Cardboard Store Displays

Just about every company that has ever existed, they have used some form of advertising.  In the age of the internet, you find tons of ads online.  Before the advent of the Internet, one of the best forms of advertising was with a store display.  Companies still use them today.  They are made out of just about any material that you can think of, but one of the more common materials to use as an advertising piece is cardboard.

Once the sale on a certain item was over, or even when an item is discontinued, the display is taken down and discarded.  Sometimes the displays are kept, either in the storeroom of the business, or the person running the store takes it home with them.

The great thing for collectors is that these displays are put up for sale after a while.  The possibilities are endless when it comes to the products that are advertised on a display.  It could be Jell-O, Duracell Batteries, or even Kodak Film.

Store displays can be great ways to decorate a room since many of them have more than one color printed on them.  The ways that you could come up with to show your collection of displays are just as unique as the store displays themselves.

What kinds of store displays have you run across?

To clean or not to clean, that is the question

One of the oldest questions in collecting is when to clean—or not to clean—an item.

Sometimes an item’s value will go up if it is cleaned, and other times the items value will go down.

Some items are perfectly fine to clean.  Costume jewelry, glassware, pottery, clothing from the 1970’s or the 1980’s, and even graniteware are perfect for this area.  A little research can go a long way with these items, though.  You need to find out what can and can’t be used on an item; cleaner can potentially do damage that can’t be undone.  Things like graniteware can be cleaned with oven cleaner, while cheap costume jewelry can be cleaned with toothpaste that has baking soda in it.  Even Alka-Seltzer can be used to clean jewelry.

There are some items that you should take to someone that knows what they are doing when it comes to cleaning.  Artwork, antique books, pricy jewelry (pieces that feature precious stones like diamonds), quilts or antique clothing, and quilting samplers are items that fall in this category.

When it comes to old furniture, silver, gold, modern coins, brass or even copper, make sure that these don’t get cleaned.  The best way to ruin the value of these items is to get out the cleaner.  Patina on these pieces is a great thing to have; it helps prove an items age and provenance.

A great way to start is to get an appraisal of the item.  This way you know what you have.  If the item is in fact valuable and in the need of a cleaning, you could ask the appraiser for a recommendation.

I think the best rule of thumb is that if you have any doubts about cleaning an item, don’t!  Once the original finish is gone, there’s no getting it back.

Have you ever cleaned an item that you wished you hadn’t?

A movie poster overview for the beginning collector

Just about anyone who walks by a movie theater will see at least one poster hanging in the window advertising what’s playing.  These posters will eventually come down when new movies are released.

From 1940 to 1984, the National Screen Service produced the posters for the film studios.  The theaters would return the posters to the NSS so that they could be sent to other theaters.  During this time, movies were kept in the theaters for several years.  Because the posters were sent out to several theaters, they were often in rough shape when they were finally pulled from circulation.

Movie posters come in so many different sizes and varieties, it can make your head spin like a cheap horror movie villain’s head!  Here’s a brief breakdown:

Lobby cards—these were popular in the 1910’s and 1920’s and are small advertisements for the movies.  Lobby cards were usually produced in a set of 8 and hung all around the lobby of a theater (this is how they got their name),  and they tended to be black and white scenes from the movie that were often hand-tinted with some color.   These were discontinued in 1985 in the United States.  This type is very collectible for the fact that they are small–usually 11 inches by 14 inches or 8 inches by 10 inches.  They don’t require much display space.


Teaser Poster—these were sent to a theater to advertise a movie that was about to be released.  This type of poster is also known as an advance poster.  There really wasn’t too much information put on the poster.  It had the title, some of the people starring in the movie, and sometimes even a tagline for the movie.  Teaser poster sometimes were released way in advance of the movie to drive up hype, but occasionally funding ran short, and the project was shelved.  It would pay off to see if the movie was actually made if you buy a teaser poster.  Even if the movie was shelved, it could be more valuable if it featured a now-famous actor or director in one of their first movies.

