the cards present nicely. Very Good.
Until I spotted this vintage image of a girl doing the twist, I’d never really paid much attention to “Lenticulars” — partly because I didn’t know they even had a name. (We just called them “those plastic image things that wink or move when you tilt them.”)
This particular Vari-Vue Lenticular was available for free at Lista (see my review of Listia) and I’m bummed that I missed it — especially as it only cost 202 credits!
The Listia description:
VARI-VUE Lenticular (wiggle) picture. 1957-1958 according to the patent number. Shows 1950’s fashioned black-haired girl dancing the twist. Man can she wiggle! Two smaller dancers also dance in the background. There are 3 small age spots that do not detract much at all. The back side has the wording:
VARI-VUE (R) PAT. NO 2,815,310
Mount Vernon N.Y.-MADE IN U.S.A.
And then I was outbid on this lenticular Beattle Booster button! (Misspelling of Beatles is on the button itself, not my error!)
So as not to miss out again, I decided to search more — and arm myself with some knowledge…
Vari-Vue invented modern lenticular technology, starting with a patent in 1936 which led to the formal incorporation of the Vari-Vue company in 1948 and billboards in 1955. Vari-Vue coined the following terms: “lenticular” to describe their linier lenses, “Winkies” to describe the blinking eyes, and “Magic-Motion” to describe any lenticular image containing motion.
Vari-Vue has an entire site devoted to the history and collecting of lenticular images, from which the following information is also given:
By the late 1940’s, VariVue had become a household name by producing millions of animated and stereographic lenticular images which were
available everywhere. These images included everything from wall hangings, to record album covers, CrackerJack prizes, greeting cards, post cards, political buttons and so much more. By the 1950’s, VariVue’s lenticular images had become a craze and many, if not most famous personalities of the time, wanted to be featured in VariVue advertisements. At the same time, VariVue buttons were used in every political campaign throughout the country and were available everywhere.
…In the 1960’s and early 1970’s, Vari-Vue created a network of Lenticular license holders world wide which greatly increased the recognition of this technology. Vari-Vue has been the world leader in stereo (3D) and animated printing.
They also have a History and Guide Book To Lenticular Technology on CD-Rom.
If you’re like me and enjoy collecting and have a creative streak, you’ve probably faced the issue of balancing your delight in making things with your collector’s desire to keep the integrity of your antiques and vintage items. While this clash of interests often presents a quandary for all artsy folk who collect, my primary problem persists in the area of vintage graphics.
I love to make collages, make special scrapbook pages, and in general practice the paper altered arts — but I’m extremely uncomfortable destroying antique books, vintage magazines and other old piece of ephemera. If a book or magazine is so damaged that it’s of no real value; fine, I can render the rest of it useful and beautiful once again with a paper project. But if the work is sound, no matter how filled with lovely images it is, I just can’t do harm. …Yet another part of my soul aches to use what’s right there, in reach. However, this digital age now puts an end to the majority of our concerns via the gift of the scanner.
In most cases, even the most delicate antique books and papers can be safely scanned. Not only does this offer collectors a virtual copy of the works, but, when scanned at a proper size (300 dpi or larger), this gives you a printable file. In just a few minutes you’ve preserved a copy of the image and created one you can now print (as many copies as you’d like) for use in collages, altered art paper projects, scrapbooking, and other projects.
What other projects, you ask? Well, now, thanks to all sorts of printers, gadgets, programs, and papers, you can transform your digital image files into patterns for cross stitch, needlepoint, and other needlework patterns; iron-on transfer papers to images to use on t-shirts, quilt squares, pillows and other fabric projects; LCD projector or DLP projector, opaque projector, and even slide projectors (though the lights often burn out before your project is done, resulting in problems lining up the image again) allow the image to be projected onto walls, canvas, etc. for painting murals and other larger decorating or art pieces — really, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination!
Once you get started, it’s hard to stop! And that’s why you can even buy files with vintage and antique images to download online; Etsy is a great place to look (I’ve just started selling some of my own there). And right now, you can enter Marty’s contest to win 150 pages of antique images from a 1914 New York Department Store catalog too. (Contest ends July 15, 2011.)
