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LITHO TOYS - Real or Copy? Downsizing Your Collection Grading VOLUME 3

Dealers Prepare for Indy

Time to Downsize?

Dealers are preparing for the Indy Antique Advertising Show in Indianapolis, IN on September 28-29th, 2012. “We have seen numerous dealers out and about searching for great items to bring to the show.” said promoter Bruce Weir. “We have been at events in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon, Connecticut and Minnesota with several stops in between and people are excited about the upcoming show.” Dealers are sending in pictures of items they are bringing (see page 8) and more are being posted on the website.

Over the years, you have enjoyed collecting adventures – meeting interesting people, traveling the back roads and delighting in finding something special to add to your collection. And now it is time to downsize and you are not sure what the best option for you is. You had planned to give it to your kids but they have other interests and prefer you take care of your collection easing the burden on them. You are facing a common predicament among collectors. Good news! You do have viable options available. It’s just a matter of choosing the best option for you.

At the March show, there was a very positive response to the changes that were made this year. “We heard great reports from the dealers and attendees on the outstanding quality of merchandise and the increased size of the show”, remarked Bruce. Preview ticket holders can shop on Friday from 2 PM - 6 PM (day of set up) with the show continuing on Saturday from 9 AM - 4 PM. Preview tickets may be purchased in advance for $40 (saving $10 each) from the website at

One option is to send items thru an auction. These services are designed to make the process easy for you to downsize either part or all of your collection at once. An auction service is able to reach a wider audience (some use internet bidding as well) and can obtain good prices especially for the unique and rare items. The seller pays a commission for each item that is sold. The commission is often negotiable with the individual service based upon the amount of items. After the auction, the commission is subtracted from the total proceeds. The risk is not having a guarantee on the selling price. It could be high, fair or low. From start to finish, the process will take several weeks/months in order to schedule the auction and allow time for advertising.

Any dealer interested in booth space at the Indy Antique Advertising Show should contact Bruce at 217-821-1294 or see the website for detailed dealer information. Can’t make it to Indy for our fall show; just mark your calendar for the 2013 shows, March 15-16 and September 27-28.

1890’s Dr. Williams Pink Pills for Easel Back 5 ft. Tall, Easel Back

Copyright, © 2012 -

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Time to Downsize?

…on the Road.

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Antiquers love two things. First is coming across a great shop. The one that is so good you keep it a secret from your friends. You know - that special “honey hole”. The second is great food and boy have we found a new “honey hole”. But we just can’t keep this one to ourselves. While traveling through South Carolina, we Irene and Donna sample the discovered J Peters Banana Pudding Grill & Bar along the interstate in Anderson where both the food and service were excellent.

Another option is to sell the collection to a dealer. This is generally the quickest way to turn the collection into cash without much hassle. The dealer views your collection and may be able to make an offer on the spot or in a few days after some research. Dealers purchase based on the current market value; however, they know in many cases they may have to hold your items a year or so before they can sell it. They also have to take into consideration that the market may change and the value may go down or up on any item. Dealers also have to consider their expenses and allow for markup. Considering these factors, it would be unrealistic to expect close to current market value. Still another option is to open a web store on a user friendly site such as For a minimal flat monthly fee, your items receive worldwide exposure 24 hours a day. You set the price and the buyer works directly with you. You will need basic computer skills and a digital camera. You will describe the item, upload pictures and make arrangements for shipping once the item is sold. Collecting has been an enjoyable venture and you want to finish the same way. The best option for you is to choose the one that fits your needs and time frame. If you enjoy meeting and talking to other collectors, a perfect opportunity to disperse of a collection is to display and sell at an antique show. Collectors like hearing the history of the item and who better to share the story than you. You determine the value and can negotiate with the direct buyer on the final price (just as you have done with many dealers). Doing shows is the best way to ensure you get the value you want. Realize there will be expenses (booth rent, travel cost etc) that you will pay in advance not knowing how much you are going to sell. The best shows to set up would be the one that specializes in your type of collection. An example is the Indy Antique Advertising Show with specialties of antique advertising, country & drug store, ephemera, toys, soda fountain, petroliana and breweriana. Ranges of booth sizes are available. See our website or call Bruce at 217-821-1294.


