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.
Grapefruitmoon Gallery just acquired an important collection of pen & ink original illustration art comic drawings from many of the leading Golden Age of Illustration comic strip illustrators that were received by a persistent young girl named Emma Pratt Hall who lived in Mansfield Mass. She wrote many fan letters requesting doodles from her favorite comic artists of the era, nearly one hundred artists honored her requests. These are all from the years of 1939 – 1940 and many have letters that accompany the drawings. It really is amazing the response she received this collection is outstanding. I would guess she was a persuasive letter writer and by the personalized content of many of the letters she was likely a young girl. Her comic art collection gained her some recognition as she received a press newspaper mention from a Sheffield England newspaper that is not included in this auction – but we included a scan of it the bottom of the listing as reference and provenance.
The date of the newspaper clipping is unknown to me, and I’ve no idea what percentage of Emma’s total collection this is, but there’s a wide variety of pieces, subjects, artists, and styles.
Beyond the incredible provenance, and even that this was a child collecting back then, what’s really fascinating about the Emma Pratt Hall collection is the sad fact that it could not be done today.
Unlike those autograph collections we hear about, folks — including children — cannot just write in and request a signature, a doodle, or anything like that today. Nowadays, fans are lucky if they even receive a stamped-signed photo when they mail their favorite celebrities. But to take the time to respond to an individual’s request for a “doodle” from an artist or illustrator?! No way. The more established or famous the person, the more they are likely to charge for an autograph or reply with a price list of available works. Yet here we have a collection which proves that not only could young Emma make a request of a popular illustrator (for all these illustrators were paid and popular at the time) and have her wish granted, but she’d receive lovely little letters showing how happy the illustrator, comic strip creator, political cartoonist, commercial artist, etc. was to have such a request!
The very juxtaposition of the graphic crime news against happy illustrated fashion models makes this a fascinating work of altered art! The fact that it’s a vintage voyeuristic preservation of crime news as well as a time capsule of fashions makes it even more rare and collectible.
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!
As an ephemera collector, I find lots of old clippings inside my vintage magazines, retro catalogs, and even in my antique books. While the acidic old paper may be a threat to already fragile old paper, I am delighted by what I find. It’s somehow comforting to know that we humans have always clipped and tucked away little bits and bobs in publications, either to save them as related materials or as a bookmark in a pinch.
The trouble is trying to discover the age of the clipping itself, because, then as now, we humans don’t exactly tuck only ephemera from the same year as the publication itself.
Now for some, the year of the clipping is irrelevant; but I am an admitted obsessive, remember? So it matters to me.
When I found these old bits of paper in a recently purchased vintage copy of Watkins Household Hints, I wanted to post them to my vintage home ec site, Things Your Grandmother Knew — but I wanted to properly document them as accurately as possible. While the date on the old handwritten partial tip on whitening clothes would be nearly impossible to know, I felt compelled to do better with the newspaper clippings.
Neither vintage newspaper clipping has any masthead or anything to indicate the newspaper name or location, but I figured I could at least get a date or time period for them.
The first one, the larger one with the list of household tips, was easy. There was the complete short story of the resignation of Marvin L. McLain. No, I’m no expert on US assistant secretaries of agriculture; but Google helped nail that date to October 27, 1960. (Give or take a day, I suppose.)
The other clipping however…
The only clue I had to help me with this clipped and saved tip on brightening furniture was the ad on the back. An advertisement with an unusual phone number.
Now I’m familiar with telephone numbers with letters in them; prior to 1958, phone numbers used exchange name dialing or letter prefixes. (And, in fact, it wasn’t until sometime in the mid-1980s that exchange name dialing gave way to all-number calling or ANC.) However, the phone number in this ad, “1597-J,” doesn’t have a letter prefix, it has a letter suffix.
This I was not familiar with.
I knew it was a phone number, not some blind box number; the ad reads “Phone 1597-J.” Was it possible this was just a more fashionable way to write a phone number? It certainly wasn’t a pragmatic or effective way because the exchange would need to be dialed or given to the phone operator first. It just didn’t seem to make sense.
I tried to do some online research, but I didn’t find much to help me. I knew I was putting the wrong words or terms into search engines and data bases. Knowing I was at a wall, I decided to look up the “J” and see where it might least me…
Not content to just sit back and wait for returned calls and emails, I turned to the only other clue I had: the name of the person can business mentioned in the old ad: Arnold Kholmetz, Auctioneer and Realtor. That turned up some old articles in the Milwaukee Journal – Sentinel Archives. This made sense because the first clipping seemed to be from a Wisconsin newspaper and the old household tips book itself was purchased in that state.
