January, 2021
In This Issue
  • AAAA 2021 Virtual Winter Retreat
  • Sheet Music is Advertising Too
  • PastTimes Re-Connects Buddies
  • Counterfeit Porcelain Railroad Signs
  • WWII "Propaganda" Posters
  • Fab Finds
  • Wanted Items
AAAA 2021 Virtual Winter Retreat: January 23!
We hope every AAAA member with an internet connection is planning to attend the exciting 2021 AAAA Virtual Winter Retreat on January 23! No registration is needed. This free event is for AAAA members only. Start your New Year off right!

  • See old friends and make new ones
  • Visit two of the most celebrated collections in the country
  • Learn about vintage cigar box and canning labels
  • Chat with your fellow collectors
  • Buy great vintage advertising from over 40 sellers.

On the morning of Friday, January 22, all AAAA members will receive an email with a link and instructions to join the AAAA Winter Retreat on Zoom. Please watch for that email. If you don't receive it, contact That same information will be emailed out again the morning of Saturday, January 23.

The schedule is as follows (all times are Eastern Time Zone). However, please feel free to come and go as you please.

1:00 pm Live Room Hopping
1:45 pm Seminar: “Up in Smoke” by Chuck Kovacic
2:30 pm Break-Out Discussions
3:15 pm Tours of Outstanding Collections:
(1) Hook’s Drug Store Museum, Indianapolis, IN. Tour conducted by Dan Russell and Bob Hunt
(2) The W. R. Rudy’s Country Store & Drugstore Museum. Tour conducted by Howard Parzow, owner
4:00 pm Retreat Ends and Room Hopping Begins

Room Hopping will take place on the AAAA web site starting at 4:00 pm on Saturday. No Zoom involvement will be involved. We have invited the general public to join us on Sunday, January 24. The Room Hopping site will remain open until January 31. To participate in the Room Hopping, go to or click the link below:
We have an exciting roster of sellers from all around the country! The current listing is below.
  • Sherry Abel
  • Mike Bartels
  • Dottie Besteman
  • Bill Beverly
  • Greg Carl
  • Ellen Cook
  • Stephen Cross
  • Dave Delongchamp
  • John DeVolder
  • Kyle Fox
  • Marvin Gardner
  • Richard & Diane Goldman
  • Donna Haring
  • Dennis Healzer
  • Monica Hightower
  • Larry Jorgensen
  • Sharon Kempfer
  • Paul Lefkovitz
  • Steve Lefkovitz
  • Joe Lipscombe
  • Don Lurito
  • Sharon Makely
  • Evy Mayer
  • David Meinz
  • Tom Morton
  • Alice Muncaster
  • Paul Nicholson
  • Nostrums & Quackery-McNees
  • Janie Olds
  • Dale Peterson
  • Remey Rubin
  • Tim Schweighart
  • Linda Seeley
  • Tom & Bette Sherman
  • Henry Tankersley
  • Jeff Vick
  • Jeffrey Woods
  • Wyatt Yon
We look forward to seeing you at the Winter Retreat! If you have any questions, contact Paul Lefkovitz, AAAA Convention Coordinator, at 317-594-0658 or
Sheet Music is Advertising Too
By Jeremy Blum
I have long loved the color lithography of the late 1800s and collected posters and trade cards from that time period. Recently, I realized there was another advertising category, in between those two in size, with the same quality lithography and often great graphics. Sheet music has been around almost as long as there have been printing presses. The early ones were more utilitarian than artistic due to limits in printing technology. In the 1840s, color sheet music started becoming regularly available. Some of the best was printed by Sarony of New York City in the 1850s. Sheet music in color from the 1800s remain hard to find but is available. It wasn’t until the 1890s that a significant portion of the sheet music was printed in color. Often it was only one or two colors plus black. Around 1900, color quickly became predominant and black and white was phased out. Until 1920, most sheet music was what collectors call large format in size. These were about 13 ½ x 10 ½” in size give or take a half inch either way. Starting in 1920 the size shrunk to the letter size used thereafter, which is 12 x 9”.
Sheet music is advertising. Like food with labels for cans and boxes, they were sold in stores and the better graphics caught the buyer’s eye. But, especially in the 1800s, using more colors and more involved graphics was expensive, so most publishers didn’t bother.

Sheet music makes an excellent collection as it is easy to store and usually quite affordable. Most from the 1900s sell for $1 to $10 if they sell at all. The color sheet music from the mid to late 1800s is much harder to find and usually sells for $10 to $100.