Character Poster—this poster highlights one character from a movie currently playing.  Often, these are character’s the public is already familiar with (the movie releasing can often be a sequel or part of a series).  For example, a character poster features Freddie Krueger from the Nightmare On Elm Street, or even Jason Voorhees of the Friday The 13th movies.

As with any collectible, be sure to do your research.  Posters are often reprinted if the movie is a smash hit (like Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, or even The Wizard Of OZ).  You could pick up the reprints at quite a few major retailers, or even online.  When you have an authentic poster, especially from one of these areas, they can really have some good value.

What kinds of movie posters would you proudly display on your wall?

The not-so-famous furniture styles

There are the ultra-famous styles of furniture that everyone knows about (like Chippendale, Hepplewhite, or even Victorian) but did you know that there were quite a few styles that often were around with the more famous counterparts that are just not that well known?

The first one that I heard about that is like this is called DIRECTORIE.  It ran from 1795 to about 1804 and ran the same time as the Sheraton and Duncan Phyfe styles (the Duncan Phyfe style is also called the Federal Style).  Following the French Revolution, France was ruled by five directors.  Any and all signs of royalty were thrown out the window, and furniture design was controlled by a Jury Of Arts and Manufactures.  Greek, Roman, and even Egyptian influences are strong with the DIRECTORIE style.

The next style is called EASTLAKE and it ran from about 1879 to 1895.  It ran the same time that Late French Provincial and the Victorian Styles were going on.  This style was created by Charles Eastlake and achieved some popularity here in America and in England as well.  The style had some Gothic flair going on and had some Japanese ornamentation as well.  Cherry and Fruit were extensively used in the furniture of this style and had tile panels and conspicuous hardware that were used for decoration.

This is only a small portion of all the fantastic styles that I’ve heard of that really aren’t that well-known.  What kinds of styles have you heard of?

What are some items that you may not run across in a kitchen anymore?

The home kitchen is a place that you can find quite a few different items.  Over the years, there have been many items that have fallen out of favor for one reason or another.  It could be that a better version of an item that came out previously or it could be that a manufacturer introduced a completely new method to cook, chill or store an item.

What are some items that you may not run across in a kitchen anymore?

Butter Churns—this is a device that takes cream and turns it into butter.  There are several different types that you will find on the market—the first has a plunger inside that goes up and down while another is a hand crank that is attached to paddles on the inside.  I have also seen a barrel type that is on a stand that turns a good amount of cream.

hand crank churn photo courtesy of WIkipedia.com
plunger churn photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com
Barrel churn photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com

Crockery Pots—this item is for storage and it comes in a wide variety of sizes that could easily be stored on a table or shelf to one that holds several gallons.  You can find them usually with a number on them on how much they can hold.  This item was slowly phased out with metal and eventually plastic replacing them.

photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com

Cream Separators—this device does what the name says—it separates the cream from the milk.  This device was seen quite a bit on a farm in the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s.  Milk is now separated in industrial dairies.

photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com

This is only a few of the items that are not used anymore.  What items like these have you run across?

A little history of cameo jewelry

Cameo jewelry has been a popular item for many years now, and it comes in many scenes and sizes.  Just what in the world is cameo jewelry?

Cameo is a method of carving an image into stone or shell that has a flat edge to it.  More often than not, you will see a product that has multiple colors in it to give an extra pop to the carving.  The cameos that are made of semi-precious stone like onyx and agate have examples that date all the way back to ancient Greece and Rome.  The ones that are made of shell are more modern.

The cameo that is pictured above is the type that you would find that’s made in the late 1800’s into the 1900’s.  As you can see, the piece features a picture of a person.  I’ve seen several different motifs including more than one person, an animal, and the occasional flower.

The price of all cameos depends on what it’s made of and the quality of the carving on it.  Some of the places to check are the hair, nose and facial features.  The more features that are present and are vivid, it makes the cameo just that much better.

The great thing about this type of jewelry is that it can fit any budget and liven up any outfit at the same time.

What examples of cameo jewelry have you found?

A brief history of the Westmoreland Glass Company

The Westmoreland Glass Company was founded in 1889, and was based in Graceville, Pennsylvania (which is not too far from Greensburg, Pennsylvania).  The company was run by brothers George and Charles West, which were the majority shareholders of the company.

