Collecting Halloween

October 24th, 2017

Boo!  Halloween Fun…People of all ages are decorating for Halloween.  From outside decorations to inside decorations it reminds us fall is just around the corner.  While you can go to any store and buy decorations, they will not have the look and feel of vintage pieces.


Vintage Halloween can come in any form from china to plastic, from paper mache to cardboard.  This little china Halloween Angel that can sit on a shelf and priced at under $20. Noisemakers were very popular in the 1950’s and 1960s and these can be fun for the kids and noisy…but a great memory.


You can also grace your table with some Halloween cloth napkins.  These were offered at Five and Dime stores in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  Also candy boxes are a favorite and colorful for any shelf.  Check out to see more of great vintage Halloween pieces.



Did you know?

April 11th, 2017

Tip Tray origin


You may think the act of tipping was born in America, but we actually borrowed it from Europe in the late 1800’s. It is suggested that wealthy Americans that traveled abroad to Europe brought the custom back with them as a way to “show off” and prove their elevated education and class.


762_1477429603AT.I.P is short for “to insure promptitude” and was started in 17th century when bar patrons would slip money to the waiter. After it was introduced in America, many American’s disapproved of it’s use, as many believed it went against the countries ideals, as the servant class would be financially dependent on the upper class.

Since most business owners were the ones who traveled to Europe and brought this custom to America, they used it to their advantage and put their advertising on tip trays. Many did not survive due to scratches and attrition. These were meant to be used, not put on a shelf! It put the advertisers name right in front of their customer at the end of the meal, so it had the customer’s attention! Whether it was a cigar ad, a newspaper, after dinner tea, or if the meal was not very good, a laxative.  762_1461444528A 762_1490044704A 762_1404851309A 

Tip trays have an extensive following, and of course collectors are looking for the mint or near mint examples. Some trays can be found for under $100, but the rarer ones can fetch over $1000. Their small size appeal to many collectors, as most people don’t have much room to display their collections, but with the size of tip trays, many can be displayed at once.

These examples and more can be found on our website, Our dealers sell only vintage items, no reproductions, so you can be assured of getting the real deal!

How do I know the value of a piece?

April 11th, 2017

The collecting market is ever changing.  For example several years ago, the market was up for oak furniture, china and depression glass, now prices  are at an all-time low.  What I think is funny, is that people are not buying china and glassware unless they go The Cracker Barrel. They are paying more for new china than buying old.  I love the old Johnston Brothers turkey plates as the colors are warm and are “real” china.

Anyway, another change in the market are influenced by television.  Shows such as “The Pickers”, “Pawn Stars and “Storage Wars” will cause prices to go up or down ,depending on what they find and what they are willing to pay.

Coca Cola Calendar Sold at Schmidt Museum for $1,000.

In advertising prices could be influenced by collections being sold, such as the Coca Cola Schmidt Collection.  People often go to auctions such as that and want a piece of history with no knowledge of value.  Also, there can be a find of a quantity of rare sign that floods the market for a time and drop the prices.  But, overall prices are dictated by condition and rarity.

With all of that in mind, knowledge is always important.  Checking out sites such as to find out what is available and price range is important.  While places like ebay can also be used as a basis, you will have to go through a lot of pieces to find an original piece, while icollect247 has over 20,000 all vintage original pieces with no reproductions.

In any case, buy what you enjoy feel comfortable paying.  It is like investing in the stock market, however, difference is you get to look at your investment and enjoy it…win or lose.  Start collecting today!

Did you know?

April 3rd, 2017







Tobacco Tin History








Tobacco tins got their start in 1875 when a patent for offset lithography was issued. Before then transferring ink from hard stone to hard tin was unsuccessful. This new technique allowed the ink on the litho stone to be passed to a cardboard cylinder and then offset to the tin. The ability to print on tin was important to the tobacco companies since tin containers allowed their products to be sealed from the air, which dried out the tobacco, and protected the tobacco from damage. A tin in the pocket was a smarter way to store rolled cigarettes than a soft paper wrapper or box.


Because the shapes of tobacco tins were relatively standard, the lithographed artwork on the outsides of the tins was just about the only way to differentiate products on a tobacconist’s shelves. Imagery ranged from birds to butterflies to flowers, with some brands targeted to wealthy men, and brands targeted to young women.


Tobacco tins were manufactured in only a small number of shapes and styles. Cylinders and boxes were used for tobacco sold in bulk, while smaller flat or concave tins were designed to be carried in a pocket. A third form was the lunchbox tin, so named for its wire handle and frequent reuse by smokers and their children alike to carry their lunch to work or school. Some examples are below.