This is a YES restaurant. Can I substitute? Yes. The menu says fried, can I have this grilled? Yes. Can I have a sample of the shrimp before ordering to see if I like the breading? Yes. The service team was extremely accommodating. We ordered COLD drinks and our waitress, Courtney, even waited at the table for us to taste to ensure they were cold enough. Manager, Luis Gorritti, delivered our food and checked on our table as well. Our group tried a variety of items from the appetizers, salads, sandwiches, meals and dessert offerings. We liked everything that was brought to the table! Items were freshly prepared to enjoy the flavor of the food, not just the seasoning. However, we have to give a warning about the portion size – gigantic! Everything can be shared from the salads to 12 oz. burgers. Be prepared to loosen your belt and get a take home container because you have to share a dessert. Our favorite was the Strawberry Shortcake – J Peters Style. Four warm croissants drizzled with caramel around the edge of the bowl, with vanilla ice cream in the center overflowing with fresh strawberries topped with whipped cream. We enjoyed the food and service so well we planned mealtime in Anderson on our return trip through South Carolina. Check out J Peters Grill & Bar in Anderson, 115 Interstate Blvd., or their other locations in Anderson, Greenville, Seneca and Fountain Inn, South Carolina. Visit:


Litho Toys – Real or Copy? Paper lithograph toys have been around for a long time. The turn of the century had many great manufactures of toys that featured paper litho decoration and details. They varied from simple blocks to elaborate pull-toys and buildings. In the post-World War 2 period there were a whole new group of manufactures making wood toys with paper litho decoration. Some of these companies are well known, like Fisher-Price and Gong Bell, and others were a bit smaller and hardly seen, like Vinrose Novelty.

Some pieces look good even in good pictures, like the copy of the Gibbs Mail cart pulled by a pony. I was waiting for a local auction to happen that had advertised one, and when I saw it in person I knew right away it was a fake. It had actually fooled the auctioneer. This is one reason that if you are not sure yourself, then you should buy from reputable online site or at a show where you can inspect the item your self. Some examples of the poor-quality reproduction toys are the copy of the Fisher-Price circus wagon and the Gong Bell Loco Trix engine.

Then along came new technology, like the internet and color printers – and with that, a new problem arose. Fake or reproduction paper litho toys are now seen more and more. Yes, there is a new ability to repair and restore original pieces that would otherwise be kindling wood or trash, but there are also too many people out there trying to make money by fooling unsuspecting buyers. An example of some restoration work is the replacement paddle wheels on the Reed Providence boat. This kind of restoration work is common because the piece is wider than the boat itself, so it takes all the side litho. Some are good looking pieces, such as the Fisher-Price ones that were done by Toy Fest that were done in the 90s and the pieces made by Schylling. There are also many lower-quality Original Paddle Wheel with Restoration

Poor quality Reproduction of Circus Wagon and Logo Trix Engine

As you see, they both have metal wheels, no manufacturer logos anymore and blurry “litho”. The litho on these is actually on kind of a sticker paper and over a short period of time will peel away from the wood or metal. The picture of the N.N. Hill Roy Rogers on Trigger is an original one that also is copied often.

pieces that are trademark and copyright infringements. When shopping on-line, the lower-quality pieces look okay (and a great deal) when the pictures are dark and a bit blurry. This is an original N.H. Hill Roy Rogers Toy, copied ones will be blurred.