When the company opened, the main production was pressed glass tableware lines, mustard jars, and even candy containers.

The brothers ran the company until 1921, when George West went on to run his own company.

The company was then run by Charles West and his close friend Ira Brainard.  When this happened, the name of the company changed from Westmoreland Specialty Company to Westmoreland Glass Company.  Shortly after the change, Westmoreland started to produce cut glass and even high-quality hand decorated glass.

The 1940’s saw James H. Brainard (Ira’s relative) take over ownership of the company.  At this time, they went with mass produced milk glass and discontinued the hand decorated glass.

The company eventually went out of business in 1984, and the building was apparently converted into a storage facility.

There’s a very wide range of glassware that Westmoreland produced over the many years they were in business.  This can be very helpful for a collector that’s on a very strict budget, and they can find something to decorate with or collect for not much money.

What kinds of Westmoreland pieces that you have found that you treasure?

What are some questions that you ask a dealer?

There are times when you buy an item and you realize that you WAY overpaid.  Or you find out that the items a reproduction.  You stand there and start to kick yourself over it.  There are even times when you are interested in purchasing an item and not sure about it.  As collectors and dealer, we eventually will get to that point.

There are some questions that you need to remember that are very useful.  What are they you ask?

What do you know about the item?  Do you know when it was made?

Is it the real deal or is it a reproduction, and how do you know?

Has this item been repaired?  If it has been repaired, where and how was it repaired?  Was it restored?

Do you know who made it, and what was it used for?

These are all great questions to help you out, and you will eventually add to this list over time.  Any honest dealer will be more than glad to answer any and all of these questions for you.

There’s one great rule of thumb that I have for this—if you still have any lingering questions or doubts about the item, just walk away from it and think about it.  If, over time, you feel that there’s something about it that isn’t right, don’t buy it.

What kinds of questions have you asked about an item?

HELP! What was this plaque used for?

Several years ago, I picked up this brown and white enamel plaque that has a portrait of a woman on it.  When I purchased it, I was told by the dealer that it was a decoration off of the front of a stove that was made around the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s.

The dealer also said that they thought it was enameled copper.

Ever since the day I got it, I have been poking around to see what exactly it is.  The first thing that I ran across was a picture of Queen Elizabeth during her Diamond Jubilee of 1897.  The picture was pretty close to the image on the front of the plaque.

Another thing that really threw me for a loop was that I saw another listing on the internet that said these plaques were used on a front door of a house.

Bottom of front Is it really a decoration for a stove or a door?  Was it really made of copper?  If it was off of a stove, what brand was it on?  If you know what this is, feel free to drop me a line.  I would love to know is what this was used for.

What are some nicknames for paper money that is printed in the United States?

Greenbacks, moola, clams and even loot—we have all heard some of the nicknames for paper money.  What are some that may not be as well known?

We all know that the $1 bill is sometimes called a “single,” a “buck,” a “greenback” but did you know that it’s even called an “ace”?

The $2 bill is sometimes referred to as a “deuce” and it is even called a “Tom”.

The $5 bill has been referred to as a “fin”, “fiver” or even a “five-spot”, but did you know that the $10 bill is called a “sawbuck“?  And since we are talking about sawbucks, the $20 bill is also called a “double sawbuck”.

Horse racing gamblers are known to call the $50 bill a “frog” and it is considered unlucky.

The $50 bill is a “half a yard” while the $100 bill is called a “yard”, so $300 is “3 yards”.

“A rack” is $10,000 in the form of one hundred $100 bills that was banded by a bank.  The nickname “Blue cheese” is the new U.S. 100-dollar bill that was introduced in 2009 (this deals with the color of the bill).

The United States Mint has also printed $1000 notes occasionally, and they are referred to as “large” (“twenty large” being $20,000, etc.).

 In slang, a thousand dollars may also be referred to as a “stack” and is also known as a “band”.

$100,000 US dollars is called a “brick”. This is only a small portion of the nicknames for the United States money that you will run across.  What have you heard?