If you’re unsure where to start, there’s an online course you can take. While it focuses on paper art collage principals, it will help you get used to a lot of the basics. And there are places like Zazzle which do all the work, placing your images onto everything from posters, apparel and mugs, to greeting cards, iPod cases, and skateboards. You can make stuff just for you and your friends and family (at discounted prices) as well as sell stuff with your images to others. (I do it! This is my Zazzle shops with friends.)
The only note of caution I have is that if you decide to sell anything, you should know your intellectual property or copyright laws; items created for personal use fine.
So start flipping through your antique books, your vintage magazines, your postcards and other paper collectibles, with a creative eye… Who knows what images you can now safely use? It’s like having your cake and eating it too!
Image Credits: My own altered art piece made from antique and vintage images, used in my art collaborative project, Kindness Of Strangers, at Etsy & Zazzle.
How and why did you start collecting Frankoma pottery? Was it, at first, just part of decorating the house?
When I was in high school I started going to the Tulsa Flea Market with my mother every few weeks. By the time I was in college we were going every time I was home on a Saturday morning. Most of the booths seemed to have at least one piece of Frankoma; I think every bride in Oklahoma from the 1950s through the 70s must have gotten Frankoma for her wedding, and much of it, especially the dinnerware, was in colors I didn’t particularly care for–muted greens and browns and golds. It was so common that I never paid much attention to it.
Then one Saturday I was looking for a birthday present for my sister, and found a little round vase in a beautiful clear greenish-blue, with a black base. I was surprised when I turned it over and found out it was Frankoma. The mark was different, for one thing, and the clay was lighter than the dark red that I was used to seeing. The dealer I bought it from didn’t know the significance of that, and neither did I. Then I started looking more carefully at similar pieces and talking to other dealers, who taught me all about the differences in the clay and the marks and the glazes. I even developed a fondness for the older green and gold glazes. (I still don’t like the browns, though.)
The summer after I graduated from college (1988), I started buying more pieces at the flea market, usually from one particular dealer who was extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic about pottery from Oklahoma and Arkansas. He sold me some other pieces from the region–Cherokee and Niloak and Tamac. I don’t think I would have developed such an interest in collecting if the dealers at the Tulsa Flea Market hadn’t been so friendly and willing to share their knowledge with a young collector.
How many pieces of Frankoma do you have?
I really don’t know. Between my own collecting and people giving me stuff, I’ve probably got more than 100 pieces. I’ve sold some through the years, and wish I hadn’t.
What do you focus on when collecting pottery?
Mainly, I just buy things I like to look at. With Frankoma, I like the local and personal aspect. I have one of their salt-and-pepper sets in the shape of the First National Bank building in Tulsa (they gave them away at the opening of the bank in the early 1950s) and several of their “Christmas cards”–each year Frankoma made a small dish that the Frank family gave to their friends, inscribed with the year and a message. I’ve quit actively collecting it for the most part, but every once in a while I’ll find something really neat at a garage sale or estate sale. I don’t collect their dinnerware or large pieces at all–I like the small, unusual stuff.
With other pottery, I look mainly at glazes and shapes. I still like deep greens and blues, and for some reason I also gravitate toward orange pottery, although I don’t usually like orange.
I also like modern artists who are inspired by the past. In Western New York there’s a lot of Arts & Crafts influence (especially around East Aurora, where the Roycroft campus is), and when I lived in Buffalo, I loved looking at the local artists’ work. I couldn’t afford much of it, but I have a couple of nice tiles. 🙂
I have a whole collection of green art pottery that is obviously from the same place, but it’s not marked, and I’ve never been able to figure out what it is. My first piece came from my regular Frankoma dealer–it got chipped in transit to the flea market and he gave it to me, but then I started finding it all over the place. I’ve found this pottery everywhere I’ve lived, and I’ve even seen a piece on the cover of a book, but I still don’t have any idea where it came from or who made it. Maybe some other reader could identify it?!
Let’s give it a go!
This photo is of my mystery pottery–a large urn and three small pitchers. They all look hand-formed, and there are some faint coil marks on the urn. The clay is dark red. I’ve found several pieces of it that sellers have tagged as Frankoma, but it’s not Frankoma–I would love it if someone could help identify it!