The ones I have pictured are some of the ones I got stuck with. The first tell-tale sign is they used small hollow metal wheels instead of the wooden wheels. Also the litho will be darker than a genuine piece. When you look at a piece in person, you can see the poor copier blurring, even with some defects from the original. Also the original manufacturer’s logo or name will be blurred or omitted (like Fisher-Price on the Circus Wagon). As with most low end reproduction pieces, the hardware used is modern, such as Philips head screws.

You can see the N.N. Hill logo just behind the front wheel. Also you will see some cracking and rippling of the original paper from the aging of the toy. The next time you’re looking at paper litho toys, be sure you know what you are getting. Clay Smith Das Bulli Haus dealer since 2008


ICOL L E C T 24 7. C OM

More on selling! As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of ways to downsize or sell your collections, and there are many reasons I have heard for doing so. From sending the kids to college to… we always wanted to travel. These people know that their collection has been an investment and it is time to sell.

Just a few of the 17,000 vintage items for sale on

Selling on icollect247 is easy and a great way to move some of your duplicates or collection. You do not have to be a dealer, you just need to be knowledgeable about what you are listing. Different from an ebay store, you set your own store policies, such as what types of payments you accept and how you wish to ship your items. Icollect247 is the only website that offers only “Vintage” and “Antique” listings. We do not allow Limited Editions, Reproductions or items newer than 1979. We check every item before it goes worldwide to make sure that it fits our site. No other site can offer this to the buyer and seller. The site offers a great value at $35 per month with no selling or no listing fees. Each listing include 12 free pictures. No matter whether you are looking to sell or buy, check out where you will find over 17,000 great, interesting “Real” Vintage and “Real” Antiques!

Over 40 main categories with lots of subcategories. From the old fashion “Antiques” to the new “Collectible 70’s”, you’ll find lots of great items for sale.



Dear Back Roads:

Then add in 2 nail holes within the border and a strong bend in a corner with paint interruption in a 3 inch long diagonal line, and you have a sign that is 6.5 to 7 or good.

I was thinking of buying a sign and the dealer told me it was an 8. What does that mean? Answer: It’s a rating system used by dealers and collectors to grade the condition of the item on a scale of 1-10. The 8 would indicate that it has some minor damage (scratch or small chip). While it is common practice in the industry to grade items (especially in the auction world), it is somewhat arbitrary because people do not grade the same.

From distance, sign appears near mint condition.

This may be starting to sound confusing, but it just really hinges on multiple points of reference over time and keeping in mind they are still making the object you are judging. (Even though they aren’t…you must evaluate as though they are.)

Gar y Metz shares his views on grading:

There is no justification in the antiques or auction Upon close inspection sign is 7.8 to 8.2. industry for calling a 7.5 Standards differ between collectors when it comes to grading Minor spiderwebbing, small rust nicks, condition item a near mint small white spots lower right corner area items, but the divide need not be that wide, and I would item, for its age. That suggest it is not if you have been in the hobby for a bit of time. is not objective, honest, helpful to a prospective buyer, or grounded in reality. It establishes no perspective of My suggestion is to arrive at a uniform system that revolves degradation, which by the way, contains the word grade. around reference to numbers and percentages. This entails looking at any item with honesty and neutrality. Even if the Most, if not all of us have item being graded is 80 to 100 years old, the only way to seen or possess/ approach grading is to act as if you can obtain that item today possessed things of great fresh from the manufacturer. age that were never used With that perspective, then you simply evaluate what has befallen the item since it was made. The following things need to be considered…rust, chips or color interruption, surface wear, scratches, dents, bends, crimps, paint or litho color flaking, assorted types of soiling and marks, along with other varied issues. Of course, a paper poster will be affected by age and exposure and used in a different way than will be a porcelain sign, or a tobacco tin. Once you isolate and identify the shortcomings (damage or wear issues), then you must decide what percentage of its “as manufactured” condition the item being graded currently represents. The more detriments and the greater the severity of those shortcomings, then the lower the condition and grading of the item. An embossed tin sign, 12 by 36 inches, with only a few minor surface crimps and a few light surface scratches can easily grade 9 to 9.3 or near mint, but add in a few small nail holes at the edges and 2-3 dime sized color chips or flakes, and condition can become 7.5 to 8 or very good.

