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Advertising, Paper & Ephemera

People have bought and sold goods since ancient times, and they have advertised their goods for sale for just as long. Ancient Egyptians used steel carvings and papyrus signs to advertise their wares. Romans put up posters on walls to advertise gladiator events, and in the Middle Ages, town criers would call out when and where local open markets would be held.

Advertising changed dramatically with the invention of the printing press around 1440. Print advertising suddenly became affordable, allowing businesses to reach many more people through newspapers and fliers than they ever had before. Classified ads first appeared in 1631 in France, and in 1891, Sears ran the first direct marketing campaign in when it mailed postcards to 8,000 potential customers.

Those who collect advertising memorabilia are often particularly interested in promotional products including souvenirs or household items that include a brand logo, like Budweiser neon lights or the Buddy Lee jeans doll.

Collectors of ephemera, items that were only meant to be used for a short time, often bid on paper collectibles such as letters, tickets, stereopticon cards, labels, and greeting cards, including valentines. Letters, cards, airline tickets, stock certificates, and more specialized vintage paper items like ancient scrolls can also be categorized as ephemera in the collecting world. The highest price ever paid for a letter at auction was $6 million in 2013. It was written by Francis Crick, one of the co-discoverers of the nature of DNA, to his son Michael, explaining the "secret of life."

Recommended Items at Auction

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Vintage Navajo Lodge Neon Sign
Feb 29, 10:00 AM PST
Vintage Navajo Lodge Neon Sign
by Abell Auction
Est: $100- $100,000
$5,50019 Bids
Early 1900s MUSIC Marquee Illuminated Enamel Sign
Feb 29, 10:00 AM PST
Early 1900s MUSIC Marquee Illuminated Enamel Sign
by Abell Auction
Est: $100- $100,000
$7,50018 Bids
PRE PRO ANHEUSER BUSCH BEER LITHO SIGN
Mar 29, 9:00 AM CDT
PRE PRO ANHEUSER BUSCH BEER LITHO SIGN
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$52515 Bids
CLEVELAND PINWHEEL NEON CLOCK
Mar 29, 9:00 AM CDT
CLEVELAND PINWHEEL NEON CLOCK
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$1,60015 Bids
"J.A. Miller Chicken Cock Whiskey" bottle - Paris, Kentucky
Mar 17, 6:00 PM EDT
"J.A. Miller Chicken Cock Whiskey" bottle - Paris, Kentucky
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$11015 Bids
DIE CUT PORCELAIN SIGN DEVOE HOUSE PAINT
Mar 29, 9:00 AM CDT
DIE CUT PORCELAIN SIGN DEVOE HOUSE PAINT
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$47514 Bids
Vintage Original Parrot Gas Service Station Porcelain Single Sided Advertising Sign
Mar 18, 6:00 PM EDT
Vintage Original Parrot Gas Service Station Porcelain Single Sided Advertising Sign
by One Source Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$45014 Bids
Vintage Pegasus Mobil Enamel Neon Sign
Feb 29, 10:00 AM PST
Vintage Pegasus Mobil Enamel Neon Sign
by Abell Auction
Est: $100- $100,000
$5,50014 Bids
PORCELAIN SIGN GOOD YEAR TIRES
Mar 29, 9:00 AM CDT
PORCELAIN SIGN GOOD YEAR TIRES
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$35013 Bids
Vintage Jesus Saves Neon Sign
Feb 29, 10:00 AM PST
Vintage Jesus Saves Neon Sign
by Abell Auction
Est: $100- $100,000
$1,70013 Bids
Bowling Ball and Pin Double-Sided Hanging Neon Sign
Feb 29, 10:00 AM PST
Bowling Ball and Pin Double-Sided Hanging Neon Sign
by Abell Auction
Est: $100- $100,000
$85013 Bids
PORCELAIN FLANGE SIGN SHERWIN WILLIAMS PAINT SOLD
Mar 29, 9:00 AM CDT
PORCELAIN FLANGE SIGN SHERWIN WILLIAMS PAINT SOLD
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$25013 Bids
RPOG REVERSE PAINTED GLASS SIGN ATKINS SILVER STEEL SAWS
Mar 29, 9:00 AM CDT
RPOG REVERSE PAINTED GLASS SIGN ATKINS SILVER STEEL SAWS
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$37512 Bids
"Belle of Paris" back bar decanter bottle - Paris, Kentucky
Mar 17, 6:00 PM EDT
"Belle of Paris" back bar decanter bottle - Paris, Kentucky
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$10012 Bids
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Over 800 Assorted Nintendo Pokemon TCG Cards
Feb 29, 12:00 PM EST
Over 800 Assorted Nintendo Pokemon TCG Cards
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $10- $200
$15012 Bids
PORCELAIN FLANGE SIGN HAMILTON BROWN SHOES
Mar 29, 9:00 AM CDT
PORCELAIN FLANGE SIGN HAMILTON BROWN SHOES
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$15011 Bids
Red Wing Advertising Stoneware Crock "Brace Farm Sausage", Kane Ill 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm.)
Mar 03, 2:00 PM CST
Red Wing Advertising Stoneware Crock "Brace Farm Sausage", Kane Ill 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm.)
by Asselmeier May Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$27511 Bids
Vintage Blue Marlin Double Sided Painted Metal Neon Sign
Feb 29, 10:00 AM PST
Vintage Blue Marlin Double Sided Painted Metal Neon Sign
by Abell Auction
Est: $100- $100,000
$6,00011 Bids
Blue Lick springwater resort sign - Nicholas County, Kentucky
Mar 17, 6:00 PM EDT
Blue Lick springwater resort sign - Nicholas County, Kentucky
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$42511 Bids
Box of Magic The Gathering cards
Feb 29, 2:00 PM AEDT
Box of Magic The Gathering cards
by Lawsons
Est: AUD20- AUD40
AUD8011 Bids
DIE CUT TIN BOTTLE SIGN NESBITTS CALIFORNIA ORANGE SODA
Mar 29, 9:00 AM CDT
DIE CUT TIN BOTTLE SIGN NESBITTS CALIFORNIA ORANGE SODA
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$52510 Bids
EMBOSSED TIN SIGN VIRGINIA DARE KORKER LEMON LIME SODA
Mar 29, 9:00 AM CDT
EMBOSSED TIN SIGN VIRGINIA DARE KORKER LEMON LIME SODA
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$15010 Bids
Vintage c. 1930 Roseland Park Canandaigua Lake, N.Y. Metal License Plate Topper
Mar 18, 6:00 PM EDT
Vintage c. 1930 Roseland Park Canandaigua Lake, N.Y. Metal License Plate Topper
by One Source Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$11010 Bids
CHEVROLET OK USED CARS & TRUCKS LIGHTED SIGN
Mar 29, 9:00 AM CDT
CHEVROLET OK USED CARS & TRUCKS LIGHTED SIGN
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$37510 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Advertising, Paper & Ephemera


Millers Auction Co.

Millers Auction Co.

Matthew Bullock Auctioneers

Matthew Bullock Auctioneers

Chupp Auctions & Real Estate, LLC

Chupp Auctions & Real Estate, LLC

Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.

Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.