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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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1940 Kentucky Derby Glass
Apr 28, 6:00 PM EDT
1940 Kentucky Derby Glass
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$19,30031 Bids
1939 Kentucky Derby Glass
Apr 28, 6:00 PM EDT
1939 Kentucky Derby Glass
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$8,20026 Bids
A Rare John Hauenstein Beer Tray
Apr 28, 11:00 AM MST
A Rare John Hauenstein Beer Tray
by Monarch Auction and Estate Services
Est: $2,000- $5,000
$86021 Bids
SOLO MARGARINE
May 03, 10:00 AM CEST
SOLO MARGARINE
by Wormser Reklame-Auktion
Est: €350- €500
€40012 Bids
SPECTACULAR VINTAGE HALLOWEEN POSTCARD GROUP
Apr 24, 9:00 AM CDT
SPECTACULAR VINTAGE HALLOWEEN POSTCARD GROUP
by Jackson's International
Est: $150- $300
$37512 Bids
Rare 1949 Kentucky Derby Error Glass
Apr 28, 6:00 PM EDT
Rare 1949 Kentucky Derby Error Glass
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$52511 Bids
SCHMIDT - APÉRITIF A BASE DE VIN
May 04, 9:00 AM CEST
SCHMIDT - APÉRITIF A BASE DE VIN
by Wormser Reklame-Auktion
Est: €600- €800
€85011 Bids
1946 Kentucky Derby Glass
Apr 28, 6:00 PM EDT
1946 Kentucky Derby Glass
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$11010 Bids
GREAT VINTAGE SANTA POSTCARDS
Apr 24, 9:00 AM CDT
GREAT VINTAGE SANTA POSTCARDS
by Jackson's International
Est: $100- $200
$45010 Bids
AMERICAN CIGAR STORE INDIAN MAIDEN ATTRIBUTED TO SAMUEL ROBB (1851-1928).
May 04, 11:00 AM EDT
AMERICAN CIGAR STORE INDIAN MAIDEN ATTRIBUTED TO SAMUEL ROBB (1851-1928).
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $7,500- $15,000
$55010 Bids
China & Japan Post Card Lot
Apr 24, 10:00 AM EDT
China & Japan Post Card Lot
by Weiss Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$4209 Bids
Nesbitt's Beverage Pam clock
May 06, 9:00 AM EDT
Nesbitt's Beverage Pam clock
by Atlee Raber Auctioneer
Est: $10- $1,000
$1259 Bids
120 VINTAGE VALENTINES
Apr 24, 9:00 AM CDT
120 VINTAGE VALENTINES
by Jackson's International
Est: $50- $100
$909 Bids
Vintage Halloween Post Cards.
Apr 24, 10:00 AM EDT
Vintage Halloween Post Cards.
by Weiss Auctions
Est: $100- $300
$1009 Bids
Restored Visible Shell Gas Pump 120 1/2"H x 23 1/2"Diamater
May 04, 9:00 AM CDT
Restored Visible Shell Gas Pump 120 1/2"H x 23 1/2"Diamater
by Bright Star Antiques Co.
Est: $0- $0
$2259 Bids
1951 Kentucky Derby Glass
Apr 28, 6:00 PM EDT
1951 Kentucky Derby Glass
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$2208 Bids
DOUBLE CLAIRE
May 05, 11:00 AM CEST
DOUBLE CLAIRE
by Wormser Reklame-Auktion
Est: €200- €250
€1708 Bids
Postcards - 7 Assorted
Apr 27, 9:00 AM CDT
Postcards - 7 Assorted
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $30- $300
$808 Bids
10 Cent Coca Cola Machine 52 1/2"H, 25"L, 16"W
May 04, 9:00 AM CDT
10 Cent Coca Cola Machine 52 1/2"H, 25"L, 16"W
by Bright Star Antiques Co.
Est: $0- $0
$1758 Bids
72PC 1999-04 Pokemon Holo Key Card Group
Apr 27, 3:00 PM EDT
72PC 1999-04 Pokemon Holo Key Card Group
by Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers
Est: $200- $400
$2508 Bids
ORIGINAL TY COBB SWEET CAPORAL & 7 OTHERS
Apr 24, 9:00 AM CDT
ORIGINAL TY COBB SWEET CAPORAL & 7 OTHERS
by Jackson's International
Est: $800- $1,200
$2,2008 Bids
DST Chesterfield L&M Cigarettes flange sign
May 06, 9:00 AM EDT
DST Chesterfield L&M Cigarettes flange sign
by Atlee Raber Auctioneer
Est: $10- $1,000
$1257 Bids
Brass 'Department of Public Works' sign (13 x 51cm)
Apr 24, 6:30 PM AEST
Brass 'Department of Public Works' sign (13 x 51cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD60- AUD80
AUD607 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Advertising, Paper & Ephemera


Wormser Reklame-Auktion

Wormser Reklame-Auktion

Matthew Bullock Auctioneers

Matthew Bullock Auctioneers

Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer

Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer

Bright Star Antiques Co.

Bright Star Antiques Co.