Any pottery collectors or experts out there? Share your info in the comments!
Molly will be back here at Inherited Values soon; meanwhile, she can be followed at Twitter: @VintageReader.
PS The print included in the “mystery pottery” photo is a hand-tinted engraving, Le Lapin, by Allen Ye Printmaker of Oswego, NY.
All photos the property of Molly Ives Brower.
Lauren Roberts is a bookmark collector I met when we were both presenters at the first Bookmark Collectors Virtual Convention. I’ve admired her bookmark collection — and collecting habits — so much I’ve been waiting for us both to have the time to do a proper interview.
Lauren, besides being a collector and a blogger, what’s your daytime, meat & potatoes, gig?
I work as an administrator at a community college. It satisfies my urge to eat and live without worry, but my passion is with BiblioBuffet, books, cats, reading, and bookmarks.
When did you begin collecting bookmarks and why?
I fell into it purely by accident, which you can read about here, in my first On Marking Books column. About 45 minutes inland and south of Santa Barbara is a quaint town named Ojai (prounced “oh hi”). It is famous for the Ojai Resort, which is quite pricey and attracts a lot of out-of-towners, but it is even more famous as the home of Bart’s Books, which has been there since the mid-1960s.
The store has been modernized now–it even has a blog–but at the time of this discovery, around ten years ago, I’d guess, it was still owned by the old owner and there was no Internet page or even pricing. The store is actually an old home, and both its “yard” and the house are full of the kind of rickety old shelves you’d expect to find. Outdoors is where the cheaper books are even though they are still protected from the weather. You can sit on benches under trees and just read. They also have books they leave outside the gates so if you feel the need to browse at 2:00 am you can; just toss your money in a box.
I was in the former living room when I saw the old olive-colored book on books (which I adore). I sat down in the chair with the book to look it over. When I pulled the cover, it automatically fell open to the chapter titled “Baldness and Intellectuality.” Marking the beginning of that chapter was a bookmark made of hair, golden brown, male by the length of it. I was utterly charmed and remain so.
You can see the book and bookmark in my antique coffee table.
Being a reader and book lover, the transition to bookmark collector seems rather natural. But readers are usually selective; they won’t just read anything. Is it the same with your bookmark collecting? Do your bookmarks reflect what you read in terms of subject matter? What do you focus on in terms of collecting bookmarks in terms of themes?
It’s true that I am fussy about my library. I love nonfiction and literature that is older than I am, especially classical literature. (I’m not at all interested in modern fiction.) When I began to collect bookmarks I went after vintage ones.
I would browse eBay a couple of times a day looking for pieces that just stood out to me in the same way I browse bookshelves looking for books that appeal. eBay was so great when I started; it has, unfortunately, gone downhill in its attempt to move beyond the collector into retailing. But then sellers would often be selling what they found in attics and such.
Bookmarks are much more popular now than five years ago when they were one of the tiniest niche markets around. You really had very little competition. Now, it’s larger though not large by other collections. The unusual ones that I like often go for hundreds now. I can’t afford those. So my buying has tapered off, I am sorry to say. But not my interest.
My bookmarks don’t reflect my reading interests since, as I said, I like and collect vintage and antique ones. I can’t think of any subject I won’t collect a bookmark about, though religion is something I tend to avoid. I also avoid most modern ones since they aren’t particularly attractive. I am not out to build a large collection but one that is meaningful to me. Every piece in it is special.
What are some of the themes?
I didn’t set out to collect in any niches, but from the beginning was attracted to vintage and antique ones. I occasionally found and find a modern one I like but really, it’s the older ones that fascinate me more because the quality of the work that went into them. Even companies that used them as advertising for washing machines or watches or hotels or whatever used die-cut designs, thick paper, elegant graphic design, and attempted to make them beautiful pieces that people would keep and use for a long time instead of today’s cheaply made, “just sell it” ones like those that authors give away. I guess you could say my interest lies in bookmarks up to about the 1950s or early 1960s, about the time I was born.
