Ephemera 24 Auction

On Saturday, March 20, 2004, the Ephemera Society will hold an auction whose proceeds will benefit the organization’s educational programs.  It will take place in Greenwich, Connecticut at the Hyatt Regency Hotel as part of Ephemera 24, the society’s annual conference and fair.

Last year’s auction cleared more than $4,000, and we look forward to topping that amount this time around.  Conducted once again by Gary Garland of Swann Galleries, the auction gives attendees and mail bidders the chance to build their collections while helping a worthy cause.

The 2004 auction includes 153 lots, all generously donated by members.  Included are trade cards, posters, autographs, Valentines, manuscripts, engravings, and many other kinds of paper ephemera.

Lot number one is a wonderful archive dating from the Civil War, consisting of letters and documents from and about Sgt. Luke Warren of the 20th Indiana Light Artillery, and lot number 153 is a handmade paper doll with two costumes, dating from ca. 1860.  In between is an assortment of items from many other time periods and a variety of geographical areas.

Individuals interested in cigar memorabilia will be drawn to several lots.  Number 100 is a chromolithographed 1909 cigar box label showing a portrait of Louis Bleriot, honoring his 37-minute flight across the English Channel, the first airplane crossing of this body of water.  Lot 120 is an inner label depicting a butterfly whose body is in the shape of a cigar ("Smoke Buzzer Cigars"), and the following lot is an Emil Steffens lithograph from ca. 1898 of two bulldogs playing poker with a cigar smoking monkey.

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is represented by a poster by artist Bill Bailey used as a Christmas and New Year’s greeting.  Dating from 1945, it pictures pairs and small groups of animals and depicts other components of a circus, from trapeze artists to parading elephants and prancing horses.  From the 1930s is an original design for a Ringling poster by Robert Dvorak.  A ringmaster directs a menagerie of entertainers, including a bareback rider, man on stilts, sword swallower, and a performing seal.

The earliest item from England is an eight-page act of Parliament printed on December 17, 1652 that authorizes raising £120,000 to support the maintenance of armed forces in England, Ireland, and Scotland "and also for the Navy."  The latest item from England, dating from 1964, is a Beatles "Fun Kit," containing paper versions of what every Beatle fan could want: a Beatle hat, four posters, homework stickers, pill bottle labels, a Beatle pet collar, etc.

Advertising ephemera includes an illustrated trade card from J.S. Freeman & Co., "wholesale and retail dealers in leather and shoe findings;" an 1890s advertisement from Heinz shaped like a pickle, showing a girl in a chef’s hat holding a spoonful of baked beans; and two trade cards from Frank Miller & Sons, New York City, touting the firm’s "improved French blackings."

Travel is represented by two lots of "Raymond’s Vacation Excursions" from 1883 and 1884.  Raymond traveled to Colorado and California in 1883 and created an 80 page pamphlet to record his experiences; one year later he returned to the West Coast and noted in another journal such things as his daily activities, what he wore, and guidebooks he found particularly helpful.  Pictorially, there is an illustrated advertisement from the Canadian National Railways promoting Quebec, a map of Ohio from 1837, a hand colored photograph of Venice’s Doge’s Palace, and a lot consisting of travel brochures.

Also, the auction offers lots containing 750 matchbook covers, 95 trade and cigarette cards from pre-World War II Germany, 60+ lottery tickets, six pieces of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia, a colorful assortment of 36 Reward of Merit cards, 187 boxing cards, and 50 historical prints and steel engravings.

Members of the Ephemera Society received a 40-page catalog in early February with instructions for submitting bids by mail, preview dates and times, and further particulars.

Join us for the auction on March 20 at Ephemera 24.  The Hyatt Regency is conveniently located on Putnam Avenue off Exit 5 of Route I-95, and it is close to Greenwich’s train station.  The auction will be in the hotel’s Roundhill Room at 8:00 PM following a buffet dinner.

E. Richard McKinstry
Past President

[This article originally appeared in the Northeast Journal of Antiques & Art.]

   © 2011 The Ephemera Society of America