These and more can be found on our site We have over 50 dealers selling only vintage merchandise!



Collecting Coca-Cola Advertising

March 28th, 2017

Coca-Cola advertising is by far the most popular advertising in the soda category of collecting.  The reason is that it is one of the oldest and one of the most famous soda in history.  Advertising pieces are very plentiful and you can find the advertising in almost any condition you are looking for.



Coca-Cola is known to have been invented in 1886 by pharmacist, John Stith Pemberton in Columbus Georgia.  In 1892 it was incorporated and as they say the rest is history.  One thing that I have found interesting that is on the internet is if your great-great grandmother had purchased one share of its stock in 1919 for $40 and all of the dividends were reinvested, it would be work $9.8 million in 2012, a 10.7% annual increase adjusted for inflation.  With my luck it would have been left to a long lost relative.

Anyway, with Coca-Cola advertising spanning over 100 years, there are a lot of different eras to collect.  The most expensive and rarest is the early pieces of advertising during the early years.  When I began collecting.   I started with a group of reproduction trays which had been offered for collecting so many bottle caps.  These were great decorator pieces and if you are looking for something to decorate with, these are plentiful at flea markets and antique shops.  They will be marked on the rim with the date of production.

A wooden crate can be used for rolled magazines.

A wooden crate can be used for rolled magazines.

The next step in my collecting was to replace them with the original and earlier trays.  As I learned more about the company history, took the collecting still back further to earlier cardboard.  In each case, I was able to sell what I had and upgrade to earlier pieces.  That is something to keep in mind when collecting…can you resell and get your money back from the piece or make money on your collection.

Battery Operated Store Display

Battery Operated Store Display

Back to what you want to do with your collection.  If you want to put it on the side of your barn, you will find a number of pieces in “poor” to “good” condition at a cheaper price. Put these outside and enjoy.  If you are looking for something to put in your home, decide on an era and what you want to spend, then look at websites such as and even contact sellers on the site to see if they have something that is not listed on line.

To read more about Coca-Cola soda advertising, read the article in Antique Back Roads Magazine volume 10.

More Coca Cola festoons in Volume 10 of Antique Back Roads Magazine.

More Coca Cola festoons in Volume 10 of Antique Back Roads Magazine.

As for me, I have a whole room and a soda fountain with Coca-Cola advertising and love walking back into time to enjoy it!

Halloween Memories and Collecting

October 3rd, 2016

In  1950’8_1472651601as, who knew,  that Trick or Treat would become a large holiday and that candy sales would become a $2 billion business.  Who could have imaged that haunted houses would become a half billion dollars a year business. And who could image their parents would ever dress up for Halloween and then go to Halloween parties.  Well it is not me, as I just could not see my parents going to spend money on costumes for themselves, let along me.


My memories of Halloween are still alive each time I look through the old box of memories and find the Pilgrim outfit my mother loving made.  M8_1472337765aom worked many hours sewing and starching the grey dress, white collar, apron and hat.  Then dad would step in and take me to the local Lions Club for their annual Halloween Party.  All of the kids would walk in a circle in front of judges hoping to get the prize of a silver dollar as the “Best Costume”.  During the late 1950’s boxed Halloween costumes were becoming popular and you could even get a mask with them.


Anyway, I did win first price but I don’t know what I did with the silver dollar, but I still have the costume and memories.  Or course, I carried on the tradition in the 1970’s with my son and made him a tiger outfit and he also won.

Now, those memories are kept alive in collecting.  For many years I have collected Halloween pieces from the 1950’s and 1960’s.  These great hard plasclowntic pieces were often lollipop holders on wheels.  It was fun pulling out my Halloween Postcards and plastic toys, then arranging them on a table.  In fact I even let my granddaughter play with them in the floor.  That is w
hat memories is made of.

You will find some of those great Halloween pieces available for sale on line at

Celluloid was used everywhere

July 23rd, 2016
dresser set

Celluloid Dresser Set for sale on

I have fallen in love with celluloid items.  While they date as early as the mid 1800’s, celluloid was used actually registered as celluloid in 1870.  It was the first synthetic plastic material to be used in millions of products.  Early hair combs were shaped and fashioned as fans with fancy jewels. As women fell in love with the lovely combs, dresser sets were made to grace their bureaus.  

Due to its cheap cost and flexibility it became a favor with companies to promote their products. Early companies such as Soap Pinback AdvertisingWhitehead and Hoag Company of Newark NJ started patenting their pinback buttons in 1894.  Whitehead and Hoag are also famous for their advertising pocket mirrors with the Coca-Cola oval ones the most famous.