So, naturally, I then did what any true obsessive does and called the Journal Sentinel to speak to their archivist. Sadly, Mr. King hadn’t any idea himself regarding the phone number, but he suggested a few other places to try.
The first was AT&T, which does have a telephone history page, has no means of connecting you to anyone but customer service. (I’m not sure you’d call it “irony”: it was simply pure frustration to have their operator inform you that they outside of customer service they only have a list of names and extensions, no departments, etc.) I did manage to get to the voice mail of “Investor Relations” but no one has returned my call and I don’t expect anyone ever will. Note to collectors and historians: Don’t bother contacting AT&T; not by phone anyway.
The second place Mr. King suggested was the Milwaukee Public Library; they couldn’t help me, but stated I was welcome to come in and look through all their old phone books to see if I could find the research I needed.
Well, I wasn’t going to do that — at least not right now; but I wasn’t going to give up either. Like a dog with a bone, and fueled with the rationalization of helping other collectors by writing a great “how to” article, I wasn’t ready to give up. I could call the Watertown Public Library (because that’s where those old Journal Sentinel archive clippings said Mr. Kohlmetz was from) or I could try to research the partial radio show listings showing there at left of the clipping…
But then Jane Kenealy, Archivist at the San Diego History Center, called me back.
I explained to her that I no longer believed I had an old San Diego phone number, but did she have any idea what the “J” could be at the end of a phone number?
She said she didn’t know, but went to get the 1931 San Diego City Directory — the first city directory which listed phone numbers. I listened to her as she read numbers that ended in “J” and a few other letters, but it was clear, she said, that these letters were suffixes; that they were not exchanges because each page or section of the listings began with the exchange, then listed the phone numbers. We were both puzzled…
“All the phone numbers which end in letters end in either a ‘J,’ ‘M,’ ‘R,’ or ‘W’… But no place in the book is there an explanation…” said Kenealy with the excitement of a researcher enjoying her clues. “Let me go look for another book and I’ll call you back.”
Somewhere in the back of my brain those four letters meant something; I just couldn’t access it. Not yet. So I searched for “telephone J M R W” and found this:
J M R W were suffixes used on the station numbers on certain manual (non-dial) common battery exchanges that had 10000 line switchboards with 4 subscribers on each line. In metropolitan areas where there was a mixture of dial and manual telephones because the transformation from manual to dial service was in progress and still had not been completed, the DIAL phones were provided with dials with these letters so they could call the MANUAL subscribers who did not yet have dial telephones. The conversion from manual to dial often extended over several years. Washington, DC for example started this conversion with its first dial exchange which was cut into service on May 3, 1930. But this conversion did not complete until the last manual exchange was converted to automatic dial operation on April 23, 1949 – some 19 years later. Chicago started its conversion in the early 20s, but it did not complete until 1957.
Upon seeing that vintage telephone dial plate, and this Western Electric Candlestick Telephone, I not only remembered the old party lines but knew that I just should have picked up my modern cell phone and called my parents about this old phone number; they likely would have known all of this and saved me a lot of work.
line numbers could be one to four digits long; multi-party lines had a letter tacked onto each station on parties sharing the line. All parties on the same line shared the same numericals however. 2-party lines differentiated each other with W & J 4-party lines used J, M, R, W
I felt embarrassed that I’d sent her on such a long wild goose chase, but Ms. Kenealy was more than kind — she was excited. “Thank you for helping me find out something I didn’t know! I’ve never had the excuse to look this up,” she said. And then we ended up talking a bit about how this party line information hadn’t been published in any of the directories or phone books because people then “just knew what it was.” Which, leads to a larger issue of why history and indeed collecting with an obsessive streak are so important — including our documentation of it all these years later.
And that brings us back to the date of this old newspaper clipping…
I did contact the Watertown Public Library, but they had no records regarding the end of party lines. But for me, this is where the research ends.
I’m satisfied at this point narrowing it down to somewhere between the 1930s and the early 1950s… Likely the mid 40’s, based on all the little clues, such as dates on the newspaper clippings (and ads without such patyline references), the fact that the clipping mentions using silk (and after WWII, nylon was more in vogue and use than silk).
It’s not pinpoint accuracy, but I think I’ve accomplished helping other collectors learn how to date the clippings they have, assisted in documenting a part of history — and been reminded that one’s own parents are still an excellent resource, no matter what kind of help you need.