Published: April 10, 2007
Written and printed ephemera, by its very nature, is designed to be transitory, but the crowds gathered at the Stamford Marriott March 10‱1 for the Ephemera 27 fair prove that this collecting niche has lasting appeal.
Presented by Flamingo Productions, the fair is a highlight of The Ephemera Society of America’s annual convention here, which included conferences for members and an auction.
Promoter John Bruno was more than pleased with how smoothly the event ran in its inaugural year at this hotel. “These folks [hotel management] did everything they said and it was nice and easy from load-in to packout,” he said.
The gate was virtually the same as last year and was in the neighborhood of 2,000 to 2,500, according to Bruno, but, “They’re dedicated and they come and stay to buy. It was a fantastic weekend,” Bruno said.
Ephemera comprises a variety of printed material, which the show reflected ably, from trade cards and advertising to movie posters, maps and brochures to books and more.
Jean’s Books, Hatfield, Penn., specializes in children’s books illustrated by Harrison Cody, Tasha Tudor, Dr Seuss and others. At the show, Jean Kulp featured early books in all sizes from all genres to original illustrations in the style of Maud Humphrey and two works by Grace Wiederseim Drayton similar in style to her well-known sketches of the Campbell Kids, which was used in Campbell’s soup advertising for years.
First-time exhibitor Antiquebug, Wolfeboro, N.H., used the show as an opportunity to introduce a new line in its collections, boating memorabilia.
Peter Luke’s Americana, New Baltimore, N.Y., specializes in Eighteenth⁔wentieth Century Americana with collecting interests in trade cards and catalogs, broadsides, maps and atlases.
A highlight at Evie Eysenburg, Cold Spring, N.Y., was an 1850 Reward of Merit theorem with a floral border. Glass Menagerie, Bolton Landing, N.Y., presented a colorful booth with many large posters, including World War I and travel images as well as antique advertising.
While many dealers came from the tri-state area, a few came across the pond with some fine “eye candy,” including Quadrille and Historystore Limited, both from London, and French Dreams Deco of France, showcasing Art Deco Moderne.
Quadrille specializes in royal and rare commemoratives, performing arts and unusual items of London history, including a puzzle-type game, Transformations, circa 1858‶0, in a rare size, where the user can mix and match faces on the paper on wood pieces to create many variations.
Historystore Limited had archival display books with dozens of images in each organized by categories. Rare Valentine’s Day cards were a highlight in the celebrations book.
Aiglatson, Framingham, Mass., showed mostly trade cards, including a fine selection of tobacco cards.
Proving that the least photogenic often is most interesting or historically significant, a highlight at Alexander Autographs, Stamford, Conn., was a pen given to Clarence Mitchell that was used by US President Lyndon B. Johnson to sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Eveleigh Books & Stamps, Dover, Mass., had one of its best shows of late and interest was robust for dealer Leigh Stein’s longtime collection of material concerned with the life and times of Haskell Coffin, a portrait painter and illustrator from Nantucket in the early part of the Twentieth Century. It included original art by him, such as two portraits of his wife, actress Frances Starr.
From an historical standpoint, perhaps the most interesting item at Eveleigh’s was an unimpressive looking pamphlet. A key piece of ephemera, it was the original charter and subscribers list for the Mount Washington Cog Railway in 1849.
Contained within that pamphlet were the signatures of the founders Sylvester Marsh, Onslow Stearns and Henry Keyes. Keyes was president of the Connecticut and Passumpsic Railway Co., at a later date the president of the Atchinson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, and great-grandfather of Peter Keyes, an Ephemera 27 exhibitor.
The Mount Washington Cog Railway was the first of 147 different such railways using this or a similar design built around the world. “I could not have been more delighted that my customer was a descendant of a principal in this unique transportation system,” said Stein. “All in all, it was a well-run show that attracted customers for us from London to San Francisco.”
Kuenzig Books, Topsfield, Mass., had a good showing in its second appearance at the show. Noteworthy sales included manuscript material, a photograph album of Yosemite in the 1890s and various items in science and technology, including an 1852 railroad broadside.
Vintage Charmings, Ridgefield, Conn., specializes in authentic French ephemera and draws single-minded collectors at the show, including a rabbi who has been buying Judaica items from owner Kate Murray for years, as well as another customer who wants old French documents.
This year’s show saw a bride’s mother who bought Victorian calling cards to help her in designing announcements for her daughter. She also picked up some French bridal post cards, circa 1900s, for the next stage of wedding planning.
“I enjoy this show because it is different for me, and I feel great when people can find what they are looking for,” Murray said.
Caren Archive, Lincolndale, N.Y., said sales were across the board, including manuscripts, photographs and printed Americana. He had a couple bites on his front page newspaper printings of the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution, priced at $35,000 and $20,000, respectively.
Holiday items such as Santas and Fourth of July items dominated sales at Chris Russell and the Halloween Queen, Benwood, W.Va.
“I sold a lot of Santas in off-color suits and unusual Santas,” said dealer Pamela Apkarian-Russell, noting she sold a Hold to Light Santa for $750. Sales were hardy in advertising, particularly early lithographic type postcards and patriotic postcards with a Fourth of July motif.
Russell was one of several dealers to comment favorably on the show’s new home. “The facilities were nicer and lighting was much better,” she said. “My cat comes into the show and he had a wonderful time visiting with all his human dealer friends and then wowing the customers with his St Paddy’s Day outfit.”
For information on upcoming Flamingo shows, www.flamingoshows.com or 631-261-4590.
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