or degraded by more than a percentage point or two. So that is quite helpful in establishing a high standard for near 8.8-9.2 - Light soiling and only slight perfection, as darkening visible in top half, with only manufactured originally. miniscule nicks or marks Just keep that standard ever present in your mind as you go to grade any item and you will find you can easily become more objective in your grading, if not totally so. The real trick is to be open and avoid being influenced by any pressure from any source, including personal gain, in your quest to give an accurate accounting of how good an item is. Accurate grading techniques, once cultivated and employed, help you on every level in this hobby we all share and enjoy. Good luck, and have fun looking for those varied condition pieces, while knowing the difference! Gary Metz is a highly respected expert in the antique advertising industry and a dealer at the Indy Ad Show.



Vintage Upright Soda Machines I’m sure that anyone reading this publication has at one time or another, dropped a dime or nickel in an old soda machine, pulled out a bottle, popped the cap off with the bottle opener and enjoyed an ice cold soda. It is an iconic item of the 1950’s and beyond. Everywhere you look even today, you see soda machines!! Whether you are just buying one or collecting a multitude of them, it’s always nice to know how old they are. In the last publication, we discussed chest coolers and this time we are going to talk a little bit about the old upright soda machines and hopefully give you a little Highly desired Vendo V-81 vends information that will help variety of small bottles you when you’re buying one. There were several manufacturers when they started producing the upright machines but the biggest were Vendo, Cavalier and Vendorlator. Each company had their unique features on their machines, but a lot of the machines were similar to each other. General rule to follow when you are looking at machines is if it has rounded corners it is from the 1950’s. If it has square corners it is from the 1960’s or later. Also, the color of the round corner machines can help determine which part of the 1950’s it was made. The upright machines were all produced red with white lettering when they began making them. The white top with the red bottom color scheme was put into production in 1956. The Vendo Company was formed in Kansas City, Missouri in 1937 and made coolers and soda machines exclusively for Coca Cola. They produced chest coolers first but their first upright coin operated machine, a Vendo V-83 was out for public use in 1946. Following was the Vendo V-39 in 1949 and with over 80,000 units produced in 9 years, it is the most widely recognized Coke machine among collectors. I can’t write an article about soda machines without talking about the Vendo V-81. This is the most sought after machine out there right now. They continue to increase in value and are a very versatile since they will vend more than just the small Coke bottles. This is my husband’s favorite machine and the one we have in our personal collection that we use at home. Another popular machine among collectors is the Vendo V-44, small in size and will fit in just about any collection. The only drawback to this one is that it will only vend the small Coke bottles, but if you’re a Coke drinker, it’s not a drawback!!


There are many Vendo models that were produced and during the 1950’s and they used a unique coding system within the serial number that can help you determine the year and month it was produced. The serial number is typically made up of 8 numbers. The first number is the year the machine was produced and the second and third numbers are the month. The last 5 numbers are the actual serial number of the machine. For example: Serial number 21014601 would indicate the cooler was made in October of 1952 and the remaining numbers 14601 are the actual serial number. Vendo is the only manufacturer that used a coding system within the serial number to identify the year it was manufactured. The Cavalier Corporation began in 1895 making ice refrigerators under the name The Tennessee Furniture Corporation of Chattanooga. They changed the name to Cavalier Corporation in 1938 so some of your earlycoolers will have tags with the old name on them. Cavalier broke into the coin operated upright market in 1953 with the C-51. It looked very similar to the Vendo V-39 on the outside but very different inside. They used an ammo belt inside instead of a drum like the V-39. Cavalier CS-72 accomodates They flooded the market with 6 to 12 oz. bottles these and you can easily find a C-51, just make sure the ammo belt is inside, those are hard to find!! Probably the two most popular coin operated upright machine for Cavalier was the Cavalier CS-72 and CS-96 introduced in 1958. These two machines use an electric coin mechanism instead of a crank handle to vend the bottles so the owner could easily change the price of the soda. They have slanted shelves in them so they can easily accommodate 6 oz to 12 oz bottles. Yes, they will vend beer bottles ! With the scarcity of the smaller Coke bottles in many parts of the country, these machines have become a favorite among many collectors that actually want to use their machines. The Cavalier CS-72 is one of my favorite machines and it’s the one we have here in our office that we use everyday. The Vendorlator Manufacturing Company was located in Fresno, California and was also referred to as VMC. Often times Vendorlator is confused with Vendo, they were 2 separate companies. Vendorlator produced machines not only for Coca Cola, but also for 7-Up and Pepsi giving them broader collector appeal.

