February, 2022
In This Issue

  • AAAA Convention News
  • Restoration of Antique Advertising Signs
  • Indoor Antique Advertising Show Coming Soon
  • The Soda Fountain at Woolworth Walk
  • Outdated Advertising
  • Joanne's Gum Museum
  • In Memoriam: A.J. Sieker
  • Wanted Items
AAAA Convention News
The 2022 AAAA Convention promises to be one of the best ever! Registrations received thus far are very strong so if you are interested in attending, please register now to avoid disappointment. The Convention will be held at the Embassy Suites in Dublin (Columbus), Ohio from Wednesday evening, July 13 until Saturday morning, July 16, 2022.

Costs: The Registration Fee is $125 per person which includes all Convention activities plus two sumptuous banquet dinners and one delicious lunch. The hotel provides a complementary hot breakfast each morning and a reception each evening. The discounted hotel room rate is $134 per night plus 17.5% taxes.

Convention Activities: Fun, educational, and interactive activities will keep you busy from Wednesday evening through Saturday morning. Room hopping (several times daily), a Silent Auction, a memorable Yankee Gift Exchange and three seminars will be featured, as well as meals, games, prizes, hobnobbing with old and new friends, and more! Leo Fry is once again graciously giving tours of his outstanding collection of vertical pocket tins and tobacco soft packs.

We are tremendously excited about the impressive line-up of Speakers that await you! They will be announced in next month's print issue of PastTimes, which will be in the mail March 1. Here is just one little hint: World-Class!

$100 in Buyer's Bucks! To celebrate the return to our in-person Convention after a two year hiatus, we want to do something very special. To thank our loyal members who have stuck with us during this difficult time, we will be gifting $100 in Buyer's Bucks to each member who registers for this year's Convention. Buyer's Bucks can be used just like cash in Room Hopping and Silent Auction activities this year. The infusion of so much cash into our Convention should amp up both the excitement and sales!

The "fine print": This one-time special offer will be extended to those individuals who were AAAA members prior to November 15, 2021. It will not include new members or spouses/partners of those who register to attend. Buyer's Bucks can be used to purchase merchandise only at the Convention and cannot be redeemed for cash.

Location, Location, Location! The Embassy Suites is the perfect location for our Convention! Two previous AAAA Conventions were held there and attendees loved it! First of all, it is a gorgeous and modern setting--yet comfortable. The rooms are tailor-made for our purposes. All guest rooms are suites with two entirely separate and private spaces--a living room and a bedroom. The spacious living room is used by sellers as their showroom, with items for sale displayed throughout. With the draperies open, full length windows provide a view of the room from the hallways, allowing passers-by to window shop when the seller is not present! The bedroom in each suite is located behind a separate door, ensuring privacy for relaxing and sleeping. Each room also includes a mini-kitchen area with refrigerator and microwave. The rooms also include free wi-fi.

The hotel boasts of a complementary award-winning hot buffet breakfast each morning that includes just about anything you might like, including hot, made-to-order egg dishes. Each evening, a reception is held with complementary snacks and unlimited beverages including beer, wine and cocktails. Other creature-comforts include indoor pool, weight room and lots of gathering spaces for private chats.

The gallery below provides a brief tour of the hotel and its accommodations:
The Property in the Evening
The Striking Hotel Lobby
Lobby, Showing Interior Architecture
A View of the Breakfast Buffet
Living Room (AKA Showroom)
Weight Room
Indoor Pool
Registration: As stated above, available rooms are going quickly! You are just one click away from reserving your spot so please do that NOW by clicking the link below to register on line.
If you would prefer a paper registration form, click the link below. However, we encourage you to register on-line because it is more secure and accurate. It is also much less burdensome for AAAA personnel.
"Blasts": In addition to the information about the Convention to be provided in our newsletters, we plan to send out various email "blasts" to each member to provide additional detail. Watch for them in your email!