Some of themes I have are food, books, home, WWI, WWII, political, book festivals, clothing and accessories, places, travel, library, metal, fabric, worlds’ fairs, exhibitions, ivory, wood, pianos, sewing, music, garden, beauty, shoes, education, smoking, and many more.
Even though bookmarks take up less space than most other collectibles, a person (unfortunately) has to limit, pick and choose, what will become part of their collection. What collecting standards do you have?
I have to love it! That may not seem like a standard but it is. I do not buy it unless I fall in love with it — and, fortunately, I am by nature a minimalist rather than a hoarder. I don’t collect books just to have books. I have done weeding to get rid of books that I had little interest in and by the time I came to bookmarks I had no trouble passing up ones that did not interest me. Plus, now that I have probably around 1,300 of them I can bypass those when I see them, which is rare anyway.
When I began collecting I stored them in an open box. When the bookmarks topped the box and threatened to topple over, I got a bigger box. Then another bigger box. After that, I realized I needed to store them.
I looked around online a lot, but eventually settled on these archival boxes with three rings inside for archival page inserts. The bookmarks were sorted into large categories (food), then if necessary into sub-categories (candy, cereals, meats, milk, soft drinks, alcohol, etc.). I tried to put more or less relevant categories together in one binder–like home and food–but found I had too many in those two categories to fit into one binder. At the moment I have seven binders and the coffee table. The latter is where I have all the three-dimensional ones, regardless of their theme, plus some of the more unusual two-dimensional ones.
What things have you learned from collecting bookmarks?
How much history and story can be in one of those little things! That’s the most amazing part of bookmarks to me. When I began collecting and later writing about them I really had no idea how much they could hold. You could build an entire year’s worth of education just on bookmarks. Seriously.
When I sit down to research a bookmark for an upcoming column I use both the library and the Internet. And I don’t look at just one site. Wikipedia is often where I start since it gives an overview–not always accurate–plus, more importantly, sources and links. I am also fortunate to be an excellent researcher, Googling various words and phrases to find numerous links. I will go far beyond the first page of results–once I even went to page 93!–to find information. Alas, there have been a few times when I have had to abandon a particular bookmark because I couldn’t get enough information to write about it.
But several times now, I think, I have been contacted by people who saw my columns and wrote. One was a family member who corrected a bit of misinformation about the Buster Brown shoe line. Another was searching for old family records. The latest was a descendant of a family that did steel engraving; she was enthralled to find the two bookmarks I wrote about–gorgeous pieces–and said that if I ever wanted to sell them she definitely wanted to buy them. But they are not for sale.
I think sometimes about offering talks at schools or groups about bookmarks. And I am only sort of sorry that museums and important libraries do not yet recognize their importance; their willful ignorance helps me stay in the market.
(I hope this interview and your blogging doesn’t ruin that, Lauren!)
Normally Inherited Values is all about antiques and vintage collectibles, but when I met Anne Olivares & Ashley Lampton, dedicated collectors of all things Drew Barrymore and curators of the The Drewseum, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at relatively modern collecting in comparison to vintage movie star memorabilia.
Hello, ladies, when did you begin collecting all things Drew?
Coincidentally, we each first became fans of Drew around the same time, in 1998. By early 1999, we’d both started collecting magazines featuring her, and our collections quickly branched out to cover all facets of memorabilia.
Did you know each other when you began collecting, or meet because of your collecting?
We met online in 1999 through Drew fansites and quickly formed a friendship. We only lived a few hours from each other at that time, so we met up many times. Later we ended up living even closer to each other, so we were able to hang out frequently and do many Drew-related things together. We started working on our website to showcase what we consider our combined collection in 2005.
How many items are in your Drew Barrymore collection? Across what categories?
It would be near impossible to count the number of items in our combined collections, but we estimate it somewhere in the thousands. Not everything is displayed on The Drewseum quite yet as it’s a constant work in progress.
On the site, we have our collection broken out into 10 main categories, including photos, movie memorabilia, books, magazines, apparel and more. There’s a large section for miscellaneous items as well since over the years we’ve acquired items that don’t fit into a specific category.
Drew Barrymore is part of a family with a great acting and film history; do you collect memorabilia from anyone else in her family?
