Travel back in time at the Great Eastern Paper Show


ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Step into the Agricultural Hall at the Allentown, Pa. Fairgrounds on July 18 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and step back in time for the best ephemera at the Great Eastern Summer Antique Book, Paper and Advertising Show.

History is preserved in the quality goods available at this one-day event. Newspapers documenting world events, signed first-edition books by renowned authors, elaborate stocks issued by companies of the past, frameable prints and illustrations from the 19th and 20th centuries, and many varieties of photographica, such as daguerreotypes, stereoscopic views and tintypes have been gathered by more than 140 dealers for collectors to enjoy.

Delicate Valentines that delighted young ladies in years gone by can delight another generation. Many reflect the styles of Victorian dress in exquisite and embellished chromolithographs. Transportation themed Valentines illustrate traveling on steam locomotives and roadsters. And Halloween and Christmas cards offer a colorful, fun look at holiday costumes and decorations from decades ago.

One of the most affordable ways to own a piece of history is through advertising trade cards. The Great Eastern Show is a great resource for acquiring these small but popular collectibles. From around 1857 to 1900, businesses promoted their goods and services by handing out illustrated trade cards about the size of present-day index cards. People collected and pasted them in scrapbooks. They advertised beverages such as soda, tea, beer and whiskey; farm and garden supplies; foods (including ice cream, cereal, preserves, and baking products); and tobacco, sewing, toys, jewelry and more. The furniture and home goods cards show what you would see in a Victorian home, with women using a new clothes wringer or iron, and men enjoying an adjustable chair. Toiletry companies guarantee to restore your hair and cure what ails you or your horse.

Trade cards have a high crossover value. Cat collectors can find felines playing with thread or being cuddled by children in nostalgic illustrations. Exposition, Fair and Event cards appeal to collectors seeking these souvenirs of major events from over a century ago.

Sports and recreation trade cards offer an alphabet of activities, from archery, baseball and cricket to rowing, swimming and tennis.

Trade cards, postcards, and holiday cards are just part of the Great Eastern Paper Show experience. Advertising collectibles such as tin containers, posters, calendars, trays, mirrors, signs, and more made of wood, cardboard, tin, porcelain, celluloid, glass, paper, and other materials fill the booths at the show. Documents of all kinds, such as stocks, bonds, letters, deeds, discharge papers, certificates, letterheads, vouchers, bills, checks, reports or rosters are some of the collectible paper items available

Both collectors and dealers are part of preserving the past by saving the ephemera that had been stored in attics, basements and garages across the country. The Great Eastern Summer Show is a great way to connect with these treasures and hold them safe for future generations.

For more information on this event, call Joyce Heilman, Manager, at 610-706-0214. Great Eastern’s Fall 170-booth Antiquarian Advertising and Book Show is scheduled for October 3, also in Agricultural Hall.

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