Think about all the friends you will see or make, the treasures you can buy or sell, the good stories that can be shared, and the traditions of meeting over the past 30 years, and you'll recognize that this is a must-attend event! We look forward to seeing you there. Questions? Contact Paul Lefkovitz, Convention Coordinator at 317-594-0658 or
Restoration of Antique Advertising Signs
By Don Lurito
Some of you might have read the article I wrote about the evolution of lithography a while back.  The question comes up as to how to restore chromolithography.  First of all, this is an almost impossible job.  Lithography, in my opinion, is not only a lost art, but the greatest of all American art forms.  And if we think about how lithography was done originally on our advertising signs, how could we possibly use the same methods and means that were originally used?  It’s not like painting restoration where all the restorer has to do is mimic what the original artist did, which is to simply dip a simple brush in the paint and apply it to a canvas.   There is no need for stones, inks and lithography crayons, etc.  We can’t cut lithography stones and ink them and the rest of the entire original process currently.  That’s why nobody is doing lithography to this day that equals the quality they accomplished in the 1800s.

My solution to the problem is not very imaginative.  I’ve been collecting lithographs from the 1800s for 45 years now.  I have a huge stack of non-advertising lithographs that have no value at all because they are just pictures.  Many of them are very damaged anyway and really beyond repair.  So, when I have an advertising sign with missing areas of lithography, I look through all my lithographs to find the closest match.  Usually I can get something quite close because I have a lot of lithographs.  I night have to add a few dots here and there with my 2-haired brush to get a perfect match. Presented below are before and after photos of a large Lorillard sign made with a special patented paper they often used back then.  I call it "processed paper".  I had a litho in my stack that very closely matched this special paper.  It is now very difficult to tell there was restoration.
P. Lorillard & Co. Sign Before Restoration
P. Lorillard & Co. Sign After Restoration
Once I’ve found something suitable from my stack of lithos, I fit a patch to the missing area.  Then, on the back, I use Japanese silk and 0 ph milk glue to attach the patch to the sign.  Japanese Silk, now very difficult to find, avoids using any kind of sticky tape and also gluing down a paper sign to some kind of board, which I believe should never be done.  Most people don’t know this but anything sticky is really still chemically active and nothing chemically active should be near our advertising signs.  You have all seen the stains old scotch tape leaves on paper.  0 ph milk glue dries and is no longer chemically active.

Often, there are tears in the paper.  After attaching the two sides of the tear with 0 ph milk glue, I again use Japanese paper on the back to hold the two sides together.   If the tear is complete and a piece of the sign torn off, it is very important to align the two edges so that there is no overlap and no spaces.  This takes time and patience but it can be done.  There is a famous spy story about matching two sides of a tear.  The spy master needed a way for two of his spies to recognize each other upon meeting in a clandestine place.  What he did was to take a piece cardboard from a cereal or cracker box and tear it into two pieces.  He gave one piece to each of his spies.  They would only accept one another if their two pieces of cardboard exactly fit together. No tear can be exactly duplicated.

Pictured below are before and after photos of a sign that was in a hundred pieces.  It had been glued down to a board and the various pieces weren’t carefully aligned.  There was overlap and spaces.  Fortunately, water-soluble glue was used and I was able to free all the pieces. However, it took many hours to align each piece to the whole as I went along.  Again, I used Japanese silk to hold together the pieces.  This is one of the great pieces of beer advertising and I think it was worth all the work.
Wm. J. Lemp Sign Before Restoration
Wm. J. Lemp Sign After Restoration
It is also common to see pieces that have been cut down or the borders cut off.   Even when a piece has been cut down, I can avoid new paper by adding borders from a litho I have with paper contemporary to the piece I’m restoring.   The paper they used back then is like the mummies of Egypt.  Nobody knows the ingredients and methods they used to make the paper for our ads.  We do know that it is high quality rag paper as evidenced by the fact that it doesn’t darken with age.  You’ve all see how old newspapers darken over time and eventually turn to dust.  Newspaper paper is very low quality and very acidic.  Most of our paper signs are printed on paper that is impossible to duplicate.  Over time, this paper only slightly darkens if at all.   The best quality paper I’ve seen is in ads from the civil war period of the 1860s.  It is very thick and doesn’t darken at all over time.  With all of our modern technology it is truly amazing that we don’t have modern inks and paper like they had way back in the 1800s. 

