Rare 20th century tomb vault demo piece poised to sell for upwards of $6,800

INDIANAPOLIS — More than 100 advertising and toy dealers from 28 states will be converging on the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis to transform a 65,000 square-foot building into a collector’s dream. Those looking for the unique, the rare or those special Mint condition items need to attend the Indy Antique Advertising Show, March 15-16, as the dealers bring the best they have to offer for both the beginning and advanced collector.

The Indy Antique Advertising Show is the nation’s premier show to find true vintage and antique advertising. This includes a broad range of items in breweriana, soda fountain,drug and country store, toys, Americana, gas and oil, coin-operated machines, ephemera, veterinarian and more.

1940’s National Tomb vault. (Photo courtesy Indy Antique Advertising Show)

1940’s National Tomb vault. (Photo courtesy Indy Antique Advertising Show)

An example of a sales sample that will be at the March 2013 show is a 1940s National Tomb vault. These were used by funeral directors to demonstrate to customers how the vault was water tight and kept their loved ones dry. The motorized unit raises the top of the vault, which would have been suspended in a water tank. It has been said that some directors would light a cigarette, put it inside and it would still be smoking as the unit lifted. The unit has the original neon, is in excellent working condition, and is valued at $6,500.

Toys are also popular at the show. One of the dealers has secured a lifetime collection of cast-iron toys and will be bringing several items to the show [shown at right]. These trucks are rare and hard to find. This larger size (8 inches and up) were more expensive, so only affluent families could afford them. Therefore, fewer quantities of this size were made. Trucks like the International Harvester Panel Truck command higher prices because of the advertising. Truck prices range from $800 to $1,800.

Dealers enjoy talking to customers about what they have brought to sell, and are always happy to share their wealth of knowledge. and help collectors select the perfect piece for their collection. Dealers are also aware of what is happening in the area and cater to those special events. For example, Pepsi collectibles are generally more plentiful during the March show because the Pepsi Fest Convention is the same week in Indianapolis. A couple rare and unique examples are the Pepsi Pete chalkware character and the 1930-40s 5-cent Pepsi celluloid sign.

Brewery collectibles including clocks, signs, neon signs and lights to early advertising

A couple rare Pepsi Pete chaulkware character, circa 1930s (Photo courtesy Indy Antique Advertising Show).

A couple rare Pepsi Pete chaulkware character, circa 1930s (Photo courtesy Indy Antique Advertising Show).

continue to gain popularity at the show. An early 1900s National Beer tip tray, themed “The Best in the West,” measures 4 1/4 inches and is valued at $1,750. It depicts a cowboy bursting through the tray and was made by the H.D Beach Co., Coshocton, Ohio. National Beer was the first lager beer brewed in San Francisco.

The show opens at 9 a.m.; admission is $8 per person and the show is open until 4 p.m. Some customers find that they cannot attend the show on Saturday or need more time to shop, so they attend the “preview” on March 15 from 1-6 p.m. To thank customers for their support of the Indy Antique Advertising Show, preview tickets for the March 2013 show are being offered at special savings of $25 (regularly $50) until March 1. Saturday admission is also included with the preview ticket.

For more information, to see more of what the dealers will be bringing, or to purchase preview tickets at the special savings rate, visit www.indyadshow.com. Tickets may also be purchased by calling 217-821-1294.

Future Indy Ad Show events will be held Sept. 27-28, 2013, at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.