It’s not just an old Paint Can

Just as any collector, hunting for something to collect is half of the fun of collecting. I was in an old paint store over 20 years ago when I noticed an old can on the shelf with great old graphics.

Being in the billboard business, I used to paint on a daily basis and had never thought of the lowly paint can. I continued to look around the store and noticed an old Sherwin Williams “Cover the Earth Sign”, then another old sign with a boat, advertising Woolsey paint. At this point, I was hooked and thought this is for me.

Going from antique shop to flea market, I would ask for old paint cans, especially gallons. Of course, I got strange looks, as well as laughs, were common.  I quickly found that there was plenty out there and I needed to be more focused on what I purchased. I decided to collect the gallon cans with great graphics and only purchase smaller cans with colorful graphics when I found them.

Paint cans came in all shapes and sizes.  Older shaped cans including cone-shaped, triangular and rectangular are extremely rare.  The graphics on any of the older cans are wonderful with great attention to detail.  Some of the labels were printed on paper, while others were printed directly on the cans.  After collecting paint cans for over 20 years they are now extremely hard to find.

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Sailor’s Valentine

Have you heard the term Sailor’s Valentines and wondered who and what this was? Interesting enough, this is a term that modern-day collectors assigned to what they thought sailors created during their free time. After doing some investigating, it was discovered that the sailors really did not make them, but purchased them for loved ones stateside.

sailor framed

This beautiful and interesting form of folk art came into being during the late 19th and early 20th century.  Hundreds of tiny seashells were glued onto a cotton backing.  Each type of shell was then separated by a partition.   Designs were colorful and creative.  Many had a message, such as “Thinking of You”, “Forget Me Not” and “Home Again” written on the shells.

star shell

Through research and examination, they found that most of the shells came from the same West Indies Island, with similar designs and workmanship.  They also concluded the island of Barbados was often the last port for many whalers, English, and Dutch traders.  Barbados is located to the east of the West Indies Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. So perhaps those sailors did buy these for souvenirs to take home.  They also found that these early turn of the century examples stopped during the time when whaling stopped and steamships came into fashion.

think of me

In the late 1930’s, these folk art shells were rediscovered in attics and collectors begin to see them as beautiful works of art.  From very simple designs to large ornate pieces we still enjoy them from the past as a piece of the “sea”. When you picture a rough and strong sailor, the last thing you think they would purchase is something so delicate, but the men longed for their homes and loved ones and this was a way to show their women how much they missed them.


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Warm up your home with vintage!

When you get home from work don’t you just want to put on an old worn T-shirt?  It is comfortable to you and has that warm feel doesn’t it?  So you have put on a great old comfortable T-shirt and look around at your “Big Box” store accessories…do they make you feel as comfortable as that old T-shirt and worn jeans?  Probably not!  So why not think about making your home more comfortable after a hard days work!

Have a pile of old newspapers which need to be recycled?  Find an old wooden box with some printing on the side to hold them.  How about that pile of old magazines you don’t want to throw away?  Just find one of the old Coca-Cola 24 bottle crates, roll up the magazines and you have a 24 hole magazine holder. Don’t forget there were also carton holders that can be used on the wall to hold collectibles.




oval frameOld picture frames can tell a story, also.  Send those cell phone pictures to your email, then print in black and white. Add those old frames or use an old window frame – wow that is a look!

Have a room where you enjoy music, use old sheet musicmusic and just tack on the walls.

Have a shelf in your bathroom that you are looking to add some unique pieces to?  How about old full rolls of toilet paper, old talc tins, or old soap bar boxes. In your laundry room, put old detergent boxes or old laundry signs.  Any of these add warmth and memories for folks who may visit your home.

Collecting can be fun.  Give your home the warmth of an old T-shirt and pair of jeans. Check out lots of great things to decorate your home with on
Vintage pieces found on

Early Coca-Cola Advertising

If you were to go back in time and look through the window of a 1900’s Drug Store, you could have seen a pharmacy full of bottles and medicines.   In fact, this was the setting of Dr. John Stith Pemberton, as he experimented with a wide range of proprietary medicines to sell to the public. Some of his products included Gingerine, Indian Queen Hair Dye, and Triplex Pills. On May 8, 1886, Pemberton created and served Coca-Cola in his pharmacy, Jacobs’ Pharmacy. He served an average of nine drinks a day during the remainder of 1886.
In the 1890’s an “advertising push” for this new drink took place in New England. Businesses were offered premiums such as clocks, fountain urns and more, as a way to entice them to buy more gallons of Coca-Cola syrup. Coca-Cola salesman had a lot to do. Besides taking care of their current customers, they would call on new businesses, show
how to properly mix this new Coca-Cola drink and put up store displays (known as the point of purchase advertising).
The salesman also had to contact the local billposters in each town and contract with them to put up the Coca-Cola billboards. It was a lot of hard work but this new approach
to marketing worked and sales skyrocketed. A rare piece of advertising from those early years is a mosaic Coca-Cola hanging light half globe. As I understand it, only two of these are known to exist.
One sold at the Schmidt Museum Auction and thecc-4
other is in a private collection. The only record of them existing is a photo of an old soda fountain with two mosaic half globes on the mirror of a back bar. Perhaps these two mosaics were the ones in the photo, no one knows. Both of these globes have been compared and are exactly alike. These are not shown in any Coca-Cola price guide.

