Vintage advertising: Low-cost, fun, compact collectibles

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It is no secret that the world of collecting is changing dramatically.

Recently a couple came into the shop and said, "It's time to sell our collection," and asked if we could help. We had to see what they had, and upon our visit we found the collection was very tastefully displayed throughout the home.

Upon our next visit, we were surprised to see the house devoid of all that was termed "clutter" by the Realtor. The couple were told they had to "re-stage," as today's buyer wants minimal wall décor, furniture and accessories.

Therefore, their collection was boxed up and already in storage. A tough challenge lay ahead.

Today's generation is reluctant to start a collection - for many reasons. It's admirable, however, that research of any historic event through the internet is still of interest.

That's exactly where you might find information about vintage advertising.

From 1880 through 1906, black and white printed ads were most interesting and, in many cases, outlandish. Examples can be found in old newspapers, magazines, trade cards and handbills. You'll find mostly cures, cosmetics, toys and clothing.

If you had whooping cough, consumption, croup or most any ill, you'd want to get Dr. White's "Pulmonaria, Guaranteed to Cure!"

And wouldn't you be pleased with Dr. Zulich's Blood and Tonic Powder? It's good for horses, cattle, swine and humans.

Cutting out these ads and putting them in a scrapbook will provide hours of fun and claims that you will want dig into further as to the validity.

Then came 1906, and the Pure Food and Drug Act. This legislation came upon the U.S. to protect the public from quackery and false claims of products to cure everything from baldness to cancer. Historically, this act is one of the most important ever made.

Prior to the act, a mill owner wanted the public to know his product was the purest, most honest available. After reading in the encyclopedia about the Quakers and how they were known for integrity, purity and honesty, he named his product Quaker Oats and established the Quaker Man, who was modeled after William Penn.

America now had, as early as 1880, a product in which they had great confidence. The Quaker Man is still around today.

The best part of this category of collectibles is you can find these turn-of-the-century ads at any antique shop, show or flea market. And a scrapbook takes up little space.

Jerry Glenn is co-owner of Reminisce in Bluffton, where sports collectibles are bought and sold.

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