Speaking of cut-down advertising signs, I remember a famous auction.  A guy had collected early paper signs and attached them to the walls of his barn up in Maine.  They stayed there unnoticed for many years.  There was a whole trove.  This was before WWII when these signs had almost no value at all.   A dealer by chance visited this guy and again, by some accident, had occasion to go out to his barn.  The dealer almost fainted seeing this enormous collection on the walls of a barn.   Jim Julia auctioned the whole collection and they reportedly both did well financially. This is the auction where I bought the Uncle Sam range, which our group voted a prize for in the last AAAA virtual convention.

There was one fly in the ointment.  The guy who collected all this really hated borders so he cut the borders off of every piece in the collection, including the Uncle Sam Range.  But I had lithographs from the same 1870s period with nice white borders, so I was able to attach borders to the Uncle Sam range.  I wound up putting borders on a number of pieces from that auction.

Summing up, in my opinion, there are two important things to avoid in the restoration of paper signs.   Nothing sticky should get near our advertising signs.  And second, under no circumstances should a paper sign be glued down to any kind of board.  The back of a paper sign should always be visible.  Nobody would ever glue down a Rembrandt painting to a board.  Our signs should be treated with the same respect.

Let me say a few words about restoring tin signs.  Tin signs made before about the turn of the last century were made with a kind of porcelain paint.   Nobody knows the formula for the paints they used.  But it was a little translucent and required a rather thick coat to cover the metal. Lithography was printed over a base layer of this paint.  After the turn of the century, inks were developed.  The definition of an ink is a substance that is highly opaque.  A thin coat can cover the metal.  But inked signs are very delicate and even though they don’t flake like the earlier signs, they scratch easily and chemical damage can occur with a variety of chemicals.  These signs also rust very easily.

On the other hand, the paint used on the early tin signs was really tough and could take exposure to many more chemicals.  The big problem with early tin signs is that they flake easily.   Thick paint acts like a thermocouple.  The paint and the metal expand and contract at different rates.  So it is easy for an early tin sign to start flaking.

Thirty years ago, a chemical was made that solves many of these problems.   I don’t really understand how this chemical works, but it accomplishes a number of jobs at once. First of all, it removes all rust and tarnish from a sign.  But then, it does something mysterious to the paint.  It seems to imperceptively soften the paint --maybe only 2% -- just enough to cause the paint to grip to the metal. Unfortunately, this chemical has long been discontinued and is very difficult to find. However, it is conceivable that other substances might be identified that have similar properties. 

I bought the early tin Ronsheim sign shown below at the Indy Ad Show back in the 70s.  Flakes were dropping off the sign with the slightest movement.  We had to lay the sign down on the back seat of the car on the drive back to Boston or it would lose more paint.  I processed this sign with my chemical and the remaining paint was stable many years later.   You could rub your hand across the paint and none would come off.  The sign was not in my possession for around 40 years and in all that time, nothing had changed in the paint – it was all still there and very stable.   I was able to restore the missing paint and make for a very nice sign.
Wm Ronsheim & Bros Sign Before Restoration
Wm Ronsheim & Bros Sign After Restoration
Even though this is a harsh chemical, the paint in the early tin signs can take it.  However, this chemical will destroy the inks of a later tin sign.  It is a shame that you can’t really remove the rust from these later tin signs.  However, there is something you can do to remedy the problem to some extent.  If you have a later tin sign with rust, just apply a coat of boiled linseed oil and let it sit for about half an hour.  Make sure it’s boiled linseed, not raw.  Then wipe off the linseed thoroughly with paper towels.  Linseed oil is a reducer, which means it fights off oxidation which is what rust is.   A few molecules of the linseed oil will penetrate the molecular surface of the rusted sign and prevent further oxidation.  It won’t remove the rust but it will prevent it from getting worse.