We do have a small collection of items relating to the Barrymore family. We don’t actively seek them out, but if we come across something special, we jump on it. We’ve also bought vintage Barrymore pieces as gifts for Drew in the past knowing she’d have a deeper appreciation for them.
Gifts for Drew?! Have you actually sent things to her — has she or her staff ever acknowledged them?
For several years for her birthday, we’ve had a tradition of putting together picture frames with prints of Drew’s family as gifts for her – some reprints, some originals. Usually, we’ve either dropped them off with her staff or mailed them in to her production company. This year we got the chance to hand-deliver it to her personally, which was really exciting for us and she was unbelievably appreciative of the gifts. The whole story can be found on our site.
That’s amazing! And truly something that collectors of say, silent film stars can’t even dream of — without a time machine. *wink*
What are your collecting standards?
We consider ourselves somewhat frugal in our collecting. Unless something is truly exceptional, we generally hold off spending too much money and are often rewarded by later coming across it at a more affordable price.
When we first started collecting, we didn’t take great care of our items and often bought things like bad copies of photos without realizing it. We keep these damaged or poor quality pieces in our collection, but these days shop with a much more discerning eye.
I’m glad you mentioned conditions; what painful lessons have you learned from collecting?
Don’t use sticky photo albums or glue anything down in a way that is permanent.
Don’t try to use undersized page protectors for oversized pages.
Sadly our items have incurred a lot of damage in years past due to these poor practices.
How do you store your Drew Barrymore collectibles and movie memorabilia? What’s one tool, organizer, etc. that you cannot imagine being without as a collector?
We both have slightly different storage ideas, but we’ve also learned a lot from each other over the years. (Anne keeps a lot of her magazines with cover features intact while Ashley usually keeps only the relevant Drew pages.) We store any non-flat movie memorabilia in storage bins, a lot of which can’t be displayed due to lack of space.
The most vital tools for us are binders with appropriately sized page protectors as magazine articles, clippings, photographs, movie ads, etc probably occupy at least 75% of our collections.
I can’t bear the idea of cutting up magazines and newspapers, vintage or not — however, I do love finding the clippings and scrapbooks others have made and saved. What are your thoughts on clippings?
We’ve become quite used to cutting apart paper items over the years. In fact, our collection of clippings is so vast that we don’t really know if we’ll ever catch up on properly organizing and displaying the items in binders. We came across a collector who kept magazines together even if they just had 1 small clipping of Drew inside and that’s something we could never see ourselves doing. The space taken up by 1 entire magazine versus 1 clipping page or partial page is too big in the long run. Our main reasoning for making clippings is for easy access and display, at least once they’re in binders.
Those of us who collect vintage movie memorabilia know how hard it is to find certain items; paper and other little things were tossed out over the years. How does that affect how you shape your collections, what items you focus on?
We are definitely more attracted to items that relate to Drew’s early career and teenage years as we know they’re constantly becoming more difficult to come across.
We cringe at the thought of our most sought-after items having been printed in mass production at one point and now feel impossible to find.
On the other hand, we often don’t feel as excited about the newly released pieces until years later for the same reasons. For example, we’re attracted to items such as newspapers that are only on stands for a day, later making them so difficult to find. As with any collection, the rarer the item, the more desirable it becomes.
What items do you think collectors of contemporary film stars or celebrities make the mistake of overlooking?
It’s possible that collectors of contemporary stars make a lot of the mistakes we made at first, including attaching collected magazine pages to the walls of our bedrooms as teenagers.
One of the most amazing things we’ve found over the years is that foreign magazines often print outtakes from common photo shoots, usually years after they were taken in the states, so collectors should always be on the lookout for those.
How has running the Drewseum affected your collection, your collecting habits?
Since we started The Drewseum, we’ve had a quite a few of our fellow fans decide to stop collecting and either donate or sell their collections to us. We’ve had many people tell us that after seeing our site, they felt their Drew items really belonged with us. It’s sort of a strange phenomenon that we constantly joke about, as the pool of major collectors has dwindled quite a bit.
Also because we’re eager to display our items on the site for our visitors to see, we are more encouraged to stay on top of the collecting game and seek out the best items. It’s also interesting to see the difference in credibility we have with the contacts we make because they can go to the site and see how serious our collecting is.
