Indy Ad Show making unique finds the standard

INDIANAPOLIS — The temperatures may have been cool for March, but dealer sales were brisk at the Indy Antique Advertising Show held March 15-16. By Saturday afternoon, several booths were looking bare: a problem every dealer would like to have. Attendance was up 33 percent said show promoter Bruce Weir, adding the dealers did a great job of Circus-Midway-Canvaswebbringing a variety of merchandise. Normally there are a couple one-of-a-kind pieces, but this year was exceptional.

According to those in attendance, condition and uniqueness were the name of the game, while customers were on the look out for items in good condition, that make fun and interesting conversation pieces.

Bill Powell, from Franklin, Tenn., brought a huge circus canvas with images of Popeye and Olga the Headless Woman. This was part of a circus midway tent used to publicize the side show entertainment. Powell is famous for picking the unique and unusual items that are often large in size, but this was an exceptional piece that had to be hoisted up via ropes to hang along the front wall. Priced at $4,500, the piece brought smiles to many of the customers.

Clint Conway from Flanagan, Ill., had an unusual 3-D varnish sign where the container actually was coming out of the picture. From the early 1900s and featuring the John W. Masury & Son company of New York and Chicago, the plaster sign was approximately 3

Clint Conway of Flannagan, Ill., offers this 2-feet by 3-feet plaster 3-D sign advertising “The Masury Fine Varnishes.” Photo courtesy Bruce Weir

Clint Conway of Flannagan, Ill., offers this 2-feet by 3-feet plaster 3-D sign advertising “The Masury Fine Varnishes.”
Photo courtesy Bruce Weir

feet by 2 feet. The Masury Fine Varnishes sign was picked up at a local auction in central Illinois that had several pharmacy items. It was not uncommon for the local pharmacy to also sell paint during that time period.

A Light House Coffee dispenser and country store display was offered by Carter and Irene Davis of Onancock, Va. The dispenser, shaped as a lighthouse with red and green glass lenses at the top was approximately 2 feet tall and priced at $1,750. “It’s rare to find this dispenser in excellent condition,” said Irene, adding “most of the time it is dented, missing paint or the glass lenses broken or missing”.

Otto Dorris of Bixby, Okla., displayed two large butcher racks that would have been used in a butcher shop to display the fresh meat. Made of iron, these racks were 5-6 feet long and are considered to be ornate in design with the figures along the top of the rack. “It’s hard to find these racks in great condition. Most did not survive because they were taken to salvage and the ones that did are usually broken or missing pieces,” commented Otto. The racks are unique displays in the kitchen or above doorways and windows for the Western motif.

The Indy Antique Advertising Show is in its 42nd year and remains true to its origin by offering the best in vintage adverting and country store merchandise. Dealers bring items including but not limited to soda fountain, country store, brewery, tobacco, toys, ephemera and gas and oil. The next show is Sept. 27-28, 2013, at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. For dealer information, visit or call 217-821-1294.

Customer preview tickets are on sale for $25 (regularly $40) in advance through the website, as well.

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