I hope this article will inspire people to restore their signs in the best possible way.  Our signs have a great deal of intrinsic value.  In my opinion, someday they will be worth much more money (even though none of us may live to see it).  In the meantime, we should all try to preserve them in the best way possible. Please feel free to contact me with your questions about restoration at
Indoor Antique Advertising Show Coming Soon
By Damon Granger
We are every excited about the upcoming installment of our Indoor Antique Advertising Show. It will be held on March 19, 2022 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds (Champions Pavilion), Indianapolis, Indiana.

We have been signing vendors every day for this show. We should be able to fill the building with vendors this round. This year's show has a number of first time vendors that have never set up anywhere before along with vendors that have been setting up at the State Fairgrounds for 50 years.

Free booth space is being extended to all first-time vendors, as always. This is one of the things that has helped us to grow the show to fill the 66,500 square foot building. We also offer indoor trailer vending space. That’s been a great thing for people that pull trailers. They leave their trailer inside the booth and don’t have to drive around with an empty trailer while setting up at the show.
We had a phenomenal number of people shop the show last spring. Over 700 shoppers kept the vendors on their feet the entire show day. Dealers reported that they never had a chance to sit down all day on Saturday. Dave and Alley Smith have been vendors at many shows across the country for years and they said they had the best show for sales they ever had anywhere.

New to this show will be room hopping at the host hotel, the Spring Hill Suites in Carmel. We hope to grow this as an additional bonus to the show. It will give our patrons something to do on Friday evening prior to the show. It is starting small with under a dozen rooms this time around but we hope to grow that into multiple floors of room hopping by 2023.

I would like to invite all members of AAAA to attend our show free of charge. (They will have to pay the parking fee to the fairgrounds but nothing at the show gate.) I look forward to seeing many of you at the show!

Below are some images of last year's successful event.
Above Photos: RJ McDowell (left) was one for four people that won a cash prize drawing at the show. His name was drawn two years in a row for the raffle! His family (right) owns Candlelight Antiques in Elkmont, Alabama. They specialize in antique advertising and would be a good stop for anyone traveling through that area.
The Soda Fountain at Woolworth Walk
If you happen to be in Asheville, North Carolina, and are a fan of old-fashioned soda fountains, you must pay a visit to the Soda Fountain at Woolworth Walk. Located in a historic 1938 era Woolworth Five-And-Dime Store, this soda fountain was restored to its original location in 2001. A 1950's theme inspired the restoration.

Woolworth Walk is located at 25 Haywood Street in downtown Asheville. In addition to the Soda Fountain, the location also houses an art gallery featuring the work of 160 artists. The soda fountain is open daily serving many of the original menu items, including egg creams, club sandwiches, coffee, banana splits and old-fashioned ice cream sodas. For a pleasant, nostalgic experience, this one is hard to beat.
Outdated Advertising
From time to time, the Checkerboard has passed along ads from the past that would be totally inappropriate today. If one takes a big gulp, it is sometimes possible to find humor in them. Others are just instructive as to the changes that have taken place over the years.

An entire book was published in 2017 that presents such ads. The complete title of the book is: Outdated Advertising: Sexist, Racist, Creepy, and Just Plain Tasteless Ads from a Pre-PC Era. The book was edited by Michael Lewis and Stephen Spignesi.

The following information comes from the book's listing on

"This outrageous collection of inappropriate ads will have you turning the pages and shaking your head in disbelief.

Outdated Advertising: Memories from a Less-than-PC Era takes a look at print advertising from the mid-1850s through the 1980s with an eye toward ads that were notorious for their sexist, racist, politically-incorrect, or other wildly inappropriate content—or for just plain bad taste. Among the dozens of full-color examples, readers will find:

  • a woman being spanked by her husband for not buying the right coffee
  • the story of a mother having to turn her child over to an orphanage because her late husband didn’t keep up his life insurance payments
  • Aunt Jemima declaring “Happy days is here!” because of her new pancake recipe
  • doctors promoting particular brands of cigarettes
  • the Michael Jackson Rainbow Brite portable record player with the copy line, “Gifts to keep children singing.”

