– One needed a real purpose to brave the arctic temperatures and wind chill on January 10 and 11. The thousands that turned out for the 45th Papermania (in recent years dubbed Papermania Plus) at the Hartford Civic Center could not have been more determined – and no wonder: the nostalgia of the merchandise and friendliness of the 160 dealers was warm enough to thaw out anyone.
On Saturday folks got the first choice of sheet music, autographs, first edition children’s books, movie posters, old photographs, political memorabilia and postcards. There were also daguerreotypes, cartes de visite (CDVs), vintage paperbacks, signed engravings and lithographs, sports memorabilia and baseball cards, advertising tins, trays, posters, etc, and hundreds of quirky interesting rdf_Descriptions that defy categorization.
Sunday admission was half price for senior citizens and college students and everyone was invited to bring in rdf_Descriptions for free appraisal from 10 am to 3 pm. “The gate was excellent both Saturday and Sunday. The appraisal went very well. We just started it and hundreds of people took advantage of the free appraisal. We will do it again in August,” said Arlene Shea, show manager.
Around 2:30 or 3 pm on Sunday, a water main break created havoc, closing Asylum Street for two city blocks right next to the Civic Center. There were several fire trucks and police vehicles to deal with the situation. The Hartford police were so cordial and courteous in directing traffic around the one-way streets, that dealers made a point of commenting later about it to show manager Shea. The police directions were especially helpful to the dealers from out of state and Canada, many of whom had long drives ahead of them. Fortunately there was no damage to goods or cars, and pack-out went as smoothly as possible.
Ken Schutlz, Hoboken, N.J., had wonderful old posters of the Hindenberg and the Olympia, sister ship of the Titanic, also owned by the White Star Line. He specializes in world’s fair memorabilia. He brought an attractive litho on tin of the Moratania owned by the Cunard Line. Schultz also brought a postcard of Titanic docked in South Hampton with flags flying. He had a 1904 St Louis Exposition Jefferson Guard Sword.
Elliot Sherman and Tom Heitzman, Leverett, Mass., shared a booth. Heitzman had gold plated World War II bombers and other souvenir jewelry, a large volume entitled Maintenance Manual North American Aviation Inc and a Navy man’s photo scrapbook. Sherman brought some 1939 American Airlines graduation pictures of ladies and gents standing in front of a huge prop plane on the tarmac in front of the American Airlines hangar.
Tom Gordon at Silver Image Antiques had an array of political buttons, old money and bank notes, a check from Pennsylvania National Bank dated June 15, 1880, a button card of 12 buttons for the 7th New York Regiment. He also had trade catalogs, maps, old letters, newspapers and a ledger from 1843.
George Ross Irving of New York City held court at his Papermania booth. He had a signed Life magazine cover featuring Joe Dimaggio’s image and autograph, a pair of signed photos of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez, and signed photos of Clark Gable, Will Rogers, Muhammad Ali, John Wayne and Henry Ford. He had the poignant Anti Slavery Almanac for 1840 from New York. A photo of Groucho Marx was framed with an elegant and humorous autograph that was also a self-caricature.
The Maine Bear brought miscellaneous magazine covers sorted by artist and theme. Some of the illustrators were Rockwell, Sarg, Vertes, Wyeth, J.W. Smith, Szyk, Louis Wain, Fisher, Homer, Leydendecker, O’Neill and Parrish.
Bickerstaff’s Books, Maps &c., Waltham, Mass., specialized in Americana. A very old printed pamphlet of 1735 was entitled That Awful Thunderclap by Eliphalet Adams. Pastor Adams describes a lightening strike that injured several of his congregation and killed a boy. Most of the rdf_Descriptions in this booth originated in New England.
Colorful vintage games made a delightful display at the booth of Fun & Games, Kent, Conn. There were several old Monopoly games, The Limited Mail and Express Game, The Gypsy Fortune Telling Game, a Wild West Picture Puzzle, and many more.
Dennis Coyle, American Historical Collection, Plantsville, Conn., was participating in the show for the first time and was pleased with the results. “I sold an early printing of the Constitution to a local dealer,” said Coyle after the show. He brought some of the most interesting political memorabilia to Papermania. A huge campaign poster of Richard Nixon made a graphic visual anchor for his booth. There were handwritten documents, flags, proclamations, books, buttons and more. He brought 1856 documentation of the first Republican candidate for President, John C. Fremont with his running mate for VP, William L. Dayton.
Coyle also brought a handwritten letter from Hannah Arnold in Norwich to her son Benedict Arnold while he was attending Canterbury School alerting him to an outbreak of yellow fever. Coyle also had a Commonwealth of Massachusetts proclamation by John Hancock calling for a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer in 1793 on April 11. The proclamation also called for prayer supporting liberty in France.
Arlene Shea remembers when dealers expanded the focus of the show. “They kept calling me up to see if they could bring certain rdf_Descriptions, even if there was just a little bit of paper on it.” The growing demand eventually led to the “plus” of Papermania. There are now buying and selling opportunities for political rdf_Descriptions (the show was loaded with campaign buttons), some militaria, advertising premiums of all sorts, not to mention Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century cameras.
The next Papermania Plus will be August 28-29. For information call show producer Gary Gipstein at 860-529-2234 or show manager Arlene Shea at 860-563-9975 or write Hillcrest Promotions, PO Box 152, Wethersfield CT 06109.