Being that your collaborate on the Drewseum, yet you are still individual collectors, have you ever found yourselves competing for items? If so, do you have any rules — or is it still just a matter of whoever has the deepest pockets wins?
Although there have been situations where one of us may have the money for something that the other doesn’t, we’ve never had a hard time being fair when it comes to splitting up or deciding who will take the offer on amazing deals. People might be surprised as to how easy it is for us to decide who gets what, but it’s based on how well we know each other’s interests. Also, it helps that we always remind each other that the collections are shared and that when one of us has it, both of us do. The concept still makes sense for us despite the fact that 90% of our collections are clones of each other.
What I enjoy most about individual collections is, well, the individuality! In this case, your collecting is relatively contemporary, preserving what will be the history of an icon for future generations — but from the fan point of view, not some “corporate preservation.” What are some of the most prized items in your collection? What makes them so key to the collection as a whole?
Some of the most prized items in our collection are costumes and props from Drew’s films. We have some rare magazine items that we’ve only come across a handful of times on eBay and from other collectors over the years. We have a massive collection of original photos that are very near & dear to our hearts, many of which are extremely rare.
We also treasure our stationary & Christmas cards from Drew’s production company Flower Films.
There is a scarce catalog from Drew’s 1993 campaign with Guess that we both tried to obtain for years and luckily we now each own a copy; we’ve seen it sell for upwards of $800 as it’s somewhat of a “holy grail” for Drew collectors.
What remains the most elusive item that you’ve yet to acquire for the Drewseum?
We’ve been lucky enough to acquire most of the items we’ve sought after, even if it’s taken years of a searching. We are always on the look out for rare photos or items she’s personally used, like movie costumes. There are still a few elusive magazines and ads from her modeling campaigns we’re hoping to track down. Although we already own a handful of autographed items and they aren’t really a priority to us, it would be really special to have something signed that was made out to “The Drewseum”.
I’ve no doubt that day will come!
I’d like to thank both Anne and Ashley for sharing their collection of Drew Barrymore items and movie memorabilia — and I wish them many more fun years of collecting!
When I stumbled upon Mimi and her Retro Weight Watchers Experiment, I couldn’t take my eyes away…
I wanted to; but I couldn’t. *wink*
You know what they say, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” so I decided to join Mimi — in an interview.
When did you begin collecting Weight Watchers publications?
A couple years ago. It’s hard to say–it just sort of “happened.”
Did you set out to purposefully collect Weight Watchers items — or did you sort of realize that you were doing so over time?
It all started with one cookbook: a fellow WW member gave me a copy of The 1972 Weight Watchers Program Cookbook. I became so intrigued with it that I had to know everything about this crazy & wonderful program. Incidentally, my mom lost a great deal of weight on the 1972 WW program after I was born–so this added to my fascination with it. After I got my hands on that first retro cookbook… pretty soon, I started looking for more information, recipes, books, magazines, etc.
It became a hobby (read: obsession), and people started giving me their old WW stuff. The WW magazines are my favorite. They are hard to find, but they really contain some of the best “gems” and really represent the evolution of the WW program over the years.
What’s your criteria for collecting Weight Watchers publications? Are issues limited to a specific time period, condition rules, etc.
I am really only interested in the magazines from 1970-1976. These were the really wild and wacky years. Or as I like to call them: The Knox Gelatin years… The liver-once-a-week years…. The Fluffy Mackerel Pudding years. So the recipes are really horrifying and funny. But there is also something endearing to me about the program during these years. WW was so genuine and sincere about helping its members. It was like a family. Or a secret society or something. Really kitschy and cool.
How many do you think you have?
Maybe 50? But growing every day…
How do you organize them?
Since I reference and use them regularly–they are kept in a jelly cupboard in my kitchen alongside all of my other favorite cookbooks–both retro and otherwise.
How do people react to your collection?
Most people think my retro WW magazines are pretty odd. Most of the recipes are gag-inducing. Some of the recipes literally make you say “what were they thinking??” My husband tries not to look at them anymore. He had a bad experience with an aspic, and that scarred him for life.