Advertising has changed over the decades—that is a major understatement. Despite the nostalgia of such shows as Mad Men, the outrageous images in Outdated Advertising show readers just how far we’ve come since then".

This book is currently available on Interested readers can click here to order a copy but act quickly because, at the time of this writing, only three copies remain in stock.
Joanne's Gum Museum
Some time in the 1940's a little girl named Joanne Brunet started collecting different brands and types of gum in their original packaging. Fast forward and she now has 200 display cases containing 4,000 specimens of gum and related memorabilia. They are exhibited in the 600 sq. ft. museum located behind her home. They date from 1914 to present and include examples from the U.S. and 33 countries. She is happy to offer free tours of her extensive collection upon request. It is located in Quartzite, Arizona. To arrange for a tour, call 928-916-0905 in advance. For further information about Joanne's Gum Museum, including location, click here.
In Memoriam: A.J. Sieker
A.J. Sieker passed away on December 17, 2021. He was a well-liked and respected member of AAAA for many years. He attended numerous conventions and helped with the silent auctions. A.J. liked to see other people's collections and how they displayed them.

A.J. collected tobacco tins, ribbon tins, aspirin tins, match holders. tobacco tags, advertising needle threaders, cigar boxes, and miscellaneous other tins. He had outstanding typewriter ribbon and aspirin tin collections. He liked the challenge of finding "go-withs"--such as having an ink bottle and then finding a letterhead from that same company.
More important than what he collected was the kind of person he was. A.J. was a caring individual and a lot of fun to be with. Once you were his friend, you were his friend for life. He would want to be remembered as an honest and fair person.

A.J. will be deeply missed.
Wanted Items
In this column are those sought-after items of desire that seem to be elusive. If you know where any of these items can be acquired or if you have one available, please click the link to reply directly to the seeker. To place a listing in this column, click here. There is no fee for AAAA members. Up to three listings per member are permitted.

Pedal car related items. To reply, click here.

Matchbook holders. To know what these are, see my articles in Checkerboard for Nov. 2020 and May 2021. I will consider all items, in any material from plastic to gold, and not necessarily with advertising. Email Andy at

Cigarette Packs. Advanced collector looking to purchase vintage packs. Please contact Dheeraj by email: DHEERAJ.KHIYTANI@GMAIL.COM

Donald Duck Goyer Coffee Cans; One Pound Can & 3 oz Sample Size in Good Condition With Lids. Please Send Email With Photos & Prices to

Morimura Brothers (Japanese import company operating in NYC from 1880-1941) advertising items wanted: trade cards, pamphlets, catalog pages, salesman sample pages, porcelain items with advertising. To reply email at
DeLaval Items and Farm Advertising Signs. Always looking for top quality and unique items. Contact Gregg Hillyer at

Antique Advertising pertaining to Country Store or Drug Store Products or Places. Especially those showing Women or Girls with the product or location shown. I would consider any  Antique Advertising (paper, cardboard & metal Signs). Quality a plus! Dale Peterson at

Wanted top condition: Hard A Port small top tobacco tin; Convention Hall 1 lb coffee tin (green or yellow); Army Navy coffee slip lid canister; Big Horn 1 lb coffee tin; Continental Cubes medium size kidney shape tobacco tin.
To reply, click here.

Unusual one pound peanut butter tins. Tin litho or paper label. To reply, click here.
Marshmallow Tins. Smaller than 5 Pound Size. To reply, click here.
American Cookie, Biscuit and Cracker Tins and Boxes. To reply, click here

Banjo related advertising wanted Pre-1940s. Long time collector buying banjo company signage, catalogs, billheads, periodicals, minstrel banjo items such as posters, broadsides, sheet music ( pre-1870s ) with illustrated banjo covers, early photographs showing banjo players (pre-1915). My main collecting interest is in 19th century material. To reply, click here.