Back side of Pinback

Back side of Pinback


Their names were on the insides of the pinbacks and on the sides of the mirrors.  You will find pinback buttons advertising everything under the sun, as grocers and hardware stores gave away these marketing pieces.  Also lapel pins were offered in shape of flags. 

Other pieces that were made out of the celluloid included baby rattles, toys, compacts, tape measures, blotter covers, bookmarks and autograph albums to name just a few items. These are fun to collect and offer a glimmer of advertising years ago.  All of these pieces are currently offered for sale on – just search celluloid.

match safetapecompactbookmarkbook markalbumtape measurezraddlebookmark1mirror

Collecting Advertising Trade Cards

March 16th, 2016
Die Cut Trade Card

Die Cut Trade Card

What are small, inexpensive, easy to store and loaded with variety – Advertising Trade Cards!


     Once used as a business card as early as the 1700’s, they were handed out by merchants and manufacturers to get out the word about their product or merchandise.  With the introduction of lithography in the late 1800’s, they were mass produced and the merchant could order by picking a general illustration, or a specific illustration showing their product, and then having their business information printed on the back of the card.

      You will find collectors buy by the subject matter or by the business name and location. The most popular subjects are sewing, farm machinery and now the baseball world has discovered these cards can show very early players or teams.

Clark's O.N.T. Trade Card Giveaway

Clark’s O.N.T. Trade Card Giveaway


Prices can go from $1.00 and on up to the thousands for the very early cards showing rare subjects such as clipper ships. This can be a very inexpensive hobby to start out with – this could even be a great introduction to children to get into the collecting world, with a look into what life was like in our past.

Thread Ad with Forbes & Fay

Thread Ad with Forbes & Fay

When buying a trade cards, always look at the back of the card. Many of them were glued into scrap books and there could be glue residue or even torn away wording.  As always condition is important and will determine value.


Blog written by seller:  Kathryn Wilson





Ways to Enjoy Your Vintage Holiday Postcards

March 9th, 2016

Our Antique Back Roads magazine volume 12, will be in the “star” antique shops listed on our shop directory in a week or so.  The shipper has been waiting for the UPS to pick up, so check with your favorite antique shop next week.  In that volume, we have an article about collecting postcards.  While I am not a postcard collector as such, I enjoy including them in my holiday decorations.  So, you could say I collect holiday postcards – Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Years ago I found what I thought was a postcard rack, but I was never sure if it was for calling cards or something else.  Anyway, I use it for the focal point of my other small holiday collections.


Easter Postcard Display with Easter Rabbit and Milk Glass Eggs

In our den I have an old wooden chest which serves nicely or a display area.  For Valentine’s Day I put postcards on it and surround it with the cute china figures with the month of February on them.  For Easter, I surround my postcards with old rabbits.  For Halloween, I either use some old Jack O Lanterns or Rosbo candy containers.

Then my favorite holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas.  For Thanksgiving I use either Turkey salt and pepper shakers or the 1950’s wax candles. Christmas postcards are the most plentiful and you can do something different each year. For example using postcards with Santas can then carry over into putting groupings of old Santas around.  Nativity scenes can be carried over into a collection of small figures of Joseph, Mary, Baby Jesus and the other characters.  In between seasons, these can be used to display Trade Cards or other small collectibles.

I had two of the post card displays in our antique shop with one displaying postcards.  Both sold the same day.  Keep your eyes out for these as you visit local antique shops.  This is one piece I would like to see a reproduction of, as it is something that can be used to display old things.

Where to find old paint cans and what do I pay?

February 29th, 2016

Finding old paint cans be fun and can be found at any estate auction, yard sale and antique shops. To most people they are just old paint cans, as who would want them? Small sample cans are normally found at estate sales in the paintcansbox lots. These were small cans that were given away to the customers. Normally they ended up in the back of a cabinet, as they were too small to paint anything and you know that people did not throw anything away. Sample cans will be marked “sample” on the 20160121_081851label, which just pint size would be purchased.
Look for cans that have not been opened and no paint running down the sides. Look for paper labels with great detail and companies you have not heard of. Prices can range for $1.00 to $15.00. We saw a small pint size in an antique shop over the weekend, and while I did not have it, I would not pay $40 for it.
The larger gallon sized cans are harder to find, as the paint was used and then the cans thrown away. They had everything from roof paint to canvas paint an20160120_082400d the graphics were just as good. There were even display cans that were made empty, those are great finds. Every company made paint and they can be displayed beside lots of collections. For example there was John Deere paint, which can be put beside a tractor. The Baer paint company featured a logo of a bear that was almost man like, so this would be a perfect seat for a “bear” if you collect them. These are neat go with for any collection, so start the search.