From colorful Victorian trade cards of the 1870s to the Super Bowl commercials of today, advertising has gone from a small component of everyday life to a ubiquitous presence.

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.

Other advertising collectibles include produce crate labels, salesman samples, tobacco tins, beer trays, and door push and pull signs.


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Recent News: Advertising

Source: Google News

Florida Woman Finds Rare Lithograph Print at Goodwill
ABC News, March 30th

Flaherty says the vintage advertising tins such as the one she purchased were distributed by Friedman, Keiler & Co. Distillers to be displayed in bars and saloons. A similar print, Flaherty also learned, had been sold for $3,300 at an auction last...Read more

Go retro with these great WWII posters and magnets
Aberdeen Press and Journal, March 26th

Retro and vintage advertising posters and magnets can add a touch of glamour and make a good talking point when used in the kitchen. The Imperial War Museum Shop has a nice selection of posters and magnets showing adverts created to keep spirits up ...Read more

Portals to the past: Antique advertising overstates
Waco Tribune-Herald, March 25th

Portals to the past: Antique advertising overstates By Claire Masters Waco Tribune-Herald. I recently came across two marvelous old women's magazines, a McCall's from July 1930 and Good Housekeeping from November 1931. In contrasting them with their ...Read more

Va Va Vroom: Carriage Barn Arts Center Embraces, Celebrates Waveny ...
New Canaanite, March 25th

include early photographs documenting the Laphams' use of the 1895-built Carriage Barn, and will feature contemporary paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures by 35 artists from Connecticut and New York as well as vintage advertising posters...Read more

Storage Wars Stars to be Featured in Vintage Show at Dallas Market Hall, April ...
Freestonecountytimesonline, March 25th

Collectors of all types can expect to peruse through historical artifacts, architectural remnants, antique furniture, estate jewelry, glassware, antique advertising and more. The event is open to the public and takes place at Dallas Market Hall, 2200...Read more

Hundreds explore antiques and collectibles
Hartford Courant, March 24th

Reid-Martin invites and organizes the vendors, Lamson said, who offer a wide range of collections – vintage advertising art, rare linens, costume and fine jewelry, tableware and more – as well as a hodgepodge of oddities such as the pigeon carrier...Read more

Cecil's Emporium puts fresh twist on antiques in Parrish
Bradenton Herald, March 15th

Appropriately, Cecil's Emporium has a room devoted to model train memorabilia. Elsewhere, the eclectic shop seems to have a little of everything from framed vintage advertising, to sports collectibles, circus posters, post cards, tea cups, oriental...Read more

WTFork: Florida Cracker Kitchen is open and worth a road trip
TBO.com, March 12th

The vibe at Florida Cracker Kitchen is kitschy old-school-Florida at its finest, and service is attentive and small-town friendly. But don't let the down-home décor, Christmas lights, vintage advertising signs and requisite Adirondack chairs and...Read more