Antique American Medicine Bottles by M. Knapp... soft cover book with price guide. Printed in 2012. or 781-248-8620 also, see my other want ad for Clarke’s ephemera and bottles.

Looking for 3 Vintage Tins. American Eagle "Oriental Mixture" tobacco (dimensions approx. 6.5" long, 2 3/4" wide, 1.5" tall); 1 Gal. Indian Head Hydraulic Brake Fluid; and Packham´s Caramel Toffee. Any offer is welcome and any condition considered. To reply, click here.

Morton Salt, older items, and also Pacific Coast Borax, especially a crate or box. email or call Peggy Dailey 612-522-9211

Comic Book-Related Advertising Items: Must be from before 1980. To reply, click here.

Clarke’s Vegetable Sherry Wine Bitters, Sharon, MA & Rockland, ME: All sizes, variants, smooth/pontil base. Especially need labeled Clarke’s any size! Also, any Clarke’s ephemera…trade cards, almanacs, newspaper ads, etc. Charlie Martin Jr., 781-248-8620. Email:

George Petty: Advanced collector looking for unique or rare items. Photo’s, store displays and non paper items. NO Esquire pages. Pete Perrault. To reply, click here or call (502) 290-7661.

Ice Cream Advertising: Mr. Ice Cream desires better graphic ice cream advertising including: postcards (Advertising and RPPC), trade cards, letterheads, billheads, booklets, poster stamps, blotters, magic lantern slides, pinbacks, watchfobs, and pocket mirrors. Allan Mellis, 1115 West Montana St. Chicago, Illinois 60614-2220. To reply, click here.

Stock food, poultry food, veterinary advertising wanted. Posters, medicine packages, give-aways. Email or call (256) 520-5211.

Singer Sewhandy Model 20-Green-regular paint, not hammertone. To reply, click here.

National Biscuit Company, Nabisco, Uneeda Biscuit, Uneeda Bakers, Muth Bakery, NBC Bread toys, signage, tins, containers, displays, historical items. Please Email or call (937) 205-2232.

Early Cigarette Rolling Papers: Pre-1940’s - American, Zig Zag, Braunstein Freres, Bambino, and Ottoman papers wanted. To reply, click here.

Antique/Collectible Banking and Financial System "Give-a way" and advertising items. Specifically from Pennsylvania. Alarm devices and such. To reply, click here.

VITAMINS advertising, displays, signs, bottles, and anything related: Hadacol is an example. Most would come from the 1930’s thru the 1970’s. Also anything related to cod-liver oil and WEIGHT-LOSS, REDUCING, ANTI-FAT, and OBESITY ITEMS. To reply, click here.
Early tin signs lithographed by Tuchfarber, Wells and Hope, Worcester Sign Company, Sentenne and Green, etc. I can pay more for good condition, but would be interested in any condition. Don Lurito also in the directory. To reply, click here.
Dwinell-Wright Co. Royal Ground Spice Cardboard Spice Boxes. One side displays horizontally. Approximately 3.75" by 2.25". Any type of spice is OK. To reply, click here.
ENSIGN Perfect and ENSIGN Perfection vertical pocket tobacco tins to enhance my collection. Feel free to contact me at 614-888-4619 or to see if you can help fill the voids.
Edmands Coffee Company, Edmands Tea Company, 1776 Coffee, American Beauty Tea, Japan Tea, Devonshire Tea, (imported by Edmands, Boston/Chicago): Any items such as tins, signs, paper, or anything else related to the Edmands family of companies in Boston is desired. To reply, click here.
The AAAA Checkerboard is a monthly e-newsletter that is made available to all AAAA members at no cost. The mission of the Checkerboard is to increase knowledge about antique and collectible advertising among AAAA members. The Checkerboard also provides news and updates about AAAA. It is produced each month with the exception of the four months per year when the award-winning PastTimes print newsletter is published. Paul Lefkovitz ( serves as the Editor of the AAAA Checkerboard. Copyright 2022, Antique Advertising Association of America