If you are a history buff, it is an interesting way to see American culture in the time period it was made. Until the 1930s, the covers rarely showed the singers known for the song. The lyricist and music composer were usually different from the singer and also rarely shown. Prior to 1900, ethnic stereotypes were used as often as found in trade cards from that era.
I have broken my collection into three periods. I started with the hard to find color sheet music from 1840 to 1900. More recently I started buying sheet music from the 1920s. The 1920s graphics are full of flapper women and art deco styles. It is more colorful and upbeat than what came before. A few months ago, I realized the period in between (1900 -1920) was also very good. After the 1920s, a major change occurred. The singers, movies or plays the songs came from were featured more and more and the artistry less. By the 1950s, the singers were the primary focal point and collectors are probably more followers of those musicians. Among the most interesting early sheet music were published by E.T. Paull, who also composed the music.  These were published from the late 1800s through the 1920s and used the old lithography but with more colors and graphics than most others.  Irving Berlin had his own publishing company too.

There is not a lot of literature for American sheet music from the 1920s and earlier. The best I have found is the Leon Levy collection at Johns Hopkins found online at
This collection has over 29,000 different pieces, much of which is online.

I am showing pieces from my collection from the three time periods listed above. I asked that this be shown in the Checkerboard because these really need to be blown up to be appreciated. I recommend enlarging the pictures.

Below are eight pieces of sheet music from the 1800s including three E.T. Paulls from the 1890s. The Minnehaha dates to the 1850s, Lilac Waltz 1889, the Mermaid Polka 1850, Lida Lee 1877, and Lorena 1857.  Lorena, one of the best known songs among the civil war troops, is a song of separation from a loved one. Most of the pieces from this time period survived by being bound into a book and later separated.
Below are six from 1900 to 1920, all in large format size. This covered the first World War and there were many military or patriotic songs published in 1917 and 1918.
Below are ten from the 1920s. The first, My Blue Heaven, was the best selling song of its era and heavily covered. It is an acquired taste as it sounds very different than anything today and even back then.
PastTimes Re-Connects Buddies
It is not unusual for articles in PastTimes to prompt contacts by interested readers. However, Terry Dobratz, who was featured in a December, 2020 PastTimes article, was intrigued when he was contacted by somebody who said he knew him. It was Chuck Krull, who was also featured in a recent PastTimes article. It turns out these two important figures in the world of antique advertising were both raised in Beloit, Wisconsin, were buddies in school, and their families knew one another very well! In spite of both of them devoting decades to antique advertising, they have not had any knowing contact with one another since they were kids!

Chuck pointed out that he was also featured in a recent PastTimes article. Terry immediately recalled the article but he never made the connection. They laughed about the fact that they have probably attended many of the same shows, auctions and other events over the years and may have even battled one another over the same auction items! Bringing each other up to speed was memorable for both of them.

The best part of this story is that these two former buddies committed to staying in touch with one another and getting together once COVID-19 is behind us.

The first page of each of their articles appears below.
Chuck Krull's Article appeared in
the June, 2020 issue of PastTimes
Terry Dobratz's Article appeared in
the December, 2020 issue of PastTimes
Counterfeit Porcelain Railroad Signs Hit the Market
It appears that more railroad-related counterfeit porcelain enamel signs are entering the marketplace. Perhaps inspired by the sale of authentic signs from the Ed McHugh Estate Auctions as sold by Soulis Auctions in 2019, counterfeits are appearing in eBay and in some auctions around the country.

An eBay seller using different profiles is active in the Southeast U.S. See images of the most recent signs of danger.
World War II "Propaganda" Posters
During World War II, bold and colorful posters were created and published by United States government agencies, civilian service organizations, and foreign agencies. These posters addressed U.S. war production, war bond and stamp sales, military recruiting, rationing, civil defense, civilian wartime responsibilities, and pro-U.S. interests. These are often referred to as "propaganda" posters. The following examples were submitted by Gordon Addington.
Fab Finds
Even in the midst of this pandemic, great items are turning up. Robert Ray found some wonderful new items for his general store. One outstanding acquisition was a rare Mother Goose Sardines cardboard container. How about those killer graphics on all sides? (See images below.)
Robert also added a beautiful Buster Brown's Stockings sign to his splendid collection of Buster Brown items.
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.

DeLaval and other ag/farm-related advertising.   Contact Gregg Hillyer 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 2021, Antique Advertising Association of America