Most collectors are familiar with the Coca-Cola Vienna Art Plates which were produced and distributed by the Western Coca-Cola Bottling Company. Early bottlers often did not contact Coca-Cola for approval on advertising items. They just produced it and gave it away. While these were not “Authorized by Coca-Cola”, they are still part of the Coca-Cola collecting and history. Up until 1924, independent bottlers had no guideline for any advertising. In that year the Coca-Cola Company formed a Standardization Committee.
The committee’s booklet titled Coca-Cola Bottler’s Standards gave bottlers new rules and actual standards to follow in marketing Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola Chewing Gum items, while not soda related, are extremely rare and are part of Coca-Cola history and highly sought.

Coca-Cola Gum Counter Displays
1914 – 1916 Dutch Boy & Girl Counter Displays.

Two rare pieces of Coca-Cola history are a girl drinking from a straw and an old fashioned Santa.CC girl2


Neither of these pieces are shown in any price guides. The girl drinking Coca-Cola from a straw is shown in the Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Current Price List September 1927. It sold to bottlers for .06 each and was called the “Girl with Straw Hanger”. These are rarity seen. Perhaps they were not ordered by retailers and thrown away or was a short production run.  The old-fashioned Santa Claus was a cardboard bottle display. The piece is die cut and made of very thin cardboard. With the scary look of Santa and the thin cardboard, I doubt that many retailers kept them around long.

As early as 1907 window displays and festoons were used to advertise Coca-Cola. In small towns across the USA, downtown stores had large glass windows in which to advertise. Coca-Cola took advantage of this open space and created elaborate Coca-Cola displays. Inside the stores were soda fountains with back bars, a perfect place for festoons. These elaborate window displays and festoons were made of cardboard and often had many pieces to the display. Super rare festoons and window displays are from 1907 to 1918.

leaf festoon
1927 Leaf Festoon

Other rare ones from the 1920’s such as the 1926 “Chinese Lanterns” and 1927 “Leaves” festoon. Due to direct sunlight, heat and humidity, not many of these survived. They were just thrown away after taken down. Little did they know that this would be a valuable piece of history and highly prized by collectors.

The 1950’s and 1960’s saw the largest number of festoons made, as they followed trends such as Square Dancing, Auto Racing, Beach Girls and Birthstones. Many collectors shy away from these due to size and if framed they do take a rather large wall. I have seen
collectors use them as they were originally intended, in separate pieces on the wall.
As well as the continual use of festoons during the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s large advertising cardboard signs, like mini billboards begin to appear in businesses. These cardboard signs were inserted into wooden frames often referred to as “Kay Displays”. These wooden frames had metal rods on each side, a Coca-Cola bottle emblem at the bottom and were manufactured by the “Kay Display, Inc.”.

Masonite and Metal Festoon

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Popcorn Christmas Tree Garland


One Christmas when I had nothing better to do, I called in my brother and nephews and said, help me string popcorn for the tree.  I was much younger and wanted to revisit a time in history.  Well, if you never have tried it, my suggestion would be, to do it once in a lifetime.  The new idea of tradition quickly faded when everyone left and there was popcorn on the floor and only part of the tree was done.  However, it did smell good around the house for a day or so.

The history of popcorn is extremely interesting.  9926-a

Popcorn is a very specific variety of corn that will explode when subject to high heat.  We know that in the 19th century there were metal popcorn poppers that were held over an open fire that became just part of the hearth.  About 1938 popcorn was offered in movie theaters and has now become part of the American tradition.

Today, many folks look for old popcorn tins.  Some people want full cans others are looking just for graphics.  Perhaps they are looking for brands they remember or kind they ate.  In either case, they can look good on a shelf in a kitchen, den or country store.  Here are a few popcorn tins for sale on  Check them out on  The only All Vintage Online Marketplace.




Enjoy Collecting Small Pieces of History

A forgotten piece of history is still collectible. The watch fob played an important part in history and for the younger generation, they are just a funny looking plastic round circle. Men carried a gold pocket watch in a small pocket in either their vest or waistcoat. A chain or leather strap was attached to the watch and a fob added to hang outside of the pocket. The man could simply pull the watch out by pulling on the fob.
While back in Europe, fobs were popular in the 1700’s but they did not really catch on in America until the early 1900’s. Advertisers saw that men checked their watch several times a day, so that little fob was a perfect place for an advertisement. Let’s not forget since it was on the outside of the pocket, they could also serve to advertise to anyone you met. 

Today, they are a little piece of the past advertising and is a great small collectible for anyone.  It can be found at any price range. Price will depend on the fob material and advertiser. Coca-Cola is one of the more expensive fobs with a 1930’s Texaco Scottie Dog being the cheapest. Check out watch fobs on icollect247.