You’ve been putting your collection to use; tell us about your blog and the Skinny Jeans Project.
My blog www.theskinnyjeansproject.blogspot.com is both a tribute and an adventure. As a Weight Watchers lifetime member who has lost over 40 pounds on the modern day WW program, I wanted to pay tribute to the history of WW and all of the brave women (including my mom) who followed this program in the early days. I also pay tribute to Jean Nidetch–the founder of WW and author of all of the publications I reference on my blog.
But most of all–my blog is a crazy adventure that I decided to embark upon as I turned 40. I figured it was time to do something BIG. I wanted to get back into my “skinny jeans”, so I thought I would incorporate the rules and recipes from the 1970’s WW program into my current weight loss plan and write about it. I re-create some scary retro WW recipes and yes–I even eat them. At times it is horrifying. At times it is delicious. You never know what dietetic disaster will end up on the platter… Maybe a giant Mackerel and Cantaloupe Salad? Maybe a Crown Roast of Frankfurters? Maybe a Chicken Buttermilk Loaf? Stop by and check it out! I dare you…
Because you use the books and magazines as intended, do you consider them collectibles?
I guess so. To me they are both collector’s items and cherished resources. Not all of my Retro WW magazines and cookbooks are in mint condition, but I love them all just the same!
Do you think you will begin collecting other cookbooks, health & diet publications, etc. from that period — or will you remain a Weight Watchers purist?
I admit that I am drawn to any cookbooks or magazines with a good selection of gelatin mold recipes. Better Homes and Gardens Circa 1955-1970 are my current fave. I also cherish my Knox On Camera cookbook from 1962. It’s a bit creepy, but I have a slight obsession with Knox Gelatin and anything that can be gelatinized. There’s something wonderful to me about “gel cookery” and the women who took that much time and effort to prepare something so disgustingly weird.
I also love any cookbooks or magazines focusing on the topic of retro dieting. I recently picked up a cookbook from 1961 called “Glorious Eating for Weight Watchers” for .50 at a flea market. It was published by Wesson Oil, had nothing to do with Weight Watchers and mostly contained pictures of fried food. I found this to be quite strange. I had to have it.
Anything you’d like to add or mention about your collection that I didn’t mention?
Aside from the recipes, which is what I love most about my Retro WW Magazines–each issue features a fashion section, a “success stories” section, and many valuable articles about health and fitness. But the best part of WW Magazine HANDS DOWN is “Ask Jean…” where readers get to write in with their questions, comments and complaints and have them answered by Jean Nidetch–the founder of WW. These letters and responses are never dull, because, well…let’s just say: Jean has chutzpah and tons of charm. To say the least.
So do you, Mimi; so do you.
I’d like to thank Mimi for sharing more information about her collection — even more than she shares at her blog. For quick retro WW bites, follow Mimi on Twitter @RetroMimi — “Sometimes its easier to swallow in small doses!”
So you and your family are driving down the road, on your way to some vacation destination spot, and suddenly a giant dog appears — I mean a huge building designed to look like a dog. A classic roadside attraction offering ice cream, coffee, sandwiches, and, of course, hot dogs. It didn’t matter if you were hungry or not, you’d just have to stop!
I love bears. A lot. So I sure would have been lured into staying at this motel promoted by an ad featuring dancing bears — especially when the ad says, “You’ll feel like doing a dance too when you Visit Your Smokies!”
But, unfortunately, this vintage advertisement was for the Bearskin Motel. Which doesn’t bode well for bears. And if I dance too, am I also performing some sort of death dance?
That’s too frightening. Too much for recommendations from Triple A and even Duncan Hines to overcome.
I’m not certain this Bearskin Motel, of Gatlinburg, is affiliated with the Bearskin Lodge in Gatlinburg. Even though it looks likely to the same same family ownership, they probably shouldn’t be condemned for the promotional sins of their fathers. But I’m not sure I can move past it… If I find myself visiting The Smokies, I don’t think I’ll be staying there. Oh, the nightmares of the poor bears!
Vintage ad found in the May 1963 issue of This Week In The Land of the Smokies and The Southern Highlands. (Yup, it’s titled “this week” but for the month.)