Perhaps the most easily recognizable advertising medium of the late 19th and early 20th centuries is the porcelain sign. Starting in the 1880s, companies saw the advantages of porcelain as a material that was both durable and weather resistant. Although these signs were first made in Germany, the manufacturing technique soon spread to America, where their bold colors and eye-catching graphics were put to good use advertising cigars, motor oil, railroads, and soda pop, especially Coca-Cola. With the onset of World War II, however, many of these signs were destroyed for the base metal they contained. Their resulting rarity makes them attractive to collectors.
A similar fate befell tin signs, which were often produced as a cheap alternative to porcelain ones. Unlike their porcelain companions, however, tin signs were prone to rust and degradation, so many of those that have survived the years are in poor condition.
On the other end of the size scale were celluloid pinbacks, cheap buttons that were meant to be worn and displayed. Some companies distributed pinbacks to encourage newspaper subscriptions or the purchase of particular brands of cigarettes, while others were handed out at political rallies as campaign pieces.
Alongside ads that were meant to be seen were ads that were meant to be used. Coca-Cola, for one, realized that practical pieces of advertising would last much longer than signs and posters, which were routinely discarded. Common types of “utilitarian” ads included thermometers, calendars, mirrors, and clocks, all of which bore a company’s brand name and image in some way or another. Some small storeowners, for example, kept their vintage Coca-Cola thermometers displayed in their stores, for the simple reason that they remained useful. Items that were never or barely used, of course, command the most attention from collectors.
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Toronto auto show features celebrity rides, quirky concept carsbnn.ca, February 12th
The gorgeous cars of the Cobble Beach Concours d'Elegance will return for a second year in the Art and the Automobile exhibit, though this time the theme is vintage advertising. Blow-ups of classic ads and actual examples of the cars they sold will be...Read more
Calendar: What's happening the weekend of Feb. 12-14The Oakland Press, February 10th
20 at the Royal Oak Farmers' Market, 316 E. 11 Mile Road, Royal Oak, featuring pinup art, rock 'n' roll memorabilia, collectible books, vinyl records, movie & TV memorabilia, comics, toys, vintage advertising, $4 for adults, free for ages 12 and younger...Read more
Vinegar brand Sarson's adopts limited-edition retro bottleFoodBev.com, February 9th
Research carried out by the brand identified the positive brand associations that the Fish and Chip illustrations generated among consumers, particularly its strong connotations of Britishness and vintage advertising. Parker Williams was responsible...Read more
A passion for antiquing drives store owners through a life-long careerGreenwood Index Journal (press release), February 8th
Besides antique bottles, the Bray's also sell antique advertising signs, vintage gas cans, and antique cupboards and trunks, along with other oddities. "All us antiques people, we laugh about it," John said, "because it's almost like a disease: Once...Read more
Antique show looking for participants in CalforniaDaily Triplicate, February 4th
According to the show's creators, some of the items Wolfe and Fritz are hoping to buy include tin, wind-up and cast iron toys, pre-50s vending machines, pinball and slot machines, old movie posters, vintage movie memorabilia, vintage advertising items, ...Read more
Morphy Auctions' March Premier Sales Event to Feature a Remarkable Selection ...Fine Books & Collections Magazine, February 4th
563.jpg Denver, Pennsylvania, February 2016 - Morphy Auctions, the finest auction destination for fresh to the market collections, is pleased to announce this highly anticipated antique advertising sale event to be held on March 6, 2016. Over 650 truly ...Read more
Pitch Names Deutsch Vet Michael Kadin as Its New Chief Creative OfficerAgencySpy, January 15th
Xanthe Wells, who joined the shop as ECD in 2013 after seven years at TBWA\Chiat\Day and got promoted to the chief creative role two years ago, will be leaving to explore other opportunities. In her place, the agency has hired Michael Kadin, who is...Read more
Quality Antique Advertising, Military, Primitives, and Toy AuctionMaine Antique Digest, January 14th
Select items from a 30+ year collection includes: Vintage Porcelain and Tin Advertising Signs, Thermometers, Clocks, Advertising Beer Trays, German and Mettlach Steins, Civil War items include: Photographs, U.S. Springfield Trapdoor Rifle (Stock...Read more