C OL L E C TOR S C LU B N EWS Vendorlator introduced the smallest Coke machine in 1948, the VMC 27 and it could be put on a countertop or you could buy a stand for it. This is one of the most eye catching machines that was produced and every time we have one at a show, more people comment on it than anything else in the booth !! This model was also made in a floor model version so, there are a lot of VMC 27’s out there, just different versions. When the color schemes changed to white tops in 1956, Vendorlator also made some changes to their machines. They stopped production of the all red versions, they didn’t just change the colors, they stopped production of those models and came out with new models. One machine they came out with was the VMC 340, advertised as “the world’s largest and fastest coin cooler. This one is huge, you don’t want to move it too many times, find a home for it and leave it there!! They also produced a popular small machine, the VMC 44 which is almost identical to the V-44. This is also a great addition to a collection if you don’t have a lot of room for a machine. There are several other manufacturers of soda machines during this era, but these were the biggest and so these are the machines that you find most often at flea markets, antique stores, etc. The upright machines are difficult to nail down an exact year of manufacture (with the exception of Vendo) but keep in mind most of the round corners were made in the 1950’s. So, if you are looking for an addition to your antique collection, you definitely need a soda machine. We need to make sure this generation knows how to open a bottle with a bottle opener !! It’s a piece of history that can be passed down from generation to generation that you can actually use everyday!! Janet Heuerman Partner, Fun-Tronics, LLC, Dealer Indy Ad Show

The Antique Advertising Association of America (AAAA) is the premiere national club for collectors of all popular and antique advertising, including tin and glass containers, signs, store displays, ephemera and more. With over 20 years of rich history and approximately 450 members, AAAA is a vital, informative, collegial, and enjoyable resource for antique advertising collectors. AAAA publishes PastTimes, an award-winning publication and sponsors an exciting annual convention featuring room sales, auctions, seminars, and, of course, socializing. This year’s event will take place August 2-4 in Knoxville, TN. For registration information, contact: Visit the AAAA web site at:

ABBREVIATIONS These are common abbreviations seen in auction listings, on line listings and price tags.

NRFB – Never Removed From Box NIB – New In Box MIB – Mint in Box M – Mint NM – Near Mint EXC – Excellent G – Good P – Poor SST – Single Sided Tin DST – Double Sided Tin DSP – Double Sided Porcelain SSP – Single Sided Porcelain CDB – Cardboard

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Bakers Chocolate Sales Sample

1932 Harley Davidson Catalog

Santa Award Sign

1928 Coca Cola Calendar 1890’s Dr.Williams Pink Pills 5 ft Easel Back

Early Countertop Drug Store Sign

AC Spark Plug Clock

Piedmont Cigarette Cardboard Yucatan

Old Pepper Whiskey Tray

Utica Knit Fleece Underwear Box

Antique Back Roads - Volume 3  

Articles on Grading, Litho Toys, Downsizing your Collection, Soda Machines, Indy Ad Show and Enjoy articles written by colle...